Tuesday, October 03, 2006


There is a common thread in all the blogs you read that are written by people who are from South Africa. This thread talks about the uniqueness of the warmth of South Africans. It talks about how South Africans open their homes and hearts without any hesitation to people they have just met, be they South African or not.

In spite of the physical distance between me and my friends still in South Africa and the South African friends I made in England, I cherish the fact that these friendships stand solid in spite of the time and space between us. The bond is there. The bonds I have with my friends were made instantly in some cases, and others were formed over many years of investing time and energy into each other. Those people who have been more transient in my life have taught me a valuable lesson - that you really don’t have to make it with every single person on the planet.

Recently I have had two experiences with South African friends that have touched a place deep in my heart. While reading an on-line weekly newsletter I get from SA, I saw a picture of a colleague from many years ago. I calculated that it was about 22 years since I’d had any contact with J. He worked in the advertising agency division and I was in the public relations division of the company. Our paths crossed occasionally as we were account executives on the same account. J is one of those people who are funny without even trying to be. I am the kind of person who laughs hardest when I am not supposed to be laughing at all. This made for an interesting school career and tricky situations in meeting rooms as an employed adult. The fact that the most simple and obscure things appeal to my sense of humor doesn’t help the situation at times either.

I emailed the guy who circulates the letter and asked him for J’s email contact here in the States. Within a day or two, J and I were first in email contact, then chatting on line, then on the phone. Dan Dan the Fireman has since had dinner with J as he travels to where J lives regularly for business. In spite of the fact that they never knew each other from before, the common bond of where we all come from was sufficient to motivate a dinner get together. Of course DDTF agreed that J is the most hilarious individual and they both agreed that it was hard to believe this had essentially been a blind date. They felt like they had known each other for years.

A short time after reconnecting with J, I received a call from him telling me he was at a supermarket which stocks South Africans products. He wasn’t phoning to ask IF I wanted any, it went more along the lines of, “How many bottles of chutney do you want? How many bottles of mayonnaise do you want? You’ve got to have Marie Biscuits and how many boxes of tea should I put in?”

I was completely blown away by this gesture. The spontaneous kindness of it all touched me so deeply and at the risk of sounding sexist, I admit to having thought to myself that this was such a “chick thing” to do. We gals do this kind of thing for each other without giving it a thought, but for a dude to do this is somehow even more special. (Oddly enough I did not get this out of my 50’s guide to being a good wife and friend!)

Then there is the connection on line between strangers who have nothing more in common than the place from which they come. This gives us an understanding about how we operate as people, how we think and how we act. I have written a lot about the fact that I am very technologically challenged. I have advertised on Craig’s List for someone with HTML knowledge in an attempt to get some hands-on lessons that would improve my blogging abilities. It is that severe that I am willing to PAY someone. Without knowing why, there have been no takers.

Perhaps you have noticed three recent additions to my page. The heading ‘MORE OF ME TO PLUG INTO’ linking this page to my other two pages, and the same on those pages. For those who might have checked out my profile page, you will have noticed that previous blogs of mine that had become redundant have been removed. As recently as today, you will see a clock is now displayed on this page.

These miraculously appeared through the kindness of yet another angel. Within a few days of us discovering our blogs and commenting on them, a friendship was established to the extent where I was secure in giving her access to my blogs in order to make these changes for me. When it comes to technology, the best assistance anyone can offer me is to just do it for me.

The people who have come into my life over the last five years that I am fortunate enough to call my friends are of equal value to me as those friends I have had for decades. The difference is that I have never had to work this hard to have so few friends. While I know it is quality that counts and not quantity, a community can be a lonely place when in small numbers.
I’ve learned that we don’t have to change friends
If we understand that friends change.