The Gallery – Friendship

I initially ran from last week’s prompt and ended up skirting around it like a girl … ahem. This week’s has not been easier, although I had a little more ‘scope of avoidance’ ! Basically I’m rubbish at the friends thing … I love people, but people, not least here in Germany tend to avoid me like the plague at a level deeper than ‘hi’ and a bit-of-a-chat. I do have two very special friends in England – both of them on Twitter and both know who they are and although we only catch up once every 3 years or so, they will be friends for life. Of that I am sure. Thank you, infinitely to them.

So, in response to the prompt by Tara at Sticky Fingers for this week’s The Gallery on “Friendship”, I have, again, gone a tad tangential.

Here goes:

Elephants ….

belong to one of the most gregarious species on the planet. I had the most amazing privilege of being able to observe several different groups in the wild over a period of a month in South Africa in 2006 and was transfixed by their unfathomable warmth, loyalty and generosity to other members of their herd. These twins were only one day old and, as we watched, almost every member of the group greeted the mother and the babies at least once over the period of 3 hours. (One very emotional obs!)

Elephants are also known to travel great distances to pay homage to a member who has died – the ultimate in friendship.

(click photo to see full-size version)

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Just meant to be ….

So often people (and apparently animals too)  are thrown together by circumstance and develop relationships through a more intense form of contact:

This is Nhandi the Elend Antelope orphan and Thandi one of two baby (yes) Black Rhino recently adopted by the park. Both were being reared in adjacent ‘smaller’ enclosures (about 6 hectares each!) and adored each other’s company.

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The two lads below were brought together by their respective and mutual love of the environment and of ‘making a difference’ in South Africa. One is Australian, working a 2 year contract in the park at the time and the other is the head ranger. They became the best of friends after spending virtually all day every day in each other’s company and sharing one of the most binding and stimulating elements true friends can ever share: a similar and wicked sense of humour! (This is an elephant reserve water-tank btw!)

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

But when it comes down to it ….

Probably the most fundamental aspect to friendship for me, is that it is ‘real’ – no trying to be someone else to be liked or accepted, no putting on face … but simply free of, sorry, ‘crapnbollox’ (apologies). Just people seeing ‘people’ with all their faults and failings as well as for the fantastic bits. For me it’s about stripping away the mask and this is why the photo below means so much to me. Please don’t judge me for displaying a picture of naked children, they are cousins and were 2 and 3 respectively at the time of taking. I am just in awe of their lack of inhibitions, their innocence and their total investment of concentration in the job at hand – because they trust each other implicitly.

That is true love and true friendship, without even really knowing it. It doesn’t get purer than that.

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and finally, just to lighten it up:

Friendship is …

Peeing in ya best mate’s bucket and he jus’ don’t care …

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NOT giving him the elbow when you know you oh so really could :

* * *

…. and carrying all the luggage, once the sun’s gone down ….


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13 Responses to The Gallery – Friendship

  1. rugbymadsdad says:

    I am not very good at this friends thing either…then i am not very good at a lot of things….but about 4 years ago i had an experience with Elephants in South Africa like you and i connected with one female and i hope to return to see her again one day soon…..

  2. Kathie says:

    A lovely post! I can relate to a lot of what you said about friendship – I have one friend back in the UK who I would (and do, in an emotional sense) really really trust with my life, but over here… it’s difficult. I think the expat thing just makes things even harder than finding real friendships is anyway, particularly as Germans often stay in or near their hometowns forever, and so all have their own little groups of friends that they’ve known since Kindergarten, and don’t feel the need to make friends as adults. I have people I meet up with here, but the majority of them are the mums of Toby’s friends, and we meet up for playdates, which is nice, but as you say, rarely goes beyond idle chit-chat about the kids etc… whatever. I’m not sure what my point is, so I’ll just stop now ;o)

    • Thanks Kathie. I understand your point exactly. I’ve noticed it so much more since I moved out to Haag … very family oriented town where everyone knows everyone. Mums do invite Mums with kids for coffee and as you say ‘playdates’ and the same Mums might get invited back on another day for dinner … but only with a partner. I occasionally get invited to go for coffee, but never to dinner!!

      • Kathie says:

        I don’t get invited for dinner either, because my husband is one of those germans who doesn’t see the need to make friends and therefore would never go with me ;o)

      • OK here’s a plan, we go to playdates together (our kids are similar age), pretend we’re married and then maybe we’ll get invited to dinner … whaddya think??

  3. Karen - allabouttheboys says:

    Great post, but its not just Germany I assure you. I have spent my life on the outside and have only ever had one or two friends I would call “real” friends and I believe they change as we age. People I have thought would be friends for life have fallen away when times get tough and I tested their friendship, and certainly since I moved to Devon it has been far worse. The people here are all about their families and socialise as such. I think unless you are born and spend your whole life in one place you never really fit in. I also doubt the “real” friend thing. One thing I know for sure is the only person you can ever trust as a real friend is yourself xx

  4. phoenixaeon says:

    This is a fab post, but I have to agree with Karen. It’s not just Germany. I’ve lived nearly all of my life – well, the last 30 odd years in the same house (yes, I now share my parents house as I need help :( ). People here stick very much to themselves, and although we talk to other families in the cul-de-sac we live in, it’s only a passing ‘Hello.’ I also agree that you can only trust yourself as a real friend, but then if that’s the case, I really am my own worst enemy with some of the people I have trusted as friends.

    All I know is that like you, I’m grateful for the internet as I met one of the few people I would call a true friend through it. Although we don’t speak or see each other as often as we used to, I’m glad I took the chance to meet him. He is also one of my oldest friends.

  5. Karen, Ally, this was a post about friendship and I have been pretty down lately due to feeling isolated and horribly lonely. I want to thank both of you from my heart for just being out there … for listening and for never failing to say something in a comment or a tweet which turns me around and which makes me see things from a more positive perspective. I don’t know you but I’m starting to see that this is really what true friendship is built on … the ability to be there for someone and share in the bad as well as the good. You both do this and I hope that one day I can return the favour. Thank you :-)

  6. bubbleboo says:

    What a truly lovely post. I’m not great at the friends thing either. I think it’s my innate paranoia that always does it in! I’m happier being friends with people online – if they respond, I guess it means they really do want to be friends!

    I really would like to work on the real-life friendship thing too, though :)

    • Thank you so much. I’m definitely the same … read too much between the lines I think which destroys relationships. Must work harder! :-) Just had a look at your blog and commented too on your Friendship post which is beautiful x

  7. Ah gosh that nudie bum bum picture is just the cutest. I adore little ones bums (in the purest sense of course). i could regularly eat my little ones. (if i wouldn’t get locked up ;<)) And i love your commentary going with the beach ones. Made me smile.

  8. Thanks :-)
    It’s funny how at ease the two cousins were with each other from the first minute of meeting. Sis lives in the UK and unfortunately doesn’t travel well so they don’t see each other that often but when they do, they kick back in as if it were yesterday. It’s sooo cute!

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