Friday, November 29, 2013

Friends Who Fly

Life is Good: we have friendly skies


Month of Gratitude, Day Twenty-seven


Remember my post about friendships on Day 26? I received some lovely emails, facebook messages, texts, and even a phone call about that one. Thank you! I am so grateful when you take the time to read this little blog. And even more appreciative when you take time to write me about it.

My Day 27 gratitude is for another long-lasting friendship. It happens to be a long distance friendship, too. Today, I am grateful for friends who fly all the way from Brazil to see you.

About a month ago, my friend, Hobbes, came to visit us. We met in grad school in Atlanta. I went to a lovely school that welcomed a lot of foreign students. I was fortunate to meet and form friendships with people from Brazil, Lebanon, Denmark, Thailand, Portugal, and many other places. I loved hearing about their homes and what life was like for them there. And I just loved hearing them talk...the accents were divine!

My friend, Hobbes (we had lots of nicknames for her, but this was the one that sounded most like her Brazilian nickname, Robis) finished up with school and left to go back to Brazil, but through the magic of the internet, we have remained close. When she emailed to say that she was making a trip to the US, I was so excited. She planned to pop into Atlanta and then on to Chicago, where many of our friends have settled. That night, I told Grant that I would need to figure out a way to make a little trip to Chicago. ("A way" most likely meant asking my mom to come up to visit and help out with the little boys while I was gone for a couple of days.)

And then I got another email from Robis. She asked if it would be easier for her to come up to Minneapolis to see me since I have two little ones. Gosh, I have the most thoughtful friends. I told her that I would gladly fly to Chicago to see her, but that we would love to host her here, too. Later that day, she emailed me with her itinerary. She wouldn't be able to be here long, but we would make the most of our time.

And we did!

I picked her up bright and early from the airport and we drove to Patisserie 46 for some yummy pain de chocolat and espresso. While we were there, I ran through a list of things we could do that day and asked her what sounded best. Then she told me to, "Stop being so Susie!" and that she just wanted to hang out with me and meet my little boys. When someone tells me to "Stop being so 'Susie'" , I know that they really know me. Do you have friends like that? Friends that you haven't seen in a long time, friends who you only email and facebook with and yet, they are friends who know your personality so well? We had a good laugh about "being so Susie".

We dropped off her bags and drove over to our lake, Lake Harriet. I showed her the bandshell and boats bobbing in the water. We stopped to take a little walk and some pictures.

Our next stop was the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden across from the Walker Art Museum. A photo at the Spoonbridge & Cherry is a MN must!


Then, we took a tour of downtown Minneapolis. It is pretty small for a major city. It is a series of one-way streets and on one, Robis was surprised to see the restaurant, Fogo de Chao ( a Brazilian steakhouse). And even more surprised when she heard the way I pronounce it! (I guess we Americans have it all wrong.)

I gave Hobbes a few choices for lunch (again, "Stop being so 'Susie'!") and we decided to be very American and go for hamburgers! I had heard about this place downtown that was supposed to have great burgers, so away we went.

Band Box Diner was a hit. A hole-in-the-wall? Yes. Tiiiiiiiiny? Yes. Delish burgers? Yes. 

And of course, my little one won't look at the camera. He's got that whole "mind of his own" thing covered.

We raced home to meet the big kid at the bus stop. Hobbes asked if it was a "real bus... you know, yellow and everything?" Yes, a real, big, yellow school bus. She loved it. She told me how our neighborhood looked exactly like what she thought an American neighborhood should look like. The yellow school bus was the icing on the cake. We also talked about how many people were walking dogs in our neighborhood and how Americans treat pets like family members rather than animals. I find conversations about culture so fascinating.

We got the big kid a snack and then pulled out the globe to show him Hobbes' home in Brazil.

Being "so Susie", I had a whole list of places we should go next. I wanted to show her Minnehaha Falls--the pergolas, Longfellow gardens. Or go to the MN Arboretum or the Weisman Art Museum. But she wanted to stay at our house and hang out. She wanted to just be together. She wanted to play with my kids and chat and laugh and enjoy being in the same room together. And that is exactly what we did. It was relaxed and lovely. We were exactly where we needed to be--together.

But, we did have to go out for dinner! Grant stayed home with the kiddos and we did our version of a Girl's Night Out---sushi at Seven. We sat up on the roof. It was a lovely night with great weather, food, and conversation. We talked about careers and kids. We talked about our days in grad school including a potluck dinner we had where everyone brought a dish unique to their country of origin. I was talked into bringing hot dogs. I do not know how that happened! It would never happen now, I will tell you!

It was a lovely (too short) visit and I was so grateful that Hobbes took the time to come up to see us. My kids adored her. Adored! And I was reminded that years can separate our physical selves, but our hearts stay connected no matter how many miles separate us or time passes. Robis was still full of love and bursting with joy and she still understood that I have to be "so Susie!"

I am so grateful for this friendship. For this memory. For the technology to keep in touch with friends and family near and far. For friends who make the extra effort, whether that is in person or otherwise.

And for photos like this. The big kid showing off his new art of "photobombing". Quite possibly the best photo of the trip...

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