I’ve learnt a lot in the past two weeks, which we spent staying with friends in Germany and France.

I learnt that the intensity and quality of a friendship can’t be measured in hours. I learnt what it is to be welcomed with open arms and loved with whole hearts.

I learnt that friendships conducted largely online can be a source of incredible comfort, humour, and strength, especially at odd hours of the day and night.

I learnt that it’s possible even for someone who hates cities to love Paris, and be swept away by her passion, intensity, and beauty. I learnt that no matter how many people tell you gluten free is going to be hard in Paris, it is possible to sit down at a random creperie and have a magnificent gluten free meal without any problems at all. And that this may cause unreasonable amounts of excited squealing.

I learnt that you can have Grandparents who are not related by blood, and I learnt that love laughs at language barriers.

I learnt that there are friendships that even 14 years of separation cannot bend or break.

I learnt that the brain is truly an extraordinary thing, but that three languages in one week is one too many (for me, at least).

French Alps

I learnt that life is too damned short and friendships too damned precious not to grab them with both hands.

I’ve learnt that hands, eyes, and smiles can speak volumes, and for the rest Google translate can provide some… interesting outcomes.

I learnt that Germans don’t know who The Doctor is. They kept asking me why I had a phone booth dangling from my necklace. I had to reconsider my plans to move there at that point…

I learnt that travelling with children is both infinitely more stressful and infinitely more rewarding than travelling alone, and also infinitely more likely to leave you quite gurf#fl!wardl# schl@eps.

I learnt that some friendships come and go but others will always be with me, one way or another, and these are the absolute core of my heart.

I learnt that it is possible to wholeheartedly embrace someone the first time you meet, and that this can last forever.

I learnt that into two short weeks you can cram a lifetime’s friendship.

I learnt that although there is a lot of evil and sadness in the world, there are also many people with huge and generous hearts.

I learnt that I am not very good at ceding control, but that sometimes it is worth it.

I learnt that the French have a rather more cavalier attitude to high speeds and tiny, narrow village roads than I am entirely comfortable with.

I learnt that the curative powers of ice cream should never be underestimated, nor should the restorative powers of renewed friendships.

I learnt that most of what my mother taught me of love was a lie. Friends can be relied on. Friendship can strike suddenly and last forever. And I am worthy of love.

I learnt that, although I already knew most of this stuff, being reminded of it in this way can be overwhelmingly transformative.

I hugged. I laughed. I loved. I cried. I learnt so much. Life will never be the same, and I am so very grateful.


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