I made another friend for the moment on our way to our winter home in Mexico.
We were standing outside the Cancun airport waiting for the bus that would take us on a four- hour ride to the city of Merida where we would be spending the next two months. A couple who looked to be about our age came to join us and we struck up a conversation. We discovered they were also headed out to Merida for an extended stay and were from Ashville North Carolina.
We had visited Ashville several years ago and I commented on some of the things we enjoyed and appreciated about the city. I mentioned we had been surprised to find a Ten Thousand Villages store there. We told the couple the stores were a project of the Mennonite Church and we were Mennonites. “Well then we have something in common,” said the woman. “We are Quakers and our faiths are similar. In fact,” she told us, “we live in an intentional Quaker community near Ashville.”
We mentioned we had visited a Quaker school and church in Monteverde Costa Rica and they said they had visited there too and in fact an American church they had been involved with were strong supporters of the Costa Rica Quaker community.
Dave and the woman’s husband started chatting about sports teams and so I asked her what kind of career she’d had before retirement. Turns out she was a special needs teacher and so we also had our backgrounds as educators in common. I shared that in my retirement I was working at an art gallery and she told me she had started a small business in her retirement helping people organize and clean up their homes. This led to a discussion of a new Netflix series featuring the Japanese author Marie Kondo who has written the best selling book The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up.
That in turn got us talking about the books we were reading currently. She had just finished Michelle Obama’s biography Becoming and I was just about to start reading it. My new friend told me she had particularly enjoyed the book because both her son and daughter-in-law who live in Washington DC had worked for the Obama administration. Many of the stories in the book resonated with her because her children had already shared similar stories with her. She said what fine people her children had found the Obamas to be and how much they had enjoyed and appreciated working for and with them.
I was almost sorry when our bus arrived and I had to end my conversation with my North Carolina friend.
I once presented a day- long workshop about friendship to a group of women and one of my topics was Friends For the Moment. I described the many interesting people I had met who I only known for a few moments but with whom I’d had terrific, thoughtful and sometimes even very helpful conversations. I called them friends for the moment and encouraged the women in the workshop to think of similar friends they had made.