My husband calls us "the Sex in the City girls" and I'd like to think of it as a compliment. We do not consider ourselves Fashionistas! We orginate from many different countries and although we all used to live in Madrid at one point, we are now scattered throughout the world.
What brought us together - as so many times in the life of Expat trailing spouses - were our kids and their school. It was where we all started our Spanish adventure so many years ago. PTA might not be everyone's cup of tea but in our case the Parent-Teacher-Association gave us a common goal to improve our children's school experience. Turns out we had a lot of fun ourselves while doing so!!!
Last night, I realized as our reunion dinner progessed and the discussions evolved, that not only had we moved on geographically but that many of us found ourselves in a completely different stage of life. A decade ago, our happiness depended on our kids and our husbands. Don't get me wrong our existence still depends on our kids and partners but the concentration has shifted. We have consciously or subconsciously moved the weight away from others - after all, the maintance becomes less as the children grow up - and have started to look after ourselves better. We are learning to put our wishes and needs higher up on our list of priorities compared to ten years ago. This not only transpires in our current life situations but also in our conversations.
We talked openly about our feelings, our fears, our health worries, about lost loves and new encounters that make us feel good. We don't know what the future will bring us but - over the years - we have learnt to enjoy the moment, to appreciate what we have and stop worrying about what we don't have and especially about what others think of us. We know exactly what we like and how we like it and are less inclined to compromise our happiness for someone else's. On the other hand, sharing and genuinely caring becomes a habit, knowing that what goes around comes around... and even if we loose a few and end up disappointed, it doesn't matter. We know we did our best.
So, what makes me feel so at "home" with my gang of Latinas? It is the implicite trust that we have in each other that I treasure. The aspiration that each of the Sex in the City girls has for the other, that she deserves to be happy and have the life she is aiming for. The knowledge that no matter how close or how far we live from one another, we will always accompany and support eachother in whatever path we decide to take in our pursuit of happiness.
So, who cares if we might now be defined as "une femme d'un certain age"? We have the most precious gift of all: the gift of true friendship!