They've been gone nearly seven months now, our very good friends, having picked up stakes and moved all the effin' way to New Zealand. If ever a family has meshed with mine, it is that one.
We talk about them all the time, wistful-like, all of us. Just the other day, Eldest mentioned that Daughter's show just wasn't the same without Zoe and Haley in it. Youngest uses Joanne's absence to underscore his refusal to EVER let me leave him with someone else. "Sorry, if Grandma gets sick again, but you can't go visit because there's no one to take care of me." Daughter, of course, knows her one true BFF would stand by her, with her, against all others.
We got a package from them today. It was like opening up a box of THEM. The crazy THEM whom we could always count on for absolutely anything. [Damn, why did we ever put off the spouse-swapping until the new school year?]
The contents of the box that was THEM put our care packages of the past to shame. In response to the very "American" crap we send them -- Doritos, matzo ball soup mix, Webkinz, etc. -- they send us kiwi and lamb. [No, sir, Mr. Border Control, sir, stuffed animals. No smuggling here, sir, I promise. Sir.] They send us All Blacks beanies for the older men folk. They send us lollies like Pineapple Lumps.
And Joanne sends me something very special, a pounamu, "or greenstone, necklace. It is literally a piece of New Zealand (not the imported Chinese crap, but real New Zealand greenstone which can only be harvested by Maori peoples). To Maori people it is taonga, a treasure, and something one only acquires as a gift. Yours is the koru, a representation of an opening fern frond. It symbolizes new growth and life, peace, and tranquility. Greenstone is considered a 'lucky charm' of sorts."
That chick could have compressed some contaminated Chinese milk, painted it with some Chinese lead paint, put it on a thread woven by poor little Kiwi tykes in a sweatshop hidden in a Wellington slum, and I'd have accepted it as something special. 'Cause she would have sent it to me. So, yeah, Joanne, I don't half-believe the shit you say about the necklace, but, yes, you can be assured I will "wear it sometimes and think of us sending you our love from the Southern Hemisphere." Like, always.
Life is good, even if your friends have moved as far away as they possibly could and still be called Earthlings.