Good old-fashioned mail

Oftentimes as I'm walking home from work, I think about what I could blog about that day. What little special moments happened? What made me happy in some small or big way?

Today, the answer was waiting for me when I got home.

A card from an old friend, with a square of sea salt-topped San Francisco chocolate stuffed in the envelope for good measure. I love chocolate. And sea salt. And cards.

I can't even tell you how happy this made me. Not just because for once there was something in the letterbox that wasn't a bill or a reminder that I've not yet registered to vote (for the last time, I am not an EU citizen! I CAN'T vote!). But also because it's just a real old-fashioned sign of friendship. As much as I love amazing tools like WhatsApp and Skype and Facebook that keep us all closer than we've ever been before - and that certainly make it easier on an expat like myself - there's just something about having a little physical memento that someone actually took the time to put pen to paper and create, just for me.

Today's lovely gift was from my even lovelier friend Liz, and I'm a little embarrassed that she beat me to it when I have been meaning to send HER a note for the longest time. She's a true friend, and someone I genuinely owe, big time. We went through some confusing times together over the past few years, and no matter how uncertain her own life was, she was always both my biggest fan and the kick-in-the-pants I often needed.

Then, last year, I went through an even tougher time where I sincerely felt like I was hitting rock bottom. And Liz literally took me into her home. For a whole month. For free. She listened to me. And made me homemade pasta in a real pasta machine and put on Netflix and bought me wine and ice cream because she knew it helped. (Remember the ice cream, Liz? Sooooo much ice cream.) And no matter how long I go without talking to her, or how many miles might separate me from her beautifully sunny San Francisco penthouse, I will never, ever forget how it made me feel to have her there in those times when I felt most alone.

And I guess that's real friendship. It's not all contained in a card that traveled across the ocean, or a supremely kind and selfless gesture, or a pint of Half-Baked Ben & Jerry's. It's just...there. It's a soul sister thing, the kind that makes you feel fuzzy when you hear a friend is doing great, or excited when something goes well for them, or giddy when you're looking forward to seeing them again for nothing more than just a great chat and a hug.

I miss you too, Liz. Thank you, for everything.