02 October, 2011


On this trip I have stayed with two old friends, women I have known since the 1960s.  They are very different people. 

Both women are displaced so to speak. They live in countries they were not born in. Both have married foreigners, both are divorced. Both have two children. 

Friend no. 1 lives in the outskirts of Vienna. She is an American and was married to an Austrian. When I first met her, she reminded me of a bird who didn't quite know where to land. She is only more so as she ages. Kind and considerate, she goes out of her way to help her friends, her children and their families. Often she agrees to help when she really doesn't feel she is able or doesn't want to and thus often feels exploited.  Then instead of sitting down and talking about it, she lashes out and everyone is angry. Learning to say no to your family and friends is as important as helping them. 

Friend no. 2 is an English women who was married to a Spaniard and lives in the Basque country of Spain. Even at the tender age of 16, she knew what she wanted and how to get it. Outspoken, she doesn't hesitate to tell you what she thinks and how she feels. You always know where you stand and where she stands. Many think this is too harsh, but in my opinion it's refreshing. I don't have to figure out what she wants and what she's willing to do. She is also kind and considerate, and also willing to help others when she can. But she is a happier person, because she doesn't harbor any feelings of guilt and doesn't feel exploited. 

Even after their divorces, both have stayed in the country where their children were born. 

Two very good friends, two very nice people, two different attitudes toward life.

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