Monday, September 04, 2006

Running Away with my Best Friend

Given all of the stress that I’ve been feeling lately, I keep fantasizing about getting away from it all, even if it’s only for a few days. Time away from the politics, the belligerence (was I being redundant there?), the day-to-day responsibilities… My brain is fried and my nerves are close to the edge, and there’s no better remedy I can think of than some time away with a good friend.

What a crazy coincidence! In just over a week, I’m flying to Amsterdam, meeting up for what promises to be a marvelous girly weekend with my eternal partner in crime and all things silly – the fabulous NRG (and if you don’t know who that is, then you clearly haven’t been reading the comment sections for any of my blog entries). After months of planning, we’ve booked the hotel, coordinated our flights (she arrives 30 minutes before I do – don’t forget, that’s one large latté with low-fat milk and one artificial sweetener, please; I’ll get the next one), and begun discussing our sightseeing options (though of course, if we end up spending the weekend sitting in a café drinking lattes for three days straight, that also wouldn’t be a bad thing). I’ve read the Irreverent Guide to Amsterdam from cover to cover, and am now going through it again, making lists of things to do to share with NRG. Lots of walking, lots of coffee, a few museums, shops, street markets and festivals galore – I can hardly wait!

And who better to go with than NRG, my dearest friend. If you have even one friendship like the one I have with NRG, consider yourselves extremely lucky. Friends since high school (despite having gone to different schools), we have seen each other through thick and thin (sometimes thicker and sometimes thinner), good times and bad. I would never have made it through the dark days without her, and I am in awe of all that she has given me over the years. When we are together, I am the “me” that I’d like to be all the time – more confident, funnier (I know hard to believe I could be even funnier, but it’s true), and more outgoing. Despite the fact that we haven’t lived on the same continent in more than 15 years, we have remained closer than ever, communicating on an almost daily basis and always keeping each other in the loop of our lives. No one knows me better than she does – she is one of the only people in the world who has ever seen me cry. I don’t let anyone see me cry, so that should tell you something. What started at a mutual friend’s Halloween party when we were teenagers, continued through scorpion bowling in Boston’s Chinatown (which was often followed by raucous all-night backgammon sessions on the floor outside my dorm room), worked its way through the myriad problems of youth and young adulthood, and finally taking us to where we are today, not seeing nearly as often as we’d like, but using modern technology to stay in closer touch than ever before, while forcing preparing our sons (born just 2 ½ weeks apart, thank you very much) to carry on the tradition.

Of course, I could easily continue to wax on lyrically and poetically about our friendship, but since the chances are excellent that I’d make her cry and everyone else sick, I will reluctantly stop singing NRG’s praises and return to the topic at hand – Amsterdam. I must admit, I’m not looking forward to the flight, as it leaves just before 5 in the morning. I’ll be leaving the house at around 1:30 am to get the first train to the airport, and I expect the whole experience will be nothing short of painful, riding a brightly lit train at an hour when most normal people are asleep, then being required to act in a coherent manner when I should be stuck deep in my dreams. With any luck, I’ll manage to sleep on the plane, but to be honest, I’m not holding my breath. I imagine I’ll get through the first day on pure adrenalin and unusually large quantities of caffeine, which I’m more than willing to accept, given that I’ll be sucking that caffeine down in Amsterdam with a good friend.

We will probably spend some time discussing politics and religion – two of the only subjects on which we are not more or less in synch with our opinions. It should be interesting, and certainly easier to do in person than via email or chat applications. We will discuss our lives, our families, our jobs. We will try to figure out what directions we’d like to see our lives take (and I may monopolize this one, given that I’ve been feeling at a crossroads for some time now), and what we need to do to realize our dreams. But first and foremost, before everything, we will make sure that I can pronounce the name “Jostein Gaarder” correctly (I’ve been practicing). Those Norwegian names get me every time!


Mia said...

Enjoy your time away with your best friend, there´s nothing better than a girls-weekend with lots of talking and drinking coffee :D

And even if you will be tired at least you don´t have big time difference!

Usually Scandinavian names are pronounced best in a singing way, that´s maybe more for Swedish than Norwegian but it might work. (Not sure if we want to sing this name though....)

Enjoy A´dam!

nrg said...

Nice, make me get all teary-eyed and weepy before a big meeting that I have to lead... 'preciate it! :-)

No, truly, thank you for the kind words. And for the lack of embarrassing stories that would have been so easy to share with the world. ;-)

There is nothing like a friend who knows you backwards and forwards and still thinks you're wonderful!

Did you know that party was in 1985??? Yikes! OOh, wait... you hadn't really given away your age here, had you? ;-) too late now! :-)

Arik said...

Now it is the time for the "ooohhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.... (like the sound you hear on TV when something sad/love/frienship happens)"

Go and have fun and stop being Polish - you are American ;)

Tip for the night flight - had the same thing (same flight same destination) - I guess it is with KLM or ELAL (can't tell the difference - when they speak dutch I am sure they speak something in Hebrew cause of all the CH). Go to sleep from the moment you get on the plain to the last minute - reject the meal, drinks (or maybe not the drinks) and take a sleeping pill.... :)

tafka PP said...

I swear, leaving the country is the best way to disconnect from all the rubbish. And it even stays with you for the first 24 hours after you get back... and counting! Have a fab time!

Anonymous said...

Have a fantastic time!!!

lisoosh said...

What a great ode to a great friendship!

Amsterdam rocks. Dutch street markets are a shoppers paradise and if you like beer go for Trappist Ale - Triple, sipped slow with a little cassis.

And don't forget the Sex Museum, good for a laugh, just follow the XXXX.

nrg said...

I think we're going to sit down at some cafe at 10 am by a little canal and chain-order coffee, only to look up and wonder how it's possible that it's getting dark already!
We should have planned a week!:-)

RR said...

I missed this post the first time around- hope you have (had?) a great time. I've always wanted to go to Amsterdam and hit all those street fairs, flea markets, museums, etc. Enjoy!