A little less than three years ago now, I got super lucky. Not only was I pregnant with Chip; a happy, easy pregnancy with minimal morning sickness and a strange craving for all things fruit and vegetable (yes, most of the rest of my life I have fallen on the carb/sweets side of the spectrum, except when preggers. Will wonders never cease?) but I also made a new best friend and gained a playmate for Chip, all in one. Here´s how it happened.
I can honestly say that A is my first American friend in BA and I survived for about five years just fine without one until she came along. When I first got here there was an expat community but it was not huge and it was certainly not something I ever bumped into when out on the town. My love life and therefore my social life take place in castellaño and I am totally fine with that. My English was limited back then to talking to Dylan the dog, my family on the phone and via email at the office. Oh, and when I get really pissed (as in angry) I can only speak English but that didn´t happen too often back then, so….
A and I had shared a Thanksgiving dinner in Virginia back when I was in college, about 6 years before we re-met here in BA, since our fathers were co-workers and friends at the time. When she left Barcelona in 2009, where she had been expatting and event planning for many years, in favor of a new love and life in Buenos Aires, we reconnected once again thanks to the dads (if you´ve ever lived abroad you know those emails, “Honey, so and so´s daughter, son, second cousin, secretary is going to be in town and would love some tips on where to stay, blah blah blah….”).
Usually those encounters are major duds but we seemed to hit it off and have fun hanging out. Then, on a homesick whim, I decided to organize a Thanksgiving dinner for my few American pals and an Argentine gal pal whose sister lives in Jersey but had never experienced the joys of mashed potatoes and roast turkey. Now, the hard thing about having Thanksgiving in BA is that November is much like MAY. Yeah, so think late May, temperatures in the high 70s maybe already peaking in the 80s and then think about the traditional Turkey-Day fare….yup, its a little tricky.
Substituting pumpkin pie for peach cobbler and skipping the gravy (though not the stuffing) was close enough for me and apparently the rest of my guests highly enjoyed my cooking (and perhaps my husband´s wine) because the next time A and I spoke, it was the first week of January and after all the prelims (“How were the holidays, how are you and your belly, O?” she cut right to the chase…”Guess what, I´m pregnant and I am pretty sure she was conceived after your T-day dinner and if its a girl, I´m going to name her Olivia”. Well, blow me over with a feather!!! This little bundle of joy was a surprise but it was the best thing that ever happened to me, because now I had someone with whom to share by pregnancy fears, discoveries and highlights. Someone who was willing to suffer through my blow by blow tales of bizarre new physical discomforts, food cravings, hormone swings, the whole nine yards AND was happy to hear it all in English, my mother tongue, so to speak, and the tongue in which I wanted to be a mother!
I have a slew of amazing Argentine girlfriends, some are like sisters, some I party with and some are the girlfriends/wives of my husband´s friends with whom I spend weekends holding 6 hour asados or 4 hour baby birthdays. I can say that with this last group, we did a lot of coming of age together sometime between 25-30 and while they are very important to me, most of them had already had at least one kid by the time I was pregnant with C and most everybody was over the experience. So the appearance of A in my life was a blessing.
Like me she had chosen to lead her life far from home though she has a good relationship with her parents (unlike me, hers are divorced). Like me, she was able to learn a second language with ease and speaks like a native, albeit a native of Spain, not Argentina but pretty damn close. And finally, like me, she was excited about having a kid but a far cry from the Urban Baby overload, buy tons of accesories and freak out if something that is not organic passes your lips when in the family way. In short, it was a perfect match.
So we began swapping books, ideas, maternity clothes and counting down the days. I can honestly say my pregnancy was all the richer for having a friend to share it with! Everyone should have a tummy-buddy and I am grateful to have found mine!
More to follow tomorrow on the arrival of the bundles, etc.