You are My Friend, You are My Friend

You are my friend, you are my friend. You’re a very special person, you are my friend.

Everyday, I like to say, you are my friend in every way.

I’m so proud, to be your friend. I hope our friendship never ends!

This is a song we sang on each child’s birthday in the classroom I student taught in last year. It also has a sign language routine to match, but that just doesn’t translate well via blog. I spontaneously erupt into this particular song whenever the mood strikes me. It tends to annoy many people, especially my friend Scott Swain. I think he has gotten legitimately mad at me before because I wouldn’t stop singing it. But, to be fair, it’s out of my control. When this melody starts working through my brain-head it won’t stop until it’s good and ready. One of my friends who is not truly horrified by this song, and in fact sings it back to me at opportune times, is Jill. It is to her that this post is dedicated.

Jill and I were destined to be friends. I know this and I will not fight it. My family’s previous au pair and Jill were friends, setting up a steady coffee date in which they could vent to each other and share a good laugh at the expense of their respective families. I was given Jill’s contact information and told that she was “really nice and would be my friend.” Feeling about as confident as a kindergarten student on the first day of school I went to the first au pair gathering. Unfortunately there was no Jill. There were, however, quite a few stories being told about her and all the fun/crazy/out-of-control adventures she partakes in. It wasn’t until the second time I attended that I finally got to meet her. We walked around the city afterward for a bit and she shared some stories of her seven months in der Schweiz. This wasn’t the true beginning of the true co-dependent bond that we now share though. I would like to say it was when she came to Laax with me during the middle of my two week stay there. We managed to spend every second with each other, barely knowing the other, and never get bothered or annoyed. This was the true budding of our friendship.

Next came Spain. Spain sealed the deal for us, and made it impossible for us to be anything less than soul-mates. Again, we were with each other the entire time, choosing to even share a bed at one point in Cadiz (mostly because we would have been kidnapped otherwise). I don’t know anyone else who could match me in fierce rounds of “Would You Rather…” and not get annoyed when every one was about CruzCampo. This was also my first introduction to Jill’s Probing Questions. These can range from What was the best way you were asked to a high school dance? to If you had to be one Ninja Turtle which would it be? There is no rhyme or reason to the questioning, only genuine interest. Jill now sends out several rounds of these questions each week among a little group of us here in Zurich who have become friends over the last few months.

After Spain, everything just fell into a rhythm. Jill is such an easy person to get along with; there is no pretense with her. Whether we were grabbing a couple of weißbeers to blow off some steam or swimming at the badi it was always a good time. She is also an avid reader, like myself. With a similar taste in literature we shared a great deal of books and usually an insight or two after completing them. It didn’t matter if we didn’t agree (One Day is one of the greatest books of all time, I hope you will see that some day). Our interests in music, jewels, clothes, and child rearing in general are so on par it’s almost eerie. We soon became inseparable and found ourselves referring to a “needy emoticon” that is shared between us. We were also referred to as a unit. Where there was one, the other was sure to be found. I will concede, perhaps we got a little exclusive, but I wouldn’t change that for all the cream cheese in the world.

Jill is such a free-spirit, often saying “yes” to whatever comes her way, and if not, at least giving it a great deal of consideration. She is intelligent, insightful, and has a razor-sharp wit. Our bantering on Skype, Facebook, and in real life escalates to absurdity within minutes, but always keeps me on my toes. It is never a dull moment with Jill.

I know I sound borderline obsessed, but that is a risk I am willing to take. When you live abroad you tend to cling to whoever you have; it’s a matter of survival. With Jill, I would have been a fool not to take her friendship, which was literally handed to me before I even arrived.

Jill left Switzerland at the beginning of August, and since I have been on a continuous holiday since even before then, it didn’t fully hit me until today that she is no longer here. There were too many painful moments this morning when I wanted to reach for my phone to either check for a text from her or send her something myself. We talked about everything, whether it be something Little Bean said or the house-shaking burp I just let loose (which any normal person would be disgusted with). Jill has earned herself an incredible job as an international business woman and she will soon be moving to Istanbul, Turkey. I’ve already made plans to see her in October when Courtney comes, and that time can’t come soon enough.

Jillatinous: You have taught me the importance of saying “yes” and going after what you truly want. You encouraged me to pursue interests that I wasn’t always sure about, but which have proved beneficial in ways I wasn’t expecting. You have made me laugh until my side splits and put me under your Pavlovian spell. I will always be grateful for your friendship (and I look forward to having you live in my basement someday).

All My Love,

Switter

Jill and I at ZuriFest. Fireworks exclaiming our friendship.

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