I have 4 friends that I have known for longer than 10 years, not great statistics considering I have been here over 15.... My longest running friendship is with a Swede. We've known each other almost 20 years now. Another is with an American, married to a Dutchman. Then there are a couple of Australians, one married to a Swede, the other is here to be with his son.
The news came a month or so ago that my Aussie friend and her family are moving to England in August. I knew it would come sooner or later. They had already moved back to Australia and come back again, and I knew they would not be here forever. But knowing that does not make it any easier. I will be sad to see her go and will miss her.
Yesterday my American friend broke the news that they are probably moving to New Zealand later in the year. We were kind of tied together, neither having family here and both knowing what an impact it would have on the other if either of us ever left. This is my friend who I can call on in times of need, who picks us up when we are feeling the absence of family, who drove us to the hospital when I went into labour in the middle of the night, whose house I have a key to. My one friend who I can ring at any time and say "help" and know that she will be there for me. My friend who dotes on my children, who has her own special relationship with them, my friend who my children ask after and get so very excited every time she comes by. My friend is leaving...
And all our friends with a Swedish connection are busy this weekend with family stuff. Because blood is thicker than water.
Suddenly Sweden doesn't feel much like home any longer.