Tomorrow my best friend will be in town! I haven’t seen Kara for over a year which leaves us with a lot of catching up to do. Kara and I met years ago, here in Paris. We met signing up for Girl Scouts Overseas. My mother, being the friendly, reaching-out, talkative one, befriended her first. And being my true teenage self, I just rolled my eyes and thought ‘here we go again’. By the time I headed over to see who my mother was chatting to, Kara had already accepted my mother’s dinner invitation. I honestly don’t remember saying anything, I don’t even think I smiled.
The dinner date came and Kara came over with some other dinner guest that my mother had also invited (our family’s dentist’s daughter who was traveling through Europe with her boyfriend, and another couple – he had something to do with cheese and I think she was an aerobics instructor. Or was that at a different dinner?).
I don’t actually remember much of what we talked about that evening. If you ask Kara, she remembers all the anecdotes and adventures shared, knows all the details. I do remember talking about Girl Scouts, and trips and opportunities, and Kara and I discovered that we had a friend in common. We would come to discover that we had lots in common.
I don’t have any sisters. Kara doesn’t either, and so Kara is my sister. We are each others sister that we never had. Like most best friends, Kara listens, gives advice, asks me for advice, understands me with out explanation, has seen me on better days, and has seen me on my not so good days. Kara knows me better than I know myself. She has always been there for me, when things have been rough, when things have been fun and carefree. We have our differences – I am more bold and hard-headed, Kara is flexible and reserved. But we are both creative, share the same beliefs, have the same values. We have similar interests, but also share and introduce each other to new things. I introduced Kara to Tom Stoppard and Brazil, she introduced me to bruschetta and felafel. We both love to travel, love Paris, love macaroons from la Durée, love to get lost, discover and taste new things.
(The two of us eating felafel in the Marais, Jan. 2006)
Paris is our backyard. We know it inside out, but have also a lot yet to learn and discover. One of Kara’s specialty’s is her ‘something old, something new’ game. Whenever she comes to town, no matter where in the world we may be, we try to do something old and something new each day. Each ‘something’ can be as vague or precise as we want. Something old could be riding the Paris métro. Something new could be getting off at a new stop for the first time. Something old could be eating in one of our favourite restaurants or tea shops, something new could be tasting a new dish or tea or sitting in a different part of the restaurant, or eating in the restaurant at a different season. Even when we arrive in a new city or town, there are lots of something olds to do. You can always compare it with a different city – riding the métro in yet another city is something old, or riding a taxi in a new city could really be a something old compared with other cities. Neither one is more or less difficult to complete. There is always something to do.
It has been a while since each of us have been in Paris, and an eternity since we have been here together. So besides catching up with our stories and the events in each of our lives, we will also have a lot of catching up to do with this city. Except for planning a picnic on one of the days, we won’t make any plans, we will keep our days spontaneous, keep our Paris street maps tucked away and hidden, and we will have lots of Something Olds and Something News to do. I can’t wait for us to be together, to ‘girl-talk’, to go to all our old places together, to make new memories, reminisce about the old ones, taste old favourites and learn new stories, make new discoveries and share new moments.