FRIENDSHIPS ACROSS THE POND
I am sure many of you who have moved to California from overseas can relate to what I am going to express in this post. We all had to leave all or some family and friends thousands of miles behind, living on different continents. I personally have lived in the United States for six-and-a-half years and luckily, I was able to keep the majority of friendships existent.
Whenever I travel back to Germany or have friends visiting me in California, it feels like we have never been apart. We catch up like we just hung out yesterday, and it doesn’t feel weird or unnatural at all. Unfortunately, there are also those friendships that didn’t survive the long-distance relationship.
One particular case is my used to be good friend Vivienne (the name has been changed due to privacy.) I met Vivienne in Senior High School, and while we didn’t become friends right from the get-go, we grew really close once we got to know each other better. In the long run, I did become her maid of honor and godmother to her firstborn son.
Today, Vivienne and I are no longer in touch. Our relationship started to become rocky a couple years ago. To be honest, I have never been the biggest fan of her husband, and I understand why she and I drifted apart. But let’s circle back even further: Vivienne and her husband met while we were in our last year of Senior High School, and they hit it off instantly. All three of us used to hang out a lot and had a great time together.
It wasn’t until after a while, I felt that I never got to see Vivienne without him around. I didn’t mind hanging out with him around every once in a while, but I was also missing girl time with one of my closest friends back then. In the long run of their relationship, she confessed to me that her then-boyfriend became jealous whenever he wasn’t around her, which resulted into tension between the three of us.
At some point, they were at the verge of a breakup but managed to work it out. He promised to let her have her girlfriend time, and everything went back to the good times we used to have. Ten years ago, Vivienne and her man became husband and wife on a very tumultuous wedding day.
Let’s just sum it up this way: A maid of honor that could only open one eye because she popped a balloon right in front of her eyes the night before; A father of the bride who answers a phone call in the middle of the wedding ceremony; And a father-in-law who is suffering a seizure and has to be hospitalized during the reception. But as they say: the worse the wedding, the better the marriage.
Two days after, I moved all the way across the pond to work as an au pair for an American family. As I had predicted it beforehand, a couple months later Vivienne called me with the news that she was expecting. I was beyond happy for her and her husband and couldn’t wait for the day the baby was born. I was even more on cloud nine when she proposed to me that she wanted me to be her son’s godmother.
When I moved back to Germany after my year in the States, I spent a lot of time with her and her family. I helped them during their move to the countryside, which was located two hours away from our hometown. I still was able to visit them at least once a month, and we had a blast together. I moved back to California in 2011, but whenever I traveled back to Europe, I made it a priority to spend at least one weekend of my time with them.
Over the years, my friend grew more and more unhappy, and one day she opened up to me that she was contemplating getting a divorce. I supported her in her decision and had an open ear for her whenever she felt the need to reach out. She eventually decided to give her marriage another shot, but it wasn’t until a year later she was contemplating her decision again. By that time, I was totally displeased with her husband, and I can understand how that put her in the middle.
While I never asked her to choose between him and me, I can understand that me not being his biggest fan had a negative impact on her in her efforts to save the marriage. They kept being married and now have a second child, but our friendship was the relationship that didn’t last. Vivienne and I never had a fight; our connection just slowly diminished until we completely stopped any form of communication.
We are still connected on Social Media and can witness major life events through those platforms, but our friendship is done. The long distance, unfortunately, didn’t work out for us.
Anne-Kathrin Schulte is a contributor for CaliforniaGermans.com. She writes about her personal experience of the American Dream as well as on working as an au pair in CA. She was born and grew up in Düsseldorf, Germany, where she completed her degree as a state-approved Kindergarten teacher. After her au pair engagement in the US and a quick return to Germany, she decided to attend university in California and moved back to the United States. She has been living in Southern California since 2011.
If you would like to contact Anne-Kathrin, please send an email to californiagermans(at)gmail.com and place her name in the subject line.