Connections

talented and beautiful On Monday night I sat in a Buenos Aires taxi as it picked up speed in Scalabrini Ortiz, leaving the doors of Salon Canning in its tail lights. It was 3.30am and I had just hugged a friend goodbye. In the quiet time on that back seat I felt the shadow that touches me every time someone I love leaves Buenos Aires. I thought about the person I had just left: beautiful, talented, intriguing, comical, witty, intelligent. I remembered how we had ‘met’ originally in cyberspace because of this blog, and how we had eventually come to share this particular night of tango. I silently celebrated the brief yet animated chatter of two souls from different lands. I held close the warmth of our hug goodbye. I allowed the sad moment to come and sit with me on the ride home.

On Tuesday morning at 11am my doorbell rang. Carlos went down and I took another slice of quiet to be with some quite different feelings, this time involving the sense of excited butterflies zooming around my heart. Five minutes later another precious girl walked out of the elevator and into my hug. I had thought I might never see her again. My eyes filled up. We couldn’t let each other go. Carlos put his arms around us both. More than a year after we said our farewells, my original ‘partner in crime’ , Gabriella was back, and set to share my world for a while. Bloody hell!  Three days later it is as if we have never been apart.

When I arrived in Buenos Aires I knew no-one in this country and although that was scary, for many reasons I was glad to be completely alone: the relief of not having to answer to anyone, the freedom from responsibility, the delight in making choices for myself and for absolutely nobody else at any given moment of the day or night. Lonely? Definitely. Selfish? Maybe. But at the time it was necessary. It was as if I started with a clean page in which to decide how much of connecting with others would be good for me. And I liked the idea because I felt that it put me in the driving seat of my new life.

But of course, the universe had its own plans and those ‘others’ have chosen along the way too, to connect, or not, with me. I am never alone in this world: someone is always thinking of me, or walking towards me, even when I think that I have no-one. Originally, Gabriella was here a few days before I was, hoping for another tango dancer to arrive. It just happened to be me. Then I had the choice, of whether to join in the fun. I could have stood back and isolated myself further but I chose to jump in and enjoy the prospect of a new friendship. She played her part, and I mine, but I think the universe or if you like, ‘serendipity’  had a hand in the whole thing: it knew what I needed regardless of what I thought I wanted and it placed her in my path.

It sent Carlos to me too: stood him next to me in La Glorieta, offered me the chance to find out if I could love. And after a bit of ‘commitment phobic behaviour’, I chose to take it.

Several times a new friend has arrived in town, the day after a loved one has left: with absolutely no intervention from me. This has happened when I have needed it most, like magic.

The universe has continued, occasionally with this baffling degree of perfect timing, to put people in my way: those who comment on this blog and then turn up in Buenos Aires, folks who I vaguely knew in England who write to me and then come here to dance, friends of friends who I have already met. Not everyone becomes a ‘soul to soul connection’: my friendships vary in variety and strength for a whole host of reasons, but every person has something to teach me or I to teach them. No connection is ever wasted even if it is brief or relatively shallow.

I learn that there is so much I cannot control: who enters my life, and who leaves is often in the hands of the universe. There will always be birth and death of friendships, or at the very least postponement or change when someone has to leave here and go back to their own home. My part is to decide how much of any given connection I want, how much effort to put in, how much may be good for me. For their part the other person decides too. Maybe it matches with what I want and maybe it doesn’t. As long as I stay relaxed, in the end, it usually works itself out.

In very loose general terms, I have found that people who travel the world, or move to another country and choose to  live their life the way I do are a bit similar to me. We all tend to value our freedom and so we are relaxed about our connections. We don’t put pressure on each other. If we change our mind about a meeting we do not fret, we just send a text and catch up another time. On the other hand I find that when I do meet people on a similar path to mine, we cut through to the ‘soul level’ fast. There is far less superficial chat, and ‘superficial’ has never really been my cup of tea.

Once, many years ago, an old boyfriend said to me that I was a typical Aquarian: if I lost my address book then I would just go out and get new friends. I hated myself for a long time for this trait because I thought it made me a ‘bad’ friend. There was a lot of guilt. But the truth is that for the time I connect with someone I am totally present at a very deep level and a very ‘good’ friend, and yet I have come to believe that people are lent to each other for the time that they need, for the time that they have something to share. Sometimes it is for a lifetime but sometimes it is just for one meeting. And anyway silence does not necessarily mean the end of a friendship, just perhaps a relaxing of the bond for a while. Yes, maybe I am not emailing past friends every five minutes or even every five months BUT if an old friend needed me, I would be there for them, and I think my friends know that.

So in the life I have chosen in Argentina, there is an ease of coming and going that does suit me, and maybe suits the ‘travelling type’. Yet deep connections can be made fast, and once a strong bond forms in the setting of this ‘coming and going’, and lack of pressure, it seems to last despite distance, silence, or time. And now that I have been here for eighteen months, those who have left me here once, are beginning to come back.

So my goodbyes need never be too sad. There is always the chance that the person will return. Or if they don’t someone new will arrive in their place and connect with me instead. Importantly I have learned to value both the ‘together times’ and the quieter times: sometimes I need space and I am grateful that I can take it without offending anyone. I like the mix offered by the nature of the connections I make: hectic weeks packed with activity, dancing, tango shoe stores, soul to soul conversation; spacious days when I can write more, sleep more, think more, recover from the crush and the rush of action. At first this ‘seesawing’ unsettled me: the goodbyes hit me hard, life felt empty after someone left.

Now when friends leave I love them just as much, but I do not cry for as long. I have come to trust that I will always make or renew connections. And in the ‘in between times’ I celebrate my more spacious world: I do not feel loneliness as I once did, ultimately perhaps because I am no longer afraid to connect with myself.

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9 Responses

  1. Beautiful post, as always, and so true!!! I have also come to find a similar type of peace in the comings and goings of dear people in my life, so I really understand you. Thanks for the connection 🙂

  2. Dear Tanguera
    And thank you for connecting with me today. There is no doubt that this blog has been a vital channel for me in making so many of my connections. Some of those remain in cyberspace still, but they are very very precious to me.

    Un abrazo fuerte, SC

  3. Oh how I miss you! Reading your words, feeling your thoughts, it makes the distance not seem so far. Your love and total commitment during my time in BA says everything about the type of person and friend you are. You were lent to me; my angel and caregiver while I was there because God knew I needed it. Your physical presence may have been short term, but your spiritual presence, your heart, your friendship…that will last a lifetime. There is truly not a day that goes by that I don’t see your smile, think of your wit, enjoy a memory…in case I didn’t say it “Thank you, thank you for being you!” I’m so glad there is peace and contentment inside of you. I’m glad there are people to fill the void when needed, new friends, old friends, Carlos…you are truly blessed!

  4. Hey my gorgeous Melonie,

    What a time we had eh?
    And what a delight that you have commented here!

    I thank you for the lovely things you say.
    You were a precious and special connection that I could never have foreseen… you are right we were sent to each other by a power greater than ourselves for that time. I know you needed me but I needed you too, you inspiring and courageous woman that you are, to illuminate the path for me as I navigated my way out of quite a difficult few months.

    I miss you too: every time I pass Libertad, every time we eat ‘frutillas con crema’, every time we go to Feria de Mataderos like today (ONE day I will take you there)… the list is endless.

    I send you a huge hug and so does Carlos.

    SC

  5. I relate to the aquarian take on friendships. It’s a special thing we have, the ability to love so completely, and then to let it pass, knowing that the passing doesn’t diminish the friendship at all. I used to be so hard on myself for this, because it seemed to hurt my friends at times, but as I become more comfortable I understand that I can’t be any other way.

  6. Hmmm… and here I thought that interpretation was meant for us Scorpios. At least I don’t feel quite so alone now…

    This is a wonderful post. It’s also a testament to YOU that special people are continually brought to you.

    😉

  7. Mtnhighmama
    I love the way you describe this:

    ‘It’s a special thing we have, the ability to love so completely, and then to let it pass, knowing that the passing doesn’t diminish the friendship at all.’

    Exacto.

    And Tangobaby, welcome to the club of Aquarians, Scorpians, and maybe a whole load of others besides who feel this way. It is a relief to me to know that I am not the only one.

    Thank you both for connecting with me today.

    SC

  8. I love this post. I’ve been reading the blog regularly but this post moved me to comment. I’ve moved to Belgium and people always seem to be moving in and out. But I think what’s important is to be there in that moment. Completely, and all else follows.

    I (like you) met my girlfriend at a Milonga over a weekend another close friend was leaving the country. It was a strange twist of fate but opening yourself to the possibilities that exist opens the door to everything else.

    How is the writing going?

  9. Hey Hippybogus, thanks for commenting!

    Yes that’s it isn’t it? Completely in the moment. And I do think that living in another place like BsAs where people are always coming and going kind of helps me to see that it’s ok that way. It’s a bit of a relief.

    I so agree that if we are fully present in the moment, all else (the mystery that is tomorrow) follows. If we are trying to second guess the next part or worrying about what we did or did not do yesterday, then it stops us from connecting this second, and it’s really all we have: that moment, now… and that moment now is the moment we might meet the love of our life, or eat our last ever ice-cream, or dance our most intense tango…

    Ah the writing… well this blog is keeping me rather busy!
    However, I am beginning to play more with my writing outside of the blog and see where it goes: I have basically taken off the pressure of an end goal for now (a book)… At the moment it feels good. Thanks for asking!

    Besos to you and Belgium, SC

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