My friend Sarah, whom I’ve known for just about 8 years, recently moved back to Illinois from London. We met at the very first school I taught at; I was her son’s kindergarten teacher while I student taught. Sarah and I just clicked and even though a year later she moved to London, we remained friends. This winter she and her boys moved back and I was so happy to have my good friend back stateside.
Today I visited her beautiful home in Hinsdale and we sat on her comfy, purple “bubble couch” as she calls it and ate gummy bears while we caught each other up on the past few weeks of our lives. Somewhere in the middle of our chat and as I was digging selfishly for the red and clear gummy bears, Sarah stopped talking and just gave me the biggest hug. She thanked me for making Illinois feel like home again.
I had missed my friend and was equally grateful that she was back. We would no longer have to squeeze in a quick lunch in between her transatlantic flights, we could see each other any old time we wanted. We could sit on a Saturday for hours on end, eating gummy bears, just chatting. No more jet lag filled conversations rehashing months of our lives or the pressure of seeing each other in a small time frame. My favorite Ex-Pat was back and I am so grateful because the truth is, she helps make Illinois feel more like home for me too.