The Roberts family got a delightful blast from the high-school past last week: my friend Natalie stopped by for a few days ... from Switzerland!
Natalie was an exchange student my senior year of high school. We played soccer together on a goofy co-ed rec-league team, and hit it off pretty quickly. She was absorbed into my group of quirky, nerdy, artsy friends, and some of my best memories of that year include her.
|Natalie (as Pippi Longstocking), Nina (as Pocahontas) |
and me (as "Very Cold," because it's North Idaho), Halloween 2002.
Yes, we trick-or-treated. Yes, it was awesome.
We'd last seen each other seven years ago at a wedding. That was a brief visit -- short enough that no one can seem to remember if Tim was even there -- so getting to spend two days with her was pretty great. She also brought along her former host-sister Krista, who was a quiet eighth-grader last time I saw her and has transformed into a sweet, hipster-y Seattleite. (Also along for the trip: Krista's dog Wayne, who quickly became Henry's new best friend.)
We got a little nostalgic for senior year, naturally, and cataloged where all our old friends are (made way easier by Facebook, though we still thought up a few people lost to time), but the best part of the visit was figuring out that we're still friends now.
Our lives have taken different trajectories -- in particular that I married and had children young, which is an oddity in Switzerland -- but our personalities still mesh. She was thrilled to meet my boys, I was thrilled to hear of her world travels and her job teaching elementary school. It was good catching up on old times, and good getting to know each other as adults, as our conversation wandered to topics of culture and relationships and politics that just hadn't been on our radar as kids.
We walked around town and played with the kids and went to a hole-in-the-wall bar and a cool coffeeshop and ate Swiss chocolate and enormous American hamburgers. It was just good to hang out again, really.
Now I've just got to figure out a way to get to Switzerland!
(Here are just a few photos from the weekend -- Henry was not interested in sitting still, and poor Danny had an ear infection and spent most of the time sleeping feverishly. And I'm just terrible at taking pictures. ... Argh.)
|Looking for worms|
|Henry and Wayne|
|If Henry lets us actually take a picture, he often has to pose with his light saber|