Just over a month ago, before she left for Thailand, Jen was stressing about what would happen to our network of geography friends and others (mostly partners and google employees). She had good reason to stress. For most of 2009, Jen was the glue that held this eclectic group together in its first year of relating off campus (although Bill and I took a little longer to leave uni than the others…). Jen joked about sending her regular emails from Thaliand to remind us to turn up to trivia, but for awhile it didn’t feel like a joke – it felt like a good idea to prevent our trivia nights from ending for all eternity!
Actually, everything turned out OK. Jen has been gone for five weeks and is about to come home, but all the while she’s been gone, things have kept working. It’s like we’ve all been trying harder to make up for all the effort Jen normally goes to. Or at least, that’s how I feel, and it’s been wonderful to grow in these friendships.
I love playing Ticket to Ride and eating delicious food. There are so many of us that we have to play in teams – Weird Mob (Bill and Marita), Horizontal Ladies/Ninja Ladies vs the Flying Wigs of Death (Amelia, Kate and sometimes Rosi), Spousal Abuse (Mel and Glenn) and Australia says “NO” to Domestic Violence (Matt and I). Jen and Tim have a team too, but I have never played against their unified powers. I love going to trivia (nearly) every week. I love it when Marita feeds us traditional Italian food and I love it when Marita bakes cakes. I love people staying at my house until 1:30 in the morning because the conversation is too good to end. I don’t love it when Jimmy or Brad drink too much, or when the conversation completely degenerates into lewd sex jokes, but I love that I can talk about GIS or environmental sustainability or urban geography and that everyone is on the same page.
So all in all, it’s pretty great that Jen’s fears weren’t realised. We’re all still friends despite her temporary absence, we miss her very much and we are excited about her coming home, even if it’s only for a week. The weeks after that will provide the new challenge, as more than one of us disappears. Brad has already moved to Melbourne, and Bron has spent most of this year doing field work abroad (I think she is staying put in Sydney now, though), but soon Rosi is moving to be an anthropologist in the Northern Territory, Mel is doing a volunteer project in Chaing Mai and of course, Jen is moving on again, this time to Tanzania for 6 months. But I think it’ll be fine. It will mean more adventures for us to hear about back at home!
By the way, Jen was published in the Sydney Morning Herald’s Heckler column a couple of days ago. Yeah Jen!