Sunday, October 7, 2012

Friend From Long Ago and Far Away

Several times for different reasons over the last few years I have trembled on the cusp of departing Facebook forever. One thing always stays my hand: it is a wonderful means of finding old friends and then keeping in touch.

Last week, thanks in part to Facebook, a classmate from the Canberra Church of England Girls Grammar School -- whom I hadn't seen for nearly four decades -- stopped by for a visit: Carolyn L and her friend Sharon M were doing a tour of the Middle East and Southern Europe with their teenage sons Chris and Sam, and they stayed in Paphos in for three wonderful days.

Photo thanks to Carolyn
I recognised Caz as soon as she got off the airport bus in Limassol. Of course I had seen FB pictures, but she looked pretty much like a larger, older version of the schoolgirl I had played with so long ago. After introductions all around, we piled into my little Toyota and drove back, via the Donkey Stable, to the villa that I had rented for them from BB's cousin in the village. We yabbered nineteen to the dozen all the way back – mostly about their recent stay in Oman, but sprinkled with many a reminiscence. All four travellers were pretty knackered from an early start and a long flight, but after a swim in the villa's pool and a rest they came over in the evening for a meal and to meet my crew – which was sadly lacking Sophia (at school, of course) and Best Beloved (who had gone to visit her for the weekend).

They spent the next few days exploring this end of the island -- up into the mountains and the coast to Polis, not missing out on Paphos Zoo, to where Caz had sent several parrots a few years back. I  couldn't join them for those trips, but we had two evenings to catch up on the last thirty-seven years. The boys took themselves to the far end of the veranda for ping-pong or out to the fields for whatever boys to in the Great Outdoors. Sam and Chris fit right in with my three despite – or maybe because of – the age difference, while Caz and I rebuilt our long-sundered friendship and I got to know Sharon.

On Sunday I was free and they had until three o'clock when the bus left for Nicosia, so we spent a few hours exploring the Tombs of the Kings before heading to Gavrilis Taverna in Kouklia for lunch.

Without Facebook, without the re-connection that I had initiated two or three years ago when I sent the first tentative message “Are you the Carolyn L that I went to CCEGGS with in the early '70s?”, and that reforging of bonds and rediscovery of what made us friends so long ago, she and Sharon would have made their plans and travelled their route, maybe wonderful nonetheless, but missing the extra dimension of catching up on an old friendship.  Perhaps we would have even crossed paths on the road to or from the town, unknowing...

I wish that they had had a few days longer – that we could have caught up more on deeper family news and what had gone on in our own lives over the last 37 years. I wish I could have got to know Sharon a little better – we seemed to have a lot in common. But three days was our ration this time around, so I drove them to the bus and saw them off to the Big Smoke where city lights and traffic noise would replace the quiet of the Diarizos Valley with its lazy chameleons and emerald green tree frogs.

Tree frogs int he oleander.  Photo thanks to Carolyn

From Nicosia they hit Athens for a day or two, then Barcelona, then back to Oz via Dubai – a lightning trip if ever there was one. I have kept up with them through FB pictures of the Acropolis and Gaudi's Casa Batllo, and will – no doubt – see the Burj Tower shots. Wonderful! I'm sure I'll complain about Facebook again in the future, but the gift of their visit made many of its drawbacks worth the gripes.

Group Shot at Tombs of the Kings.  Photo thanks to Carolyn.


  1. I liked this post. I always think about getting off of FB...mainly because I never keep up with it. The thing that keeps me there is my children. As they live far away, FB is a way to keep in touch with them without the phone. My youngest once emailed me to check her status on FB when she was traveling. I did and it worked:~)

    1. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment, sara :) FB certainly has its dark side, but on the whole it's a great way to stay in touch, and as long as I don't do games and quizzes and get sucked into apps and time wasting, I think I shall stay.