Saturday, August 7, 2010

Making Friends

When I think about the benefits of living on a boat the list is long; the freedom of movement, the beautiful scenery, the amazing people you meet along the way and on and on. But when we moved back to dry land I wasn't sure what impact, if any, living on a boat would have on us; especially on our now 3 and 5 year old girls. Well, I am happy to report that the liveaboard lessons are shining through in lots of wonderful ways.

One big difference I've noticed right away is in the way my kids interact with other kids. Before we moved on board friendships were generally initiated by me. I would set up playgroups to encourage social interaction. But now they don't wait for Mommy to get things started. When I took them to the park yesterday they made several new friends within minutes. They played tag, made mud balls and built an imaginary fort with kids they had just met. By the time we left, my 5 year old was holding hands with her new "best friend!" Granted, we will probably never see that little girl again, but it was nice that she felt so welcome in a new community.

Yes, it could just be that they are a year older now and not so prone to separation anxiety, but I really think it is more than that. Just before we moved onto the boat, we spent a year in a community where we didn't make a single friend. Then we moved onto "Hakuna Matata" last September and the girls didn't see another child for the first 6 weeks. Being the social creatures that we are, it was a rather lonely time for us. Perhaps that loneliness made us all a little bolder when it came to making friends.Then in November we happened into a tiny little place called "Hope Town." The first morning we heard an invitation to the local kids' soccer club on the "Abaco Cruiser's Net" (a VHF radio program that gives boaters and landlubbers alike a run down of weather and activities around town each day). I decided to take the kids. I figured at least they would get the chance to see some other kids, if only at a distance. I had no idea what a great decision that would turn out to be. Within moments of arriving at the soccer field, the girls had made fast friends with half a dozen other kids. And those kids' parents ended up becoming some of the best friends I have ever had, anywhere.

Since then we have had the chance to meet other "boat babies" and watch how they interact when they make landfall. The experiences are remarkably similar. I love the way they all seem to make friends easily. I suppose when you don't know when the next chance to make a connection might come you tend to embrace potential friends wherever you are.

Now, as we explore this new community in the desert Southwest, with no chance of sailing away anytime soon, I think I will make a point to bring my little goodwill ambassadors to lots of public venues. Who knows which of their new "best friends" will help this Mommy make some new friends of her own.


  1. Awww that's sweet. It's so great when you see your kids easily making friends. I worry a little about Sofi for that. She's not shy with kids she knows, but she is shy about meeting new ones. Lia on the other hand is a social butterfly, so I have to watch that she's not too friendly & therefore not cautious around strangers.

  2. We can relate. Rosa, you should do an article on staying in shape. On a boat, it seems I was working out just by keeping up with daily life. Now I have to carve out time just to stay in shape.

  3. @Rebecca - Lia is a little social butterfly, isn't she? Love that about her. If she and Sofi stick together they are probably the perfect balance between slightly cautious and super friendly. I just wish they could play with their cousins more. But then none of us would be forced to actually make friends, would we? LOL! Love you!

    @Bill - I like the thought of that article, but since I'm 6 months pregnant I'm pretty sure I won't be the fitness expert right now. Just trying to keep the body from falling apart until this baby comes. He has an appetite unlike either of my girls. After he's born I will definitely need to figure out how to get back in shape. Give our love to your beautiful bride and your own boat babies (okay, big kids...).