Edit: Ah, the irony.
Ranik requested I re-update this page saying his girlfriend and him are back together and I told him no, that he can't rewrite history, and that frankly I was surprised by his online narcissism. Certainly not the most gentle or compassionate way for me to convey that I thought he was being absurd. He has since completely blocked me from all online communication for most definitely hurting his feelings.
Friendship can be a fragile thing, especially when the only constant is that it is maintained from a distance of thousands of kilometres. Perhaps this is a lesson for me to recognize this fragility and not assume that it's ride-or-die to the end no matter what is said along the way. Ranik, if you're reading this, I'm sorry I spoke harshly to you about your beliefs. Given our history, I will see you somewhere in the world to tell you this to your face.
Certainly not the most flattering photo, but definitely a funny one.
Me, the cat Bong, and my friend Ranik and his girlfriend (*edit: now ex-girlfriend. It happens) came by to visit me each day this week while they were backpacking throughout Cambodia.
It's not very often in my life that I get to see friends or family. If I'm being honest, what I really should say is that it's not very common for me to have long-term friends and it's not often I see my family in person. It is a choice that I made a long time ago, especially as I backpacked and lived in South America during the times before smart phones and widely available internet. Family I have always kept in touch with, but friendship is different. Sometimes you just lose touch with people, sometimes you grow apart from them, and some you message once in a while and they don't respond, or others you barely talk to but when you do see them again, it's as if you picked right back up where you left off. Having long-term friendships is a luxury in life that I've become very aware of, especially during the difficult days.
Ranik is a long-term travel friend. We first met in 2015 in Ukraine teaching language at the same school. A month later, we randomly met up in another city in Ukraine, about 4 months after that we ended up in the same city in Switzerland, then again a year later we happened to be in Sri Lanka at the same time and met up for Christmas 2016 and New Years to ring in 2017, coincidentally were on the same flight to Kuala Lumpur, and now reuniting in Cambodia in 2018. He was planning a trip with his new girlfriend from South Korea, knew I was in Cambodia, and it just worked out that he stayed near the same village as where I am living.
Somehow, the world keeps bringing us to similar places at random times. We get to catch up on all the times and experiences we've had over the span of months and years and see the changes in each other. We also exchange insights on the changes that we notice in each other, giving a different perspective of how far we have come since the last time we saw each other. We are both nearly a decade apart in age, very different personalities, yet I have learned from him and valued his friendship over the years. I don't know when I will see him again or when we will message, but that's okay. We can catch up again just like we always have if and/or when it works out in our lives.
One day, many years from now, I hope we will be sitting together somewhere in the world reminiscing about these times.