It was early May. The weather was turning, and mornings were getting cold. I was lying in bed, no motivation to get up into the cold air, and lacking energy (not realising it at the time, but later that day I would be whisked into hospital for a blood transfusion). There was a knock at the front door, and a few minutes later, my husband appears with a large package.
“Do you know a Maria from Maryland?” he asked puzzled.
“Oh yes!” as I leapt up, remembering that we were partners in a project on FB where – back in December – we had rashly promised that we would make things for each other – and three other people. The recipients of my gifts would be “the first three people who respond to my status.” They were then asked in turn to post this and make something for the first three who commented on their status. I hope they did! Reflective of my internet life, I had taken the idea from an English friend in Devon, who I first met on the internet. My first three responders were 1) a friend I first met 34 years ago when we were exchange students in Thailand but now from Maryland, USA, b) my niece’s cousin from Malaysia (though she had stayed with us a year or two earlier), and c) a blogger friend also from the US (Missouri) who I have yet to meet.
The gifts could be anything, as long as they were home-made. If my friends lived closer I’d make them my Ras al Hanout mix and give them some baking, but those things are a little hard to post! But that’s okay, I committed to the project knowing what I was going to do. Sort of. I sent off the first gift at Christmas, via my sister-in-law who would deliver it to her niece who stayed with us last year. That was gift number one, and I was impressed how quickly I made it, and sent it off. Free postage is a great motivator. Although my haste meant that it wasn’t quite the quality I would have liked.
The second and third recipients are still waiting. I am procrastinating you see, indecisive about which angle I should take. I like personalising gifts you see, and I can be a bit of a perfectionist at times. I’m wondering if I should appeal to the exotic, or the familiar, or the things we have in common. I have until the end of 2014 to deliver, but now there is some urgency. The bar has been set very high.
I opened the box, and pulled out an amazing quilt. Quilting isn’t really a big thing in New Zealand, but I know a couple of my US friends are keen quilters. This is a beautiful one, and the first one I’ve ever owned, let alone been given. It was appropriately lined with a wine bottle print! (I’m wondering what kind of impression my FB friends have of me.) And some squares were definitely related to my wanderlust in particularly. It was a wonderful personal gift, and I can’t imagine how long it took to make. And if that wasn’t enough, there were knitted socks too. And they fit! They were warm and comfy. The timing was perfect, as winter arrived, and a few days later I had surgery. In my recovery, I have reclined on my couch with the quilt keeping me warm. But even better was the warmth and comfort from a friendship that has endured over 34 years, and across a planet. Thanks Fe!
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