Day 32 – The Meaning of Friendship

13 Aug

Today is a busy day and it hadn’t even started yet.  I had planned to have breakfast with my friend Elsa, visit a few other friends then pack up and head to Algonquin Park for a concluding hurrah.  Got a call during breakfast that Chex TV in Peterborough wanted to run a story so my day got more packed and even more interesting.

Catching up with Elsa was wonderful.  I have to say she is pretty wicked even if she is from OC.  OC is one of the four colleges on campus at Trent (kind of like the houses in Harry Potter).  My college and my home really, is Lady Eaton College.  Elsa graduated before she could switch, or at least that’s what I tell myself.

After breakfast Elsa and I went down to see Jing Jing at Millennium park.  It is basically my favourite place to meet people in Peterborough and it just so happens that Jing Jing works at the Silver Bean which is right by the water in the park.  My favourite this about hanging out with Jing Jing (ok maybe not my favourite, but it’s great) is that Jing Jing is from Thailand and in Thai her name means “really really”.  This means that we tend to make sarcastic comments as fun humour.  For example:  Jing Jing would say, “the sky is blue.” So I would respond, not with “thanks tips,” but with “really, really?”  It sounds mean but it’s actually quite funny because there’s enough of a pause that it doesn’t sound like I’m saying her name.  We discussed if it was ok, she said it’s not as hilarious as I think it is but she doesn’t mind my odd sense of humour (as she continues to make fun of me).

We also walked down to this random festival that was happening on one of the major roads in downtown Peterborough.  This festival reminded us of how wicked Peterborough is and as we were walking towards the stage in the middle of the street we ran into several people we both knew.  Coolest of all we ran into my dear friend Maryam who is one of the most motivated and inspiring young people I know!  It was great to see her, even if only for a few moments.

After having walked off my breakfast, it was time to eat again (let’s be honest, it’s not, but I planned to have lunch and I can basically eat anytime).  I meet my friend Liisa for lunch (yes there’s supposed to be two i’s) and we catch up and talk about the complexity of friendship.  I think that is one of the most frequent conversations I have with people; friends, reporters, family and strangers alike, the conversation of what defines friendship.  For me I think friendship as a base is defined by actions and by the people who are willing to go out of their way to make sure that you know they care.  It is interesting to think about friendship as a whole based on the 300 or so Facebook friends I have seen in the last month.  I think I will ponder this more tonight while camping in Algonquin Park.

Speaking of which, after having a few friends bail at the last minute, my friend Jess and I headed out to Two Rivers Campground in Algonquin Park.  Jess had never been camping before so I told her she was in for a treat.  I mean 30 second tent, wicked air mattress and (if I do say so myself) a relatively awesome person to be camping with for the first time.

We set up the tent (which Jess had never even seen before) in under 60 seconds and were all set, threw the air mattresses in and went to start the fire.  I bought two bags of wood and a pack of kindling.  In case you don’t know, kindling is only really effective if it is small… this kindling was not.  Anyways we finally got it lit (it was also wet) with some help from my buddy Ethan who is a gate guard at the park.  Claire (my good friend Lauren’s sister) also stopped by to visit as news of my excursions travelled across the park.  It was really fun, we roasted marshmallows with rolos inside and hot dogs with a stick I found.

After Ethan and Claire had left, Jess and I started to discuss “the meaning of life” in regards to friendship.  We discussed several analogies when I finally broke it down to this one.  Friends are like insects in the forest (clearly there are many).  The mosquito is obviously the poor friend, spending all of its time feeding off others and building him/herself up by the misfortune of others.  As much as it sounds non-optimistic (which I usually am not), the mosquito is the most predominant of the insects in the forest.  The spider is the decent friend, although scary to most, the spider is actually quite beneficial to the overall wellbeing of the forest, and in this analogy actually eats the mosquitoes.  The most important, and for the purpose of this analogy the least predominant insect is the dragonfly.  Dragonflies work tirelessly to eat the mosquitoes and help others in the forest.  They go out of their way to be kind and to show their generosity.

This analogy is not perfect so please don’t judge, but for now it works.  I am thankful for those friends in my life who are dragonflies, and even those who are spiders.  This trip has helped me to realize that maybe it’s time to smack the mosquitoes before they take me down any further.  A great friend said on this trip that she has a very hard time letting people leave her life and that she believes that everyone enters her life for a reason.  To her this analogy became clear, in the forest you need the mosquitoes to appreciate the spiders and the spiders to love the dragonflies.  In friendship it is the same.  It comes to a point though when you realize who your supporters are and who your downers are.

I don’t know how many people are reading this and it still shocks me when people say that they have read my blog.  As my trip comes to an end I am wondering if any of you have any thoughts on friendship.  If you’d like to leave a comment below I would love to read it.

P.s. it makes me super happy when someone sees the “30 second” tent in action because we talk about it for so long.  It became a centre for discussion at the campsite and Jess truly enjoyed her first camping experience!  She even burnt her first marshmallow!


4 Responses to “Day 32 – The Meaning of Friendship”

  1. jane August 13, 2012 at 12:36 am #

    Loved your thoughts on friendship. I am most impressed with the fact you get it at such a young age….it has taken me 62 years to draw the exact same conclusions. You keep those people in your life that enrich you and you toss aside those friendships that add little or nothing to your happiness….this journey is fleeting and why encumber it wth negativity….

  2. Jessica August 14, 2012 at 12:14 am #

    This made me smile. I found another analogy for friendships. Friendships are like plants. There are annuals and perennials. Annuals are the ones that require endless effort and often fail regardless of your intensive care and hope for it. Perennials are the few and lucky ones we come across that will always be there, regardless of surviving seasons without constant care from you, but will be there to greet you seasons after as if it never experienced hardship. Take comfort in knowing that these friendships (feels like family), are the ones that are meant to last because even if time is spent apart, meeting again will feel like they were with you your entire journey.

  3. Cherie August 14, 2012 at 4:52 am #

    i have followed your blog all the way across Canada , and back again. I enjoyed it all, it is such a pleasure to read! thanks so much for allowing me to share your trip across Canada! Something i have always planned to do and now know more what to look for along the way! I am so happy that my Employers CTire played such a great part in your trip! yeah Canadian Tire!!

  4. Jess August 16, 2012 at 11:07 am #

    Perfect analogy Greg, and I full heartily agree. Like your friend, I too find it difficult to let people leave my life, even if they are a mosquito, but reading this post made me think a little harder and realize that sometimes mosquito’s need to be wacked…!

    I’m so glad that you had such an awesome adventure 🙂

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