Making friends


I first heard the advice Andy Warhol's mother gave him, on an album by Lou Reed and John Cale: "The way to make friends, Andy, is invite them up for tea".  So simple, no?

I saw Mrs Warhol's principle in action when Jem and I had moved to Melbourne from Brivegas and I started studying museology - everything was so new and I was very alone - and was stunned by a dinner invitation out of the blue, on my first week in class, from my totally intimidating classmate, who had the grooviest haircut and the most intelligently outspoken comments during tutorials.  We ended up at her place - in true Melbourne style, she lived in an old corner pub that had been converted into a share house - eating pumpkin curry with total strangers, and loving it.  Needless to say, Fiona and I have been fast friends ever since, and from that time I knew that Warhol's mother had it right.

Since we have had our new house it has been so much easier to invite people up for tea. I tend to do it  without much thought beforehand, and as a result we have made some interesting friends in the last year.  Like last month, for example, when it was one of those weeks with 100 things to do. Heatwave in Riga, gotta go to work, Tiss and I participating in the international folk festival Baltica, Jem has agreed to organize a group of expats to play AFL in Lithuania on the weekend, bank loan paperwork to organize, rental properties need looking after, we've double and triple booked ourselves for the entire week.... you know. And then one of my favourite blogging mamas pops up on Facebook -  "the Snapping Blabber" (hi, G!).  She and her family have been travelling the world for the last 1.5 years and been to SO MANY diverse and amazing places.  And her Facebook status update advertises the fact that they have hit LATVIA!  So of course, without hesitation, I write and invite her to stay.  Not that I know her, or anything.  Most contact we've had is me leaving a comment or two on her blog.  And before you know it, they have arrived at our house... all five of them! And we don't even know their real names. We weren't even home when they arrived - so left them the key hidden under the wheelie bin and crossed our fingers that they weren't really robbers or mass murderers.

The trick about "inviting people up for tea",  has been learning to swallow my own internal standards-for-visitors, inherited through a long line of proud hostesses.  My grandmother's version of Mrs Warhol's advice would definitely read: "The way to make friends, dear, is invite them up for tea - provided you have vacuumed the living room, got lipstick on, pastries in the oven and polished the silverware.  Anything less than this standard of preparation, and you should turn out the lights, draw the blinds in horror, and pretend you aren't home".  As a result, I have been using my "drop of a hat" invitations as a form of shock therapy.  The beds aren't made, there's "skiddies" in the loo, and you've got visitors.  Deal with it!  So once I got over my "oh god" moment, it was brilliant.  Our kids instantly got on like a house on fire, the "Snapping blabber" took over my kitchen and everyone was happy.  We listened to tales of travelling the world, ate pancakes, went to the beach, and were pleased to share a bit of why we love living in Riga with our visitors.  Quite a few days later, we waved them off on their next adventure, happy for taking risks and making friends.

This last weekend, we had an adventure with some other new friends, this time in the country... but more on that in the next post.  A sneak preview in the instagram feed on the right...
 "Little B" checking out our snowglobe collection.  I think she has been to more countries than we have globes.  The pic above is of our farewell dinner.  A bizarre but tasy combination of smoked flounder, chanterelle sauce, and pinot noir...







3 Responses so far.

  1. Marite says:

    Hey! New blog look! Cute... but I have to say I hate having to click "read more" instead of just having it there. Why's it gotta be so complicated? ;)

    Go you on meeting internet friends! I've met quite a few, and have not had a bad experience yet.

    And chanterelle sauce.... drooooooooooool!

  2. Fifee says:

    Darling, how lovely of you to write about me so charmingly! I had quite forgotten about that dinner. I always remember the other dinner you and Jem came to in North Fitzroy! But I'm glad I asked you over. And I will be looking forward to coming to dinner at some point again soon in Riga!! Bon Appetite! Said with 'Julia' pomposity and enthusiasm!!

  3. Hi, I found your blog after a friend told me about it. The photos are exquisite and the stories of your adventures are so sweet. I particularly adore the image of your snowglobe collection. Do you have any with beach scenes? I always find it amusing to see snow floating over a sunny beach with palm trees!

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