#9 “You are who you love” or find the people with whom you will save the world

… and love them even when they annoy you.

Kry spent a night last week in an Ethiopian prison. To calm her nerves. When she told me today over Skype, I suggested to try jasmine tea next time. Or chamomile. It always works with me. I have dreamed of her expressing strong negative emotions last night. So once awake – and because I do not often remember my dreams – I contacted her. Kry is a beautiful woman, when she walks in everybody looks at her. Probably because she’s very tall. And also because she can be very loud – she’s French. She’s intelligent too. She studied economics, she believes in developing empathy to solve the world’s biggest issues and took a flight last year to Ethiopia to start working on it. She’s a hard worker, by the way. She meets important people to draft new regulations. Also she tried to force me to become vegetarian – or reduce my meat consumption to chicken. Chicken. Don’t get me wrong, I love chicken. But I love meat. Anyway, I’m not eating that much meat anymore. Love tries to force me to become vegetarian too. Kry and he have their mouth full of world responsibility here, systemic visions there, reducing food waste, increasing resources sharing… when craziness surrounds me, I surrender. I am weak. But not yet a vegetarian. Maybe the lack of protein or iron made her become not fully herself – though some articles say claim that vegetarian diets are good for the mood. She gives and shares and laughs and brighten the days of everyone around her. She is Canadian French. Yet Kry spent one night in an Ethiopian prison, to calm her nerves. Addis Ababa is a wonderful city. Beautiful and harsh. The place to be when you’re willing to change things, as Kry is. And a horrible place to be, where your values and principles can be challenged on a daily basis. Last week Kry had gone to a restaurant with a friend visiting. A nice restaurant, the sort of places she does not go to since the first week she arrived, last September. There were sitting a group of foreign businessmen. Eating, joking around. Bragging. About their last night at the brothel. Unfortunately for Kry, she knew the place. She’s working with the girls once a week to help some of them finish school. With a little luck and lot of perseverance, it may work. Primary school is not so hard, is it? Kry stopped eating her boiled vegetables. Of course, she could have stopped listening instead. I know, darling, it is impolite to listen to strangers’ conversations. It is impolite to stand up, turn red, stare at strangers. In a restaurant! It is impolite to call people names, too. And to slap the first one under reach. Completely hysterical. I told her so already. Then I told her how much I miss her. She is my friend. Beautiful, intelligent, empathetic. Responsible. Straight in her shoes.

A childcare in Addis Ababa, where past and future meet

Credits: Kry

Gab picks me up at the airport when I’ll arrive in Singapore next month! If you had told me yesterday, I would have said: “Nah… we skype now and then, but actually meeting and spending time together in the same corner of the world again? I don’t see that happening, darling.” I love traveling. Discovering places, people, foods. Mainly foods I must say. I love traveling with people and without anybody. Mainly without. Last summer I discovered that traveling with someone very close can turn into a nightmare. Or maybe it’s just this person who is evil. Gab and I had planned this trip to Ireland very very thoroughly. Ah no, scratch that. She had. I mostly had chosen the destination closing my eyes on a map of Europe (we had only one week) and pointing at the Channel. From England to Ireland there is only one step. I did not want another stupid London trip. That’s just good enough for the weekend when you’re a Parisian. I am not anymo. Bro. I digress… So Gab, very well organized as usual, ready for all kinds of unexpected events, tried to woo me into organizing myself too. Love always pushes me to order this, lock that, secure this, confirm that. “Inform yourself Jess, close your bag Jess, watch out, prepare, know.” Did I precise that Gab is much younger than I am, she talks with this motherly responsible tone – in fact I think that she even changes her voice when she speaks to me. Love, too, is younger. We were on the narrow curvy mountain road (in Ireland, cheri, remember?) when the accident happened. The toe-truck just in front of us crashed into a rental car coming from the other side of the curve. Horrible. I mean, the mountain was quite nice, we were in the Connemara region and we had a wonderful sun. But the crash was noisy and impressive. The other car had not stood a chance. Gab and I jumped out of our car and went to save lives. Gab works as travel retailer, that’s why she travels a lot too, and she studied and made her thesis on panic reactions in crowds. She used to spend her weekends saving lives during parties, races, gatherings of all kinds. She can drive a boat and pilot a small plane. Also, she swims with a mono-fin. With her light blond hair, her big blue eyes and her soft voice she then looks and sounds like the little mermaid. Who does cross-fit. When the crash happened, we were arguing. We had been arguing from the second day of the trip. I had forgotten my passport under the pillow of the hostel room – she had forced me to hide it, just in case. I had not listened to the end of her non existing love story – I had been listening to it for already eight months. But I had not given any opinion about what she should do – in my opinion, friends are there to share their ear and shoulder, not to give unwanted and inappropriate advise. I had gone surfing alone – she had complained before that the water was too cold and too jellyfish-ed. My music was too aggressive – hers was too…modern. I had laughed at her non existent parking skills… that was very funny – she was too stressed all the time! I had pointed out that she too had a French accent – well, I don’t really mind having a French accent thus it would not have bothered me if she had said the same about me. In fact, to be fair, nothing ever really bothers me. I know my flaws. What turned me off and made me argue on that narrow curvy mountain road was her constant stressed mood. And she had been constantly stressed by my nonchalance. This is the dog biting its own tail. While first aiding the family in the car, we were still arguing. When the police arrived, we were still arguing. Until a policeman kindly asked us to shut up, it was impolite to continue arguing in French like hysterics. Did we need time to calm our nerves a bit before answering the questions? I asked him if he had some tea and scones with him. He smiled. Gab rolled her eyes. Then laughed. She is my friend. Way too responsible. Not so much fun. A bit too straight in her shoes. I miss her. She picks me up in Singapore.

Love leaves on Sunday already. Time does not go backward and certainly does not slow down. Last year in October, Love stayed in Kenya two weeks. He had left his phone, his tablet, his laptop at home. Anyway, he was in a village down south near Mombasa, and there was no real effective network. He spent his days playing football. Okay, he trained children (essentially girls) to prepare them for a big football tournament. He had taken part from Germany in the organization (sponsoring blablah) and now he had taken some holidays to participate in the coaching and all. Love loves kids and sports and helping people. He wants to change the world for the better and it requires action and responsibility. Awareness and mental strength. “You are what you do” is his motto. I personally say “You are who you want to be and do the way you think you are and sometimes the way you think people want you to be” but he once told me that that was twisted and voluntarily misleading. I did not really get the point but I smiled and nodded nonetheless. I often smile and nod when he starts these big speeches – last Sunday, we passed by a house with a private pool, and he explained me why those people were irresponsible and selfish. Wasting so much money to be entertained three months a year while the big public swimming pool was two steps away. Wasting quantities of fresh water while children around the world could not get a cup a day… During these two weeks in Kenya, we skyped twice with the smartphone of a newly befriended Kenyan. Once four minutes when he landed in Nairobi and the other time three minutes as he was about to move to another village. Babylove had forgotten that he had a father and I was almost angry. I even had to put on my mouth guard at night. Very sexy. And then he came back. Tanned and happy and straighter than ever in his shoes. A mix of relief and happiness and annoyance rushed in me. Of course annoyance rushed first out of my chest. “Where is the responsible person when it comes to your own family?” did I want to say. But I said: “So? Did you enjoy your holidays? No kid, no girlfriend…” then he said: “I was so good not to take the devices. There has been a big theft in the place where we stayed first and the other ones had their electronic stuff disappeared. I brought you some herbs, you can infuse it like tea leaves. You seem a bit tense.” Ah Love, always has the answer to everything. He is my love. So responsible. So ready. I’ll miss him when he’ll leave this Sunday.

My friends, my loves, my family. They are who I am.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Weaving the Threads.”

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