You Know You’re Family When…


It was a sad week for the Stephensons. On Friday, we said goodbye to our good friends/travel partners/fellow commisseraters, Joe & Ashleigh (a.k.a Team D).  Actually, Joe is still hanging around, but we said goodbye to 3/4 of them.  You’ve probably seen many pictures of Team D throughout the past year. In fact, they are singlehandedly responsible for dragging us out of Rabat to see the rest of this country and for that reason alone, I would be eternally grateful. But more than that, they helped us through our transition to Morocco, cared for us when I was on bed rest, and fed us many, many meals. They’ve watched our children, loved our children, and loved us (or at least pretended to), despite our many flaws. We are family and here’s how I know:

You know you’re family when:

  • “Ashee” was one of your daughter’s first words.
  • You help remove excess ear wax from an unnamed member of Team D’s family.
  • Team D knows about the two beanie babies you use as a security blanket and is upset for you when one is missing.
  • When your husband calls Team D out on their pregnancy before the test comes back pink…and he’s right.
  • During church service, their son wanders across the sanctuary and asks to be held by Matt. In response, your daughter wiggles loose and runs over to be held by Joe. The congregation laughs.
  • Your daughter asks for a spoon. Team D takes a used one from their son, licks it clean and then gives it to your daughter.
  • You don’t have to wonder if they’ll judge you for parenting mishaps.  And you don’t take offense if they offer suggestions.

It must be said that long before we met Joe and Ashleigh, they were friends with Team B, our good friends in Tanzania.  (Yes, Team B, I am still wearing that same outfit).  Team B introduced us over email and swore we would like each other. Team B was right. Team B even came to visit us both in Morocco, but it turned out we couldn’t be here because we were home having a baby. Maybe one day instead of replying-all to each others’ emails, we will all be in the same place at the same time, watching Arrested Development Season 4 and laughing over the cornballer, but I won’t hold my breath.

And this is what life is like in foreign service. You meet new people, then say goodbye to them.  It’s the worst.  But it’s also the best.  Friendships run deep among expats.  Friendships don’t dissolve easily.  And friendships are never forgotten.

So what do I tell Carolyn when she asks, “Go see Ashee?  Go see Joe?”  for the 100th time this week?  I haven’t figured that out yet, but I will definitely make sure she sees them again.  But for now, it’s a new era.  Get ready for Morocco, Part II.