Wednesday, 20 February 2013

The Value Of Friendship


I've had lots of friends in my life so far and I'm only 30. You may wonder why I'm writing about this in a blog post. The truth is that friends are very valuable. They come and go throughout a person's life. The first friends I remember having were my friends at Fir Tree Junior School, Wallingford, Oxon. UK. I always found it hard  to make friends as I was really shy as a child and was convinced no one would want to be friends with me either due to my disabilities or the fact I wouldn't be "interesting" enough to them as a person, or we'd not have things in common outside the fact we went to the same school. I definitely went through many stages of rejection and  being misunderstood by people. I came to think of my Personal Assistants at school as my friends. I remember also I was happy upon knowing some of them would be going to Didcot Girls' Secondary School with me when I was 11, so I felt better about this move. I was really happy to move schools anyway as I had always had a hunger for learning new things and wanted to be challenged in my education. My friends at Fir Tree helped by accepting me as I am and therefore people at the school started noticing me more. I was happy with just a small group of friends and have always been happier knowing a few people well rather than many people less well. As my life progressed, I met people outside school. I met a few friends (Thato Van der Zwaal and James Robertson) at Riding for the Disabled at Kingston Bagpuize, Oxon. When I was about 16, I went on a holiday to La Clusaz, in the French Alps courtesy of the same RDA group. At the airport I met Jodie Pedder, who I've seen a few times since.  During  my time at Swansea University, I met Siobhan Rabbit, who was originally from Manchester.  At Reading I came across friends who came from all over the world: Taiwan, China, Japan, Italy,  and Germany. Many of them left the University, and the UK at the end of our first year at University, and I lost contact with them. Thato and Jodie remain great friends, with whom I can share everything, laugh, cry and have a great time. 
I remembers I was in the dining room in my hall at University sitting next to a girl I got chatting to. She told me she was looking for a housemate and I came out with " why don't you and me share together. My friends and I are looking for another flat mate. Her name was Lan Anh Do and she was
 from Vietnam. We became very good friends, both being fashion and beauty mad and complete
shopaholics. I've got her to thank for introducing me to Mango!
A few days ago, I finished reading "El Mundo Amarillo" (The Yellow World), a book written by Albert   Espinosa
I saw "Pulseras Rojas" last Summer on TV- a series about kids at a hospital in Barcelona. They were between about 8 and 14 years old, and were in the hospital for varying reasons. The 8 year old was in a coma after kids dared him to jump off the highest diving board into the pool in exchange for him forming part of their group. There were 2 kids with cancer, a girl with anorexia, and a boy with heart problems.  The series told of the friendships one forms when in a common situation eg in hospital.  In order to better get through their experiences in hospital, they formed a friendship group called "Pulseras Rojas ( red bracelets) "pulseras" for short. Lleo, the Founder of the group, had kept all his ID bracelets from previous hospital stays and gave one to each group member.
The book had me hooked from the first page. It was based on Albert's own experiences of having been diagnosed with cancer, his take on cancer and how he dealt with it, and what he learnt from the
people he met whilst in Hospital. The book is cleverly written, with each chapter focusing on a
"discovery" he made resulting from his experiences. He claims a person will have 23 people that
meet who can be classed as "Yellows" (the equivalent of a best friend)  in their life, and will meet them in different
situations. He says these are people who one isn't afraid to be themselves with, and the difference between a friend and someone who fits into the select group of "The Yellows" is that the people in this group are people you don't have to have much contact with or need to have seen for awhile, for there always to be that bond between you that means you always get on.
The book teaches the reader alot about friendship, your attitude to life when you have an illness or disability that requires you to be in hospital at various points in your life. Also the importance of
friends   In helping you cope with your hospital stay, and the importance of friendship outside the
hospital.
From my own experience, the nurses, some drs and the friends I made during hospital stays were
incredibly valuable to me. The book also says we shouldn't be scared of death or losing someone. I
lost a good friend who I was in Hospital with years ago, and friends have come and gone in my life,
but I really value the ones I have and hope to keep them for years to come. I also know I'll meet more in unexpected places and at various stages of my life.
Finally, I enjoyed the book as I could identify with it due to meeting people I classed as friends in hospital, and I could identify with what one feels when in hospital. In short, a very enjoyable book. There's also an English language version available. I'd highly recommend it to anyone regardless of if they have experience of disability, illness or hospital stays or not.