When I first moved to Sydney, I temped as an admin assistant at a construction/engineer firm on the top floor of a swanky office building. It was the absolute last place I imagined myself working, they offered me a six month contract and that’s all I cared about. And, much to my surprise, I met some great people there and actually enjoyed going to work (work was basically compiling safety reports and keeping my chair warm, so even though I was pretty restless, it was pretty cush).
My visa stated that I couldn’t stay in one place longer than 6 months, so in May 2015 I had to find another job. I landed a promising “foot in the door” role at an advertising firm, which didn’t work out (equal parts “we’re re-structuring and your new role will be secretary to an accounts manager” and I didn’t fit in and every day made me more gravely unhappy); then I got a job in social media/marketing that started off great, but quickly wore me down to an anxious, depressive mess. I very loosely sorta tried to keep in touch with my old co-workers, but by May 2016 I was a blubbery wet potato skin shell of a person, and replying to texts was hard enough, sending them unprompted was out of the question.
But there I was, riding the bus home after a long, frustrating day where once again I felt like I was trying so hard and still failing at everything. I remember this day vividly, as I got off the bus in the dark. It was one of the first cold days, and I wasn’t even excited for it. I was ruminating over how unhappy I was, and how I didn’t know how to fix it. I was stressed at work, stressed at home, dealing with worsening endometriosis, and crippled with anxiety. And I remember thinking at one point, “I feel lonely.” It’s a shitty way to feel when you live with a loved one have people who care about you, but I felt it nonetheless.
I came to a stop light and had to wait for my turn to cross. Out of habit, I pulled out my phone and I had a FB message from Betty, who I worked with at the engineering firm. She was getting a group of people from the old job together and wanted me to join. My mom always says mail comes when you need it most, and I believe it. The message instantly lifted my spirits. Shortly afterward, I met up with Betty, Betty, and Tanvi for pizza and drinks. They were so positive and warm and thoughtful and funny and supportive, and even though it had been over a year since I’d seen them, it felt like an evening with old friends.
Between work, school, life, and me rescheduling every other time, we’ve managed to meet for dinner or brunch at least a few times a year. We have one of those groups where it never feels like too much time has passed. Somewhere in the early days we dubbed ourselves Pizza Pals, and our food adventures, belly laughs, photo shoots and food comas are something I always look forward to. I feel very lucky to be a part of it all.
Yesterday, we met up to wish Betty on luck on her new baby, and for a dumplings “brunch” at Din Tai Fung – I say “brunch” because we ate so much that all of us were in a food coma that left us so zombie-fied that I didn’t even want to buy anything afterward (we even went to a stationery store #whaaat).
Here’s to good food friends, and to the universe who sends them to us.