How I Made a New Friend

    To many people, friendship means a lot. It means they can rely on the person they consider as their friend, they can confide in them, and that the other person shares the same confidence. Sadly, most of these people do not recognize when they find a real friend; they only look for what benefits, or advantages they can get from posing as a friend to someone. It is very encouraging therefore, when you find someone whose company you enjoy, that is reliable, and has a positive impact on your life – wrong! That is where that majority mentioned in the beginning (which do not recognize a true friend) go wrong one hundred per cent of the time. Instead of looking for someone to become your friend, try and be somebody’s friend, to be kind to somebody and maybe you might find a real friend. That is how Bakkali became one of my best friends – she was kind to me.

    A few years ago, I took a trip abroad, to keep my uncle company while he set up a business in Asia, a country called Malaysia. I had just graduated my A- Levels and did not have much to do at home, so I agreed to accompany him. Of course I was excited, I was getting away from home at least, even though I did not know anybody and I was going to be all alone in the apartment my uncle had rented. However, my uncle reassured me that there was plenty to do in the house, including a library, and an internet connection in case I needed to go on social media. That wasn’t likely because I am not a big fan. I would spend my time going through any interesting book, or magazine I could find in the library, along with the daily newspapers which were delivered to our door. I did that when I wasn’t browsing for the latest movies and series online. That was all I did, apart from the few times I went outside because of the heat of the overhead sun at that time of the year. On one occasion as I was heading out in the afternoon, I met a group of friends heading out together and one of them invited me to join them, which I agreed.

    These people were new to me, just as I was new to them. And I was sure they could tell that I was a foreigner. But that did not stop them from asking me to join them. I accompanied my new friends to the nearby mall where they showed me around, and treated me very hospitably. At some point I was sure they were making fun of me because I couldn’t understand their language but one of the younger girls told me they were just telling me to try and not look so out of place. That was funny but it was also true. The name of the girl I was having the most talk with was Bakkali, she was seated next to me that afternoon on my right. On the other side there was Ola, she was Bakkali’s elder sister, and their cousins Aina and Cess were also there. Bakkali was as very interesting person and she had very solid opinions about life and other things which I never thought somebody so young could think about. We were about the same age, but I was older than her by one year and a number of months. She told me they were thinking about starting a business project with her friends to make them self-employed and self-reliant by the time they finished college. Bakkali had heard a presentation at an entrepreneurship workshop about creating and holding wealth through businesses. We didn’t talk about it much more because I got lost in the details. I told her I had also thought about self-employment and business, but I didn’t have any ideas at the time so we changed the subject to, other things and began talking about culture and music and art. We both enjoyed music but our tastes were not the same. Personally, I enjoy music that is both classical and soulful while Bakkali is a fan of pop and old school music. However, Bakkali told me something that made me sure that she was actually older than her age. She told me that she also appreciated other kinds of music even though she may not listen to them all the time like her favorite music; that is an opinion that anyone who lives in the twenty-first century is likely to have because of all the progress of technology. What interested me was that she had also observed and was very keen about the content of the music she listened to because it contains information and references to current and historical events, and other things which are relevant to all of us, even if we don’t understand what is being said. Most people do not know the reason why music, poetry, art, dance, and even fashion are such important parts of our lives is because they reflect who we are as a society in the past and the present, at the same time. And therefore much wisdom is hidden in them.

    Afterwards, we began spending more time together as a group, in their home or sometimes at our apartment. Bakkali had a personal collection of music, films, books, as well as paintings, weaved carpets, and many other items like an artist would have in her room. She allowed me to explore this room of hers until I was satisfied, I carried films, books and music to go and go through in my uncle’s apartment. She explained more about her thoughts and I went to look for some of the things we talked about on the internet. For example, the classical music which I like as well as other people, has a lot of history behind it. Also, other kinds of music like country, pop, and even traditional and rock music have a lot of significance and even carry the histories of people and countries since they began being made. Another thing I also observed about Bakkali is that we are not so different even though we are from foreign countries with each other, and even if we liked different things, we still spent time together and we shared our experiences, and learned from each other. We had a lot of things in common growing up, and we appreciated each other’s different perspectives.

    I stayed in Malaysia for a whole year with my uncle, and spent that time with my new friends. I tried to learn as much as possible from them and told them whatever they asked me about myself, and our my country. Soon, we were spending time with each other all the time. Because of this, they influenced my thoughts, and they also took some of my ideas to use in their business project which by the end of the time I stayed with them, they were just about finishing up their business plan. The rest, like they say, is history.

Nowadays, I do some things which people ask why I do, and I just say it’s an old habit but I don’t explain it’s because of all the time I spent with those friends of mine. When we talk about it nowadays, I tell Bakkali that the only reason I agreed to become friends with her was because she had a collection of films which I could borrow and not get bored when I was in the house alone. But it was also a blessing because my mind was opened to new ways of thinking. She tells me that nowadays she even, has a few traditional songs from my country on her playlist now – though I hadn’t confirmed it by the time I was writing this. My experiences during that time made me convinced that the best way to make friends is to look for any way to be kind to somebody and you might get lucky as I was and find a friend like Bakkali when she became friends with me through her kindness to a foreigner.

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