One on my main concerns upon moving to California was where, EXACTLY, were we going to find friends?  I’m not sure when YOU figured out what it was to really, truly develop a friendship with someone, but for me, it was the liberating experience of college that showed me that friends weren’t just something you had to have to avoid being teased by other people, other people who weren’t your friends, but actual people you longed to spend time with- people you admired and wished the best for, and who, unbelieveably, genuinely wished the same for you.

In Seattle, J and I were lucky enough to have an always-there-when-you-need-them circle of lesbian friends; the kind you drop in on because you’re in the neighborhood, the kind you call when it’s Tuesday and you feel like popping open a bottle of champagne.  I count these women as my family- I am not sure if straight people do this or not, but gay people tend to call these friendship circles their families of choice, even those of us lucky enough to have supportive native families.  Leaving this group was probably the hardest part of leaving Seattle- how in the WORLD was I ever going to recreate that?

I can’t say exactly why, but to me, I would feel like I was missing something if I didn’t have any GAY friends.  I have lots of lovely straight friends, and I make special trips to the East Coast just to visit them- but there’s something about a cadre of gay friends I just don’t think I’d be able to live without.  When I moved to Seattle, I was young enough to meet people by hanging out at bars, and one friend let to another and another- but these days, I’m too hard of hearing to hold a meaningful conversation at ANY bar, gay or straight, and I didn’t think simply walking up to women who pinged my gaydar in the streets of Long Beach was going to be a viable friendship producing strategy.

Because J is undoubtedly born under a lucky star, making friends in CA turned out to be surprisingly easy.  We simply moved into a house with a lesbian living next door! H immediately folded us into her group of friends, who invited us to parties and bike rides and street fairs; exchanged phone numbers and emails; bought us shots at the bar.

When they heard we were getting married, they decided to throw us a bike riding wedding.  No, really.

They decorated our bikes:

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They made us dress up:

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They posed for group photos:

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And of course, OF COURSE, they bought us drinks:

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I would have been hard pressed to dream up a better way to spend an afternoon.  Ladies of Long Beach, you outdid yourselves.  We felt welcomed and cared for, loved and appreciated.  We are HOME.

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