Friday, February 24, 2017

Friendship Spotlight

Hi all!

Its been a while (too long) since I have done one of these, so it felt time for a Friendship Spotlight.  The friend I would like to focus on today is Dalibor Hanzal, otherwise known as Dali.

Dali is one of the first friendships I forged upon moving to Germany.  Our paths crossed when both of us were attendents at a German-English meetup group (a la  I sat, tentative and nervous, at the long banquet table crowded with thirty something people.  Having just moved to the country one week prior, my slate of "friends who live nearby" was an obviously empty one.  Unquestionably the hardest part of moving somewhere far flung is finding your social slate wiped clean.

Close friendships take time, investment and effort which first means finding the people you like and with whom you click (a task that involves a lot of sifting, in and of itself) and then patiently and consistenty investing in building up those relationships.  This is how to grow a close friendship, which sadly offers no possibility for fast forward potential.  Moving somewhere new means being lonely for a while, which is certainly not the end of the world but can be emotionally challenging.

Dali was one of the first people with whom I clicked and who helped me move towards filling that temporary gap in my life.  After three or four meetings with the German-English group, I decided to reach out to him, as he seemed like a cool dude.  As many of you may agree, initiating an opposite gender friendship can offer potential for misunderstand and confusion with regard to intent and what type of interest the other person might be implying, so I crafted my invitation mindfully as I knew he had a girlfriend and I myself had a boyfriend.

He wrote back, "yes!"  And an awesome friendship got rolling.

Our initial meeting was at the Frankfurt Christmas market, splitting a potato pancake and drinking from steaming mugs of gluhwein.  We connected over several topics along with the typical get-to-know you questions.  As soon as I unearthed the fact that he too was an avid Harry Potter fan, the deal was sealed.

Dali and I have met regularly over the last 3.5 years.  We often have tea and coffee.  We have shared several superb brunch spreads, both being breakfast enthusiasts.  We have done a handful of photo shoots together.  Two, meandering around Frankfurt for my blog (the happening Berger Strasse and the bustling, colorful Kleinmarkthalle).  Another during which the two of us explored Frankfurt and both snapped pictures, Dali offering me photography pointers along the way.  And finally, a food photo shoot, cooking session and finally, chowing down on what we had made, at his place.

To see our recipes from this photo shoot, here are the links to the Quinoa Sweet Potato Salad and the Refined sugar-free Baked Stuffed Autumn Apples.

Weve visited a handful museums together.  The Communication museum, the Film museum, and a fascinating one-time exhibition about Gladiators, which both of us were rivited and wide eyed over.  Loved this.

Card games have commenced over tea and coffee, coupled with our always interesting conversations.

I have attended Dalis birthdays every year.  I will be at his and Ricardas wedding this June.  He has been at all my birthdays and joined a number of my dinner parties. 

We have many mutual interests, namely reading, traveling, writing and food.

I am always excited to be regaled with Dali and Ricardas travel adventures, which they embark on together often.  Greece, road tripping all over Italy, exploring the Nordic countries, a trip to Hawaii coming up, they are always heading somewhere interesting.

Dali has been an unfailingly enthusiastic and supportive friend of all my projects and ventures (my travel blog, my bigger writing aspirations, and my cooking/baking blog). 

Dali is witty and intelligent, warm and kind hearted, a giving and loyal friend.  He is a riveted listener and someone in whose company I always feel relaxed.  I always love spending time with him.  He is creative and inventive, always coming up with unique and intruiging business ideas and projects.

A surprisingly sweet gift (both literally and figuratively) that Dali brought me back from a trip he and Ricarda took to Italy!!!

I am lucky to be able to call him a close friend.  I look forward to many more years of friendship with Dali.

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