The late night, transatlantic call: for friendship reasons, purely

When I first arrived in Abu Dhabi, coming up on a year ago now, I was prone to going out a lot, and very late. After spending hours in one of the city's finer hotels, we might converge at someone's hotel room and for awhile, at a friend's pool, to the increasing chagrin of his neighbours. I heard the dawn prayer call more times than I'd like to admit. It was nutty and I can't believe I sustained the pace. (We talk about it now and figure we were all fuelled by a strange relocation-related adrenaline)

Anyway for some reason, even at those astonishing late hours, sleep proved elusive. So I would call one of two friends back in Ottawa, and they would laugh at me on the phone but listen while I talked about all the fun I was having, and also how much this place freaked me out. Then they would tell me stuff I wouldn't remember, and we would have to go over it all again the next time we chatted.

The calls - and ridiculously frequent and late outings - died off. But two nights ago, one of the first I spent sleeping at my new staff apartment, after a birthday celebration for a friend, I found myself amid unpacking chaos, a bit lonely, at loose ends and with itchy dialing fingers. I called the first friend, who was partway through his work day hours behind back in Canada. The other has moved to Australia, and when I caught her, she was well ahead of me already having breakfast, just back from teaching a (very) early yoga class hours.

Finally, as I should have when I walked in the apartment in the first place, I went to bed. My friend in Canada has just told me he loves those calls. Like a booty call, but with the only motive is to hear the voice of a friend, he has dubbed them "frooty" calls.

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