We are close together because was for safety. You go out of village alone, maybe someone kill you, rape you. We are together, always together like animals to hunt. You come here you see this one French,* that one from somewhere Africa, friend for you but not close. But not kill you.
An important point, that. But memory does soften the edges of even terrible events. And even more in Jelena's defense, friendship and support soften the edge of terrible events too. She would likely choose again to come here. But the loss is real.
*Milan lives in Suncook, I think, so French-Canadian is likely