And they're off. All of them. Tomorrow morning, bright and early, the last of the departees from our village will be gone, and so far I'm doing all right. I'm doing all right because right now it's Thursday night at 9:30 p.m. and I'm normally in my PJs at this time, considering sleep. I'm doing all right because I haven't hit the points in a week where I'd expect to see them and felt them missing.
Jenna left first last Friday, and I ran out so fast I didn't get a photo with her when I said farewell. It took me getting a job and working to figure out that Jenna was pretty awesome. She is generous and giving in everything that she does, and she taught me that it's OK to just be me.
Katie was the next to depart on Tuesday. We didn't really become friends until about 8 months ago. For some reason she felt hard to get to know, but one day, it just clicked. She and Donna taught me that doing something hard can also be done gracefully. Both of them completed a year, unaccompanied, living in a foreign land with their FS family for support. Katie is strong and compassionate, and I'm so happy to know her.
Maddy left on Wednesday and it wasn't until I started working that we got to know each other. She plays a mean game of Cards Against Humanity and she taught me that finding joy in the small things and letting out laughter that spreads joy to those around is truly a gift.
Donna left Thursday morning. She and Jenna have been friends in Amman forever, so I invaded an established relationship, but for some reason they still welcomed me. Donna has a deadpan wit that catches me off-guard every time, and I'm not kidding that she is someone to watch and to emulate: she does everything and sometimes even makes it look easy. At the same time, Donna taught me that it's OK to not always have it together, and it's OK to ask for help.
Tomorrow morning, the last departs. Justina and Jenna worked together, and thereby worked with me, and I won't forget how kind and helpful and open she has always been. She wore her emotions on her sleeve, but didn't sink under them. I'm grateful she reinforced that making the right choice is always worth it, even when that decision isn't always the popular one.
It's hard to sink down to encapsulating these amazing women in a few trite words, but it's what I've done. It's better than having these friendships reduced to something like this:
For the past week we've become the home for all matter of left-behind items. I'm grateful for more than just "Hey! We've now got gluten-free X for a year!" because I kind of feel like I've struck the jackpot. Now, every time I open my cupboards, I see something from a friend and it doesn't make me sad at all but brings a smile to my face. I'm not sure if I'll ever use a Make-At-Home Goat Cheese Kit, but you can bet it'll stay on my shelf a long long while.
In the meantime, I'll raise a cup of Island Coconut on Sunday morning. To all the friends who have gone on to new adventures, I salute you.