The months fly by.
The seasons come and go.
The older you get, the busier you are, the faster the rhythm of life beats.
With the annual-ness of life there are some dates in the calendar we look forward to with excitement like birthdays, anniversaries, summer holidays, the annual ski-trip, festivals and so on. G's family have done an annual pre-Easter camping weekend since he was a kid. Now the great grandkids are going!
There's also the calendar dates that we mark with ceremony like weddings, the birth of a baby, starting school, sitting final exams, starting/graduating university, starting a new job, moving into a new home.
There are others that we don't so much look forward to like acknowledging another year passing of a loved one's death.
There are some months we love! Others we don't.
For expats, April, May and June are always full of mixed feelings. These are the months you learn you are moving on, or learn that friends are.
Last night I learnt that a friend is leaving in June. This morning, another told me they are repatriating over summer. There'll be more for sure.
Both are sad to be leaving Ireland (one after only 12 months, and one after 3 years) but happy to be 'going home'.
One has a list of all the things she thought she still had time to do as their leaving is unexpected. We're going to set aside one day a fortnight to fulfil her Dublin-based bucket list. I remember when MrsP was leaving Japan, we did the similar and had a whirlwind of a time, creating great memories and seeing some really cool things together.
I LOVE this quote from a recent blog written by 4kids20suitscasesandabeagle, 'I asked a girlfriend what was worse, leaving or being left behind. It's not either, it's the fact that things will never be the same again'
It's so true!
While the 'old' group changes with people leaving, a 'new' one has the chance to be created with arrivals of friends you've not met yet (Thanks, Barbie movie for that line).
New people move into friends homes, put their furniture in slightly different arrangements and you smile remembering how your friend 'used to have the place set up'; the newcomers coffee morning and the 20 questions are asked again as a means of establishing rapport and seeking out if the new girl is a potential new BF, or even just a F.
Friends who are leaving are engrossed in packing up and starting over .... there's a home to pack, and one to find; school to finish and new ones to enrol in; endless hours of computer time researching the new destination; there's household items to be sold, donated to charity or given away before packers arrive; there's working out what travels with you for immediate use, and what goes on the container/truck that you can live without for a week to 3 months depending on where you are travelling from/to.
And in between all of the arriving and the leaving there's been gallons of tea/coffee, wine/champagne shared, rivers of tears shed, so much laughter that you're cheeks ached; secrets shared, problems solved, unique tourist experiences appearing in your photo albums and more cos you're friendship, regardless of how short a time you've know each other, or how long (long in expat terms is 3 years) was one of the most wonderful reasons you attach to the experience of living where-ever-you-met.
There are some people you just know you'll see again, you're just not sure when. While there are others you know the complete opposite is true. MrsS wrote when we left Ireland, 'Don't cry because it's over, smiled because it happened' and all these years on, I still remember and recall the sentiment of these powerful few words.
The memories keep us going when we are physically no longer together.
The hope that one day we'll met up again is what keeps us going.
Social media, in all it's forms is what connects us in between times.
How do you cope when friends leave?
Do you prefer being the one leaving, or left?
What routine, if any, do you automatically go into when you know you're time's up?