May 24, 2016

Even the "stayers" must leave one day...

Another farewell party, more goodbyes, some tears, and a feeling of being abandoned with my emotions as I leave the event and walk through the deserted alleys on an unusually cold May evening. On my way home walking through the streets of Paris, every corner holds a memory, every avenue makes me smile in reminiscence. A café that reminds me of a glass of hot water ordered, a bistrot where I used to hang out with friends for a habitual café au lait, a boulangerie where we asked for free sandwiches to feed the homeless on a freezing Friday night. I spot a hotel that brings back souvenirs of a luxurious happy hour, and walk past restaurants that are loaded with nostalgia of good times with people long gone.

It seems everybody is moving on and I am left to myself to start all over again. Every year I become more local, nevertheless every September - at the beginning of the school year - I make an effort to welcome the newcomers, spotting a character or two with whom I think I might hit it off and maybe make a new friend. 

I do not want to replace the friends that have left, every single one has a special place in my heart, some take up more space than others but each and every one has left an imprint in my life, even the lady that used to take the bus with my daughter and I after school every day and I haven't heard from in the last 4 years. Little does she know I still think of her and her daughter every time I take that bus route!

Tonight was another farewell party for a friend who has made history at my kids' school for organising the most epic Parisian tours over the last eight years. She managed to remain calm and composed during her farewell address as opposed to me who once again could not contain my tears. She was one of the "stayers" ... until today! 

Five other ladies announced their family's departure in June and I am wondering how many times will I go through this. However, I am convinced that the benefits of meeting new people and making a new friend or two even for a limited time is so enriching that it is worth the effort. I can't imagine how many experiences I would have missed out on and how little I would know about the world's cultures and customs, had it not been for the wonderful personalities I have met over the past five years.

My heart is always filled with sadness this time of year but I force myself to see the blessing each encounter has brought. So, yes I am a stayer and I will probably be the one turning off the light after I leave because everyone else will have already moved on, but I am convinced it is worth every single tear I have shed.

And after all, it is Paris I am lucky enough to call my home! 

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