Sunday, November 22, 2015

The first of the farewells

So it's starting - the slow, painful process of saying goodbyes to friends who have been so close to us for the last 3 years - celebrating good times together, sharing sorrows and frustrations, bound together by this unique expat experience. And there's no saying where our paths lead us next - whether these dear friends will meet us ever again - are these farewells final??

Kind of bittersweet, these farewell lunches, dinners - one last time to share laughter and a good meal, one last time to reminisce - and some of the lunches I've been to have got quite emotional!! Although, it is a bit weird - crying on each other's shoulders one day, with profound declarations of everlasting friendship, and then the very next day, meeting at the school bus - just like every ordinary day - because as I've said before, life doesn't stop just because you're moving!!

Ajey will, of course, get a send off lunch with his colleagues - but in addition, it is traditional for Cat expat families to get together for a dinner with repatriating families. I first thought these would be 'official' dinners - very formal, with toasts and such - but no, it's very casual - just friends catching up over dinner!! And actually, this Cat farewell is not even really a farewell - simply because with Cat, all roads lead back to Peoria, and sooner or later, we will be seeing these families again!!

Our farewell, combined with the Bs who are also leaving in December - was this Saturday at the New Ganesh. After a tiring morning of rainy soccer, dinner at an Indian restaurant was a great way to finish the day! The turnout was quite good, despite the weather - almost 10 families - some very close friends, some I'd never met before! The food, and service was excellent as always - seriously, this is easily the best restaurant for Indian food in Suzhou!!

What a wonderful way to start our round of farewells - many thanks to SH and ME for initiating, planning and inviting everyone!! And thank you to all those who came to spend the evening with us - Ajey and I hope that our paths will cross again sooner rather than later!! Enjoy your time in China - and see you on the other side!! Cheers!!

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