Not my first certainly, not in Ireland anyway, since I counted on them at my first job for a social life, but it was definitely the first one I've left sober. The first one where dinner was the focus. The first one where dinner was a welcome event and not just a 2am visit to the chipper which is just hang-over prevention.
Renata left today. She's our office manager and, if truth be told, the heart beat and life of the office. She and her boyfriend are going to spend a year in her native Australia to see if they want to relocate there permanently. I can't begrudge her in the least, but I'll miss her very much. It's an office full of level headed, rather quiet people, myself included, and we all need her life, her brash way of getting on with it, her zest. But, can't bring myself to beg her to stay, knowing she's doing what she really wants to do, which is going home to her family. She's been living abroad for close to 10 years now, so who am I to say she needs to stay and entertain me? I'm such a selfish bitch, but that's just a tad to far, even for me. Mostly because I understand what she's doing, why she's leaving. She's going home. She's going back to her family. I'd love to live near my family. (As long as my family lived on this side of the Atlantic. Or I had as much vacation time on that side of the Atlantic.) Coming from a small farming community, there was never any question of my siblings and me staying. It was always assumed that we'd move on and make a life. Maybe we always assumed it; I never asked my parents, but they didn't exactly fight us when as we packed our cars. There is nothing in our hometown for us and there never was. In an area where opportunity only presents itself in alternate locations, a much different mentality is needed to keep the family close, especially when the family is anything but. At one point in time, my parents were in Wyoming, my sister in Zurich, my brother in Guam, and I was in Dallas. I needed clocks for each person just to keep the time zones straight. But we stayed close because we had a well established code of long distance bills. It's the price we pay in order to be happy in our lives, separately, rather than miserable together.
So I'm jealous that Renata gets to go home to her family. That's something that's never really been an option for my siblings and me. Renata, however, has that chance and I'm also thrilled for her... Mostly though, I'm jealous that she wants to go home, yearns to go home, has no difficulty in going home and earning a living. And as much as I'll miss her, I'm thrilled for her. So good luck Renata. I wish you the best and I hope you keep in touch. Because I'm living vicariously thru you, near family, near home, for once.