I kept her from seeing her midwife.  While she was in labor.  Course, it was my midwife too, and we were just chatting about when my overdue baby was ever going to arrive.  When I finally left her office and went down to the waiting room to meet my husband, this pretty woman breezed past me.  I cheerfully said, “Hello!”  And she sort of mumbled something under her breath.
As we walked down to the elevator, I said to my husband, “Wow, she wasn’t very nice.”  Brent responded with, “Joelle, she’s IN LABOR.  She’s been sitting in the waiting room timing her contractions and waiting to see her midwife!”
And that was the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
We delivered our babies three days apart and a few weeks later were officially introduced to each other.  We began getting together for play dates.  Found we had much in common including a love of healthy food, the same educational background, a common spiritual outlook, similar parenting goals, and most importantly…  we just clicked.
I find that the more I move, the older I get, and the more I know myself, the faster I can figure out who I really like.  Who has the potential to become a friend and not just an acquaintance.  And I knew we could be real friends.
We even had them over for my husband’s famous tacos, and fantastically, our husbands actually hit it off (a wonderful feature in a friend).  And so the relationship grew.  And grew.  And more and more tacos were eaten.
And now she’s leaving.
The leaving I have learned to deal with.  Well… as well as you can deal with friends leaving.  But what I’m never very satisfied with is the actual goodbye saying.  And more specifically the token given to a good friend that attempts to indicate to them the impact their life has had on you.
Do you give another Kokeshi doll?  A sweet card?  A bulky item that they’ll wish you’d given them before they did their packout?  A final trip to Cocok’s?  A scrapbook of memories you made together?
I’m at a loss.  What I really want to do is buy her the huge Asian cabinet she wants from Oriental Place, but that probably wouldn’t fit in her suitcase.
So what do you give to PCSing friends?  What ways have you expressed yourself to those few precious people you attach yourself to at each new duty station? How do you say goodbye?


  1. We recently left our last base (I’m still enroute) and one of my closest friends got me a little plaque that has a cool quote on it — something fitting for me and my decor. But the best part about it is that she took a silver sharpie and wrote a really special note on the back of it about us and our friendship. I love it and will cherish it, and our friendship, always!! And I think one of the nicest things about it is, the next time we’re getting ready to PCS and I take it down off my wall — when I am a little sad about the new friends I will be saying goodbye too — I will remember my old friend (who I know I’ll still be friends with 🙂 and how we’re still friends even though we’re no longer close in distance. It was a great gift!!

  2. Wow, I remember saying Goodbye to a few close friend in 2007, coincidentally As the PCS world has it, both of them are on island with me now. Amazing how it all works out.

    But at the time of my Goodbye, I gave out recipe cards that had some of our favorite recipes we shared, And on a few I laminated them with pictures of our kids & good times, And then a few I wrote a personal message to remind her Of our GREAT Friendship.

  3. I just thought about something I do- but didn’t realize that it was a conscious decision. Today as I was scrolling my cell phone- I saw the old numbers of friends that are gone….Mere…Lan…Kaho…and I leave their names on my phone….it makes me smile and think of fun times! 🙂

  4. Awww. Mindy and her family will surely be missed by many!! They have impacted so many lives here on this island.

    My favorite thing that I have received has to be from a friend I had only a short while. We had children the same ages, and we really clicked immediately. When I moved away, she knit me a pair of socks in my most favorite colors and made me a small stack of hand made greeting cards, then wrapped them in a ribbon with a little note. It was the sweetest gift, and so from the heart. Anything you give, as long as your heart is in it, will be cherished forever.

  5. Awesome post Joelle!!! You certainly know how to get the tears flowing. Of course, you won’t be surprised by my favorite “going-away” presento – a scrapbook is always a winner!!!! Of course,anything you give a special friend will mean a lot to them. It’s the fact that you thought of them enough to buy them something and you picked something that will remind them of you and your time together!!! Pictures are priceless!!! So are those precious babies!!!!! Thanks for sharing!!!!

  6. I have had to say goodbye to one of my closest friends twice while on this island. First time was when I left and she stayed and the second time is when she left and I stayed. She is not the best at staying in touch but we do what we can and when we see each other again (and we will because this is a very small world) it always feels like we just left off in mid-conversation. I love her kids like they were my own and I would do anything for her and her family.

    I haven’t truly said goodbye to her yet because I continuely send items of interest to her and her kids that I find here (especially since I know she is missing the island so much).

    I hate the actual goodbye too…a sure way to get me to tears…

  7. I just got back from PWOC where MaryJo shared something she does with some friends she used to be stationed with. They do a “travelling pants” sort of rotating package. Each of them puts in a note, a card, a picture, a recipe, a spiritual thought and it gets forwarded to the next person on the list. Sounds like a wonderful way to stay in touch and stay in each other’s lives even after the PCSing.

  8. I’ve been off island since 2005. My favorite going away gift was a scrapbook of photographs & momentos made by my best & only girlfriend on island. It’s truly priceless. I’ve been fortunate that our paths have crossed recently. I know she will be a lifelong friend no matter where we may go from here.