And then there was one.

This morning we set our alarm clock so we could get up and see Julie off at the plane.

This never get easier.  Saying goodbye to our friends knowing that in all reality, seeing them again might take a very very long time.

Julie came here just three months after we did and we were immediate friends.  We’ve shared our experiences in seeing the world.  She wants to do a stint in Antarctica like we do.  We’re going to try and swing it so we can do a season all together (Howard, myself and Julie).

Julie nurtured my love of medicine and has helped me go in a different direction with it.  She’s babysat my animals, we’ve babysat hers, we’ve shared many meals, and lord knows, we’ve laughed a lot.  She loves to act goofy and silly.  This of course, makes her a kindred spirit to me.  Once, she and I flew back to our village at the same time and we sat together and talked the entire flight, no doubt, annoying all the passengers who were trying to sleep. (it’s an early morning flight)  We were actually disappointed when the flight was over.  She and I agree that was probably our favorite memory of our times here.

Friday night, we threw her and Joe a going away party.  We played this game called “Fruit Basket”, where everyone sits in a circle on chairs and someone assigns a fruit to each person.  Then, that person stands in the middle and calls out a fruit.  Whoever was assigned that fruit has to get up and run to another chair.  The person who doesn’t get a chair has to stand in the middle and call out another fruit and then it happens all over again.  That same person can also call “fruit basket” and everyone has to get up and go to another chair.  It makes for chaos.  Hilarious chaos.  Julie threw in some frantic shouting and yelling just because.  And it was one of the best parties I think I’ve ever been to.  That is probably our second favorite memory.

After the party, we all wandered over to the bar where we of course, drank, danced in front of the jukebox until we couldn’t anymore, and reminisced.

We all avoided the topic of her actual departure like the plague.

Until this morning.

There was a whole entourage there to see her off as well.  We hugged her dog, Shiloh and when the boarding call was announced, we all lined up to hug her.  I was fine until she got to me.  Luckily, I was wearing sunglasses.  I held her extra tight and at the same time we promised: “We are doing Antarctica together.”

And we are.

Joe leaves tomorrow morning.  He’ll be the last of our friends who are leaving permanently.  We said “goodbye” to his wife, Hoi and their daughter Yuki just over a month ago.  Howard and Joe have become like brothers.  It’s going to be tough to say “goodbye” to him too.

But as I hug them and wish them well, I am happy for them.  I am happy that I have friends who are into adventure just as we are.  Who understand the wanderlust that dictates how and where we live our lives…  Friends who aren’t afraid to take risks.

And I’m thankful all over again for living where I do.

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