Today, one of my closest friends is leaving.
I am proud of my friend Janice, who is leaving the United States today for a two year mission for her church. After much prayer and consideration, she began the application process to serve as a senior missionary. Originally, her thoughts were she would be placed somewhere in the Unites States and she was surprised after receiving a call with the question if she would consider Europe.
She said yes, but did not think it would truly happen. She’s in her 60’s and is a widowed female. Nonetheless, the process continued and after her application was reviewed, she received confirmation that she was needed as a mental health adviser in Germany.
Janice and I are unlikely friends, We called ourselves the Odd Couple when we worked together. She’s my Mom’s age and I was born only a few weeks before her daughter. She married out of high school, had children and only began college when her husband became ill. I was a traditional college student and didn’t marry until my late-twenties. I’m organized and methodically, she likes a little chaos and often speaks without thinking.
Nonetheless, we became instant friends. We’ve supported each other through grief (my infertility and miscarriage, Mom and Nanny, her daughter and second husband). She’s been the person I could call and simply say “It’s bad today.”. She understood. She never tried to fix my pain but provided support and love.
To say it will be hard having her in Germany is an understatement. We’re still working on what communication will look like.
What I did know is she needed a party before she left. I didn’t want to have a typical Farewell or Bon Voyage Party. After all, she is coming back.
It took some time but I finally came up with the idea of a Send Off Party. I wanted to provide a space where friends and former co-workers could come and spend time with her before she leaves.
I fell in love with these beautiful invitations form Kim’s greylein Etsy Shop.
Kim is able to create an invitation with a starting location and destination to anywhere in the world. Upon receiving my order, Kim had created my sample within 24 hours. She was wonderful to work with and I know that I will certainly utilize her again. You can change the colors of the invitation and as one of Janice’s favorite colors is yellow, there was no doubt we would use yellow as the highlight color.
I wanted the party to have a theme and felt that using variations of Dr. Seuss’ Oh, The Places You Will Go! was perfect. Janice is viewing this as the next chapter in her life and is very much feeling she is on a spiritual and destination journey.
I choose quotes from the book and framed them next to the different food items.
As Janice is hoping to travel different places throughout Europe, I tried to represent different European countries. (Janice will also not mind me sharing that she is picky about her food so I was careful with the menu).
Croissants with Turkey and Brie (France)
Cheese platter – (France)
Antipasti Platter – (Italy)
Sugar Coated Pretzels – (Germany – this recipe to come on the blog)
German Chocolate Cupcakes – (Germany)
I had a travel box for friends to leave messages (along with their addresses).
In many ways, the party was a reunion of Hospice employees who have now each gone in different directions. It was a fantastic afternoon of spending time with friends and sending Janice off with love.
I’m going to miss her but I am also thinking a trip to Germany may be in my future.