Monday, March 28, 2011

There is a Downside

Well, part of the reason I haven't been posting is that we are busy. Busy with our day-to-day life, busy with adventures (geo-caching - a great way to get Isabelle out for a hike!), busy with friends and family. I guess you could say we have settled into the expat life. And we are loving it! Mostly.

Today, we had to say good-bye. Now, we did this before - at the end of the school year last year when a few of the families returned to France including one of Isabelle's classmates - not a week goes by without Isabelle talking about Albane and her family.

But this time is a little harder. No, a lot harder. Almost 3 years ago, Paul and Isabelle went for one their first swims at our neighbourhood pool - I took Maggie up for a walk. While I was watching Isabelle swim I could hear a woman speaking French with her children - I wanted Paul to introduce himself but that is not his style. Luckily, she heard Paul speaking French to Isabelle and spoke to him (because that is just the way she is) and that is how we met Radia, Sarah, Rassim and Karim.

Since then Radia has been a friend, a translator, a carpool partner and a guide to the ways of Isabelle's school. Her daughter, Sarah, is a year ahead of Isabelle so whenever I had questions about, well, anything - Radia was my source. When I went away for stamp shows, Radia picked Isabelle up from school and kept her until Paul got home from work. I think my experience here would have been very different without Radia. I will miss her every day and I can never thank her enough for all that she has done for us.

The thing is that while she is all those things to me - she is also those things to many people in the French and Muslim communities here. She is an amazing cook, baker and cake decorator with a wonderful blog about her cooking. Last year, she made a couscous for the graduation at Isabelle's school for EVERYONE in the school. She is an organizer - school events, community events - even a wonderful surprise going away party for her own daughter!

Isabelle will miss Sarah and Rassim terribly - she is used to seeing them almost every day. And I will miss them too - they both crack me up plus since Isabelle is an only child they give her a taste of siblings - oh, the bickering in the car sometimes.
As my mother says: nothing is ever simple so when Radia and the kids were supposed to leave yesterday (a long story) - I managed to get this great picture with Isabelle and Sarah and Sarah's best friend Emma. Hopefully we will get a another one just like it someday but until then it will be facebook, skype and e-mail. Thank you for everything Radia!


Kerrie said...

OH, SAD!!! I know the feeling. We have had all too many kind, amazing, helpful families leave us over the past 12 years. :-( She will be missed by many!!!

Anne said...

Love the picture. Yes, this time it's really hard to say goodbye. And Radia just has such presence! Thanks for posting!

radotouille said...

oh my a month later i discover this post....i am all teary again.
i am the one missing you Jane.
Isabelle was my little goldilock meeting little red riding hood. and you a dear friend of mine! somehow i am glad we did not leave that would have been terrible!
Thank you! and the picture is just wonderful!