"One eye laughing, the other crying" is the way our dear friend Jutta describes leaving Paris for Budapest after three years here. She and her husband Ralf have become our very good friends.
We've learned some lessons about remarkable courage and grace from Ralf and Jutta. Together, we've commiserated, bolstered and supported each other through illnesses. We've shopped for antiques together and shared experiences and stories.
We've opened many bottles of champagne and wine and enjoyed wonderful dinners and lunches at each other's apartments and at restaurants. Just a week ago we had dinner at their lovely apartment in the 16th arrondissement.
So it's a bittersweet farewell, as Ralf and Jutta head to Budapest, where he has a new post with an international organisation. Of course we'll visit them in Budapest and they'll be back to Paris. But it's not the same as having them close by, at the other end of the phone.
Last night we celebrated their friendship with Ralf's office colleagues at La Petit Chatelet across the quai from Notre Dame. Guests included fellow expatriates from Germany, Britain, Scotland, France, America, Australia, New Zealand, Portugal, Norway and Korea. Following much merriment and delicious food, at midnight we stopped at Shakespeare & Company to get a FUSAC magazine for Paradise, who's moving to Paris this fall. Then we all took the last metro together.
Ralf and Jutta got off at Michel-Ange Auteuil to transfer to another metro line and waved from the platform as our train departed. David and I laughed that it seemed as though we were the ones departing Paris for new horizons. We shall sorely miss Ralf and Jutta. And we wish them all the best in their new life in Hungary.