She's emigrating

It was a phone call out of the blue.  A friend is leaving Ireland for work, a young woman I've known since she was very young.  I've read plenty of articles about sons and daughters leaving, but this time it's very close to home.  Next summer I could be saying goodbye to my eldest daughter, as she leaves College to shape her own future.  It's unsettling.  I've waved good-bye to Angel before as she left for adventures in Africa and Rhode Island.  But she always came back.

I have always told her that I don't want to hold her back, I never want her to feel that she has to stay at home to help me with her brother and sister.  She can never be replaced, but I can find other help, I've done it before and I can do it again.  I resolve not to be sad if it happens, I hope to celebrate her spreading her wings.  Give her lots of love and presents and a party to remember.  If she doesn't want that, I'll organise something else, but there would have to be something to mark her leaving.  I'd need that, and I'd hope that she would like it too.  I would hate her to board the boat with just me waving from the dockside.  I would want her to know that she is loved and will be missed by so many people.

And so it is with my friend.

I need to organise something quickly.   But what?  I hunted for the perfect gift on-line, only to find that the last thing you want when you're leaving the country is yet more stuff to pack or store.

Some of the ideas I found include:

Silly photos
...To remind you of the good times.

A memory book
...Everyone contributes photos and tokens and memories.  Lovely idea, but I'd say someone has already organised that.

Something personalised
...such as a signed T-shirt.

A hamper from home
...You know what I'm going to say: Tayto crisps, Barry's teabags, a bottle of Guinness, maybe even some frozen Superquinn sausages...

A webcam
...To improve those essential Skype calls home.

An Irish keyring
...And there's a shop for that and 1000 other Irish souvenirs.

Anything from Boots
...I missed Boots terribly when I first moved to Ireland, so I'd say that this one is spot on!

A painting of your home
...Sadly I can't paint

A book for the plane
...I like this idea, but I'd want to get it right!

What would you do?  Because if I can't decide, I could end up giving her a gift that will (hopefully) be gone before she goes.  Something like this...


  1. When I left France, my friends offered me a small wicker suitcase. Inside, there were CDs of French and Breton bands I liked, a carton of cigarettes (I know I know...), an address book, a mouse mat (for my new job!) and stuff like French biscuits and sweets. They had a written " The Irish girl suitcase" on it and gave it to me for my leaving party. I thought it was a great way to tell me that they were supportive of my move. I think you should give her something she will keep, something that would remind her of you when she uses or see it. Every time I come across that address book ( I don't use it that much anymore ), I think about my friends... So in the end, I can't really give you any idea, but it definitely has to be something that will mean something to both of you.
    I hope you're not even more confused now!!

    1. That is just wonderful -- I love the idea of an address book. You could fill it with addresses and contact details for her - always handy to have a hard copy as well as an on-line one :)

  2. A memory box!! It doesn't matter if someone else has thought of it, no one will share your memories with this friend xx

  3. Maybe a framed map of Ireland (there are some lovely antique-looking ones) so she can find her way home? A St Christopher's pendant to protect her on her travels? Or a compass so she stays true to her direction? I'm full of ideas now, but if I was buying I'd have none! XXX

    1. I'd love to give a compass, that's a really cool idea, but not sure it's her xxx

  4. When my friend moved I gave her a fancy notebook with some coloured pens as I knew she'd be needing to make lots of lists, write down lots of new information, etc...

  5. Well, knowing your penchant for putting a little gift basket together I have no doubt that you'll find the perfect, most thoughtful gifts possible! How exciting, and terrifying. I don't know how I'd deal with it if it was myself saying goodbye to my son, so my thoughts are with you. Unfortunately there are very many Irish parents feeling the same way. xx

  6. Just to say thanks for all the great ideas!

    Here are some of the ones from Facebook in case you popped by looking for help:

    "a feather duster would be appropriate so that when she settles she can occasionally dust off the said wings and fly home for a short hop.......easy to pack too and feather weight!!!!"

    "a small 'Angel' to keep her safe in her travels."