Gosia and I started here at about the same time, autumn 2007, and discovered that we were birthday twins (she's the younger) - which was all we knew about each other whilst I was cataloguing books part-time. We'd smile at each other, have brief conversations, but didn't really get to know each other till my job changed and I came on full-time in a position where I had the pleasure of working closely with her, and later, of sharing an office with her.
G (as I call her) exudes the cool and glamour of old-style movie stars: tall and graceful as a Grecian column, she can be wearing jeans and still make one feel under-dressed. In addition, she is frighteningly competent and shows remarkable equanimity with things that drive me into wanting to slap people silly. Professional glam, that's G.
But scratch the surface, and you find an amazing cook (her baked goods are to DIE for), a wicked sense of humour, and a superb listener who dispenses some of the best advice I've heard and reminds me that there are times to leave it be. Without a doubt, she's a friend you'd want by your side no matter the situation. She reminds me that it is possible to be passionate and professional, a gift I hope to do justice to one day.
I am so grateful to count you amongst my friends, G, and I shall miss seeing you every day.
Paz - or the delightfully pint-sized Pizzazzadoodle/P-doodle (as I call her - don't ask) - is as warmly effervescent as G is coolly glamorous. Unfortunately - or fortunately - she's as easily amused as I am (again, best NOT to ask), so our peals of laughter are often heard through the office, as Gosia grins, yet somehow manages to remain the grown-up presence as we find ourselves unable to speak. But as with the froth on the surface of the ocean, don't let the effervescence fool you - there's a perceptiveness and depth that startled me early on, but does no longer - and a genuine acceptance of people as they are, and a real 'to each their own path', that is a true grace - one I'd love to have one day. Our daily lunchtime constitutionals are something else on my gratitude list, the more precious now that they are numbered.
As, of course, is the Pizzazzadoodle mug she gave me for my birthday.
I shall miss you loads, P-doodle: not quite sure what I'll do at lunchtime anymore, or without the sound of your Diet Coke cans opening. I'm sure I'll figure it out, but I think it'll take a while.
With such different personalities, one would have thought this would have been one of the spikiest offices in North Oxford - but it came together with such synergy that by the end of Paz's first month, I knew we had something special - and by grace, I have never taken it for granted.
Now that it is coming to an end so soon, I find myself grieving, of course, because I shall miss them more than I can express. But I am also deeply grateful that I have had this time with them, and wouldn't have traded it for the world.
Love you guys, and wish you all the joy in the world as you move on - may all your dreams and so much more come true.