You joined the Buttercup Gang at very different times. Juan, you were officially there at the beginning, on August 31st 2012. I had worked with you before, so there were no surprises - I already knew how fun you were. It was so easy being with you, it just seemed to make sense.
You've been there for some of our biggest moments, including that infamous trip to the Gold Coast. I remember that you and I were the only ones that didn't get sunburned. And you were the only one who didn't even need sunscreen. While the others were all aching and grimacing while they applied ointment, you were lounging around the pool without a shirt, rocking the most glorious tan in the southern hemisphere. You managed to avoid all the drama that came out of that trip, all because of your easy-going nature.
You've also been involved in stories on a much smaller scale. Just recently I heard the story of how you were driving Wendy and Mitchell in the car and had stopped at the traffic lights. There was a car beeping behind you and you got worried that the car was beeping you. You were so worried that you were annoying someone that you forgot the light was red and went straight through it. I hope that's exactly how it happened, because it's hilarious. but I did only hear it second-hand, so if you'd like to correct it, let me know ;)
Now Wendy... You came right at the end. You were the tenth and final member of the group. Once you arrived, I guess we felt we were complete. It might not have been you, it could easily have been someone else. Twice in the months leading up to your arrival, Juan had told us about a girl he met. We had all been super-excited to meet them, but just a few days later, it had gone south and Juan had to sheepishly tell us we wouldn't be meeting her. Then you came along and Juan got very excited. "I really like her," he said over Facebook, making us all giggle. Finally, we got to meet you and it was love at first sight. You're actually one of the funniest people I've ever met. Not in a wise-cracking sort of way like I try to be, but in a much more honest, personable way. My favourite memory with you was when I was with you and Juan at Burger Theory and a tall, well-endowed Latina woman walked in. She was flanked by two similarly attractive girls and as soon as they spotted Juan, they came over to him to chat.
"That's a friend of Juan's from uni," you explained. "They're doing the same course." Then you watched her chatting animatedly and playing with her hair and for a split-second, a dark look came across your face. "I hate her."
You also bring a unique perspective to the group. Having grown up in in Communist China, you have experiences that the rest of us can learn from. And with yours and Juan's knowledge of world affairs and Juan's ability to speak 400 languages, you both give our group a real depth that would be missing without you.
I guess that brings us back to the fact that you're both quiet achievers. See, while the rest of us run to the rest of the group, bragging about every small achievement we make, you guys just go about your business, getting your straight-As and setting up your future. It was only a matter of time until your success took you to much bigger places. The day Juan came to us and said he'd been accepted for a graduate position in Sydney, I nearly cried. I knew this gang wouldn't be preserved the way it is forever, but I was hoping the day it changed would never come. This Monday, you'll both be leaving to live together in Sydney and you'll become the first members of the Gang to leave. You're going to leave a huge hole that we'll never want to fill. We might build around it, but the space you leave will be preserved like Ground Zero and we'll always remind ourselves to "Never forget."
Not only will we lose that depth you bring. Not only will we become just a group of white kids who sing 90s songs in the car. But it'll will also make me the most ethnic member of the group, and I'm not sure I trust a group where that's the case.