“Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: “What! You too? I thought I was the only one.” ~ C.S Lewis
The dictionary definition of serendipity is this: the faculty of making fortunate discoveries by accident. That is exactly how I would describe my friendship with Hayley.
Hayley and I were in the same French beginner night class. This class is usually reserved for newly arrived immigrants in Quebec. Although I wasn’t an immigrant, I needed to speak French in order to work. Through the basics of French, I quickly discovered that even though Hayley originally hailed from Australia she wasn’t an immigrant either. She’s been married to a Canadian for over 10 years.
I was drawn to her like a moth to a flame. So cliché, I know, but she had an energy that I cannot describe. I’d like to say that it was innocent, but that wouldn’t capture the essence of it. She radiated light from the inside out. She had an ease about her, a sureness. I knew I wanted to know more about her, but how? Believe it or not, I can be shy especially if it’s with people I don’t know. I needed to figure out a way to talk to her after class. I eventually found my “in”. Her husband is Latino!! I knew we’d have something in common. I mean how couldn’t we? Latino families, like most, come with a set of unwritten rules. I knew that we’d have similar stories to share about sailing those uncharted waters.
Our friendship was effortless. It was based on our love and respect of Nature (she is currently living in Banff doing every imaginable outdoorsy thing with her beautiful family), yoga (which she still practices and I rarely do), chocolate, which we both consume on quite a regular basis, language (both Spanish and French) and the love of travel.
Hayley has a tremendous a gift for sharing and encouraging people to be their best, whatever that may be. It was her that planted the seed of me becoming an ESL teacher. It was her insight and constant advocacy. She saw it, the spark I have when I teach and it all happened by accident.
I think we were in our second level of French and we had the most uninterested teacher. She was there only to collect a pay check at the end of the month. She was disengaged. She showed up and handed out the relevant worksheets; that was it. One night I was so frustrated by her lack of teaching that I left the class and vowed that I’d learn it on my own. I went home, figured it out, drew a diagram so I could remember it and returned the following night just so I could explain it to Hayley. I figured that if I could understand it then anyone could. I ended up teaching the concept to the entire class, albeit in English, but teaching nonetheless. I was able to change a difficult language concept into something simpler, something tangible, something people understood. It was then that Hayley said that this is what I should pursue.
After months of debating, she convinced me. I completed my teaching certificate and got a job teaching and another volunteering. It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Hayley inadvertently gave me a wonderful gift, joy. It is because of her persistence that I get to experience that every day I teach. I am indebted her.