During the first encounter, I went away with the impression that C was a shy girl who spoke little English. Upon subsequent interactions, I still held the belief that she was introverted and quiet. But what a surprise I received when I met her again after over six months. She was all bubbly, had a great sense of humour and shone with this charisma and confidence which I have never seen before.
Last Saturday was probably going to be the last time I will see her. Will I see her again? I am not sure but she gave me another evening to add on to my memories. Through one of the recent interaction on a social networking site, I was invited by C to her farewell party at Hiter Green. Apparently she has been living with this English family for nearly a year since her arrival in this mainly English-speaking country and it was through the daily interactions and corrections with this lovely warm family that her standard of English has improved by leaps and bounds.
Hiter Green is a small town in Zone 3 – southeastern part of London. It was a quiet area and the house was located a ‘5min’ walk away for people with long legs. As we plodded down the path, I did realise that the walk was longer than expected and considering the sub-zero temperature – I looked very much forward to our arrival.
The company of five arrived in front of a old-fashioned looking house and was greeted warmly by the host family. During the food preparation, I introduced myself to this English lady and entralled by her life story of embroidery and teaching, I spent a third of the lovely evening with her. During dinner time, I had this kind-looking English international coordinator for company, sharing with me about her passion for work to widen the circles of knowledge for the younger generation.
Very soon, it was time for C’s speech. She had prepared her thank-you-s with how far she has travelled to reach here, how she has spent her stay and what was her direction thereafter. Considering that she was rejected at entry two years back and had to wait for another year to plan for her stay, I was amazed by her faith and her courage to hold on and achieve her aims. Maybe it was her religion, maybe it was her characteristic of perseverence, but whatever it was, she has managed to keep her goal in sight all this while. Though I did not have much opportunity to spend more time with her but I was at the start of her English tale and was in time to witness the end. That sufficed.
As the group of people accompanying her during this past year gathered around her to give her their blessings, I wish her all the best in my heart in Egypt – in a brand new phase and opening another door to a new experience ahead.