I have always considered that we can never know exactly what effect we have on other people. I mean whether or not we have influenced them at all, whether consciously or not, and whether positively or negatively.
I had a friend in Ústí nad Labem whom we called Heddy. I guess Heddy was 18 when she arrived for her gap year adventure of teaching English in Czechoslovakia. Heddy was beautiful – she had amazing black hair and looked like Snow White in Doc Martens and a nose ring. And she was smart and confident and funny. Heddy hung out with the big kids and she fit right in with us – drinking, smoking, generally misbehaving, and having an awesome time. And 5 months after she had arrived, Heddy went home to England.
We stayed in touch for a long time. Heddy visited me in Prague several times and I visited her once in Bristol. I’m not sure when we last saw each other. We talked a few times when I was living in England, but in spite of saying we would visit each other, we just never did. That was lame. And then Heddy moved to Oz and there may or may not have been a few emails and then there was nothing.
Until today. I got an email from Heddy with apologies and directions to Heddy’s blog. And Heddy directed me to a specific post where she had written about the 5 people whom she considers her role models. They were in chronological order and underneath “My Mum” and “My Teacher”, there was “My Friend” - and it was me. Wow. Gobsmacked. What an amazing way for an old friend to reassure you that she has not forgotten you.
“My Friend - I was really lucky when I took a gap year between school & university and I spent 5 months teaching English in Czechoslovakia. I met a really cool group of people & grew up about 5 years in 5 months!! Max is about 10 years older than me & had already experienced a heap of stuff. Again, she is so strong & independent & we talked about everything! How important it is to have friends who help you grow & not try & put you down!”
Thank you, Heddy.