The problem with writing about your friends is you might accidentally leave some of them out. After writing my latest blog post, I realised I had forgotten to mention a very important person. Here it goes:
I went to college at the age of 16. My new French teacher - Ragnar - was a very keen, modern and... different teacher. My dream destination of all times had been Paris. Well, this teacher organised a trip to Paris. So - in my books, this meant he was ace.
After a few, persuasive talks with my (single) mum - I was off to Paris. This trip literally changed my life - but I didn't know that then.
So many things in my life have been related to this trip - it meant so much to me. It gave me the taste of France. It made me want to go there again, study the language, read the literature, watch the films. Without having done this initial trip, I would not have met my now ex husband, the father of my lovely children. I even lived in Paris during a period of my life.
Some of us pupils returned to Paris for a second time, together with Ragnar. Once home again, we started to meet regularly at our teacher's place, to talk memories, watch our photos and eat French food. These "Paris evenings" were to become a recurring event in our lives. They continued long after we had left school. Later, we brought our children along, even had holidays together.
The thing is, we still keep in touch, all of us. And - Ragnar is still in the very centre of our friendship, a nave around which our social life revolves. Now retired - but ever so active, he still welcomes us with open arms whenever we are back in our home town. He lives life to the full - and as he preaches. He is kind to nature, likes jogging, a very keen cyclist who does not own a car. Every Monday and Tuesday, he shows independent films to like-minded people and he has always been working hard for Amnesty.
We owe this man so much. He has been there for us, for every turning of our lives. Choice of career, for example - I became a French teacher myself. Weddings, child births, our children's birthdays and their various graduations. He has supported us through tough times, as well - not just the good times. Illnesses, divorces and also some funerals of our parents... whatever the occasion, Ragnar has been - and still is - there for us.
This man has been more than just an average friend to me and certainly more than an average teacher!