Que plancha esto de no escribir en meses. No es que nada haya pasado. Han pasado muchas cosas. Demasiadas. Papás de visita, viaje, trabajo, exceso de trabajo, estudio, exceso de estudio. En fin.
Este es un capítulo bilingüe. Porque mi amiga Sarah se casó y me ofrecí a hacerle un discurso. Porque aquí así se estila. Y lo tenía que hacer en inglés, lo que me ponía muy nerviosa. Había gente que no conocía y no sabía si iban a entender las tallas. Y al final salió todo bien. La gente se río, la Sarah y sus papis se emocionaron y pasé la prueba.
Ahorita, pegaré el discurso, para que quede para la posteridad. Capítulo aparte, haré otras "observaciones".
I first met Sarah, 10 years ago when we started our first year at University. We actually had attended the same high school but we never even talked there. You see, she was one year ahead of me, and in our school, at least, older students are not supposed to talk to younger ones. Which goes to show that our school could be quite hierarchical sometimes and, most importantly, that Sarah is, actually. older than me.
On the other hand, and most importantly, I was afraid of her and she thought (these are her words), I was a little bit of a freak as she didn’t understand my fashion sense. Things I knew were that she practiced horseback riding and that she only had tuna for lunch.
EVERY single lunch.
When we met again at the university, we immediately became very good friends. The same as me, students, and teachers, I think, were quite scared of her. I know some of them resented her because she was beautiful, slim, had money, and was already bilingual. To give you a picture of how she was like when she was younger, I can give you a brief description of what you could see at a distance about her in those years. Those who have known her for less long will be able to also evaluate how much she has changed in the last ten or so years.
When I met Sarah ten years ago she used to have three main daily activities, besides studying, of course:
• Moaning and complaining;
• Gossiping, smoking and drinking coffee as one single activity.
• Swearing like a drunk sailor.
Besides, she could be really weird. For example, Sarah does this sophisticated funny faces. She can, for instance, move parts of her face without moving the rest of them. She would raise her eyebrow; or wink, for example without affecting the rest of her face. [Sarah, could you please show them? Thanks]
So, when we became friends, Sarah was this complaining, smoking, gossiping, skinny girl who could wink like a ventriloquist doll at will. Frankly, she could be quite scary and didn’t seem to have many friends there. Now that I think of it, I guess we became friends quickly because I felt sorry for her.
But it didn’t take me too long to realize how misleading these surface characteristics were. After spending some time with Sarah, you get a different picture of what she is really like.
Nevermind the moaning and complaining. It’ s just the way she communicates with people. Sarah can actually complain as a way to say that she likes something.
As to the gossiping trait, well, if you ever spend some time gossiping with Sarah, you will realize that, although it looks and sounds like gossiping, it is actually a sophisticated way of analyzing human behaviour.
The swearing is just her natural talent for languages. The interesting thing here is that Sarah can swear more than anybody else I know in TWO DIFFERENT LANGUAGES. In fact, at this point, she has probably exhausted the two languages and what you can listen to sometimes is a combination of English and Spanish swearing AT THE SAME TIME, which is a major linguistic achievement. Would you believe that, with this background, our dear Sarah has obtained two degrees in Language and Linguistics? Oh, well, I’m just looking forward to seeing what she does when she learns Punjabi.
Now, once you go beyond these traits, anyway, you will see what Sarah actually is a very brave, committed, bright woman AND with the best sense of humour. The rest of this speech will be devoted to prove this (difficult as it may be).
We were in our third year at uni, her mother, Karen, took her to this trip to Miami, where Karen had to attend this workshop facilitated by this guy, Khal.
She came back and we met for drinks because she HAD to tell me about this colleague of her mom that she had met. She was a little bit confused because she had never met a man that had made her laugh so much. But…, he was older and he was her mom’s colleague. Now, this is Sarah at her best: she was not concerned about whether she liked him or not (which she did) but rather whether she SHOULD like him or not.
I asked her, what is he like? And she said: “he has long, grey hair, he uses these big shirts, and he has an Elvis Presley mouth”. So basically I had this picture of a sort of guru that had hypnotized my friend. And after a year or so, they met in London when Sarah and I came to England to teach Spanish. And that was also the first time I met this Khal guy. He had to travel from Manchester to London for a meeting and we met. Of course, I was not there as a friend only. I had been given very clear instructions in order to evaluate his behaviour and report back my opinion to Sarah about him. My first impression was:
a) he’s not a guru, which is ok,
b) he’s really funny,
c) What’s with the long hair?
d) He not only has got Presley’s mouth, he also has George Clooney’s eyes.
When Sarah came here to settle down with Kahl, we were all nervous about how things were going to turn out, with Sarah living in a different country just after finishing university, with no friends in the UK at the time. And I have already given you an idea of how hard it was for her not to scare potential friends.
Gladly, as you can guess from this celebration, everything went ok since then. It wasn’t easy, though. It took patience, courage, stubbornness and strength. And that also describes our Sarah. Her wedding celebration is a proof of this. Because of geographical reasons, our friends have had to celebrate their wedding four times, since January, in different parts of Chile and England. Strictly speaking, these people haven’t had a wedding day, because they have been getting married since January.
But that hasn’t been the toughest part of it. Sarah left her family in Chile and, if you don’t know her family and you haven’t seen Sarah with them, you will have no idea of how brave a decision she made when she came to England and how profound is her love for the man she has married.
It’s really amazing how we can make small decisions in our lives without imagining how they will change them forever.
• Sarah almost didn’t start uni with me because she wanted to study a different subject.
• If she hadn’t felt miserable by the time Karen had to go to Miami, she wouldn’t have invited her.
• And even though she was the best student at the university, they didn’t want to send her to the UK as Spanish assistant because some teachers considered “she was already British enough and she would not benefit from this experience.” In the end, the other selected student was actually not elegible and she was given the place, with the vote of Daniel, who at that time was our assistant teacher (and nothing else, mind YOU). She could only then come to the UK. It was then that her relationship with Kahl blossomed. You can see that as a benefit, right?
• Khal was living in Manchester at the time and if he hadn’t got a job in London by then they would have probably lost contact.
• If she hadn’t fixed me up in a semi blind date with Daniel, my also grey haired older-than-me husband (yeah, I know, you can see a pattern there, right?) I wouldn’t be happily married.
• That same husband got a scholarship to do his PHD in England and that has allowed me to be here giving this speech for my best friend at her wedding day celebration.
Small decisions have made my life and Sarah’s part of the same life. She has opened the doors of her life and her familiy to me and Daniel and we can only feel grateful and honoured for it.
So, if you could raise you glasses please.
This is for Sarah and Khal and to the life they have built with love, patience and courage. We are all very lucky to be here tonight, we are all immensely happy to share your happiness.
This is the best part of the journey, this finally IS happily ever after. You deserve it. Cheers.