November 17, 2015

Friends

Whilst, I left behind some amazing friends, I was lucky enough to meet some great people along the way and form some brilliant connections. I feel immensely lucky and blessed to have so many warm, kind hearted, loving, caring, inspiring and funny friends in my life.

I was lucky enough to live with Suzi for a year and a half. I met her through Seema, they were both studying Law at UCL. Both Suzi and I wanted to move out, the only difference was that my family lived in Kent and hers in north London. We both craved independence and wanted to experience living in London outside our family home. Whilst I had moved out previously, when I was studying social work, it was just as hard to move out again. I could no longer use the argument that I wanted to experience something new because it wasn’t new. Truthfully, once you have had a taste of freedom, you want to go back for more. I had changed and well there was no going back.

I moved in with Suzi and it was one of the best decisions I made. We are alike in many ways, both of us are pretty chilled out, calm and caring. We ensured the flat was clean and respected each other’s privacy.  We gave each space but company when we needed it. I would come back from work and share my work day and my dreams.  Suzi is kind soul, she listened and gave me plenty of advice. She never judged me or criticised me. She was supportive about my dreams no matter how ridiculous they may seem to the average person. She encouraged me to wear heels more often, to change up my wardrobe and not be afraid of trying something new.  She is a very grounded and determined young women, striving and achieving many great things. I know she will go very far in life. I miss rambling to her and most of all I miss her positive energy. 

Suzi and I

Suzi and I

During my first placement, I had the opportunity of working with Yvette. She was an amazing domestic violence advocate and it didn’t take long for us to become friends. She helped me in more ways then one.  She taught me a great deal about the profession and how to look after myself and deliver in stressful situations. She also helped me learn a great about myself.  I was a shy, self-conscious women who grew into a confident, out-spoken advocate thanks to her.  She encouraged me to do more, to expand my comfort zone and to face things I found challenging.  She reassured me, was patient, understanding and non-judgemental. I excelled during my placement because of her and the skills I gained equipped me for years to come.

When I started my job in 2010, I met more amazing and supportive people who later became my family. They say the people we surround ourselves with has a great impact on our lives so we may as well surround ourselves with great people. I learnt a great deal from Caroline, who I initially met during my placement. She is a fountain of knowledge and so supportive.  Having previously been a counsellor, she was able to integrate her skills when working with clients.  She is friendly, funny and chilled out member of our team. She was great at planning socials and meet ups outside of work. I miss sharing a cuppa with her.

Caroline and I

Caroline and I

I was interviewed by and later worked alongside Thien. She is nothing but a ball of joy, so knowledgeable, polite and organised. We often worked over time together but regardless of the amount of work, we always manage to crack jokes and have a laugh. Thien continues to be a great inspiration and whilst she hates me complimenting her, I will do just that. Her dedication, drive and commitment towards her client and for the job was admirable.  She taught me to hold my tongue, to be better prepared and how to stay on top of my caseload.  She pays attention to details, she’s fair and works very hard. At the same time, she is a great laugh, we shared numerous moments of pure laughter. I was lucky enough to travel to Ireland, with Thien, in March 2013. It was a great experience, we are different, she doesn’t drink for instance but doesn’t stop me from drinking. We have just as much fun while she’s sober. There is this misconception that you need alcohol to have a good time, you don’t, I’ve had bags of fun with people and there hasn’t been a drop of alcohol. I miss sharing my fears and crazy adventures with Thien.  She is amongst a handful of people who isn’t jealous of others, she makes the most of what she has and is content with where she is in life. She makes the most of the here and now. She was more excited then I when I told her I was going to volunteer in Vietnam.  It was also her who reassured me that I was doing the right thing.

Thien and I

Thien and I

I met and worked along Albina, another great member of our team.  She was in the field for a couple of years and was very organised and determined to grow within the field. Whilst initially she was a little shy, we became friends and continue to be friends until today.  I love how honest and dedicated she is to clients. And again, she is someone who I could let my hair down with.  As they say, you work hard, you play hard.  Our job as an advocate wasn’t easy but we learnt to take a break, to switch off and unwind which is important in such a profession. I miss dancing the night away with Albina.

Albina and I

Albina and I

I was lucky enough to meet and become friends with Alejandra, who also worked at the same organisation but different department.  She is a life coached and in turn was able to give me sound advice. She is very kind and caring. It was thanks to her that I learnt about The Change Network, an organisation which focuses on transformational leadership. She encouraged me to apply for this course and this one week changed my life immensely.  I met and worked with like minded young individuals, completed team tasks while also having the time to reflect and discuss my thoughts and actions. I had the time to stop, to breath, to mediate, to think and most importantly, to just be. I learnt a great deal about myself over this week and I saw my confidence grow. Since completing this course in 2012, I have continuously recommended it to family and friends. It really is a transformational week which will change your life.  I would never have completed such a course if it hadn’t been for Alejandra. 

Alejandra and I

Alejandra and I

After a year, I worked with another organisation which was in the same field. It was here that I met and worked alongside Katelenia. She was a breath of fresh air in our team, so warm, bubbly and positive. Her positive energy rubbed off onto our team.  She was very patient and understanding towards both her clients and the team. She was supportive and caring towards everyone in the team. She was also a good laugh and she like me, also had studied whilst working full time.  

Race for Life 2012 - with Caroline, Katelenia, myself and Pinky

Race for Life 2012 – with Caroline, Katelenia, myself and Pinky

Another amazing friend and advocate who joined our team was Klaudia.  It was clear from the beginning that she was both experienced and able to lead members in our team. She is great at  multi-tasking and dedicated to her clients. It didn’t take long for us to become good friends.  We have a connection, a understanding between us, she gets me and my life and me hers. She doesn’t judge my decisions but gives sound advice and whilst I’ve been away for over two years, I know that she is only a phone call away.  She has listened to me at un-godly hours of the morning on her way to the gym. Despite the distance and the time difference, we have managed to stay in contact which has been great.  I know she has my back and I have hers.  She is perfect to me: quick witted, sarcastic, funny, loud, intelligent, driven, honest, open minded, caring, reliable and kind hearted. What more could one ask for or want in a friend? 

Race for Life 2012 - with Claudia and Pinky

Race for Life 2012 – with Claudia and Pinky

It wasn’t long before we had Aurelia join us and again it wasn’t long before we became good friends.  Aurelia is chilled out, well travelled and focused on what she wants. She is understanding and patient. We have shared many a stories and she has given me sound advice each time. She is another friend who has my back. She was the one encouraging me on when I told her I was leaving for Vietnam. It was also her who told me that perhaps I would decide to travel and continue on the road for a year.  She continues to give me advice despite the fact that I’m a million miles away.  I hope day I can be there for her, I hope I am just as supportive and understanding as she has been. 

Just another day in the office - with Aurelia, Maneek, Pinky and Claudia

Just another day in the office – with Aurelia, Maneek, Pinky and Claudia

Whilst visiting friends in Serbia in 2013, I met and made more friends.  In particular, I became very good friends with Maya, one of my friends cousin. She is a little older then myself, hard working and determined to make the most of her life. It didn’t take us very long to become good friends. She is very funny, charming and confident.  She has lived and continues to chase her dreams. No matter what hurdles come in her way, she works hard to over come them. She is also more of a doer, she doesn’t just sit and plan, rather she seizes the day.  She is another friend whom I’ve shared these last two years with. Despite the time difference, we’ve managed to remain in contact.  We have shared a great many stories, laughed heaps and given one another advice.  I know we will be friends for a long time yet.  I wish I could share a coffee with you, my friend.

Exit festival, Serbia 2013 with Maya

Exit festival, Serbia 2013 with Maya

Whilst completing my second placement, I met some amazing social workers, one of whom was Mrytle. She was retiring when I was starting my placement in Camden after having been a social worker for thirty five years. She is a force, a beautiful, kind, knowledgeable women who continues to serve and hell those around her. For me, Mrytle, is my auntie, someone I can share my thoughts and worries with.  She has helped me in numerous ways which I will forever be grateful for. She was also one of the few who explained the importance of travelling.  Having travelled so much herself, she emphasised the importance of visiting a city and sensing the energy of the people.  Also, it was her who spoke about the importance of connecting with things we can not see or hold but sense. Mrytle has an amazing appetite and appreciation of life which is contagious.