Wednesday, June 13, 2007

The story of how I met Aldy

Inspired by Random Kath's moving tale of her grandfather and hopefully giving Maidink something to read while she waits for JT; here is my story on how I met Aldy, a friend who worked in the Congo and now lives in Urguagy.

It was the winter of 2005 (how's that for a cliched start?). I was on my London boy kick (read obsession), flying back and forth every weekend to see my infatuation. I arrived at Dulles Airport at about 5pm, to find the British Airways 6pm flight pretty booked - the ticket agent said she would roll me over to the 9:30pm flight's stand-by list. Taking stock of the situation, I realized there was a good possibility that I would not make the 9:30 flight, so I hightailed it over to United.

There was a line at the United International departures counter, but having some time to wait, I was not pressed. Standing in line, observing the slowness of the ticket agents either I or the lady in front of me made a comment. This got both of us talking and with such a general conversation, we included the woman behind me - Aldy. Feeling like a big shot I asked both women where they were flying too: the woman in front to Argentina to go skiing, Aldy to Philadelphia, coming home from the Congo! Properly put in my place....I was amazed at Aldy's admission! She was the first person I had ever met who had been to the Congo - fascinating! (come on lets be honest its not a part of the world that is frequented by many).

It seems Aldy had majored in French in college and went to work for a French aid organization in Kinshasa after graduation. I had a million questions for her (particularly as my television show "ER" had just featured the situation in the Congo).

Aldy was very kind - answering all my questions, "what's it like in the Congo?" "Are the portrayals on tv of the situation accurate?" "how dangerous is it?" "Any hope for the future?" "How bad did the Belgium's mess it up?" "Which aid agencies actually help and which are not helpful?"

She than gave me her business card - said to email her. I bet she thought she would never hear from me again. But instead after my jount to London (I made the BA 9:30pm flight btw, the last person on the stand-by list to get a seat, a number of people behind me were turned away), I emailed her. And from there we began a correspondence.

I've followed her adventures in the Congo, even sending her a People magazine (thought with all the sadness in the Congo she could use some fluffy reading) to her brief stay in the States before moving to Urguagy. She leads such a fascinating life and is so kind to constantly keep in touch and to fufill my curiosity of living in these places. One day she is going to write a book and I'm going to be at her first reading, I can't wait...till than I'm satisfied with being able to call her friend.

sidenote - guess who was on my Boston to DC flight on Monday...John Kerry!!! I didn't say anything, though I was dying too.


Blogger mommanator said...

Sounds like you are enjoying your summer job! Sounds so interesting!

10:31 AM  
Blogger JoeinVegas said...

YOu can meet fascinating people if you just talk to them.

11:47 AM  
Blogger Brenda said...

A wonderful story of how you met your friend Aldy!! Sometimes we meet friends in the most unlikely places.

2:02 PM  
Blogger Virginia Gal said...

Mommantor - oh I'm loving it! It is so much fun and I think once this class is over I can really throw myself at the job.

Joe - so true, so true.

Brenda - Isn't that amazing, how the world seems so big but can be small at times? I love telling this story, because of how it turned out (nice ending).

8:36 AM  
Blogger Zelda Parker said...

It's so cool that you travel so much. I have never been across the big pond and according to one coworker that means I'v never been on a vaction!

6:58 PM  
Blogger Virginia Gal said...

Zelda - pish posh, that doesn't mean you've never been on a vacation but if you did go I'm sure you would love it! Put it down on your to do list : )

11:32 PM  
Blogger CS said...

Tiny little world, in a good way. You gained a friend because you were open to that possibility - well done!

8:04 PM  

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