This is the beginning of the series #ToldorUntold, where Joanna from Jo’s Life Collage and I will collect a number of told or untold stories revolving around a select theme. Some of these stories are from our lives and some are from those who are kind enough to let us in on theirs. We hope to empower others to share their stories, to bring to light different perspectives and to bring people closer together through understanding and empathy.
Each series will consist of a theme to weave the micro stories together. By documenting and bringing light to each story, we hope to give each one its spotlight, to honour and respect that experience as is. Often times we can get stuck in our own narrative so I invite you to immerse yourself in someone else’s lens for a few minutes.
The inaugural theme is First Meeting. First impressions are often formed within 7 seconds of contact hence these interactions have the potential to become significant moments in our lives. It could be a blind date, an introduction to a life-long friend or an encounter with a stranger that has a lasting impact on you. I hope you will enjoy reading these stories and consider sharing yours one day.
“As the bell rang for recess, the classmates I just met motioned for me to join them. Everything was going to be alright, I thought.”
I arrived at the doorsteps of my new elementary school. I had just moved to Vancouver a month prior and I was excited to get back to school. I have always enjoyed going to school because it meant I got to spend time with my friends. When my teacher saw me, she lit up with a smile and introduced me to the class. I sat down at a table next to three other classmates. They asked me a question and suddenly it dawned on me that I didn’t speak a word of English. I fumbled for words but thankfully, they just laughed it off. As the bell rang for recess, the classmates I just met motioned for me to join them. I delightfully followed them to the playground. Everything was going to be alright, I thought. It had been a difficult transition culturally, but also at the time my parents were in a rocky stage in their relationship. They had been discussing getting a divorce and things were getting heated at home. School was my only sanctuary.
The next day, I followed my new friends out to the field. As soon as they stepped foot on the field, they started to pick up pace. I followed, thinking it was a game, but they never stopped. Instead, they kept running further away from me and the distance between us grew. I kept going not comprehending what was happening. Suddenly, I caught the look on their faces as they looked back at me a few feet away motioning for me not to follow them. My heart sank. I stopped chasing. Since that day, I stopped going to the playground or going out for recess at all. I hid in the washroom stalls to save myself from rejection.
A year later, my family moved again to a different school district which gave me new beginning. This time I started the term in September with the rest of my classmates and made lots of new friends. I was no longer the “new kid” in class and I had picked up enough English to carry on conversation. I was in a good place. A few months later, a new student joined us. I approached her and introduced myself. She told me that she just moved here from Iraq. She didn’t speak a lot of English but seemed very nice. I found out that she was bilingual and spoke a langue called Arabic which I had never heard of at the time. We chatted for awhile and was interrupted and the sound of the recess bell blaring through the halls. She paused, expecting our conversation to end. As my other classmates called my name from the doorway. I asked her, “hey would you like to come hang out with us at the playground?”
Shared by CC
“Sometimes the most random, shortest meetings can have a big impact on your life.”
I didn’t get a lifelong friend or acquaintance out of it, but I’d like to think that it helped with jump starting my interest in self improvement. Before then, I was just going through the motions. I had a steady job, I hung out with friends, I had some vague idea of what I wanted to do but no idea of how I actually wanted to go about achieving my goals.
It wasn’t even a planned meeting, I was just going to a Chapters, checking out some books in the history section when a stranger noted my interest in the subject and chatted with me. It turned out that he was also interested in history and we made some small talk. He introduced himself as Tony, and he told me that he was a self employed businessman who specialized in life coaching. It was then that he recommended to me a book that would get me started on the self development path, “The Slight Edge” by Jeff Olsen. He really sold me on the power of self improvement through little steps each day, and even took me to a few seminars that he and his colleagues ran. I didn’t get all the answers from him but I think it got me started on finding them and I’ve been a big believer in the power of habit ever since.
Since we were kids, we were all taught to be distrustful of strangers, and I do agree to a degree you should be careful, but this experience also changed that perspective for me. I don’t think you should feel discouraged from speaking to others, for all you know the smallest gestures that can change your life or put someone else’s on the right course.
Shared and written by Jason C at Channel Chan
“The more we got to know each other, we realized that we had a lot in common together.”
A few years ago I was looking to apply to an internal posting at my company. The position was for another team so I thought I would talk to a few people to get some intel. H was working on that team at the time and I’ve met him a few times before. Once he heard I was interested, he voluntarily offered up insight and advice. He really stuck out because of his willingness to help. Since then, we stayed in touch and got together for coffee every now and then.
The more we got to know each other, we realized that we had a lot in common together. We lived and grew up in the same city, were the same age and both in a relationship. Hilarity ensued when we realized that we had similar anniversary dates and that our girlfriends also had previous connections. Richmond is a small city but every time we run into each other at the mall or spot each other’s cars in the parking lot we would have a good laugh about it. It was our ongoing inside joke. Somehow, I couldn’t help but feel like I’ve met this guy before. People talk about how they can meet someone for the first time and feel like they’ve known each other forever. But I knew that wasn’t it. He also had a unique name and I recalled meeting someone with the same name years back.
One day, something struck me. I rummaged through my stack of old photos and there it was. Next day, I walked to his office and slapped down a photo on his desk. It was a class photo from our elementary school and there we were. Turns out our paths did indeed cross in our younger days. We met in Gr. 1 but I moved to a different school shortly after that. And here we are, reconnecting 10 years later. They say people grow apart but it’s cool that some people can go their separate ways and somehow find their paths converging years later.
Shared by Anonymous
Read more #ToldorUntold stories at Jo Life Collage.
We would love to hear your story. If you would like to share your story, feel free to contact me directly or DM me on Facebook or Instagram @huesthatGRL. With your permission I will share your stories in First Meetings [Part II].