27 Nov 2017

What if... Remembering how I got here

Portes et fenêtres-4
This morning, I went to my flickr site, and discovered some of my pictures from 2008 end November Going to the discovery of the places around my relatively new apartment, building, street, with my camera. New in London, new in England.

Suddenly, I realised: "what if?"

Going towards the church, again. One day when I felt the most alone, an unknown woman inside hold my hand. I am not religious but that linked me to it. Going back one day, end November, in the entrance I chatted with a man, he listened.

I remember so well. "Come in!" No, thank you. Then we begun to speak, or rather he listened to me. At one time I told him: what I am really looking for is to find a Toastmasters Club in London. I have been toastmasters all those years ago in Washington DC and I would like to find them now, again.

His face illuminated: I am the President of one of them! Not so far from here. We meet every other Wednesday. I could even drive you to our next meeting. Philip, still drives me to the meeting, after all this years, and when I was worst with my leg, broken, he even come up the stairs to make sure I get home well. We had different opinions on one thing or other during all theses years, but then we agree, with a smile, to disagree. The understanding between us still there.

What would have happened if I did not get there that day, 2008 ? Ages ago. So many things happened to me since then, but Toastmasters changed my life, gave it a goal and purpose, a tribe with different people. A place, in London now with more then 60 clubs, to tell my stories. To help and be helped. 

It was another accident, falling in my own bathroom on a bit of water that got my left leg and foot broken in five places. I was named Division Governor just a week before, and staying in my bed, not able to move outside the room, even go to the window, when I discovered Online Toastmaster club! What if... they also changed my life again. 

I was asked this morning: "how could you finish two path so fast?" 
Nowadays, I am full time Toastmaster.

I am now in 7 clubs paid member: 3 are 100% online, one is still the one Philip takes me twice a month, nearby, and three others Pathways Region clubs I join Remote. Beside those, I visit, help and speak into other 5 smaller clubs, Precharter or Struggling, through Remote Access. I did roles, helping out, now even Coaching, Sponsoring, and yes, I can ask for a speech there too when I am ready. 

Each club, has its own charm. I did know so many wonderful people (and a few only less) through Toastmasters! And because the 100% are Global, all over the word! Learned so much and realised how really round our earth is, with springtime now in New Zealand and already snowing around Vancouver in Canada! No seasons in Philippines but just a while ago an awful Typhoon. In Mauritius, one of our toastmasters showed us his newborn son, and from Australia, another her young daughter before then went to swimming lessons. Through online, as often we meet from our home, it seems even more intimate then when I go to Lewisham speakers in London. I learned more from many of them also through one to one online chat. 

I felt very alone in 2008, even with my son and his family not far away, I don't have time to feel alone any more. My Mentee got through Level 2 just writing me about it, and Magda send me a link about how to evaluate better a blog. How to write more compelling. This blog post is not about Pathways, yet in a way it is. Reminding me, perhaps you too, how much being together, listening really to each other, having a place to meet can change our lives.

1 comment:

Magda said...

In this blog I felt more emotionally invested. “One day when I felt most alone…” I know what is like to feel alone in a new country. One the one hand it is exciting and on the other hand one miss human connection. I have experienced this when we moved to New Zealand as well as when we lived in Chesterfield in England. Then there is the kind gesture of the lady in the Church. I can almost imagine the feeling of warmth from on soul to another.

“What if…” Julie is asking. What if we don’t take that next step? What if we keep to ourselves and miss wonderful opportunities. Julie is not a passive character in her story. She is taking the step into the unknown. Then she find it is a blessing. She describes the intimacy of online Toastmaster connections. I feel the same way. People who say that you can’t build honest, strong relationships over the Internet have not yet experienced what we have.

I can truly also say, I don’t feel lonely anymore. One can be lonely within your greater family or circle of friends. There is just something about the Toastmaster bond that is so authentic. It is sharing heart to heart. That is what we do. That is what Julie is writing about. We are all in this together and with the Online clubs, we share heart to heart.