Today is a very special day because of a very special person- Rachel Park. First, happy birthday Park! I wish you all the best in everything you do from NCC to FPS to OM to Geog RA and I just want to emphasize at this point that it takes a lot for me to remember even all that about anyone, so be thankful.
Let me take a walk down memory lane with you, sharing the story I have with this very special junior:
NOTE: the photos don’t necessarily tally with whatever I’m talking about, they are just pictures I ripped off our Friendship page where we share many many photos and I found these ones in particular my favourite.
Chapter 1: Meeting Park
I met Park this year thanks to Odyssey of the Mind, causing us to land up in the same team. And in the picture above is me at worlds with Clarissa and Park, just reaching MSU in the bus and Ms. Chan attempting to explain to us some expectations while we just woke up from our naps. Clarissa and Park happen to be the two new OMers in my team, causing slight worry at first because it’s always hard to come to terms with everything OM throws you on the first year, but these two kids coped with them as well as, if not better than, any other senior team OMer who had been in OM before. Every time they stepped up to take initiative or bravely stepped forth in face of a challenge, they appeased my worry that much more and for all those instances, I give them my utmost respect.
Chapter 2: Problems with Park
There were a thousand things I couldn’t understand about Park: from ‘How can she be so obnoxious?’ to ‘How can she be so certain about this?’ or ‘Why wouldn’t she let go of this idea?’ Here’s a short flashback- once upon a time, we had a brilliant idea related to gears (and now I promise you this word mentioned sends shivers down our spines). It consisted of computing formulas online for gear templates, copying them onto ply wood and using a scroll saw machine to cut the gear out of wood. OH YES, not forgetting nailing down the gears together and sanding all their edges tooth by tooth to figure out why (the hell) the gears weren’t spinning.
It’s the sort of ideas that works perfectly in theory but it honest load of tedious nonsense work to get through with no guarantee that it would work. It didn’t. But it tooks months of trying because we wouldn’t give up, and Park held onto the idea with her life, I couldn’t understand.
And that’s just one example, that I now understand as her display of a kind of perseverance and willpower I don’t remember seeing elsewhere.
Chapter 3: Hate
The number of arguments we have had over the course of working has been countless; each time because we couldn’t understand each other or simply because we couldn’t stand each other. She couldn’t stand my lack of trust in letting her do things like I couldn’t understand her stubborn ignorance at times. We would skype on nights like this and talk over the things that we did upsetting each other, sometimes ending in frustration and tears.
But I promise with each conversation like this, I understood her a little more.
Chapter 4: Understanding
But I guess as time went by, because we spent almost 8 hours every day together, we started to make compromises, and seek understanding. We found a connection like no other through listening a little more than talking and trying a little more than just imagining. There was an unofficial support system that came about where we took combined ownership in every decision we negotiated and made together.
And when we are working we become the most serious invincible force in the DnT.
Chapter 5: Serious Invincible Force
I don’t think I talked about this before, but together with me, learning how to love DnT and its tools and people is this special girl. We learned everything the various tools could do and how to love them, we learned that showing the managers love naturally brought us love and encouragement from them. And everyday without fail, we were there to clean up on behalf of everyone or direct the others of the OM family in cleaning up, spreading that love we had now learned.
Chapter 6: Telepathy
And I must mention there’s a special connection that we share that I share with little- I call it telepathy because that’s exactly what it is. After working with someone for long, you start to understand and know things without saying. We could exchange ideas without even describing and we could work together sharing tools while thinking for each other like second nature.
I don’t think I can describe it completely, but you’ll know it when you see us working.
Chapter 7: Thank you
So at this point I’d like to say a big thank you, because just as It’s Not Easy to Be My Friend, it’s even harder to be my teammate and stand all the perks of working with me under high pressure. You’ve been both Park, and you’ve taught me as much as I have taught you, loved me as much as I have loved you. I’ll always be here for you and our story makes me overwhelm with gratitude to have met you this year. Thanks for being who you are and thanks for coming this far with me. You’re irreplaceable.