A couple of months ago, I was on the train in London, going for a job interview for the first time in the City in more than a decade. A hundred emotions raged in me as I sat on the train going from Clapham to the City…namely, what am I doing here? I have a good life and was under no pressure to get a job, certainly not a demanding one. I was, in likelihood, older than most of the commuters on the train. So what was I doing on this train?

As the train pulled into Vauxhall, I felt the clamouring emotions stilling suddenly. A strange calm washed over me.  Yet, I have never been in Vauxhall station.

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But this is why. A long time ago, as we drove past Vauxhall station, my much-loved friend from Georgia said, “That’s the dumbest name ever for a train station.”

Me: ‘Why?”

He: “Because it’s a tautology.  Vauxhall has come to mean railway station in Russian, though its original meaning is pleasure garden.”

I smiled, remember how academic and fiercely intelligent he is. On my lap was this book, which brings back all the stories he told me about his eccentric grandmother:

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In London’s many secondhand bookshops (one of the things I love most about the city), I subconsciously seek out books that bring me back to the heart-warming tales of his childhood. It takes me to a warm, lovely place whenever my mind turns to him.

Similarly, when I got the job (against all odds) weeks later and the congratulations came flooding in, one that made me feel confident was from someone who supported me emotionally, mentally and intellectually many years ago in Jakarta. I feel warmth whenever I think of those days, especially of his tired face after a long day at work, sitting at the clinic I was working in, to support me. He knows how hard I have strived and his faith in me is very meaningful: he had walked by my side and seen me at my worst. Yet his faith in me never wavered.

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We all have the power to affect people’s lives. We can’t help it. It’s part of energy exchange, part of the creation of memories and life stories. We become part of someone’s rich tapestry of life. It’s amazing how the little things we do or say can have such huge consequences in other people’s lives. For a long time, I felt like there was a lead balloon holding down my heart because someone told me a lot of painful things. But I am blessed that there are many wonderful people out there who filled that wound with beautiful things.

So be that someone to lift others ❤

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