What happened last October 30 overawed me. Was it a desirable coincidence? Was it pure luck? Was it the work of what my Polish student calls an “angel” (a word she uses when a fortunate situation passes my way)? Whereas, my French friend said: “C’est magique”. I have no way to test these suppositions, so I have decided to share this story with you; you might have ideas about it too.
I was scheduled to be interviewed by the co-founder of the podcast “Qui a peur du feminisme” (Who is scared of feminism) at 7 pm. At 6:25, I got a text from a former student’s daughter saying they had left something outside our apartment door. When I opened the door, they had gone.
I put the paper bag under my desk and resumed practising my pronunciation of French words that I was likely to use during the interview. (Though I live in France, I hardly use this tricky language). The interview was on Zoom; at 6:50, I started to have a mixed feeling of anxiousness and boredom. So, I opened the bag and was surprisingly glad to see a beautifully wrapped t-shirt with the phrase “Excuse my French”. I put this t-shirt on right away, just on time for the interview. How appropriate for the occasion!
My former student’s family saw this t-shirt while shopping in Metz and thought of me. They decided to go out of their way to drop it in my place. Only my husband knew that I would be interviewed that evening, and he didn’t tell them.
Coincidences are ubiquitous; I am sure you’ve experienced these too. What do you consider a coincidence and not? A coincidence can be described as a remarkable concurrence of events without a visible causal connection. Can you explain coincidences? I can’t, so there’s nothing more I can say here. Instead, I’m going to translate the first and last questions of that interview.
Rolade, hello and welcome. Could you explain to our listeners why you define yourself as a citizen of the world?
The Earth is my home; it is the same Earth where everyone lives. This Earth is our world – the world of all peoples and countries. The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the interconnectedness of nations. It’s like being in a boat: if one part sinks, the other part will also sink sooner or later. We have the right to be in this boat (our world), but we also have the responsibility to keep it floating. What can sink this boat are: environmental degradation, war and conflicts, poverty, illiteracy, injustices, crimes, and other societal ills. As a world citizen, I think globally but act locally.
(If I were to answer this question now, I would include positive identification and belongingness).
One last question. In this podcast, we like to highlight women. Can you briefly tell us a woman who is a role model for you?
The first one that comes to mind is my former work supervisor, who became a friend. Barbara Young was an Australian who dedicated her life to helping non-governmental organisations, especially those caring for children (such as Save the Children Fund), refugees and women.
My model is not a woman but women. I wish I could put all their exceptional traits together. All women who think globally but act locally, like you, Marie Pierre. You and your friend started this podcast to advance women’s causes, and that’s admirable. (Of course, there are women on the international stage who actively combat poverty, inequality, illnesses, environmental concerns, etc. They are many and commendable)
My late mother’s my model for her kindness and forgiveness of those who had hurt her.
This year’s Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Maria Ressa from the Philippines, caught my attention. A courageous, intelligent and humble woman, like her, is my model.
I admire generous female bosses and managers and those who help their fellow women progress in their careers.
In closing, I would like to say that I believe there is something precious in every woman, in each of us, in all your listeners. We have to dig the wonders in each of us. With these wonderful attributes, we can be better global citizens.