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  • Writer's pictureKristina Lang

A British-Spanish, German and Croatian friendship/Britansko-španjolsko, njemačko i hrvatsko prijate

Last weekend I hosted two friends, Helena and Frank. When, 17 years ago, I applied for a job in the group of a top world scientist, and at the time the only woman in the position of Professor at the Department of Chemistry, I read the group's scientific papers. Helena was a group member, and it was her name that immediately caught my eye. At the job interview I mentioned to my future boss that I wanted to meet Helena because I admired her scientific research. I did not know at the time that Helena’s father was Spanish, and her mother English. Because of her Spanish surname, I somehow created the image in advance that Helena was a foreigner, like me. So that first day I met her, I was surprised by her perfect spoken English and British behaviour. For me, Helena was also the first British woman that I truly and permanently loved and admired. This deep and true friendship has been going on for 17 years now.

Given that our boss, who was also British, had a typical British way of dealing with us which was often quite indirect, sometimes in those early years I found myself in situations where I wasn't sure if I understood what was said to me. My English was already solid then, but it was a cultural category of British behaviour and communication that still confused me. In these early years I would come to Helena with the question, "I said "this", then the boss said "that", what did she really mean?” Helena helped me a lot to better understand my surroundings, and even today I gladly listen to her opinion and advice.

When I started working in the group, Frank had already left it, but he returned often, so I met him very soon after I started working. Frank and Helena were close friends, so I quickly became close to Frank. The two of us have never worked in the same group, but through almost two decades our meetings have not stopped. A few years ago, Helena, Frank and I started a WhatsApp group through which we are often in contact. Today, Helena lives in Oxford working on the proofreading and editing of scientific papers. Frank is a professor at the University of Leeds.

They were both my guests last weekend. We spent a wonderful two days together and visited the surroundings of the royal Sandringham Palace and the nearby beach. I thoroughly enjoyed that wonderful time with my friends and I hope we will repeat our meeting soon.


Love,

Kristina

Friday, October 21st, 2022


Photographer/Fotograf: Frank


Photographer/Fotograf: Kristina


Britansko-španjolsko, njemačko i hrvatsko prijateljstvo


Prošli vikend bila sam domaćin za dvoje prijatelja Helenu i Franka. Kad sam se pred 17 godina natjecala za posao u grupi jedne vrhunske svjetske znanstvenice i tada jedine žene na poziciji profesora na Odsjeku za Kemiju, Sveučilista u Cambridgeu, čitala sam znanstvene radove grupe. Helena je bila član te grupe i odmah mi je zapelo za oko njezino ime. Već sam na razgovoru za posao napomenula svojoj budućoj šefici da želim upoznati Helenu jer se divim njezinim znanstvenim rezultatima. Helena je po ocu Španjolka, a po mami Engleskinja, ali ja to tada nisam znala. Zbog španjolskog prezimena ja sam nekako unaprijed stvorila sliku da se radi o došljaku u Englesku, poput mene. Tako sam taj prvi dan čim sam upoznala Helenu ostala iznenađena jer je ona progovorila savršenim engleskim koji niti na koji način nije indicirao došljaka, već pravu Britanku. I po načinu ophođenja Helena je rekla bih stopostotna Britanka, a za mene i prva Britanka koju sam iskreno i trajno zavoljela. To duboko i istinsko prijateljstvo traje već 17 godina.

Obzirom da nam je šefica, isto Britanka, imala način ophođenja koji je zapravo vrlo tipično britanski i često indirektan, ponekad sam se u tim ranim godinama našala u situacijama da nisam bila sigurna dali sam dobro razumjela ono sto mi je rečeno. Moj je engleski tada bio solidan, ali radilo se o kulturološkoj kategoriji britanskog ophođenja i komunikacije koji su me tada još zbunjivali. Došla bi Heleni sa pitanjem “Ja sam rekla “ovo”, onda je šefica rekla “ono”, šta je zapravo mislila?” Helena mi je puno pomogla da bolje razumijem svoju okoliku, a i danas rado poslušam njezino mišljenje i savjete.

Kad sam počela raditi u toj grupi, Frank je već iz nje izašao, ali često se vraćao i tako sam ga vrlo brzo nakon sto sam počela raditi i upoznala. Frank i Helena su bili bliski prijatelji, pa sam se nekako i ja brzo zbližila sa Frankom. Nas dvoje nismo nikada radili u istoj grupi, ali kroz gotovo dvije decenije naši susreti nisu prestali. Pred koju godinu Helena, Frank i ja smo osnovali WhatsApp grupu kroz koju smo često u kontaktu. Helena danas živi u Oxfordu i bavi se korekcijom i editiranjem znanstvenih radova. Frank je professor na Sveučilistu u Leedsu.

Protekli su vikend oboje bili moji gosti. Proveli smo divna dva dana zajedno i posjetli smo okolicu kraljevskog dvora Sandrigham i obližnju plažu. Uživala sam u tom divnom druženju sa mojim prijateljima i veselim se budućim susretima.


S ljubavlju,

Kristina

Petak, 21. listopada 2022.

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