Lunch with Dori Tarjan

20151106_085054When one of my former students, Dori Tarjan, learned we were going to be in Toronto, she reached out to offer her time to assist if we had a need. It was funny that the day before we left Budapest, I ran into another former student who had lived here in Canada for a number of years before returning to Hungary.

We arranged to meet Dori for lunch at Kensington Market this last Wednesday. Regardless of the name, this is a neighborhood, not a singular shopping venue. We had originally planned to meet and eat at a particular Mexican restaurant, but 99% of the menu offerings were fish. I do not eat most fish and the thought of a fish taco is enough to gag me! The final deciding factor was the lack of tables. This is a takeout place for the most part. The plan changed to meet there and move on to somewhere else. We ended up at Bad Ass Burrito.

Just last week I had mentioned to Ron how former students seem to mature in appearance over the years; some are unrecognizable in their adulthood. Though Dori has matured, she still has the same beautiful youthfulness she had as an undergraduate. It was such a delight to see her and have time to share.

She has been living in Canada for four years. It hardly seems like that long since she completed school. Now married to a social worker, she herself is a teacher for newly arrived immigrants. Both careers are close to my heart. It was unfortunate we did not get to meet her husband, but perhaps we will when they come to Budapest for a visit.

As a teacher, I always tried to know my students on a level beyond academics. Sometimes it was successful and other times, students wanted to remain private. Having an opportunity such as our lunch together was a special treat. There is a real feeling of acceptance when a former student reaches out and shares their life.

Before we said our good-byes, Dori told us “Since I have missed out on Teacher Appreciation Day for the last six years, I have these for you.” She generously had a bag for each of us.

From what we have learned during our short time here, Roots is the iconic Canadian store. What fun to have these gifts as long time remembrances. Well, the maple syrup may not last a long time, but the mugs certainly will be a wonderful reminder.

Thank you Dori for a special afternoon!

After completing my Ed.D., the frustration of finding a teaching position where I was willing to live, led to Ron and I leaving the country. We intended to travel for a year before settling somewhere in MA or RI. We left the US without any credit card debt, no car payments and our house mortgage paid by renters. We had $10,000 in the bank to make our way through a year.