I like to say that Saralyn got lucky because she was assigned the desk next to mine. But really, I'm the lucky one. Saralyn is my opposite. Perhaps that's why I like her and also why she interests me. She's interesting to listen to because she's never going to have the same perspective on something as I am. She's also the calmest, most together, laid back person in my life. Her refusal to allow unpleasant things or situations to ruffle her or undo the rest of her day is pure inspiration. I love having my ever-frequent freak outs in the next desk because she allows me to freak out, and then, she gets busy suggesting extremely reasonable solutions that I could have thought of if, well, I wasn't me.
I like her because she is straight-forward. When she says, "I don't mind. Either is fine with me," or "Whatever you think. I'm up for anything," she actually means it. Our friendship works so well because I'm all decision-making queen and hardly ever "don't care" which place we eat, what place we go, or how we get there. And she so rarely has her own agenda that when she does express a certain wish, I'm glad to oblige her. (Not that she doesn't have her own agenda in general. But I mean inconsequential agenda. Like which coffee shop we're going to or how many other coworkers I share the fresh-baked, still-warm, chocolate banana bread with.) I guess I like her because she helps me to relax by example.
Saralyn has also taught me more about teaching in the last 5 months than I learned from experience in the last year and a half. She is generous; she emails test templates, shares lesson plans, and takes the time to look at others' work. She is helpful; she listens, she thinks, and she takes the time to give solid advice. She is cheerful; she laughs often, she sees the bright side, she takes the time to encourage others to stick to their goals. I can tell she's an amazing teacher without ever having the privilege of sitting in on one of her classes. Also, she can do theoretical math on top of simple math and addition. So it's like having a human calculator with you at all times. This is a benefit when you function under Danielle Math.
I am already mourning the month of August, when I lose yet another Tim Horton's-loving friend to distance and that land of space and ice, although she tells me they do have summer in Canada (and a Prime Minister, not a President. Get it right or pay the price). She will be missed. I am afraid of who will sit in that desk next to mine in a few months. They have a daunting role to fill. Maybe I should start taking applications?
And of course, Saralyn likes my cats, and thinks they're cute, and talks to them in the little voice sometimes. That always helps.