Half the World Away

2016-2017 Issue 1

presentNow here’s something you don’t see everyday in the classroom: a reunion of two long-lost friends from the other side of the world. Yet that’s exactly what happened in an English language class at McGill’s School of Continuing Studies.

Nina Moinzad and Farimah Alizadeh were childhood friends in Tehran, Iran. They were close until Farimah changed schools, at which point they lost touch. As an adult Farimah looked for Nina on – what else – Facebook. “I saw her photo but I couldn’t send her a message. But I was sure it was her.”

That was over two years ago. Flash forward to January 2016, where Farimah saw someone familiar sitting in her Strategic Communications class. Both are improving their English; Farimah is a medical doctor preparing to practice in Canada, and Nina, an electrical engineer, is continuing her studies in Business Technology Management.

“I had missed the first class where we introduced ourselves,” says Farimah. “When I saw her in class I thought ‘maybe that’s her’ so I went up to her and asked. At first she didn’t recognize me, but then she remembered me.” It had been 25 years since they’d seen each other in person.

“I was so surprised,” recalls Nina. “I was having a bad day,” but the encounter boosted her spirits. Her classmates and instructor were excited as well. “It was the first time something like this had happened. I told my family and they said, ‘the world is so small!’” Thanks to their reunion Farimah has reunited Nina with two other childhood friends from Iran. “I get homesick, so it’s been a great thing. Thank you to Farimah for recognizing me!”

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