An ode to friendship part 2

By - September 13, 2007 (Updated: November 28, 2014)

At each significant juncture in my life, I’ve been fortunate enough to meet someone who remains an important part of my life. In 1992, as I was entering Saint John High School, that person was Jenn.

Jenn and I met in English class. I had taken International Baccalaureate English. (I won’t go into what the program is all about; you can investigate it if you like. Suffice it to say that IB classes were harder than the regular classes in high school.) I was pretty proud of myself for taking IB English and French, but Jenn was doing the full IB program. Not only was she a brain, but Jenn was (and still is) involved in drama, music and most of all dancing.

I think for the first couple of weeks in that English class, Jenn and I were a bit competitive with each other (whadya get?) But it soon became clear that our brains worked in totally opposite ways. While my strong suit was dissecting poetry and writing essays, Jenn’s forté was math and science. For us it was true that opposites attract.

It wasn’t long before Jenn and I were spending a whole lot of time together, much of which was spent in the school cafeteria. Jenn lived well outside the city, (We used to joke that to get to her house you drove to the end of the earth and made a left.) so her mom used to drop her off at school early in the morning. When my bus dropped me off in the morning, my first stop was always the caff, to check in with Jenn.

For as long as I’ve known Jenn, she’s wanted to be a teacher. In fact, she’s a born teacher. She has always had the rare talent of being able to share her gifts with others; be it dancing or math problems. (I can’t begin to tell you how much of my math and chemistry homework she helped me with and there have been several (rather unsuccessful) attempts made over the years to teach me to dance.)

So it was totally natural that as I struck out for journalism school, Jenn went and got her education degree. She is actually one of the few people I know who ended up doing exactly what she said she was going to do in High School. But that doesn’t surprise me, because that’s Jenn… she can, and does do everything she sets her mind too.

Despite being in neighbouring provinces for most of our friendship, Jenn and I have managed to remain close. We visit when can, and e-mail when we can’t. But no matter how much time passes between visits, when we do manage to get together, it’s like no time has passed at all.

After 15 years of friendship, Jenn has definitely seen me at my worst. But she has also been there for the best moments of my life. In fact, she is the reason many of them are the best (our summer in Amsterdam is still one of my favourite memories).

Jenn is my alter-ego: she’s level-headed when I’m emotional; she’s outgoing when I’m a hermit; she’s analytical when I’m scattered; she’s cautious when I’m barrelling ahead; She is good at all of the things I am terrible at. She’s the perfect ncombination of geek and artsy. Most of all, she is the person I wish I could be more like.  Thanks for sticking with me for 15 years babe! You’re the best!


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Alison Cornford-Matheson is a Canadian freelance writer and travel photographer and the founder of She is the author of The Foodie Guide to Brussels: Local Tips for Restaurants, Shops, Hotels, and Activities. Alison landed in Belgium in 2005 and, over the years, has become passionate about slow and sustainable travel, in Europe and beyond. She loves to discover hidden gems - be they museums, shops, restaurants, castles, gardens or landscapes, and share them through her words and photos. She has visited 45 countries and is currently slow travelling through North America in an RV, with her husband, Andrew, and two well-travelled cats. You can also follow her work on Google+
- 2 days ago


  1. Comment by Jennie

    Jennie September 14, 2007 at 21:14

    What a beautiful story. I just had lunch with a friend and was telling her about how well you write, not to mention your photography. I just sent her your blog link and decided it was too long since I had a look and read this story- how nice to have such a friend and how nice to share the story. -Jennie( not the Jenn in the story though, unfortunately- )

  2. Comment by Alison

    Alison September 25, 2007 at 20:19

    Hi Jason,
    Thanks for stopping by. I sent you a personal email. Let me know if you don’t get it for some reason. Cheers!

  3. Comment by Jason R. Hollington

    Jason R. Hollington September 25, 2007 at 18:23

    Dear Ms. Cornford-Matheson;
    I have been reading your blog and news from the expat site with great interest. I too am from New Brunswick, lived in Nova Scotia and find myself probably resettling in Brussels in the next several months. My partner and I are thinking of taking our relationship to the next level and discontinuing this trans-Atlantic relationship. Actually I will be in Brussels for two weeks starting this Friday.
    Which brings me to an odd question for you – being that Canadian Thanksgiving is on Oct. O8, can one find a Turkey In Belgium? I am an executive chef and wanted to host a traditional dinner for my partner and his friends while there. How are the markets? I am relatively spoiled here in Montreal for food choices.
    Keep up the posts! I enjoy seeing someone who has followed a similar path making it there. It gives me some comfort that this move won’t be the end of me!
    Miramichi Jason

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