“Bloom where you are planted”

Prof. Jacques Faucherre

Tamara Slawny

Everyone has a story to tell.

We can not stop our life clock but we can preserve our memories and master the art of capturing our past by sharing with others these fragments of our life which were the building blocks of us TODAY.

After I fulfilled my parent’s wishes, and became a chemist, not a journalist like I wanted , I was forced together with others, to leave Poland.

I’ll always remember my first days in Paris.
New country, new language, new system.. so much to learn.

I paced the streets and bridges of this marvelous city seeking answers to questions pounding in my head, searching for strength inside of me, and learning French during my sleepless nights.

I learned fast enough to understand an ad attached to a wooden fence surrounding the construction site of a new university – Paris VII. The Department of Inorganic Chemistry was looking for a person to wash glassware. In my mind it was a perfect job for me who had to learn not only a language but also banking and writing checks and functioning among “Capitalists”.

This was a dream job for me who knew nothing. My resume was simple: Master Degree in Analytical Chemistry , followed by five years in research and teaching at Warsaw University.

In my cover letter I wrote that this job would allow me to learn whatever I needed to function in a new country.

After a while I was invited for an interview.

I was beside myself. I wanted to wash glassware , and I didn’t expect a formal interview.

This capitalism was not as bad as they taught us in Poland. Such respect for a blue collar worker.

By the time I went for this “dishwashing“ interview, my French improved.

I thought that I was prepared enough to talk to a supervisor of a lower echelon people.

To my total shock a person waiting for me introduced himself as “ Prof . Jacques Faucherre”.
I responded “ I am sorry. I applied for a cleaning position, and I probably entered a wrong door”.

On my way out I heard him again “ Please come back, I am waiting for you”.
I returned speechless. I forgot all my memorized pages, all my words.
I was totally unprepared.

Prof. Faucherre was a very tall man , my parents’ age, and when he started talking to me, he sounded like a person understanding all my anxieties and efforts in securing a new beginning for my parents , for my toddler son., and for myself,

I completely forgot my linguistic limitations, and I became “Me” again.

I was sure that my explanations convinced Prof. Faucherre that I was the right person for this “dishwasher” position.

When Prof. Faucherre left his office, for a few minutes, I couldn’t sit any longer.

I wanted to run and scream from the top of my lungs that I got my dream job washing laboratory dishes.

Professor came back and he said “ I am sorry, I can not hire you for this position”, and after a long pause he continued “ you are a scientist …
He handed to me a pile of books, and research papers saying “ Please review these documents and report to work after the holidays as a research scientist ”.

I did not walk back home, I flew , and I saw Paris as the most beautiful city in the whole world .

During our lifetime we meet many people who ignore us, but we also meet people who change our lives forever .

“Exceptional people plant the tiny seeds from which tomorrows grow”.

Professor Jacques Faucherre planted my tomorrow. Thank you.

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