Jackie was my French teacher in high school in grades 10 and 11. French was no easy subject to teach highschoolers at our private school. It was a mandatory subject and somehow it was pretty low on the totem pole of favorite classes. She sure gave it a valiant effort though. I remember going to a French restaurant in her class, and playing games but we were only allowed to speak French. If we so much as parlayed in English, she would "fine" us 10 cents...all proceeds going to an orphan our school supported. She told me that once, after a long day of school, a huge pile of papers to grade and a headache from the 10 cups of coffee that she had consumed, that she had her head on her desk in misery. Jason A., an athletic and popular kid, who was not a fan of French class, saw her and actually offered to come in and grade papers for her. A good guy.

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Jackie was one of the teachers that helped chaperone two missions trips that I went on with our high school, one to Mexico and one to Haiti, where she rejoiced as we stumbled with our French and tried to communicate with the people there. She became a friend, and I dropped by her class after school to help out and to visit. For me, she became a bit like an older sister, who gave me some good advice that I still remember, encouraged me and propelled me towards the Lord.

Jackie married Dale.

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They lived in Canada for a bit and then went to live in China. The summer before I got married, I went over there to visit them and their boys. She had asked me to come and being foot loose and fancy free, I did during my summer vacation. Five flights and twenty one hours of flying later, I landed in their city. It was quite an eventful trip, including meeting the commanding general of the Thai army, and being driven through Bankok by some soldiers to a hotel. In China, I had such an incredible visit with them. I ate the BEST pineapple ever at 10 cents for a peeled one on a stick. I did not let the smell of the meat market win over me with odors from eyeballs, squished pig faces and deep fried chicken feet. I learned how to use a Chinese restroom (not for the faint of heart). I went up to a mountain village with Jackie and the boys where she lost her cell phone in an outhouse and I was dressed by some of the native ladies in an embroidered local costume. We ate noodles and gyoza from stalls on the street. I had a beautiful dress made by a Chinese woman who told me I was so small on the top and so big on the bottom...just the words that every woman longs to hear :) I loved hanging out with their little boys there who were just little preschoolers but spoke amazing Mandarin.

They came back to Canada a few years ago. The boys are bigger now.

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We got them for a quick overnight visit as they were headed down the coast but managed to talk until very late. SOOOOO fun to catch up.

I insisted on a few family pictures before we let them go in the morning so they kindly gave in. Here they are all laughing. Jasper had followed us out but was so grumpy. I asked him to help me make them smile and he threw back his head and howled as he grabbed my leg. It probably was the best way to crack them up.

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I love their family. Jackie is so the kind of friend that I won't see for years, and then we can sit down and pick up in about a minute, and dig into heart stuff. I love that.

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Have a wonderful trip and thanks for coming by!

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