Every year, Ms. Joëlle Melki sends her Canada Day best wishes to Bambi.
Every year, three days later, Bambi sends her USA Day best wishes to Joëlle.
It has been their summer tradition for many years now :).
After the USA Day (thinking of Rita too), July 14 is France Day (Bambi reaches out to their common friend, Ms. Nina Tavitian :)).
This year, Ms. Joëlle Melki surprised Bambi by singing the first part of “O Canada” for her… in French! Amazing singing (even if Joëlle does not agree :)).
Bambi promised to “try” to do the same. Why did she do so? OK, she found a way out of this since she sings more like a frog than a deer, she will let others pay tribute to the USA on her behalf.
Since you love kids Joëlle , Bambi found the following video for you. She hopes you will like it!
Following this video, Bambi will introduce her friend to you. You will notice that the 4th of July means the world to her, to the point of running a marathon in Fishers, Indiana, to celebrate it. Yes, she has done so every year! Sadly, not this summer of 2020 because of covid-19 :(. There will be next year(s) “inchallah” as they say in Lebanon (if God is willing). Do not be too disappointed Joëlle!
OK, from where to start? Joëlle and Bambi met for the first time in 1975. They were three years old (Bambi is 3 months older)! It was on their first day of school (“Petit jardin”, as they call it in Lebanon). Since then, they have been friends through good and bad times, that is through a civil war, through escape trips to Cyprus (to the Canadian embassy, in the case of Bambi, and Joëlle had lived on this island for a while), and of course through immigration to North America.
From child development and studies on our memory, we know that it is usually hard to retrieve memories before age 3. Despite this, Bambi recalls the first day of civil war (she was 2.9 months old)… Perhaps because it was a marking day? Or… who knows? Maybe she remembers it though her family’s own narrative? Regardless, she will always remember how she met her friend Joëlle :).The latter came to school with a cast around her broken leg. The cast must have attracted Bambi’s attention. Bambi recalls having asked her why she had that white thing on her leg :). A few days later, their teacher allowed all the friends to come and draw nice things on Joëlle’s cast, including Bambi.
A few years later, both of them became the students of Ms. Nicole Melki (Joëlle’s own mom!). Bambi used to call her “tante (for aunty), madame (for Ms.) Nicole” in the classroom :). How silly! They still laugh about this after all those years. Madame Nicole was the best French teacher you can ever have! Bambi is blessed to have learned the beautiful grammar of Molière’ language, thanks to “Madame Nicole”.
Well, like her mother (and thanks to her), Joëlle grew up with wonderful values of integrity, respect, care, compassion, love, and loyalty to friends and family. She has been a scout. She has been a red cross volunteer during civil war, at first with Bambi. Then, following the immigration of the latter.
She has been a student in Lebanon, Cyprus, and the USA. She learned Greek, in addition to English, French, Arabic, and the American sign language (certified ASL).
After college degrees (Saint Louis and Harrison) and a university degree (University of Indianapolis) where she excelled in her performance, she worked in the area of Kindergarten/Preschool Education and Teaching. She was even self-employed.
Kids have always adored Joëlle. This means all those she has inspired in Lebanon, Cyprus, and in the USA. They say that children know when they are genuinely being loved. Bambi agrees. It is both moving and inspiring to see Joëlle in an educational relationship with younger ones!
Following this, Ms. Joëlle Melki went for a health degree. She successfully became a healthcare provider, working in cardiology at the IU Health Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis and at a medical clinic!
In addition to all her former certification with the Lebanese red cross, she is certified in CPR First Aid from the American Heart Association.
Ms. Joëlle Melki is pragmatic and down to earth. She is devoted to patient care. Bambi is inspired by her friend! Here is a quote from her, reflecting her passion, devotion, and authenticity: “I like to make people feel better by showing them I care, I listen and see a smile on their faces. My goal is to pursue my education and have better skills, more knowledge for a better and more accurate patient’s care. For me caring and healing others, is more a passion than a job.”
At the beginning of this pandemic, Joëlle did not stay at home. How could she? She had patients to take care of and healing processes to nurture in others!
Now if all the above was not enough to convince you that Joëlle is Bambi’s hero, look at the following pictures. They show her year after year, running for her beloved “America”! Check her beautiful jump when she arrives at the final destination :)!
Happy fourth of July, my Dear friend! Bambi loves you and wishes your (adoptive) country healthy, peaceful, and prosperous days!
She wishes us the same in Canada… and, of course, the same to our country of birth!