I suppose it would be about 10 years ago this summer when I first met the spunky & delightful Gwen Plouhinec, a.k.a. "The Lucky Girl". Gwen is from Rennes, in Brittany (France) and I met her through happenstance. She was working as a traveling occupational therapist down in a rural hospital in Tennessee. She was in the United States on an H1-B nonimmigrant Visa and was working for a company who assigned her to facilities they contracted with for 6-12 weeks at a time. It just so happened she was working in the same hospital as another traveling therapist, Heidi Shubert, an Australian who originally came to the United States to work with me. Heidi and I had known each other for about three years when she brought Gwen up to Indianapolis for the Memorial Day weekend and my Indy 500 race party. Now I had a huge crush on Heidi, with her constantly messy hair, big smile and awesome Aussie accent, so when she said she was bringing a friend I said sure.
I knew I would like Gwen almost from the minute we met. She had only experienced the southeastern and mid-south US, so I spent alot of time telling her she needed to really travel to get a true sense of what the country was like. At some point in time I even told her that if her current job didn't work out she should let me know and I would see about sponsoring her myself and she could work for me.
Well it's a pretty long story as you can see, but 10 years later Gwen and I are still great friends. She's practically an O'Connor as she spent several holidays at my parents house and stays in close contact with my Mom. Our friend Monty and me visited Gwen when she lived in Georgia and I was honored to stand up for her at her wedding in Arcata, CA. I met her family in Nashville years ago and had the pleasure of their company this summer when AW and I traveled to France for Gwen's brother Gildas' (see my archived posts) wedding.
.Gwen and her husband Jack continue to live in northern California and she never cesaes to amaze me. She's one of those people that is so efficient and so energetic that from time to time you just sort of step back and shake your head, because just watching her makes you tired. To top it off, she's very French and very stubborn. The problem for the rest of us is she is usually right. Gwen and Jack have two lovely daughters who are blessed with two sweet sisters from Jack's first marraige. She is very busy.
Shortly after I met Gwen I started calling her The Lucky Girl, because it seemed to me that luck followed her wherever she went. When she was traveling with her brother Gildas, they just stumbled across a Clemson football game and managed to get in...when she went to Lake Tahoe and followed my advice to stop in Alpenglow, she met a world class climber who took her everywhere and introduced her to wonderful people. She's just lucky that way.
I heard from Gwen today. She contacted me because she was a little upset at the "down" tone I used in a previous post about my breakup with AW. She reminded me to be positive and to let good things happen to me. I think she was giving me one of her secrets to life. And, after spending far too little time with her family in France this summer, I gather the way she lives her life has been heavily influenced by her very large, happy and loving family. She really is a great person and a wonderful friend