This Citizen Speak is brought to you by one of our community allies, RootEd. RootEd. is a local community social group aimed at creating meaningful social connections amongst community members. At RootEd. friendship is viewed as a key component of citizenship.
Barb and Chantal, have been with RootEd. since it’s inception three years ago, and are avid supporters of the group. The two of them have attended virtually every social. Having gotten to know Barb and Chantal over the past three years, we’ve witnessed their beautiful friendship and the great meaning it carries in their lives. What follows are their stories of friendship, community, and belonging.
Meet Chantal & Barb
Barb and Chantal are roommates and best friends; they call each other sisters. They have been living together for seventeen years. Both ladies were born and raised in Edmonton, Alberta.
The Beginnings of a Life Long Friendship
They met when Chantal was looking for an alternative living situation and Barb was looking for a new roommate. Barb had lived in their lovely 2-bedroom apartment for 6 months with a different roommate who had decided to move-out. Chantal had been on the waitlist for the apartment building for years! Barb, in conversation with her neighbor, learned that Chantal was looking for a roommate. Barb called Chantal and offered her the additional room in the apartment and the rest is history. They’ve been friends ever since!
Chantal remembers the first time looking around Barb’s place thinking it was so nice, comfortable, and affordable, she called her up and said “you have a new roommate, I’m moving in!” and Barb did a little happy dance. Chantal said in her old place no one interacted and there was no sense of community or neighbors. Chantal feels very lucky to have found Barb and their friendship
The Key Ingredients of Friendship
Both Barb and Chantal report that love, acceptance and communication are the ingredients to a strong friendship. In response to how you know if someone is a friend, Barb and Chantal replied:
“talking to them, doing things together, showing them you care, sometimes talking every couple hours.”
RootEd. in Community
Barb and Chantal are both active Edmontonians. Barb and Chantal are not currently able to work due to health concerns, but that doesn’t stop them from contributing to their community. They are active volunteers, offering their time at the Festival of Trees annually. This past Christmas, Chantal’s boyfriend, Doug, even joined her while volunteering at the Festival. Chantal has also been a weekly volunteer with the ACT Adult Leisure Senior Dance since 1991. Chantal is proud of the work she does there; manning the entrance table, taking tickets, and checking people off the guest list.
The Importance of Friendship
When we asked Barb about her favorite qualities in Chantal, she answered:
“how she lives every day, always has a smile on her face, even when she’s in pain, her smile is infectious, when I’m down she lifts me up and I do the same for her.”
When we asked Chantal about her favorite qualities in Barb she answered:
“love that we talk every night, even on the phone if we aren’t together; if something happens to me she is the first person I tell!”
Reminiscing, Barb recalled one of her favorite memories with Chantal…attending their first Oilers game together. Barb used to go to games back in the 80s when they would win a lot…Chantal had never been to a game before – they wore jerseys and had a blast!
Chantal shared one of her favorite memories with Barb…going to a Trapper’s baseball game. Barb had never been to a baseball game before, Chantal’s family always used to go to Trapper’s games. Chantal took Barb to a game, and they had so much fun.
We are grateful Chantal and Barb took the time to share their stories of friendship, community, and belonging. Their stories speak to the joy that comes from shared experiences and the importance of friendship.
Signed Kristin and Lindsay – Citizen Explorers & Leaders of RootEd.