I have been accused of being a word-smith and always finding the correct way of phrasing things, but at times like these I find myself at a loss. I thought the best way to honour the memory of Natalie is to reflect on why she was important to me and to the school.
Natalie joined us before the school opened. She hit the ground running and rapidly made me realise that she was an important member of the team. Everyone immediately aligned with her, Miss Melissa donning her 'Lady Natalie' due to how polite, kind and lady-like she always was.
A lady indeed, even when pointing out my mistakes, for example when asking her what she thought of the new (2013) webpage she wrote “...it looks really good. A tiny thing I noticed on my profile was it says 'Telemark' not 'Akershus.'...”. One of the many things she helped me fix in the kindest of ways.
Natalie took charge of SFO – the after-school program. She wrote on her blurb for the webpage “Each SFO parent and pupil who has signed up for the SFO is important to me and helps make the AIS SFO an inspiring, quality-assured and fun place to be...” She didn't just write it, she implemented it. She meant it. In a time when we had hardly any resources and as many students, Natalie was a person I didn't have to worry about – she took care of people and she took care of the school. She invested free time into organising events because she took ownership and pride in what she did.
Examples of her dedication were her many projects in school. One of the first being the model town she built in SFO. I say 'she built', because I remember Natalie, myself and Miss Mya frantically finishing off this big model city she had worked so hard on with the children, the evening before our first open day (the results of which I put into the video below...).
Natalie had a great sense of humour, which one didn't always see straight away because she was so polite and considerate of all around her. Even when she was receiving treatment, she took the time to email me, saying she travelled with Morten to Walsingham in Norfolk and said she had to go back, after finding out Johnny Depp and Brad Pitt rented houses there. She planned on travelling back “if only to do a bit of stalking :)” ..
In my eyes she always saw the lighter side of things, even when weakened by her treatment, she simply told me how lucky she was in life. Natalie has a stronger spirit than anyone I know, and is a better person too.
Central to our school philosophy and culture is the learner profile tree. Natalie is it's roots. She is the foundation of a school that needed care and attention through it's infancy. She provided nurture to the people in it, young and old, never estranging a soul by her manner and always welcoming with a smile. Fault cannot be found in her other than leaving us too soon. We can do so much worse than aspire to the example Natalie provided to the adults and children in the school.
Rest in peace Natalie. Your kind spirit was used to warm the hearts of so many others.