Mentor, inspiration, kindred spirit, honourary matriarch. These words don't even begin to describe the role that a wonderful woman named Teresa has played in changing my life. Living on my own at 17, 1400 km away from my own family, of course I got myself into a bunch of trouble, and Teresa was there to help me out of it. At a time when I was pretentiously aloof and independent, she quietly provided a grounding presence. She picked me up for the farmers market every week and kept me well fed when I was living on student caf food. She let me run around her greenhouses and be a kid in the grass when I needed to, but put her foot down and made me grow up and get back into school when it was time for that. Teresa is the reason I chose horticulture/greenhouse as a career and she taught me most of what I know about growing all sorts of plants. I'm so glad I got to see her today, because visiting her gives me a new joy for life. At whatever age she is (she won't tell me but she has adult children older than me!) she looks fantastic and has enough energy vibes to power a community. Her no nonsense approach reminds me why I'm in this program and gives me a fresh attitude and approach just when I need it for this coming school year.