How I became a friend of Zaha. When Zaha was first invited to teach at Yale in 2000, I was the administrator responsible for managing the logistics. She had a reputation for being difficult, and she lived up to that reputation with flying colors.
When she was scheduled to return in 2002, I was not looking forward to what I knew was to come. So, I tried a different tactic. Upon her arrival, I personally drove her to all of her required local appointments, walking her through Yale’s Office of International Students and Scholars and Yale’s Tax Office. After that, I gave her an insider’s tour of Yale and New Haven. Everything changed. It was during that car trip, when we were alone in my car talking, that we became friends.
Over the years, she stayed in touch. I remember one New Year’s Eve, when at midnight, I received a text message wishing me a Happy New Year. It was Zaha.
She made me feel special and appreciated. It’s the small things that matter. I miss her.