Tall, toned and smart, she meets me in a room at the end of a serene pathway every Wednesday and Friday where I often find her writing the lesson plan for the day on the white board.
Theodora Yardley or “Theo”, as she prefers to be called, is my first experience of being educated ‘the American way’. Always ten minutes early to class, she is planned and meticulous in her teaching. Technical snags like the wi-fi not working bring a few lines of frustration on her glowing face. A glow that comes from within, from satisfaction and happiness that nothing can wear out.
Skin a smooth light color, with shining stretched skin and almond shaped eyes, Theo stays one step ahead of life.
She tells us, narrating her childhood.
“I decided I will be in control of my happiness one day, and today I am!”
On her broad forehead, two thick strands of wavy white hair sit on each side complimenting her beauty. She often runs her fingers through them as she stands in front, teaching us the nitty-gritties of journalism. They sit on the head for a good two seconds before falling back, playfully teasing.
The hearts of many a men break when she talks of Jim Yardley, her husband of nineteen years whom she admires so much. “It is hard not to talk about him”, she giggles during an interview with me. They have three lovely children, a daughter Olivia, 13 and two sons George, 10 and Edward, 8.
Born and raised in Arlington, Virginia, she is the only daughter of a British mother and a half Greek, half Chinese father. With this wonderful combination of genes, no wonder she is an enthusiastic marathon runner. She secured the first place in Delhi Half Marathon 2011 in the ‘Veteran Women Finishers’ category.
Watching the news on her television set in Baltimore when she was a child, Theo developed a crush on the news anchor, Susan White.
“I basically wanted to be Susan White.”
From doing a graduation in Journalism to working atCNN to teaching us Journalism, her professional journey has been a colorful one. “I left Journalism and went back to school. I taught science to students in middle school,” Theo recounts. “Both my professions seem to have converged here, teaching Journalism.” She brings electrifying energy to class and smoothly sails us through the concepts of reporting news with her animated expression and her Prezi notes. Flashing her wide smile she zooms out of class after two enlightening hours, walking down the serene pathway, away from us – but just for the day.