Iman Hassan will always be “Lena” to me. In the summer of 2008, we were camp counselors at Concordia Language Villages. Both speaking German, we were in the German immersion camp – Waldsee. Staff and campers all choose German names. She was Lena. I was Heike. So, that’s why it still feels odd thinking of her as Iman.
Being new camp counselors made for one interesting summer! Neither she nor I had even been to Waldsee as campers like most of the other counselors, so it was a lot to get used to! I was happy to be placed in a cabin with Lena for most of the summer.
There were so many fun and silly memories at Waldsee. A highly dramatic encounter with a Fledermaus, an educational reenactment of a divided East and West Germany that must have been a terrible way to spend the 4th of July if you were a camper stuck in Ostdeutschland, silly but sentimental songs and skits (including a German “remix” to “We’re All in This Together’ from High School Musical – which wildly popular that year), late night convos among counselors once kids went to bed, weekends out at the (only) local country bar. And, one of my fondest memories – an epic camper and counselor version of “The Dating Game” where our cabin won (I think!) but likely because I mouthed the answers to Iman. I was kind of sad but mostly happy to return home to civilization after my 6 week session. Iman stayed much longer – she certainly caught more of a Waldsee bug than I did ;)!
Iman is incredibly smart, stylish, beautiful, brilliant, classy, strong, and warm.
I’ll be honest - Iman always seemed like my missed connection BFF. There aren't a whole lot of social justice centered, German & Global Studies major, fashion forward, world traveling women in Minnesota. We have quite a bit in common. Although – Iman beats me in the style category all day…every day. And, I pride myself on my sense of style so that’s saying a lot about this lady’s fashion!
I admire Iman’s commitment to social issues, her language skills (both in writing – example below) and her ability to speak multiple languages, as well as her commitment to her family and sisters. Although she’s on and off social media, when she’s on all I see are the beautiful and brilliant Hassan women popping up on my newsfeed.
I look forward to staying connected with Iman. I am inspired by her style, brilliance, and grace.
Iman shared her responses about what inspires her in different way. I love her poetic and dynamic words so I wanted to leave them be. . .
What inspires you?
This March, I am celebrating all the amazing women around me! Sharing women who have influenced me and make up my personal history. As the month goes on, you can see all my Inspiring Women posts here!