Monday, February 20, 2012

It's a Small World After All

In my six weeks of traveling, I got to see lots of friends from my time in Asia.  Some meetings were planned, and others were positively providential.  Check it out:

Unplanned Meeting #1:  Sara and I took an early-morning shuttle from Lijiang to the Tiger Leaping Gorge trailhead at Qiaotou.  The shuttle stopped at several other hostels.  As we sat chatting, a guy behind us interjected some comment.  Sara turned around to see a vaguely familiar face.  It turned out four of the guys on the shuttle were from our teachers' organization, and had the exact same hiking plans as we did.  We were able to hike together and had a great time.

Sara with our newly-discovered co-workers and hiking companions

Unplanned Meeting #2:  In our second day on the trail, a girl stopped me:  "Do you remember me?"  (I didn't, but I sort of tried to pretend I did.  Oops -- awkward...)

It was one of the American teachers who started teaching this year at my old campus.  We've met a couple times at university functions, but I never expected to meet someone from Qufu on a random January morning in Tiger Leaping Gorge.

Fellow Qufu Normal University teachers

Unplanned Meeting #3:  The most unlikely meeting came when Sara and I were on her motorbike, riding back from church through the busy streets of Chiang Mai, Thailand.  I thought I heard someone saying, "Alison! Alison!"  I turned around to see a girl waving out a car window several cars behind us.

"Sara, can you pull over?  I just saw a friend I haven't seen in years!"  (We had been on a Belize trip together in 2004.)  It turns out this friend had just moved to Chiang Mai a week ago with her husband, who had obligingly followed us all over town when she thought she spotted me on the back of the bike as we left church.

Random roadside meeting

Planned Reunion #1:  Sometimes Facebook is more than just a time-waster.  I happened to see the French teacher from my old campus posting that she was in Chiang Mai.  I had just arrived.  We agreed to meet up and enjoyed a mangolicious breakfast before she left town that afternoon.

A girl from America and a girl from France who met in China share breakfast in Thailand.

Planned Reunion #2:  My Beijing training roommates are all still in China, and we had some fun times together at our annual conference.  One of the best parts of conference is seeing friends from around the country!

Jenn, Lauren, me, and Sara

Planned Reunion #3:  Last year, my team in Qufu often shared Mexican meals in our apartments.  So it was fitting that when we met up at our conference, we went to a Mexican restaurant.  Now we are in three different cities in China, so it was good to be together again.

Team Qufu 2010-2011

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