Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The World Has Become Smaller (Part 2)

Reporting from Toronto by your seasoned veteran Form 1C classmate, Irene Tsai

It’s funny how even after exchanging our current faces among our good old classmates, my brain is still acting stubborn, it keeps bouncing back, remembering them by their Form 1 faces instead, time after time. Didn’t they say it is hard to teach old dogs new tricks?! Aahh, the boys are always the boys with the clean crew cuts and the girls are always the girls with the tidy short hair or little pony tails in my nostalgic mind. You know, nobody is able to steal those innocent days we’ve had together from us when we were so pure, so young, so naïve, and so free.

Good old friends are forever good old friends despite how many lost years have rolled by. It was certainly one of the most awesome weekends for me in more than 4 decades. Naturally, we couldn’t wait to get caught up. We yakked about our good old Form 1C days. Then our conversations jumped back and forth between our early North American days and our present lifestyles. There was never a dull moment throughout our luncheon together. Brenda and I had a great time checking out downtown Seattle, including the famous Pike Place Market, the Seattle Aquarium, Space Needle, the Smith Tower and we also ate our hearts out at the one-of-a-kind seafood restaurants by the piers. When the waiter came to tempt us for sinful desserts at the end of our seafood dinner, I told him no because we’re too full. But then I also jokingly said to him that may be we should order some cake simply because it was my birthday. Two minutes later, he returned with an awesome birthday cake with a glowing candle on top and a big bowl of ice cream on the side, and said to us that it’s on the house. Boy, that really made me feel very welcome to downtown Seattle. As a teen, have I ever dreamed that I would be celebrating my birthday unexpectedly in Seattle with Brenda?! How life is so full of all kinds of nice surprises for us, and how the world has become smaller and smaller even though all of us have become bigger and bigger. Haha!!

Life is like a dream. Forty plus very busy years have surely slipped by, and suddenly all of us are blessed with some spare time in our hands. We are not as young as before, yet much wiser now. Let’s face it; we are all seasoned sailors who have each bravely sailed the open sea of life! The world has suddenly become smaller and smaller in front of our eyes and we are becoming more and more accessible to each other. When we were in high school, did we ever think we would be writing each other in English? Not even in our wildest dream we had dreamed that the minute we send a letter to our friends, they would receive it within the next couple of minutes worldwide. No more aerogrammes, envelopes, stamps and letter openers needed. What excuse do we have not to be in touch with our good old friends? Entering our golden years means that we can say what we were afraid to say when we were young, and it also means we can do what we really want to do. I hope staying in touch with your old friends is one of the things on your “Want to Do” list. We need the lifelines and stories of our good old friends to excite us and to inspire us as we each can bring an array of amazing past and present life experiences and insights from far and near to share with each other. I treasure every passing moment of every passing day I have in my hands to be part of our fundamental friendship dated almost half a century ago. There are all kinds daily non-stop flights between HKG and the rest of the world now. Alas! A whole brand new world has come to all of us!!!! Folks, let’s all stay in touch and prepare ourselves for our next bigger and louder 45th Anniversary Reunion which will also mark our 50th Anniversary from our Form 1 kiddie days!!!

To read Part 1 of this post, please click here.

The World Has Become Smaller (Part 1)

Reporting from Toronto by your seasoned veteran Form 1C classmate, Irene Tsai

When I was in Primary 1, my teacher said to the class in Cantonese that her daughters were studying in New York. She stopped fanning herself for a minute and twisted her tongue to say New York in English to the best of her ability. I whispered to my little friend next to me, “What’s she talking about? What is “Liew Yolk”? And who cares, not unless it is some hidden place in Hong Kong”.

In high school, whenever I heard someone’s leaving for USA or Canada, I thought to myself that life’s not fair! Why couldn’t I also say goodbye to homework, and not having to say hello to the School Certificate and Matriculation Exams. I envied those lucky runaways to death. I had always believed that I would never see them ever again in my life. The world just seemed so big and unreachable to me as I stood there waving that big ship goodbye, carrying Brenda, Kan Yu Tung and Joshua Wu, slowly disappearing in front of our eyes at the Ocean Terminal over 40 years ago. I remember emptying out my piggy bank to buy a Japanese letter opener from Daimaru Department Store to give to Brenda as a farewell gift. In my simple little mind, she was going to write me and I was going to write her back. Guess what? That never materialized as little did we know that life just got busier and busier beyond high school.

Last weekend, I made a side trip to Seattle to meet up with Brenda Kan for the weekend after both of us had finished some business and errands. She currently lives in New York City and I live in Toronto. Over our after dinner tea and desserts, we decided to call up a long lost Form 1C classmate to make our weekend more exciting and memorable. The next morning, sure enough, I heard a gentle door knock. I opened the door quickly without a doubt. A nice looking tall guy standing there with a winning smile said to me, “Hi, are you Irene???” I held the door wide open with one hand and shouted back into the room, “Brenda, guess who’s here!” Brenda zoomed over to the door. I mean I almost froze when the door swung open. We must have shocked each other. It was our first hello after 46 years!!! And how very cool’s that!!!!

To read Part 2 of this post, please click here.