Tuesday, November 10, 2009

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.


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