I'm pretty hopeless at remembering names, but I can usually spot a familiar face. No such luck last week, though, when I was approached outside my school by a young lady with a cheery, "Hello Paul. Remember me?". Slightly embarrassed I had to confess I didn't. "I'm your old friend Josie, from Guiyang", she explained. I wish I could say there was a sudden burst of memories, but it was only the name that sounded vaguely familiar. Thoughtfully, Josie had brought along some photos of me from that time and a couple of letters I had written to her, too! We've had no contact since then, so it was shock, but a lovely surprise, to meet an old friend. Unfortunately, she caught me right at the moment I was due to take my Lattitude volunteers to lunch, so I had no time right then to stop and reminisce.
However, yesterday we met for lunch and I was able to pore over her old photos and find memories of my time in Duyun, some 16 years ago, slowly creeping back! I was working for V.S.O. at that time, and Josie had just graduated from the Teachers' College as I began my teaching placement there. I met her socially amongst other friends a dozen times. In my defence, she did look a lot different in those days! The one photo that did ring bells though was me standing in front of a Mao Zedong wardrobe [below], which I spotted in her grandma's house, I think, when I visited.
Josie is now living in Kunming, and married with a 5 year old son. She heard I live here too through a mutual friend and tracked me down to Robert's School on the internet. Unbeknown to me, she'd been waiting for me outside the school for over an hour, poor thing. I'm jolly glad she persevered though.
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