Friday, January 7, 2005

A neat thing happened on the way to...

The mall.


Yeah yeah yeah. Trust me, if I could write about going to other places, I would. But seeing as to get shoes/clothes, have a haircut, buy eyeglasses, get groceries, go the movies, go bowling, go ice skating, or eat at a restaurant you pretty much have to go to a mall, so I can't help it.
Anyhow, this morning Rebecca and Jonathon had a doctor's appointment about their feet. Both of them are pigeon-toed so I wanted to get the opinion of the doctor here before heading to the States. She can get the ball rolling for us to have the kids' gait examined more closely. Poor Becca, she's going to have a busy summer with a pediatric orthopedist and a planned ECG.
Here I am, digressing again. So, after the doctor's appointment we went to Glorietta. The girls don't go back to school until Tuesday but the boys go back on Monday so today was my last day to get a few things for them. Technically we still have the weekend but since Ian would rather have his toenails pullled out one by one rather than get the kids some shoes, I figured I'd get it over with. And I figured we could use our Cinderella gift certificates and get Katherine an extra set of glasses as insurance. Afterall, if she has one pair she'll break them then lose them in two months. If she has three pairs she'll have them for five years with no problem.
We arrived at the mall entrance with about 15 minutes to waste before it opened. Malls here don't open until 10, grocery stores don't open until 8:30 at the earliest. PriceSmart doesn't open until 9 and our dry cleaner doesn't open until 9:30. If you plan it Just So, it can work out perfectly with multiple errands. Most of the time, I end up driving around or sitting in a partking lot waiting for something to open though. So we had 15 minutes as we wandered over to the doors. The kids and I were chatting about I don't know what, when a really tall guy walks up and says "Michele?"
It was Amos Lyso, on vacation visiting a friend in Manila and on his way back to Seoul (where he teaches at the same school his father is director) this afternoon. Now, bumping into someone I know who isn't from the Embassy is rare enough. Bumping into someone I know who's in the general region has never happened. And bumping into Amos was a wonderful gift.
See, I haven't seen Amos in about 18 years. We were schoolmates in Niamey, Niger (look it up!) when I was in 7th grade and he was in 5th grade, and his father was the director of the school there as well. The American School was so small we all played together, swam together and basically did everything together. Siblings gelled the group together. Amos's older sister was in my class and we correspond periodically to this day. She was a bridesmaid in my wedding 8 1/2 years ago.
Amos was on his way to National Bookstore before heading off to the airport at 11 or I would have invited him to have lunch with us, but while we waited we chatted about everything and nothing in particular. I think the kids were a little weirded out when I hugged this guy they had never laid eyes on before.
Once the doors opened we said our goodbyes and went our separate ways.
I'm thankful I didn't decide to wait in the car or go into the grocery store first like I'd considered. I know that when I'm out with the kids I rarely pay close attention to the faces around me so I'm especially thankful that he recognized me and said Hi. My biggest regret is not having Katherine take a photo of us. I have taken to bringing my camera everywhere I go now, but in the excitement of the moment I completely forgot. And while I wish I could say "next time", I know that could be next year or another 20 years from now, if ever. But I will say this, he brought a small part of my past that was disappearing from memory back to life. Thanks Amos! I hope you had a good trip back to Seoul.

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