Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The ties that bind

London, Brentwood, UK

Pisa, Florence, Italy

14-24 June 2012

This evening, I bumped into a primary school classmate at a hawker centre next to our old school. We were queuing for Hokkien noodles from one stall. Whilst waiting for our meal to be cooked, we agreed that this had to be our all-time favorite Hokkien mee stall in Singapore, and that we could never ever find another plate quite as delicious.

However, I recounted that other friends (who had not grown up with this stall) whom I had brought to try my beloved mee had invariably found it average. In fact, some found it downright mediocre (I always dismissed their opinions as bad taste).  We were forced to admit that if we were honest with ourselves, the noodles were only so-so. In fact, a little on the "wet" side, not enough ingredients etc etc.

In the end, we had to conclude that it was nostalgia and the associations with our youth which made the dish taste so special. But isn't this always the case? One always looks back at simpler and more romantic times with great fondness.

And so it was this hankering after days gone past and with rose-tinted glasses firmly on my nose, that I accepted an invitation to attend Sam's wedding in the UK. In fact, it was the first time in a long that I had booked an air-ticket more than 3 months in advance. Proud of myself for the advanced planning!

Big Sam and I met 10 years ago on a work exchange in America, where we had summer jobs at the Statue of Liberty in New York. It was only one short summer, but friendships were forged and lives changed forever over the toil of minimum wage, shared student apartments in big bad Brooklyn, road trips on the West Coast, and summer romances.

After summer dreams were ripped at the seams (those summer nights!) we continued to meet up occasionally back in UK, although  we were all at different unis. Contact was by no means anything more than sporadic, but somehow the ties stayed strong over years, continents and life stages. I'm forever amazed at this rare and precious gift, especially when I consider that relationships that lasted longer, or with less distance in between, had crumbled so easily.

I guess if birds of a feather flock together, then we girls must be kindred spirits then as we excitedly prepared for a 10 year reunion to celebrate our wildest girl's transition to matrimony!

Group picture outside the church in Brentwood, which is where Ted's family is from. Such a picturesque town! 

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