What's the difference between friends and acquaintances? When you meet up with old friends after a long time--years even--it's like no time has passed at all. There's no awkwardness, no fishing around for small talk. You pick up right where you left off, and the talk is non-stop because there is so much catching up to do.
That was my experiencing meeting up with some very good friends from our years in Saipan when I was in California last month. Aaron and Joyce Knowlton taught with us in Saipan more than ten years ago, from 2000 to 2002. Back then we were young married couples with no kids. Now we have families, and it was a pleasure to meet their beautiful children. The Knowlton tribe picked me up at the airport on Sunday, February 12 and took me to a late lunch at a Mexican restaurant. After the meal, they took me up to the hotel and came up to my room for a bit where we Skyped with Babs and the Feller. Our boy was so excited to see the Knowlton kids and they seemed equally fascinated with him. Spending time with Aaron, Joyce and their kids, it felt as if the intervening years had been mere weeks, and our friendship continued as if a decade had not interrupted it. I'd really like to bring the whole family out to California next spring, for a proper visit.
|With Aaron and Joyce Knowlton and their kids. Sunday, February 12, 2012. Aaron is vice principal at Redlands Adventist Academy, while Joyce has left the teaching profession and is now in nursing school.|
I first saw Veronyka Perez in the airport in Dallas, Texas. We were on the same connecting flight to Ontario, and I heard her being paged. I sent her a Facebook message asking if she was on my flight and then ran into her in the queue to board only minutes later. We sat together throughout the meetings and with Vero, too, it felt as if I'd seen her only last week--though it had been three years since we last saw her in Florida, not long after Elijah was born, and almost four since she left Saipan.
|Vero! She's teaching at an Adventist school in south Florida.|
Monday night I met up with Britni Gleason (now Rampton--she just got hitched last October to Darin Rampton, a really cool, laid-back guy who is the perfect complement to Britni's super-kinetic personality) along with Jessica Lee and Riki Unterseher. Vero had a gathering with her Union as well, but joined us later in the evening. We all got together at a Marie Callender's across the street from the hotel and stayed until they were practically stacking up the chairs and vaccuming the floors. It was so much fun to see these wonderful friends again. We laughed, shared Saipan memories, and brought each other up to speed on our lives. It was so nice to know that our friendships had survived the passage of time.
|The OTs: Lee, Britni, and Riki|
I'm not sure when I'll see all these wonderful Saipan friends again--hopefully Spring 2013--but whenever I do I'm pretty sure we'll pick up like no time at all has passed.