A year of reconnecting

January 7, 2009

in friends

Already I’ve had an interesting year.

When I was in college, I spent a semester abroad in Sevilla Spain. It was the Spring of 1997, and in lots of ways I remember it like yesterday. Life getting in the way has caused me to lose touch with so many of those people I laughed with because I was speaking Spanish and the Spaniard tells me he doesn’t speak English, cried with because well, we couldn’t find good guacamole and bonded with on our journeys to other countries, including the Rock of Gibraltar where one friend got bitten by a wild monkey.

I have so many fond memories of that time in my life. I have kept in touch with three great American friends, but I had lost touch with another close friend, who ironically was from Texas. Alison was one who I hooked up with quickly. We shared stories of the families we lived with, and how amazingly different – but strangely a perfect match – for each of us they were. We met almost every day after siesta for coffee and meriendas. And, of course, the nightlife. One night in particular we went out to El Patio, a bar/restaurant, in Sevilla. I don’t remember exact details, but we met a couple of Italian guys. They were mainly interested in Alison. I didn’t think much about it, but apparently Alison was pretty interested in Riccardo, so we met them again the following night.

Later that semester, Alison went to visit Riccardo in Italy. I remember worrying about her, thinking what a crazy thing to do. But, hey, wasn’t a girl from Combine going to Spain for six months pretty crazy, too? She had a great time with him – but really, after that I didn’t hear much about him, or I just don’t remember. In June everyone went their separate ways – either back home or to travel throughout Europe. I kept in touch with Alison for probably a year or so after we came home. I even visited her in Austin one weekend, but after that I guess we just lost touch.

Within probably the past 2 years, I have really wanted to get in touch with her, along with other people including my Spain family and other Spain girls, who I’m so anxiously searching for. I’ve had a myspace account and I would occasionally google people, like Alison to try to find them, but with no real luck. I finally got on Facebook about a week ago – and yes, I find Alison! I was thrilled. There she was, her profile pic just as I remember her and a handsome man who was obviously her husband… later I see photos of their two beautiful boys. On her profile, her company’s Web site was listed. I visit it. It’s a high-end designer eyewear company (beautiful glasses!) that is “from the mountains of Italy.” Do you get where I’m going with this? Here’s the climax….the owners are Riccardo and Alison. You guessed it, she married “that Italian guy from the bar” that we met so many years ago. I’m still having a hard time wrapping my mind around this fairy tale. I’m enamored with her story, and I can’t wait to hear more of how it all transpired. We’re meeting soon to reminisce and catch up in a major way. She says that he even jokes, “that he had to come to me to get to her”. Crazy to think that I’ve been out of touch with her for 10+ years, but I’ve met her husband! Now, we all say that that semester was life-changing, but for her it truly was.

The same day that all this happened, my Mom calls to let me know that we received a Christmas card from the Japanese girl, Kayo, who lived with our family from 1988-1989. In all my hormonal adolescent glory, I talked my parents into having a fifth daughter. So, Kayo, a 17-year-old girl from the giant, populated city of Tokyo came to Combine, Texas, a town of less than a thousand, to live with a family of six. Really, this post will not do her justice, because there’s just too much to share about that year with her. But we all realize now how much of a blessing she was to us, and we still talk about her often.

We’ve been in occasional touch, but not really since the proliferation of the Internet. We’ve never had her e-mail address, but we do now!

Here’s her letter.

This letter brought tears to my eyes! Really, she needed to remind us of who she was? Kayo, if only we could justly express our gratitude to you…

I also must mention that I’ve reconnected again with my best college friend, Brandi. Her friendship means everything to me. (again, another time, another post) Two years ago, she lost her seven year old to brain cancer, and the first time I had seen her in probably 5 or 6 years was at her daughter’s funeral. Now, if that doesn’t make you want to search now and reconnect with those who mean so much to you, I don’t know what will.

I love that technology has been able to allow us to find each other. People tend to complain about it mostly, and I guess, the only downside would be that you do sometimes reconnect with those friends who you really want to break up with (or you already have and they just don’t know it). Other than that, I find it such an awesome tool that we are fortunate to have. The Internet is forcing us to rid our excuses for not staying in touch.

I don’t really make new year’s resolutions, but if I did, I think 2009 would be my year to commit to reconnecting, AND staying in touch, with more of those special people I’ve had in my life.

{ 1 trackback }

Valentina, bel bambina
May 11, 2010 at 10:33 pm

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Amanda January 7, 2009 at 5:49 pm

Wow! Those are great stories, and have inspired me to reconnect with those from my past. :) Thanks!

2 Alli January 7, 2009 at 7:11 pm

Allison, that is amazing! I loved it and you sent a great reminder to us all about staying in touch. You are right, with the internet, we have no excuse! I reconnected with a friend from Atlanta through FB and a friend from middle school. It has been fun reconnecting!

I always wanted an exchange student as a kid…maybe I’ll have one as an adult. Wait, that sounded bad. You know what I mean!

3 Jenni and Bryan January 7, 2009 at 9:18 pm

Beautifully written!

4 Stephanie January 8, 2009 at 1:13 am

I am glad that I got to hear those stories without interruption today – you know when you were trying to tell them at Chic-fil-A I could not give you my full attention when the straw poked through the full stirofoam cup of sweet tea. So,I am glad that I know all the details of the love story with the happy ending and that you have heard from the “real” Kayo. I maybe should not say this but you might owe her an apology for making her do her karate in front of us all the time and other things. I’ll never forget when she scared us in the tent that night after she came home from a date. She felt so bad and we were wishing we had thought to do that. Ok, enough. This is turning into a blog. I am trying to think of people I can reconnect with but I did not make many new friends in college and got married at the ripe old age of twenty so I have pretty much stayed connected. I’ll keep thinking though…

5 amber January 8, 2009 at 2:09 am

AMEN to staying in touch…stranger!!:)

6 Lisa January 8, 2009 at 3:03 am

I still can’t believe it’s been 20 YEARS since Kayo came to live with us! I idolized her and everything she did…including her kick-butt karate moves. How awesome that I found her on facebook! Oh, no…wait…wrong Kayo! HAHAHA!!! I just hope we’ll get back in touch with the real Kayo!

7 Janette's Joys January 10, 2009 at 2:00 am

Oh Allison, I can completely relate to that feeling of being taken completely back to a time in your life and the special experience, people, and moment in time and the way the memories and emotions just rush back like it was yesterday! (Granted, mine are a bit more recent than yours—-don’t take that bad though!!! ;) ) The funny thing is that I read this blog right after I had received emails from some dear friends in Nicaragua…btw, I hope Christopher is excited to go, because I am SOOOO Jealous of him!!!!

8 Having It All January 10, 2009 at 9:23 pm

What a neat story! I remember some stories you told that made me laugh…about the Kayo days!

9 Lindy and Bailey January 11, 2009 at 4:08 am

Ok, so I was talking to Amber and since you are so big on this whole “reconnecting” thing…I think a Montclair reunion is long overdue! :)

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