I met up with an old friend (CH) today. We've only known each other for a little less than a year, the same year I started the Sydney / Australia chapter, but in that short span of a year, she became the older sister I never had. She went home to Vietnam after completing her degree, with the hope to come back to Sydney. We sealed our friendship with promises of keeping in touch and a visit to Vietnam to 'do' her hair for her wedding.
4 years passed by with e-mails, long-distant calls, and MSN messaging. I admit to being a horrible correspondent, and she didn't have a habit of checking e-mails, so one year easily passed by with no news from either of us. Until recently that is...
Fate works in mysterious ways, and it has never ceased to amaze me with its ingenuity. I was walking along King Street, Newtown with my roommate that night, deciding on what to eat. We passed by this up-market Vietnamese restaurant, and I thought of CH. I thought of the many years that I walked passed this same restaurant, never once going in. My roommate, KT and I dined there that, and thought it was quite expensive, the food was good (although the scallops tasted of something I would rather not eat).
That night, I received an e-mail from CH telling me that she's back in Sydney doing a one-year major course.
We met over lunch, and walked along King Street just like the good old days. She told me about her life and work in Hanoi, her family, and I told her about my work as a graduate pharmacist, living at college (still), family. Comparing stories and experiences, she's had an illustrious 4 years... trying different jobs, dabbling into business, managing community-based projects, pursuing majors, taking up meditation in a Wat in Chiangmai... and I think back to my 4 years of slogging away to complete a pharmacy degree, slaving away in a pharmacy dealing with difficult customers, and being so tired on most nights that I can't think about doing anything else but sleep.
Perhaps the things I admire most about CH is that she's willing to give things a chance, willing to take a leap into the unknown, and above all, I admire her passion for wanting to make her country a better place.
I admire her for the things that I'd like to see in myself.