Coming full circle – an old friend in Shanghai

18 Aug
Catching up with a very good friend (and enjoying hot pot - hence the bibs)

Catching up with a very good friend (and enjoying hot pot – hence the bibs)

Last Friday my roommate when I first moved to Shanghai was back in town for 24 hours.  He had spent the last 6 weeks in Xi’an at a teacher training program and right before heading back to the US we had the opportunity to meet up for a very late dinner.

C was the impetus for why I moved to Shanghai in the first place.  We’ve known each other for over 10 years.  He was the one who put it into my head that teaching English in another country was a real possibility.  We explored Shanghai together before either one of us spoke any Chinese and stumbled through those first weeks as we found our place in this city.  The last time I had seen him was two years ago when he had been back once again for another learning opportunity.

We had dinner, tried to catch up on the many things that have happened over the last two years and reminisced about “our Shanghai” of six years ago.  In the last six years Shanghai has changed so much.  From four subway lines to 14, from 2 airport terminals to 4.  The city has become more international and also more generic – as they have knocked down or renovated many of the places that we used to go.  One that we especially mentioned is the original Wujiang Road where we first had dumplings.

It’s not just the city that has changed – we both aren’t the same either.  C went through more of a career change than I – now he’s teaching Chinese to grade school students.  I’ve gotten married and worked on projects all over Asia Pacific.  Both of us speak Chinese now and our perspective on the world has evolved as we have seen more.  We shared a parallel path for a while and now have forked into different directions.

No matter what path I take in the future, C is a friend I want to keep.  We may live a world apart for the time being, but if he ever says he has another “Great idea” – I’d be inclined to listen very carefully.  I am very happy we got to connect again in Shanghai this summer.

What friend do you wish was in town more often?  How do you stay in touch with people who at different points support you?  What’s the strangest idea that you’ve heard – and then done – because of a friend?

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11 Responses to “Coming full circle – an old friend in Shanghai”

  1. Every Day Adventures in Asia August 18, 2013 at 6:35 pm #

    How marvellous! Sounds like a terrific catch-up. 🙂 I certainly have a few folks that don’t get to see that often but really value when I do. As for how we keep in touch – lotsa modes these days. Speaking of which… FT next weekend?

  2. ladyofthecakes August 18, 2013 at 6:42 pm #

    Aw, I have so many friends that I’ve shared special experiences with in different countries, and I so miss them all! Of course, this always gives me plenty of opportunity to travel…

    • gkm2011 August 18, 2013 at 8:58 pm #

      Very true, I have collected people in many different places which is a wonderful side effect!

      • ladyofthecakes August 18, 2013 at 9:00 pm #

        Indeed. And I do love the coming together again and catching up on what each has been up to 🙂

  3. expatlingo August 18, 2013 at 9:05 pm #

    It’s always so wonderful to see an old friend, particularly in a place where you have old memories together. Nice post.

    • gkm2011 August 18, 2013 at 9:07 pm #

      Thanks, it was one of those wacky nights that just worked. Old friends tend to have that luck! We could have talked to dawn if he didn’t have any early wake up call.

  4. pollyheath August 19, 2013 at 1:50 am #

    I’m absolutely terrible at keeping in touch with people, but there’s nothing I love better than catching up with an old friend!

    I’ve never had a friend convince me to move to another country… maybe I need some new friends!

    • gkm2011 August 19, 2013 at 7:24 am #

      I don’t have any friends from high school that I still keep in touch with, my longest now are from college. The type of friend who convinces you to take a big chance, no matter what it is is a special one!

  5. Sherri August 19, 2013 at 8:54 pm #

    How lovely for your to see your ‘old’ friend again! One of my closest friends still lives in California and I do wish I could see her more often. When I moved back to the UK in 2003 I didn’t know then that I wouldn’t see her for 10 years (just saw her in April!) but we keep in touch by whatever means available 🙂

    • gkm2011 August 19, 2013 at 9:47 pm #

      Time certainly flies by! I wonder what new methods will exist in another ten years.

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