Monday, October 31, 2016

The Smallest World

Sometimes the craziest things happen.

For example, last week I got asked to do a Skype visit with the International School of Ulaanbaatar. That's in Mongolia.

In Mongolia schoolchildren are reading something I wrote.

(Of course I'm going to Skype with them. Although if they wanted to pay for me to visit them, I'd be up for that too.)

Then Saturday an even cooler thing happened.

Years ago, when my husband was a medical resident, my son was a baby, and we lived in Indianapolis, I had a friend named Jane. Jane and her husband were physicians from New Zealand; they lived in Indianapolis for two years while Jane's husband did a fellowship in pediatric endocrinology. Jane was a radiologist, but INS screwed up and gave the work permit to their 12-month-old son Richard, so Jane had way more time on her hands in America than she expected, which worked out happily for me.  I taught Jane the American traditions of iced tea and chicken salad; she taught me proper scones and to always twirl a teapot three times before pouring. Our sons were each other's first friends. Twenty years ago today they went trick-or-treating in matching Puff the Magic Dragon costumes that Jane and I made from felt, sequins, and hooded sweatshirts we bought at the dollar store.

Jane and her family left Indianapolis to return to New Zealand the same weekend that I and my family left to move to Tennessee. We both had baby girls.  We both tried to stay in touch--it sounds odd, but  it wasn't really possible to email New Zealand back then. I blame myself for not communicating better; she blames herself. At any rate, twenty years passed, even though I can remember days spent with Jane as though they were yesterday. (Standing on a New York City subway platform eating apple strudel with bare hands. We went to New York for a weekend, just the two of us, right before we moved away. I went into a fancy chocolate store and asked for free samples and we got some and Jane nearly died. We spent hours on Ellis Island.)

Anyhow. Jane's son came home from the bookstore last Friday with several books--a John Grisham, a Robert Balducci, and The War That Saved My Life. He didn't know I'd written i--had no idea his mother knew me--until Jane saw my name on the cover.

 My book in the hands of an old dear friend. In New Zealand. As far away as Ulaanbaatar.

We live in the coolest world.