Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Rotary Friends

Back in the fall of 1986 I made one of the biggest, yet easiest, decisions of my life up until that point: I applied to be a Rotary Exchange Student. Each year my high school accepted one or two students a year. I often became friends with them, but promptly lost touch with them when they returned home.

I graduated from high school in 1987. A few months later I boarded a plane to spend a year as an exchange student at L'ecole Benedictine de Pays Notre Dame de Liege, in Belgium. I stayed with three host families -- who (for the most part) I have also lost touch with. In 1987/1988 the internet was fairly new. I had a friend named Michel who worked for a university and was able to connect me (via the internet) to make a phone call to my dad at work to thank me for some small favor I did. You guessed it, I have lost touch with Michel also, though he did visit me in New Jersey in 1989 or so.

On our most recent trip to Canada I reconnected with a few Rotary Exchange students. Thanks to the magic of a thing called FaceBook I am now back in touch with some of my Rotary friend.

Marlene and I met for lunch and a spin through the art museum. As she was a college student when I was a high school student, I think of her as my honorary big sister.

A few days later, I met up with Johanna for lunch in the Griffintown section of Montreal, and a spin through the Atwater Market. It turned out to be a beautiful day so lots of walking was in our plans, as well as lots of gabbing, and lots of giggling ("bottomless pants" is now a new expression).

On our way home from Canada we made a stop in Binghamton for (you guessed it) lunch and to catch up with Dana and his daughter, Sydney.

I'm grateful my parents gave me this opportunity. I'm hopeful through the magic of the internet, I'll reconnect with even more people from this pivotal stage in my life.

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