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Bon Journal

Ten Chinese girls

Once upon a time, there were ten Chinese girls who shared a room for six weeks in Taiwan. Five bunk beds stacked side by side, squeezed into a tiny room, with walking space only. All girls, with the exception of two, grew up and lived in the US. One girl, born in Uganda, lived in England. Another grew up in Okinawa, Japan.

They had all come to Taiwan to re-acquaint themselves with their Chinese roots. In this "overseas Chinese" educational summer, they took language, art, and music classes in the first four weeks. The last two weeks took them on a southbound orientation journey around the island.

They managed to have a small Christmas reunion in New York followed by a summer reunion 1984. If three counts as a reunion, then there was one in Birmingham in 1985, London in 1988, and London again in 1990.

Last night I met up with Angela. It's been 16 years since we last saw each other. Despite my numerous trips to New York, I never arranged for us to meet. I was worried that I'd have to wait two hours while she put on her make-up. Had I completely forgotten that we had "clicked" and had much to say to each other?

So the first thing I said on the phone was "are you going to be late?" She assured me that she was now very punctual because she married a man who was prompt.

Little did I know that not only was she punctual, she was also mature. In comparison, I seem so silly and unforgiving to have kept this little irritation on my mind for so long. And I was to discover also that she had married wisely - for truly it's the envy of every single woman to see husbands who understand that "give your wife everything she wants, and she'll be happy. If she's happy, then you're happy."

We talked about others in the group that we've been in touch with. Jackie is probably the reason I've been in England for so long. I've visited Phyllis, and vice versa. Katharine, before she got married. Ida during her honeymoon. And that really is about it.

18 May 2001

In Taiwan, years ago  Jackie's birthday in Taiwan