So nice to see you after all these years

We’re going to a reunion this summer, a three-day fest on the Rhine gathering together former employees and spouses of Hong Kong’s German-Swiss International School.  My wife was a teacher there in the early nineties, had been for three years before I landed in early 1994, got a job, found a girlfriend, broke up, met K, moved in, married her, had our daughter, quit my job and then moved to Germany.

Along the way I met many of her colleagues, some of whom we’re still friends with after all these years.  Looking over the list the other day of those slated to attend, we smiled and said how much we were looking forward to seeing many people who up to now have existed only in that place and time we filled before moving on.

There are at least a half-dozen I want to have a long catch-up with.  One of K’s girlfriends back in the day will I hope recall an incident barely a week after I’d started going out with K.  The three of us were at a bar somewhere up near The Peak and Karin was wearing a dress that showed off that great figure she still has.  When K went off to get some drinks I turned to her friend and said something like, “damn, she looks fantastic, doesn’t she?”  She gave me this horrified look and spat back, “WHAT did you say?”   With the loud music and her not understanding English very well, she thought I was making a pass at her the moment K’s back was turned.

But as much as I’m looking forward to the reunion, there’s a certain dread about it too.  Not that I might feel like an outsider, because I do know a lot of the people.  It’s just that I know exactly what’s going to happen.  If you’ve ever been to a high school reunion, you know the drill.

Not long after you arrive you’ll see the people you’ve been thinking about all these years and you’ll rush over and greet them.  After the first excitement of recognition has blown by you’ll have the catch-up gab, the what-you-doing-now where-you-been-in-the-meantime chat, the great-to-see-you-again tap on the arm for good measure when you go refill your drink.

It will go on like that until someone gets up to make a speech or the buffet is served.  With any luck the food will be decent and drinks flowing.  By now you’ll have coalesced into groups you used to hang out with ‘way back when, avoiding those you don’t know or only had a superficial relationship with.

The evening will be a pleasant one and it will all end a bit too soon.  If there are events the next day and evening, you’ll enjoy them, basking in the memories and nostalgia which, if the atmosphere is right, will come in bunches.

As the last event draws to a close and everyone drifts off saying their final farewells, there will be hugs and shoulder shakes and thumps on the back, cards swapped, telephone numbers, email, website and blog addresses scribbled on the back of napkins or scraps of paper, and sincere looks exchanged as you look each other in the eye and say, “It’s been so much fun to see you again after all these years.  We must keep in touch.”

But you know what?  You won’t.

EDIT and update:  It was a great time and we’re looking forward to the next one.  Really, it was wonderful.

7 Responses to “So nice to see you after all these years”

  1. June 14, 2008 at 6:23 am

    Hey, so what? At least you’ll catch up for some time. Have lots of fun.

  2. June 14, 2008 at 9:02 am

    Ian, spice it up a bit. When asked what you have been up to, tell them you have been serving time for a felony, or have been running a high class escort service, or have become an internet gazillionaire and then lost it on-line betting! Give them something to talk about mate! You’ll never see them again!

  3. June 14, 2008 at 6:37 pm

    Beave: I think if I gave them all that what they’d be talking about is how far off the deep end I’ve gone.🙂

    Banno – thanks! We’re really looking forward to it.

  4. June 18, 2008 at 6:10 pm

    yes ian, you’re right. people never stay in touch.

    i have attended my 20 year graduation reunion last year and i have to say it was fun to see all of them and catch up. but it’s really only fun to see them once in 10 years and compare them to the old images, like seeing that one of our most rebellious punks is a well-off dentist by now or one of our shyest wallflowers now looks like a supermodel and has some management job with MTV.

    but to meet them on a regular basis – i don’t think we’d have enough in common. i guess having gone to the same school just isn’t enough to fill more than a few hours every couple of years.

  5. June 19, 2008 at 11:01 am

    Yawn, I dread these reunions myself. Actually balked at the last two. But I do have a good excuse, I live far away. Good luck with your own reunion. I’m sure you will enjoy yourself after all.

  6. July 17, 2008 at 6:57 pm

    After I graduated from high school I moved on to the next stage in life. I could never understand what the purpose of the 10 year, 20 year, and beyond reunions. But that’s just me, I know many live for these kinds of things.

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