It’s funny the way friendships can begin. I still remember it so clearly. It was 2009 and I was doing a 6 month exchange programme at Jinan University in Guangzhou, China. It was my second week in China and everything was overwhelming. I can’t explain what it feels like to be a newbie in China, especially a 22 year old foreign exchange student who has the Chinese vocabulary of a 1 year old and is missing everything that isn’t with her in China, namely her boyfriend and all her friends from Rhodes University. Thus, it was on a hot and humid day in September that I stepped into the lift and tried to wipe away my tears of frustration before I reached the 9th floor and had to explain (yet again) to my Korean roommate why I was crying (again). I didn’t even notice that there was anyone else in the lift with me until a sweet voice appeared out of nowhere…
“Hi, my name’s Angel, I think we have an English Literature class together.”
Out of thin air, what would become my guardian Angel during my time in China, just appeared. And of course her name would be Angel.
We quickly became close friends, and throughout my six months in Guangzhou we embarked on many an adventure together. She took me to Hong Kong when we had our first week off from classes and I experienced the city for the very first time from a local. We traveled across south China on a night train to Yangshuo and spent an amazing week cycling around the countryside with her boyfriend Benson and eating all kinds of delicious food. We spent Christmas eve together in 2009 and I even got the chance to visit her Chinese hometown of Huizhou.
When it came to say goodbye in January 2010 we both cried and had no idea when we’d be able to hang out again. Luckily for us, in August 2010 I decided to move back to China and as soon as I arrived in Hong Kong we went for dumplings and I stayed with her family for a few days.
I didn’t see her again for a while, despite now living very close. Actually it was by sheer coincidence that in May 2011 when I was partying with two of my best friends who were visiting China, that I bumped into her on the street in Hong Kong’s party central. This fateful encounter rekindled our friendship and after that we saw each other every couple of months, either in Hong Kong where she lives or in Shenzhen where I was living at the time.
I moved to Taiwan in August 2012 and during the 9 months that I lived there she came to visit twice and we traveled to many places on that magical island together and had such a ridiculously fun time.
Now I’m living in Hong Kong and as soon as I landed, she picked me up from the bus stop and instantly made me feel at home. It’s so good to live in the same city as her and be able to have dinner together on work nights or have a weekend day out, such as last Sunday’s Clockenflap music festival. Yesterday it was her birthday and I’d like to dedicate this post to our friendship that continues to blossom no matter the distance or years that go by. Tonight we ate dinner at my apartment and it felt so great to have such a close friend who’s seen me grow and go through so many changes over the past four years, and vice versa, actually be living in the same place as me. There’s nothing quite like catching up with an old friend over a cup of green tea and a big bar of chocolate to make you feel at home.
Angel, thank you for being such a loyal, kind, fun-loving friend! I am so grateful to have you in my life and to be able to experience living in the same city as you again! Here’s to many more fun, spontaneous adventures in the future of our friendship! Who know’s where the next step of our journey might take us?!
At the Big Buddha in Hong Kong, 2010.
Hong Kong Lomography Store, 2012. Funny, that’s where I work now!!
Reunited in Taiwan, Christmas 2012
Watching the most spectacular sunset above the clouds at Alishan.
Wow, talk about a trip down nostalgia lane! Angel and I certainly have some freaking amazing memories, and these are only a handful! Here’s to the memories to come!