Had it really been 20 years?
One of my very best friends, Sarah Feather, lives in Macau.
She told me last week that her mother – Heather Barreto – was retiring and returning to England after more than two decades in the Former Portuguese Enclave. "We are going to have a surprise going away party for her," she informed me. "Would you like to come?”
“I wouldn't miss it for the world!!!” I exclaimed.
The trek from my country abode in Hong Kong's Northern New Territories to Macau takes about three hours. First there is the mini bus ride to the train station. Then the train ride to Hung Hom. Then the taxi ride to the ferry terminal.
Then the one hour jetfoil ride to Macau. Then the queues at immigration and another queue for the taxi.
Living overseas, you get to attend more than your fair share of “going away parties”. People are always moving on or going home. Sometimes it can get a bit tedious. Sometimes you don't really want to deal with all of that “sweet sorrow”.
But this was a bit different.
I had met Heather 20 years ago when I was teaching English at the University of Macau. I quickly became good friends with the entire family, especially her daughter, Sarah. We both wanted to practise our Portuguese – and we both liked to go to discos.
At the Farewell Party, I think that Heather was a bit surprised to see me (did she really have tears in her eyes?), and I ran into other Long Lost Friends, as well. There was Heather's delightful Scottish friend, Maggie, whom I hadn't seen in at least a decade.
Then there was Sarah's sister, Zaida, whom I hadn't seen in at least 10 years, her brother Timothy, and his lovely wife Rachel. The list goes on.
To Be Continued
Copyright: Michael Taylor Pictured: Sarah Feather (left) and Heather Barreto (right) Photo Credit: Bob Ruggles