So, I’m back home after a nice 9-day trip to London, from which many memories flow as a result of which I will go into a nostalgic phase for a few weeks, at least.
While travelling yesterday, I took for me the unprecedented step of paying for in-flight WiFi with Virgin Atlantic. I’ve tried transatlantic WiFi before but back then it really didn’t work well, so I decided to not go for the ‘full Monty’ but just take the messaging package for £2.99. Well, it was money well spent as I spent a lot of the flight ‘chatting’ with my family, in particular two of my daughters in the USA. A good amount of catching up with the eldest, before she went off to a soccer scrimmage, and the latter was having a weekend with friends and doing some shopping therapy-albeit in a good cause to get gear for a new sport, softball. But, our communications went on after the flight and up to my arrival in Jamaica some ~20 hours after taking off from London. Phew! My wife was out at events at the university and later having dinner with friends and nice of her to call me while I was in transit and share a few words and laughter with her hosts, who sent dinner for me, I understand 🙂
But, I also used WhatsApp to have some conversations with friends with whom I’d reconnected during my trip. One was at home; the other was also on a flight in the opposite direction to Singapore. But, it was great to do more catching up.
I’d spent part of the weekend at the Wellcome Collection, again with friends, this time from my undergraduate days. The Exhibition is ‘Play well’ and I recommend it for some free and stimulating looks at what playing means to human development. But, the catching up went on for a good hour+ before we went into the exhibition, and I’d recounted (at length) some of what had happened with my previous reconnecting during the week.
Guess what? Three seemingly disparate groups of people, with me as a common feature in the mix, are only one degree of separation apart. That the son of one of my work friends (in both the UK and USA) is now living in the same sometime-infamous massive public housing estate in London, the Aylesbury, where a dear friend from grammar school lived (and he sadly died a few years ago) and whose wife was with me at the Wellcome, was just one of those degrees. Ironically, the Wellcome is just around the corner from University College’s Bartlett School, where I did my postgraduate studies in urban planning.
We choose our friends but not our family, but both should be important to us at all stages of our lives. Friends are often there when family isn’t, sadly. I often say that close friends aren’t just those you see or communicate with frequently, but those whom you can be pretty sure will be there for you whenever YOU need them, no questions asked.
I love my family, dearly, but I also love my friends dearly, too.