Lou (Indie 30 Day 12 – Meaningful connections)

Lou (Indie 30 Day 12 – Meaningful connections)

BootsnAll prompt: Travelers meet dozens, if not hundreds, of new people on every trip. They may become friends, enemies, lovers, and resources; they may stay in your life forever or be forgotten the next day. Tell about a time you felt a powerful connection – for however long – to another person while traveling.

I was thirteen on my first overseas trip. I went to the UK with People to People International. Part of the People to People experience is the homestay – several days spent living with a local family. So, after several days exploring London and falling in love with one of the world’s greatest cities, we clambered onto the bus to head to Peterborough and meet our homestay families. Each family had been carefully selected by the local school and had at least on child of a similar age to our tour group.

My host sister was Louise, Lou for short, and she was an absolute doll. We hit it off immediately and spent four days just being kids. No museums, no monuments to photograph, just friendship. She took me to school with her one day where I was her lab partner and we managed to poke a hole in a cup of boiling water over a Bunsen burner, extinguishing the flame and making a mess. We walked in Peterborough and got candy at Woolworth’s. I met her grandmother who fed me her homemade pickled onions and cookies with red currant jam. We watched television and danced to Robbie Williams hit Rock DJ. We went to the mall and she helped me pick out some cool English threads. Her mom made me a traditional English dinner of roast beef with Yorkshire pudding and broad beans from her garden. We gossiped on the playground about all the people I’d met and I told her about my friends back home.

On the last day, Louise gave me a silver necklace. It was one of those half a heart necklaces that has part of the word friendship on it. She kept the other half. We hugged good-bye and both began to cry as I climbed onto the bus clutching the lunch her mother had packed me. I sprang for a seat by the window and we waved at each other until the bus drove away. Later, I ate the sausage rolls and Cadbury chocolates from my homemade lunch and wondered when I would see Lou again.

We kept in touch for a long time via emails and handwritten letters. She’d introduced me to the chocolate Smarties candy you can get in Europe so I sent her the colorful Smarties we have here in the States. But somewhere along the way we lost touch, changed email addresses, moved, stopped writing…I’ve tried to find her again with Facebook and Twitter but have had no luck. Perhaps someday the universe will bring us together again, but if it doesn’t I still have those four days of friendship to cherish.

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