Elementary connections

This weekend was spent in Chiang Mai – one of my stops or destinations for a photo project I’m doing for UNIFEM. Over the course of an introductory conversation with Brent Madison one of my contacts (with whom I was connected to through several people – notably Kirill Konine, my former housemate in Bangkok, and Jon Kapp, a former colleague of mine at UNESCO), we discovered that his cousin was in elementary school with me. For his cousin Adam Reynolds and myself, Queensway Christian School is a long ways away – time and memory-wise, as we both left after Grade 7 and 8. There really are six or less degrees of separation between everyone, or as the Thai’s would say it, the world truly feels round.

Perhaps what’s even stranger is how we stumbled across the little details that steered our conversation into discovering that connection. It would have been very possible that our conversation stayed to the details of finding contacts, subjects and areas to photograph instead of veering off-topic, akin to asking a stranger if he or she knows so-and-so from your hometown. Something I’ve learned from Kirill (one of the most networked individuals I know), is how to be shameless at name-dropping – not that I’m a good student at that at all. I call this whole thing a divine appointment, others would have called it coincidence, but nevertheless, it’s a testament to how connected the world is becoming.

Well, I do wonder how my former classmates are doing. It’s been more than half a lifetime since I’ve seen some of them. There are a few whom I’ve kept in relatively close touch with – the Asian crew with whom annual Christmas get-togethers have been a regular thing (but now I’m in SE Asia, missing out on all the banter and catch-up… cough-cough… gossip). We were the studious ones in class – competing with each other in almost every class. An example: I remember some of us having fits when our math test scores were only 97% (and no, yours truly did not have such fits). In Grade 6, I earned the envy of Sonia, our English-whiz, if not her wrath of having scooped the book report (book reading) contest. She still reminds me of that fact when we do meet.

My elementary school days weren’t too bad. I wasn’t too maladjusted, although I was massively bookish and terribly unfond of athletics. I enjoy sports a lot more now, although I think I’m a little more bookish – but in a balanced way. Elementary school holds a lot of good memories for me – I can see how those experiences have shaped me to become the person who I am today.

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