“Sometimes the best friendships are the unexpected ones.”
Our friend Maybelle’s daughter Michelle, who is at the half way mark of obtaining a Bachelor’s degree in Engineering will be obtaining her Diploma in English on February 6, from the University of Foreign Languages Mandalay (Myanmar). Today Michelle and her fellow students assembled to rehearse for this much anticipated milestone. Her English speaking skills have advanced remarkably well from when we last spoke by phone during her visit to the USA to visit her auntie Teri.
Having photos taken at local parks, monasteries, and other venues for graduation or other important events are customary here. While we couldn’t attend, we invited Michelle and her mom fo a photo-shoot on the magical grounds of the Mandalay Hill Resort. It couldn’t have been a more idyllic setting. After the shoot, Michelle and her mom presented us with a scarf—made from bamboo in the lobby of our hotel as a parting gift as we will be leaving for Bangkok in the morning.
We invited Michelle and her mom, and Michelle’s boyfriend Jason (Ye Myint Myat) to dinner at a restaurant of their choice to celebrate.
They chose the Golden Duck. What are the chances that I would take my first trip to Burma over 10 years ago and become friends with a family whose daughter was also named Michelle, who would later become involved in a committed relationship with a nice young man who goes by the same name as our son, Jason. It is a coincidence that on first glance defies logic. Such is the magic of synchronicity. Michelle and Jason have known each other since they were seven years old and they love playing music together. She sings pop rock and he plays the guitar.
The Golden Duck, a three story restaurant with a red Chinese lantern at the entrance was as good as they said it would be. While some tourists eat here, a good majority of patrons appeared to be locals.
After dinner we went to see an old friend named Kathleen, a Catholic sister from Ireland who lives in an apartment on the grounds of Sacred Heart Church. The last time I saw her was at one of my three week meditation retreats back around 2009. Sister got permission from the archdiocese to do the Buddhist mindfulness retreat. Somehow I was comforted by this surprise and the interest in interfaith harmony we shared.
Postscript: Our daughter Michelle and son-in-law Kyle Lewis attended Maybelle’s daughter’s birthday party at the Golden Duck last October during their honeymoon to Southeast Asia.