Wednesday, 1 February 2012

New best friend

Somewhere in Malaysia I may well appear in a photograph that takes pride of place in a family home. I will be pictured with The Husband, two of The Friends and a Malaysian student who had recently attended her graduation ceremony who I had never met before that day.  The reason I know that she had graduated was that she was still dressed in her cap and gown.

It was a Sunday afternoon a couple of years ago and The Husband, The Friends, and me, were in the City Centre in search of a pub or restaurant that would serve up for us their finest roast dinner available. We were passing by the main entrance to The University where I work when we were approached by the Malaysian student who was with two of her friends, also Malaysian students, and wielding cameras. With little common language between us, I assumed from the gesturing that the students wanted us to take a photo of all of them together.  But no, instead, we - The Husband, The Friends, and me - were ushered into position and joined by the graduating student who linked arms with me as if we were the best of friends.  So there we were, suddenly and suprisingly, caputured on film - or at least in pixels - new best friends!

In some ways it makes me feel a little sad that the student didn't have any 'real' British student friends that she could be picutered with.  I know from my work (at the University) that regardless of our efforts to encourage bonding and friendships, it is notoriously difficult to get home and international students to mix together beyond their studies within the University environment - each group finding their interests and lifestyles too different to the others.

I do find it fancinating though that it was important to our student friend to be pictured with her 'so called' British friends, that she wanted that fake memory to be captured to take home.  The whole thing was very random and it still makes me smile to think that The Husband, The Friends and me with my 'new best friend', may be grinning away in that photograph, proudly displayed, thousands of miles away in another land.

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