Not that they're old, you understand, but we've known each other for 30 years. Clark & Laurie stopped by today (I gave them my blog address so if you guys see this, Hi!) on their way to a weekend getaway and we had a great time catching up. The afternoon went so fast!
We first met in January 1976, in San Francisco, where a group called "K-37" gathered for our pre-service Peace Corps training. My recollection is that we all arrived there on January 5 and spent a few days on some basic orientation activities, getting whatever shots we didn't already have, having our first language lessons (not surprisingly, it was the first exposure to Korean for all of us except Betty, a woman of Korean ancestory who was in our group), tasting Korean food for the first time, and generally getting to know one another.
Those few days were followed by the trip to across the Pacific, arriving in Tokyo for an overnight stay at the Keio Plaza Hotel. As I'd never been out of the country at that point, one night in Japan was a shock, no matter how jet-lagged I was. Finally, though, we arrived in Seoul and were taken to our Yeogwan (Inn), which was another shock--and not the last--and then expected to find our own way to the bus station for the trip down country to the training center. Those Peace Corps folks know something about how to make you learn fast!
It was at the training center in Cheongju where I really got to know Clark & Laurie. Clark and I were in the same language class, and the two of them, the only married couple in our group, and also PC veterans having served in Ethiopia, seemed to form our core. They sang and played guitar, had the best attitudes, and generally were the nicest people. Over the next two years we managed to see each other at various times in their city or mine, or on training trips, and we've never lost touch. When I began to orchestrate my move to DC about 10 years ago, we finally managed to meet again, and it was wonderful to see them today.