Thursday, September 25, 2008

Old Face, New Place

I mentioned a while ago about a gas station attendant who had taken a keen interest in me. Basically every time I went to this one PetroMax station near my school, I would have a case of deja vu with this man. He would start filling up my tank and say, "Where you from?" I would then say in Vietnamese, "I'm from America." He would then exclaim, "America!!!", shake my hand, and tell me I was going to be his English Teacher. Each time I went I would throw a new Vietnamese word into the mix which would always get him excited. I asked how he was one time and said goodbye another. He appreciated the effort.

Well today Huyen and I went across town to eat at one of my former student's family's restaurant. The place was pretty far on the south side of town, on a road I had never been on. On the way back from lunch I pulled into a random PetroMax station. I parked Huyen's bike next to the pump and opened up the tank when I looked up and saw a giant smiling face. It was my gas station attendant. Simultaneously we said, "Hello!" We each were extremely surprised to see each other and instinctively shook hands and patted each other on the shoulder like old Elementary School classmates. Meanwhile, Huyen realizing what was going on, started to hysterically laugh and asked, "Where's your camera?" Sadly I had forgotten it.

I think it's funny that one day I'll think back to my adventures out here in 'Nam, and the friends I've made, and this man will come to mind. We don't know each other's names and can't speak more than ten words to each other, yet we both greeted each other like long lost best friends. That's a nice feeling.