Travel is amazing, exciting, excruciating, and there are a ton other superlatives that trail along. But travel can also be emotional. It’s not the weight of travel that invokes this feeling but the story behind the journey. At Pickyourtrail, we came across such a story.
A story spanning 50 years. The one that has the significance of a lifetime! This is a story about two penfriends who communicated only through handwritten letters and photos for half a century!
What does it mean when they finally meet?
My penfriend Anne was born and brought up in Sydney, Australia. After I emailed her that I am visiting Australia on the 6th of April and would meet her for the first time in 50 years she was as excited as me.
She emailed me the details of the time and the venue where we would meet. Ferry Wharf F4 on the Circular Quay in Sydney at 10:30 am, April 7.
I reached at the venue earlier and was going mad about waiting at the ferry, wondering how she looks now as the last photo she had sent me was 18 years back, around 2001. It was past 10:30 and I was tempted to reach her on mobile. I refrained. I had waited to meet her for 50 years, why not a couple more minutes, I calmed myself. And, it happened. I found a tall white lady waving at me. Before I could realize she was the one, my husband identified her as he recognized her daughter Kristie, who happened to be a mirror image of Anne when she was 13.
Frankly, I found it difficult to identify her as we were surrounded by white people. On the contrary, since I was the only Indian around, she came running towards me as fast as her legs could take her. It was a mesmerising moment for both of us. We hugged each other and felt very emotional. Both of us just couldn’t believe, that we were finally seeing each other, after exchanging letters for about 50 monumental years.
I was even more touched by the fact that Anne came with her family. Her daughter Kristie (36), son Jon (33), Jon’s partner Kara, son-in-law Dominic, and her two granddaughters Skylar (6) & Airlie, who just turned one, a few months back. We, unfortunately, couldn’t meet Anne’s husband Geoff as he was unwell. They were all curious and excited to see me. I suppose otherwise as we all know, it’s really difficult to get our kids to join us even for a simple family gathering.
We talked non-stop, walked around the Sydney Opera House, passed by the Darling Harbour, and then took the ferry to Manley Beach. We settled for lunch at a restaurant opposite the beach. It was Anne’s treat. She got me my favourite, fish and chips. Post lunch, we spent the whole day sightseeing.
Later, she took us to her house where we met Geoff. The dinner was a surprise. The whole family had put in a lot of effort to surprise us. Anne teased us with her potato salad, couscous, and crunchy fresh green salad. Dominic wowed us with barbecued honey-glazed sausages, grilled chicken and barbecued lamb, which was juicy and yum! For dessert, we had the local favourite Pavlova made by Kara.
After a completely satisfying dinner, Anne was very sweet on insisting that she drops us back at the hotel. But before we left, I gifted her this collage I made out of the limited photos I had of hers. Those days we had to buy a roll film, had to pay extra for developing, and there was no deleting once we click. It just stays.
This marked the end of our wonderful time with Anne and her family. Every moment we spent with them was unforgettable and the 50 years’ wait was worth it!
Here’s how the rest of our trip went.
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