Here’s to Pote

Hi everyone,

When America was attacked on 9/11, Sandy and I were in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia where I was working with kids in an International elementary school. The Malaysian state-run newspaper was unsympathetic toward Americans and we were uncomfortable. We made it to Phuket, Thailand and spent a few days before eventually returning home by crossing the Pacific to California and flying from there back to Springfield.

By contrast to the Malaysians, who tended to stare at us without the slightest signs of empathy, the people in Thailand were sweet and sympathetic. They would bring us the news, touch us, say how sorry they were at the terrible thing that had been done to our country. We will never forget them and how much we needed their kindness at that dark time when we were stranded far from home and the world seemed to have gone mad.

For some time I’ve had a Facebook friend in Thailand. His name is Pote Chinavarakul and Pote lives in Chiang Mai where he attended Chiang Mai Teacher College and Chulalongkorn University and taught for many years before retiring. For his undergraduate work he majored in geology and minored in biology (my major and minor, too, in reverse order) and his graduate work was in audio visual communication In all this time I’ve dashed about my daily affairs without asking Pote about himself. Now I have and am glad I did. Pote is 72 now and stays in touch with friends through Facebook at . He has been to the United States three times: Los Angeles for three months; Honolulu, Hawaii; and a trip to New York City and Orlando, Florida.

Thank you for being Facebook friends, Pote. I’m glad to become better acquainted.