First Tutee and his uncle dropped by with Nasi Lemak today to wish me Happy Chinese New Year.
First Tutee is now nearly 11 years old, as tall as me and seeing Ollie for the first time since 2020.
Pleased that Ollie still remembered him, and that the scene outside the window where he used to sit to practise his spelling and writing, had remained unchanged, he gushed shyly about spotting his childhood sweets on my dining table.
I asked him to help himself to the White Rabbit Milk Candy pieces. I had prepared a new bag of them for him to bring home later on.
As he unwrapped the candy, he mentioned several times that White Rabbits were his favourite childhood sweets and that he was also born in the Year of the Rabbit.
First Tutee’s delight at seeing Ollie and recalling the names of Hakim, Kitty & China Black who have since passed on, his smiling at the sweets of his childhood and feeling right at ease in a space where he started his preparation to enter primary school showed me a reunion doesn’t always have to revolve around a big meal.
Food & drinks aside, a reunion is also about returning to the people & place that make us feel supported.
And if reunions are meant to evoke memories to embolden us to move forward, then it is wise that during that encounter we refrain from fishing for details in someone else’s personal life unless they are offered on their own accord.
Going home for reunions is such a big deal across cultures & evokes many conflicting emotions in some. May each reunion be a time of reconciliation and mutual support like the one that took place with First Tutee today.