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Global Friends...

THESE ARE SOME OF THE PEOPLE WHO have BECOME A PART OF THE FABRIC OF our years IN ASIA. PHOTOS ARE IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER WHATSOEVER, BUT ARE ARRANGED JUST AS I PULLED THEM OFF MY HARD DRIVE. DETAILS ARE SKETCHY BUT PERSONAL INFO UPDATES ARE ALWAYS HELPFUL (HINT HINT). THERE ARE SOME PEOPLE WHO I DON'T HAVE CLOSE-UP PICS OF (THEY WERE STOLEN ALONG WITH MY NOTEBOOK PC IN 2001), SO YOU CAN SEND ONE TO ME IF YOU HAVE ONE TO SPARE (A PHOTO, NOT A PC). 

(MIND YOU...)

MICHAEL BUTCHIN. An American who had been living there for a few years when we met in Taiwan in the late 90s. A man who has a taste for the more cultured side of life, he also spoke Mandarin  which probably had nothing to do with the banking job he's doing now back in his home city of Philadelphia. MICHAEL BUTCHIN IN TAIPEI
ROCHELLE LAYMAN. Another Cape Town import, this qualified High School teacher was a colleague in Taiwan and now works in the Middle East, far from our native Cape Town. She has one of the cutest kids you could hope to meet. and her Mother is fun, too. ROCHELLE IN HSINCHU CITY, TAIWAN
JENNY VRONTAKIS. Australian colleague from Korea, 2001. She's just completed a Masters after teaching at a college which offers what might be the best jobs available in Korea. Lucky cow. She misses her native Byron Bay but her three months' paid leave per year here makes up for that. A hardened activity nut, sne of those people for whom staying home on a weekend is NOT an option. JENNY VRONTAKIS IN SEOUL
MAY HSU. Our former boss in Taiwan, this woman was a major part of our lives. We have become quite good friends since we moved to her school in Miaoli City in 1998. She has a couple of kids and a talent for buying and denting new cars. Years later, and we're still in touch - she even came to visit us in Korea while we were there. MAY HSU IN SEOUL 2002
JUNG-EUN LEE. Starting off as a colleague in Seoul in 1997, she has become one of our best friends. She has travelled a lot, boasting long spells in the UK and the USA, and now works at a medical clinic in SW Seoul. One of the nicest people on the planet. Someone out there will be really lucky. JUNG-EUN IN CHAMSIL, SEOUL, 2002
MARK AND MEE-KYOUNG CURRY. Mark's a South African who we met in Seoul in 1997. Quite possibly the only person I know who's actually been up the Amazon, he is now exploring even more uncharted territory as a new hubby and father where he lives and works as a lecturer at a 'varsity in Chuncheon City, Korea. MARK CURRY AND FAMILY, CHUNCHON, 2001
HSIAO-PING FAN. Former colleague from Taiwan. 'Jess' is still there. A person with an unhealthy addiction to new cellphones, she was known to spend time teaching ankle-biters in Miaoli City and planning international trips to spend time with her 'is-he, isn't he?' boyfriend AGAINST our advice! Oh well, we still like her a lot, even though she spends too much time on aeroplanes. She's now married. And a Mommy.  HSIAO-PING IN MIAOLI< TAIWAN
WEN-YING JANG. 'Doris' used to be our school receptionist and PC whiz back in 1999, and now does something far more in her ken as the P.A to the head of Nissan, Taiwan. She has a very hard head, borne out by the fact that she was once hit by a truck outside our school and catapulted through the air for a LONG way, then got right up and went back to work. Silly woman. Maybe that's what made her one of the funniest people we met there. 'DORIS' IN TAIWAN, 2001
JOHAN VAN WYK AND ANNE. This Bloemfontein boy taught in Taiwan for ages and is now a qualified pilot back in SA where his girlfriend Anne has been visiting him. There are rumours that he is a drug smuggler/gun runner but I reckon that people just make these allegations up just to get back at him because he never writes. Slack arse.  JOHAN VAN WYK AND ANNE, MIAOLI CITY, 1999
SANG-HO KIM. Sports-mad 'Jacky' befriended us in Seoul in 1997 and we've been friends since. He works for an international comms company in Seoul, and plans to work in China as soon as he can master the lingo. SUNG-HO KIM, SEOUL, 2001
DEREK ROBINSON. Our colleague during our 2001-2002 stint left Seoul for his native UK just after the World Cup 2002. A man who can always be counted on to try out new things and then tell other people about them (within reason), he now lives and works in Plymouth on the English south coast. DEREK ROBINSON
VERONICA DAVIS. Met in Seoul, 2001, and now back in the States. She was our 'supplier', giving us what we needed when we most needed it: books. She could be counted on to be wandering around town with a rucksack full of the things.  VERONICA DAVIS
ERIC AND APRIL SONG. Together for almost as long as we've been married, these two only tied the knot in 2002. April is a qualified translator and a very switched-on person all round, while Eric is a tech whiz and entrepreneur-to-be now doing his MBA at a swish US college. These two have a spark which always makes them fun to be around - plus they generally buy all the beers. Wahey! APRIL AND ERIC, SEOUL. 2002
PETER WILSON. The man who was Head Teacher at our Taiwan school when we got there. Sydney's where he calls home - or is that just his Mom's couch?  A man who could always be counted on to pull something out of the hat (or wherever he keeps it) when the going got tough, he is quite possibly one of the hardest partiers on the planet. (Phew). Still herding bambinos and running schools in Taiwan. PETER WILSON, MIAOLI CITY, 1999
KIM KNIGHT. Now teaching at a Junior High School in the USA, Kim was the woman who got us to Asia in the first place. We met her when she was acting as an agent for placements in Korea back in 1997, working at Laetitia's language school in Cape Town. She arranged our first jobs in Asia. And we thank her. And not just in retrospect, either. KIM KNIGHT, SEOUL, 2001
SAID LOUDAGH. Another ex-workmate, 'Jack' is from Casablanca in Morocco and is now working in Taiwan's version of Silicon Valley, the Science Park in Hsinchu City just north of where we used to live. He finally got around to marrying his long-time girlfriend Agnes in Taiwan sometime in mid-2002. His Mom makes delicious cakes, and we know this because we've tasted them. SAID LOUDAGH, HSINCHU CITY, 2001
SU-TING. Runs a couple of shops in the Yui-Chin Temple square just around the corner from our old school in Taiwan. She is very proud of her new 'Merc' and of her kids, but works too hard - though this does mean that she could always be counted on for great iced mochas across the counter of her corner coffee shop (she also ran the grocer's next to it). SU-TING, MIAOLI CITY, 2000
JACK McKINNON. Met him and his wife Linda in Korea, 2002. They're now back home in Canada. Jack is one of the few people I know who has actually been to Zimbabwe where I grew up. Bit of a history buff, too. JACK MCKINNON, SUWON HILLS, 2002
ELLA AND DEREK LEE. We met the Lees when they were living in Miaoli and sending their kids to our school. Ella and her husband Derek are really nice people with completely excellent sons and a bizarre fluffy white cat called 'Virgin' which has different-coloured eyes. These generous people invited us to go with them on holiday early in 2001.  ELLA (TAIWAN), 2001
MATTHEW SPARKES. This Londoner has been in Taiwan since 2000 and lives in Hsinchu City from where he used to commute daily to work at our school in Miaoli. A man who amazed many with his almost completely unflappable nature, a handy thing to have in Taiwan. He used to teach in Mexico, worked on a barge holiday concern in France, and now brings joy to the life of anyone who has a spare smoke to offer - if he's not lying in a non-smoking ward recovering from a string of scooter accidents, than is.  MATT SPARKES, MIAOLI CITY, 2000

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