Meet Travis. He's an 18-year-old Vietnamese country boy turned university student, a former pupil of my daughter and an online buddy of mine.
Since meeting in my third-born's classroom two years ago and connecting through Facebook, Travis and I have become great friends. He calls me his teacher and asks me all sorts of interesting and curious questions about American idioms and finer points of English grammar. And I call him my student and do my best to explain these puzzling nuances. In the midst of these sessions, we have grown quite fond of one another.
So it was with great anticipation that I made plans to meet Travis in Saigon last weekend. And a lovely reunion we had together, talking and laughing in a cool McDonald's, sharing cheeseburgers and French fries as Travis talked to us about slaughtering chickens for his home-cooked meals.
As I've come to expect when meeting far-flung Facebook friends, shadows of difference quickly fade away and the pure light of genuine connection shines in the balance. I'm grateful for my sunny afternoon with Travis.