An Unlikely Reunion

Two months ago I took a chance; I jumped on a plane to Thailand to reunite with a very special person.

I guess for there to be a reunion, there must first be an initial meeting of sorts, so I’ll describe the events in which we first met before I talk about our time spent together in paradise.

Note: It became clear to me very early on, that I must have known this person in a past life. Although I describe this as our first meeting, I see it merely as the first meeting of which I am conscious of.

I first met Kate Bishop almost 2 years ago- at an orientation weekend for new teachers- a couple of weeks after landing in South Korea.

What struck me initially was her quirky style, disheveled blonde hair and rich hazelnut eyes that peered through over-sized frames; she was stunning.


I was presented with an opportunity to get closer to her- after being grouped together for an activity. I can’t remember what exactly it was that we talked about, but the words flowed majestically from her lips with a soft, melodic, endearing South African accent.

She had my attention.

We were both in long distance relationships at the time, but we kept in touch after that day- innocently and sporadically- as friends over the course of our first year in Korea.

Towards the end of the year another day of teacher training was approaching- Kate would be there- and I was feeling both nervous and excited to see her again.

After spending most of that second orientation staring at the back of her head- not really paying attention to the lecturers- we finally had the chance to talk alone at the end of the day.

We chatted briefly about our year and our experiences; I learned that she had decided not to renew her contract, and was to return home instead. I got the feeling during those short few minutes that we were both holding back on some things that we really wanted to say; it felt very intense.

In any case- whatever it was remained unsaid- we hugged and said our goodbyes.

Although I was sad to be saying goodbye- I had a strong feeling that I would be seeing her again- at least I hoped as much.

We kept in contact, and a few months into my second year in Korea, she made the move to Thailand to start a new adventure.

As the infrequent texting developed into hour long Skype calls, I began to recognize that we had a great deal in common, and we both had similar outlooks on life; a pair of chilled-out, free-spirited, carefree wanderers.

I was never one to be able to pick up on signals- and by the same token- I can be pretty hard to read. I think for that reason- I would later find out- that Kate believed herself to be stuck in ‘the friend zone’. This wasn’t the case; I was simply floating along oblivious to it all- whatever it was of course- I’m still not fully sure.

Women are complex creatures.

It took quite some time, but ‘the signals’ were deciphered, and presented in a language which my simple mind could grasp, and we both admitted to having feelings for each other.

The attraction intensified as I got to know this amazing woman more, and it was becoming increasingly apparent that there was something between us- something that needed to be explored.

Kate planted a seed in my head one day, which would perhaps- if acted upon- provide me with an opportunity to explore that something.

‘You should come to Thailand if you’ve never been- it’s amazing.’

‘Maybe I will.’

I don’t know if she thought I would take it seriously, but I did.

It was clear that the attraction was there- with every passing day I found myself liking this unique South African beauty more and more- but we also shared a deep connection.

It would have been foolish- and downright crazy of me- not to have taken a chance.

I needed to see for myself if what we had was real- or to steal a quote from one of my favorite movies- ‘I needed to see about a girl’.

So, I did something completely out of character; I took decisive action. I booked my ticket, and we began to count down the days in anticipation.

What followed were four of the most amazing days of my life- spent with a wonderful and incredible soul- filled with love, laughter, excitement and adventure.

Naiharn Beach, Phuket

Kate introduced me to a whole new world- her world- full of nerdy wonder. I will be forever grateful that she welcomed me in.

As the trip drew to a close, it was apparent that what we had was indeed real, and we had completely fallen for each other.

When I realized this- naturally enough- the voice of reason started to play in my head. There were a lot of uncertainties; we lived in different time zones, we were nearing the end of our contracts, we were unsure as to what lay ahead.

In matters of the heart- perhaps- things rarely seem logical, and you just have to take that leap.

I didn’t know how it would work out- the how wasn’t important to me- I just knew it would work out.

It was difficult to say goodbye, but I just knew we would see each other again.

Soon after parting ways I was offered a contract renewal with my school, and have signed up for a third year.

Kate decided not to renew her contract in Thailand- has since been offered a teaching position in Korea- and will be returning in May (two weeks from now).

It’s funny how sometimes the world conspires to make amazing things happen.

I’m beyond excited to be reunited with Kate once more, and to begin a new chapter.

I think back to two years ago- before I had signed on the dotted line and booked my flight to Incheon Airport- there were many reasons why I could have stayed put in Ireland.

I had a burning desire in my heart- which trumped any and all ‘rational’ thoughts holding me back- to leap from my comfort zone into the unknown.

I’m so thankful that I listened- because above all else- that decision led me (back) to Kate.

You must always listen to your heart- because wherever your heart is- there you will find your treasure.

– Paulo Coelho