By Rob and Lynn Belles
Talk with the people you meet. Be genuine and interested, and you will make lifelong friends on a global scale. When we travel we socialize, talk, listen and make new friends. Our new friends may be hosts in a foreign port, other cruise passengers or cruise ship staff. We enjoy them all.
Starting eight years ago, Suzee made friends with Robbie – a young tablemate that was traveling with his parents. He now lives with them in China and any spring now we anticipate hearing which college he will be attending. On that same trip, Suzee and Max were the only two teenagers on the ship, hence they spent their days with Jessen the teen director. Jessen had been with Carnival for over 10 years. He is from the Philippines but now lives in Brighton, England. On this trip Suzee got to sit at the piano bar and sing songs with Greg Gallello of Canada. To this date, she is still the youngest person he has had at his piano bar.
Lynn and Rob have kept in touch with Robbie’s parents Debbie and Bob. She is a retired Air Force pilot, and he a retired UPS pilot. We get regular updates and invites to visit them in China. Lynn and Max’s mother, Carmen, chat regularly using Facebook messenger, and once in a while they even talk on the phone. Carmen’s English continues to improve – and is way better than Lynn’s Spanish. Twice a year Carmen encourages us to come visit them at their home in San Salvadore. Max recently graduated from the University of Louisiana and lives in Baton Rouge.
This year, we reunited with Greg Gallello at his piano bar, where we met some very new (soon to be old) friends, all with a common interest in his music. We are now following, emailing and calling Maggie from the UK, Mary from Yellow Spring, Ohio (follow her blog at msteries.livejournal.com) and Caludette and Lisa from Toronto Canada. Perhaps we will all meet in Grand Bend, OT one summer to hear Greg Gallello play in his home town.
With the help of the internet we have kept in touch with many friends. We have watched children grow into adults. We have seen homes being built. And we have followed each other in our travels. Always looking forward to when our paths will cross again. We are ever so grateful for the technology that is making our world so small. Through our global friendships we learn, we grow, we prosper.