Forty Years, Forty Posts #11

I just went to my first ever reunion of any kind. It was an all-year reunion for an international school in Brasilia, and the reunion itself was thousands of miles away from the school in Washington, D.C.

Which prompts two memories, one old and one brand new: graduating from high school with a very small class, from all over the world, and seeing a half-dozen of them 22 years later, unrecognizable for only a second before the teenagers I knew were obvious in their faces and voices.

An international school is a great experience for anyone, a little microcosm that makes you appreciate diversity as a matter of course. Small schools are also a great thing — I’ve often thought about how I didn’t just get to know people from all over the world because of schools like the Escola Americana de Brasilia, aka “EAB,” but got to know American kids I never would have hung out with if I’d gone to a big public school where I could hang out with kids like me, and not known guys who had different interests, different politics, different styles. Nor would they have known me, but EAB was too small to be that cliquey, so the preppy kids hung out with wild-haired kids in Led Zeppelin tee shirts. I argued daily with a kid who couldn’t have been further from me on the political spectrum, but we talked daily, and are both better for it I think.

I never expected to go to a high school reunion, but am given to occasionally doing things I’d never do: taking a vacation from myself, I like to call it. Now I’m glad I did reconnect with briefly with people I’d barely talked to and not seen for over twenty years, to remind myself I was lucky to know them in the first place.

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