When I was eleven years old, I was introduced to a pen-pal exchange scheme. I had pen-pals from America, France and Hong Kong. We had brief exchanges of our personal life, likes and dislikes, favourite things etc because we were eleven after all. Our correspondence dwindled and then it was no more, apart from Tammy from Indiana.
Tammy and I have known each other since we were eleven. I would wait patiently for letters from her. I in turn would send her aerogrammes. That was the most economical means of long distance communication then.
My dear Tammy used to send me photos of her and little presents. She sent me two cardboard folders of Star Wars memorabilia & I felt like the luckiest girl in the world. Me, an eleven year old from a small town called Klang, having in my possession Star Wars stuff! Wow!
As time went by we wrote less and less but we still kept in touch. Tammy got married, divorced, lost her parents, remarried and had a baby who will be 16 on Tuesday!
When I was heavily pregnant with Jasmine, my firstborn, Tammy came to visit. We were so excited! That would be the first time we met. Richard and I waited at Gatwick and wondered what was holding her up! We heard an announcement with our names telling us to go to the North Terminal! LOL! That was before we had mobile phones!
We got on like a house on fire! We had such a great time and enjoyed each other's company from the word go. Even though I was 8 months pregnant, I wanted to show her everywhere! We went to Buckingham palace but remembered nothing from it as we talked non stop! LOL! She kept a diary of her trip here which she still has!
We later became friends on Facebook. We were kept updated by our updates and would leave comments on each other's posts. We would email each other once a while. We were busy!
After much persuasion from Richard I got my American Visa in 2010 . I had to because I am only a permanent resident in England. I am still a Malaysian citizen. This visa is only active for 10 years I think. After 3 years had lapsed from obtaining the visa, we decided it was time to visit the U.S of A! That was a busy year. We went to New York, Disneyland in Florida, Indiana (to visit Tammy) for ten days and ended our trip by visiting New Orleans.
For the first time, I met Tammy's husband Joe and their beautiful daughter Anna. As their home was under renovation, Joe's mum Agnes was kind enough to offer us accommodation at her home for the duration of our stay there. It must be one of the best times in my life.
One of the most memorable places we had the honour of visiting was to Joe's aunt's land. They live in a small house in the midst of a hundred acres of land, in the middle of nowhere. It was breathtaking. We appropriately named it 'The Hundred Acre Wood'!
In 2016, Tammy came to visit with Anna. It was a special year. It was the year Tammy turned 50! It was a present from her husband Joe. We tried to go everywhere but it was difficult as Tammy suffers from Lupus. She was a trooper though because we managed a lot by making time for some rest in between. She desperately wanted to show Anna what she had seen many moons ago when she visited. Anna had such a great time and wishes to visit again soon!
Anna and I still keep in touch but we have moved on with the times. We don't do letters anymore. We face time!
I do love Tammy heaps. There is no doubt she is "my sister from another mother" and it all started with putting pen to paper all those years ago.