by Jack VanNoord, Jan 29, 2011 | Destinations: Hong Kong / China
At the border crossing between Thailand and Cambodia

At the border crossing between Thailand and Cambodia

At the border crossing between Thailand and Cambodia

On the airplane from Hong Kong to Bangkok, my wife and daughters sat together in the three seats ahead of me. I was stuck by myself next to two strangers.  Having already flipped through the SkyMall catalog filled with $800 air purifiers and high-tech neck massagers and with no one to talk to, I got a little bored.

I took out the barf bag from the seat pouch in front of me and listed all of the countries I have been to. Then I listed the countries my daughters have been to.  Then I listed the countries Julie has been to.

Just about then, Julie turned around and peeked between the seats to see what I was up to. She motioned for me to pass the barf bag to her through the gap between the seats.

A minute later, she handed it back to me. On the bottom, below my four lists, she had neatly written in block letters "It's not a competition."

I looked up. She smirked at me.  I stuck out my tongue at her.

Somehow my wife has gotten the idea that I operate with some sort of mental check list.

Eleven days later, we found ourselves in a long line ready to cross the border from Thailand into Cambodia.  It had been a long day and we had a long way to go still.

Our border crossing guide indicated for us to follow him.  I checked to make sure that I had my passport.  I checked to make sure that our daughters were following us.  I looked around at all the commerce and chaos that surrounded us.  I looked ahead to keep an eye on our guide. 

We walked past a sign that said "Welcome to Cambodia."  I looked around to make sure our group was still together.  My wife caught my eye across the crowd.  While she held my gaze, she silently raised her hand and made a big check mark in the air.

She coolly turned away and kept walking. 

I couldn't help but smile to myself.

To be truly and deeply known by one person is one of life's most wonderful things.

It's also one of the most disconcerting.



* * * * *