Woke up this morning to a text from a college friend - Dr, letting me know that a mutual friend - FT just passed away from bone cancer leaving behind a husband and two children. Last time all three of us met as group was in the exotic island of the Maldives almost 15 years ago. It was my all time BEST vacation EVER. I have not been in touch with FT since.
First time I met FT was at a diving trip in Aoteroa. I've always LOVED the Maldives and when I found out that FT was from there, I shared my fondness and yearning to dive in the Maldives again. She told me that her uncle owned a dive shop and if I ever visited her, she can make arrangement for her uncle to take me diving. I was thrilled of sheer thought of having a local as a guide and even more excited about the possibility of a couple of free dives. I graduated soon after and left. Found a job in Asia and kept loosely in touch with Dr. While I was away, Dr and FT somehow became friends and then roommates. They became good friends. When they both graduated with their doctorate, they and another mutual friend SF decided to take a trip around the world while visiting friends along the way. I was one of the friend they decided to visit. At the time, I also ceased the opportunity to join them for a week when they finally dropped FT back in her home country of the beautiful Maldives.
When I arrived in the Maldives, I was taken on a private boat to the main island and there, waiting for me, was a limousine with the country's flag. I had a driver and I was taken to FT's sister's home. It was a three storey building and her sister lives on the top floor. All of them were there to greet me and before long, I found out that our friend with an uncle who owned a dive shop was actually a part of one of the most politically influential family in the country. She was related to everyone in the very top position in the country including the president. None of us knew until we stepped foot in her country. As a friend, she was one of the most down to earth person we have ever met.
She took care of every aspect of our vacation. We were treated like VIPs. We were flown to whichever island we wanted to go. We stayed in the best resorts. We had fun and she expected nothing in return. Her hospitality was beyond words.
I've always talked about that vacation to friends and family. I always bragged that I knew someone of position in that country. I've always thought that it would great if I could bring my family back there to visit some day. I guess I still could. But it will never be the same without her.