22 Years of Sleeping in Provence
“Uh, what is this?"
I found a book when I was cleaning up my room. It was a small paperback English novel. I found that the book was given by my friend when I attended an international meeting in London in the year of 1995.
The title of the book was ‘One Year in Provence’ written by Peter Mayle. When I was studying in America as a student, I was lucky to get a chance to attend an international meeting in London, UK. We had a group meeting for almost one week together and we became close friends with each other. During the breaks, we talked about our own culture including food, language, family, and many other interesting topics. The leader of our team was from France. He was a nice man with attractive French style English accents. He suggested keeping our friendship for a long time even if the meeting is over.
His idea of keeping our precious friendship was to circulate an interesting book around the world among us. So, he suggested that he will send a book to the team members according to a given book circulation order. But I forgot his very good suggestion completely and I returned to my home country Korea after completing my study in America.
I started my career as a researcher at a national research institute. One day I received a surface mail from the UK. It was the mail sent by one of the international group members.
I recognized that my French friend sent a small book first and it was related to my friend in Sydney, Australia and that Australian friend relayed that book to my other friend in the UK. So, my friend who has been working for British Telecom as an engineer sent me that book to me.
I made a pleasant and confident decision to read that book from time to time right away, but I was too busy to keep it. And I completely forgot about that book. Around Y2K, luckily, I got a chance to work in America, so I brought it to America but still, I had no time to read that book. What a lazy man! I moved around a few places because of my job changes and finally a few days ago I spotted that book by chance in cleaning up my room. What a surprise!
Based on the stamp affixed on the envelope I found that that book was sent to me on September 11, 1998. It already passed for 22 years! For 22 years that book was sleeping globally. Time flies. It is quite a long, long sleep!
Inside that book I found a small note saying the following. ‘Please keep the order of circulation among our friends. If you finish reading that book you need to relay to the next friend reader according to the given circulation agreement.’
During this unprecedented turbulent summer, I'm excited to read this very precious book given by my French friend. He cordially asked the friends please return the book to him if you read this book. I found his small business card style label was affixed in the back of the book front cover.
I'm trying to search around my good friends around the world by using the Internet search engine. I guess many of my friends already retired but who knows? I'll try to reach my friends successfully in cyberspace over the Internet because the world is getting smaller and smaller by the amazing development of Internet technologies. Many interesting things are going on every day in the IT industry.
I hope I can taste rich cultural flavors of Provence, France by reading that book. I experienced a very interesting cultural exchange idea through global book circulation. Even though we use Social Network Services (SNS) on the Internet ‘cyberspace’ like Facebook or KakaoTalk frequently nowadays, this kind of traditional ‘physical’ book circulation is also still desirable to practice keeping global friendship for a long time. ***
May 18, 2020
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