According to Worldometer, there are about 7.3 billion people in the world today. Bangkok, Thailand is the 15th largest city in the world with about 14.3 million people. Even with this data, it’s humbling to me how small the world may be at times.

Frank and his sister

My daughter, Anne Gaslin, is away for this year teaching fourth grade in Phuket, Thailand. During her first semester she learned a lot and had a favorite student named, Frank. He is pictured above with his sister.

Young Frank became something of a Facebook phenomenon via Anne’s photo chronicles of his funnier antics during the semester. I doubt that there is a kid in Thailand with more “likes” on FB photos than Frank. Anne’s friends are all in love with Frank and our family became a bit enamored with him, too.

Right now, I am sitting near the beach in Phuket, Thailand looking out at the amazingly tranquil and serene Indian Ocean. It’s about 7:30 am and most of the people in our resort are still sleeping soundly. To get here from our home in Eden Prairie, Minnesota it was a series of flights from Minneapolis to Narita, Japan for 12 hours, Narita to Bangkok, Thailand for 8 hours and finally a quick, one-hour  and twenty minute hop from Bangkok to Phuket, Thailand.

We spent a couple of nights in Bangkok and flew out of the Don Muang airport using Asia Air rather than our standard Delta Airlines. Anne booked these tickets for us in-country for what amounted to about $50 per person. It was during this part of our travels that the world got small. Really small in one of the largest cities in the world.

As I mentioned above, Anne told us all about Frank and how cute she thought he was since the first day that he was in her class. When we were planning our trip, we all wondered if we would have the opportunity to meet Frank. It seemed unlikely because the timing of our visit is such that the kids are on a two-month break from school.

In a quirky twist of fate, while standing in line at the Don Muang airport brimming with people, Anne suddenly bursts into a wide smile and shouts, “Frank!” I look over to the adjacent line and there, with a funky little cowboy hat, and a grin that is even wider than Anne’s,  stands the adorable Frank. What are the odds?

At this time, we can’t really go over to meet him because of how the lines are flowing. We get to the other side of the queue and Frank waits to see “Teacha Anne” and her family. What fun it was for all of us to meet Frank and his family!

Anne's favorite student in Thailand - Frank..

Anne’s favorite student in Thailand – Frank..

Sure, it was awkward as Frank and his family speak very little english but it brought what Anne is doing here in Thailand into a clear picture for me. Little Frank and his sister will probably always remember Anne and I know that we will always remember him.

I miss Anne while she is doing her work here in Thailand for a year. It is with gratitude and humility that I acknowledge the blessing of witnessing the amazing woman that she has become. Anne serves others and in return people give back to her – I see it in her actions and how people respond to her. If the trait of service alone is the only gift that she receives from all of her work and travel, Anne is a winner.


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