How Harry Met Emily

This is the story of how two people met on a South East Asian Journey, kept running into each other at restaurants across multiple countries, and finally allowed fate to take its course and create a food blog in their favorite S.E. Asian country.

It all started in Sri Lanka.

‘What are you doing?’ snapped the young woman in front of me, hands on hips, glaring. ‘You’re in the wrong dorm.’

Oh God, I thought before apologizing and awkwardly making a joke about the situation. Her features remained unmoved. I need to leave before she has me hung, drawn and quartered.

As I made for the door her eyes lit up. ‘I’m just joking,’ she cackled. ‘I don’t care.’

Now I really was confused. She grinned: ‘What’s your name? I’m Emily.’
We chatted briefly before I left. I had indeed walked into the wrong dormitory at the hostel in Weligama, Sri Lanka, a beach town on the south coast.

After the encounter in the dormitory, I decided to check out the bustling local part of the town where there must have been an eatery serving the same menu of rice and curry every few yards.

Twenty minutes later, Emily, accompanied by another friend, walked into the very same restaurant.

“We’ll have to stop meeting like this,” Emily chortled.

After a fun night, exchanging tales with Emily and a crowd of other travelers, we parted ways, knowing we’d stay in Sri Lanka but made no plans to meet.

Three days later I had travelled 150 miles to Kandy, Sri Lanka. I found myself following my nose: fragrant spices made my mouth water.  I was starving!

As I reached a restaurant, the source of the delectable aroma, I spied a familiar figure. I squinted: “Is that you Emily?”
Emily chuckled: “You’ve got to stop following me!”

That night we tucked into a local dish called kottu: chopped flatbread, meat and spices fried together, relishing in what we thought was another coincidence.

When we parted ways once more it never crossed our minds that we would meet again; we barely knew where we were going.

We said our forever goodbyes, as travelers do…

I arrived in Chiang Mai, Thailand, a month later sometime in early December feeling exhausted and apprehensive about spending my first Christmas away from home, alone.

“Food,” I said to myself. “I’ll be able to think straight after a plateful of dinner.”

I wandered through the night market stalls, which heaved with Thai treats – fresh fried fish, spring rolls and mouth-watering noodles.

As my tummy rumbled, a familiar sight appeared in the corner of my eye.

“Hey!” I touched her arm. “Oh my God!” she spluttered, laughing. “This is getting ridiculous!”

As we chowed down on rice and Tum Yum soup, I confided I was feeling a bit worried about my solo Christmas.

“I’m going to Hoi An, Vietnam. Come too?” she offered.

And so I did. The only time we have ever planned anything; it was Christmas.

After spending December in Vietnam I left to go to on a full month adventure across Laos, Cambodia, Philippines and Hong Kong.

Four months later, I was back in Hoi An.

I planned to stay in Vietnam rather than head home.
Two months after being back, I cycled through the town.

She is on the back of a motorbike whilst I am on a bicycle going in the other direction. We literally cross paths on the day she arrives back in town.’

We didn’t stop and say hi as we were both in town running errands, but she was going in the other direction; what are the chances we cross paths on the day she arrives back in town?

Three days pass. I am out for dinner in the old town and who should be sitting at the table, but Emily again.

This time we simply shrug and smiled – like we’d accepted our paths have aligned.

“There’s clearly a reason destiny is trying to push us together,” I smiled, as I pulled up a plastic chair.

We both agree although fate is pulling us together, we’re mates rather than some grand romance.

“Well, there always seems to be food involved,” mused Emily. “We both love our grub. Maybe that’s it?”

We decided, ‘Why fight fate?’

That’s the story of how Harry met Emily. Pho better or pho worse, this is our blog.

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