Looking back at all that has happened; the first point of contact with ABC and then my first free overseas trip to Australia to meet up with Rosabelle, it’s been a truly amazing journey and experience for me. Something that I never thought would ever happen! All this talk about having a twin when people asked me about my family background (not unusual since I am a Chinese and have an English surname), was just a statement. I didn’t think it would mean anything since I never in the world thought that I would ever meet Rosabelle again. Therefore it definitely came as more of a shock than a surprise when ABC contacted me for the first time in the office in early August 2008 and told me that Rosabelle had been looking for me for a long time now. Yet it was odd that when Mike Constantine called me up to tell me that someone I have not met a long time wanted to contact me, all I could think of was Rosabelle and why my mind thought of her first, still beats me. The fact that when Sian of ABC did reconfirm that it was Rosabelle, I was utterly speechless for a while and then got pretty emotional…sobs and all. Hmmm….does make me realize how lonely I must have been all these years. I must have been unconsciously crying out to God for so long, He has finally heard me! Still, I never imagined that He would put situations and circumstances in such a way for the three of us to meet. As usual, Marc always believes in coincidences but yeah….it sure is a lot of coincidences….. Anyway, I do know for sure that God does all things in His time. M & R said that if they had found me earlier when they still had their house, things would definitely be different but again, it would probably be different in another way. The way I look at it, God intervened in both our lives at a time when we needed it most.
The excitement of it all was really getting to me when I finally got to see Belle’s pictures. Indeed, she looked like me and I had my colleagues to reconfirm that for me too. But then, at the back of my mind I wondered whether I would like Belle or whether we would like each other should we finally meet coz I didn’t think I would be able to like anyone who was exactly like me in character. At that time all correspondences were only with the ABC either by phone or email and Belle and I were discouraged from contacting each other. With ABC’s offer to fly me to Australia at their expense, I was willing to accept all their terms and conditions even though some of their earlier arrangements were quite absurd. However when I got a call from Adam Collins that M & R had decided to pull out of the programme and gave no further explanation, I literally felt my heart drop coz I was terribly disappointed coz I thought that I won’t be seeing Rosabelle after all. Though so, Adam gave me the contact details of M & R and that was the first and last time I got a call from the ABC.
It therefore came as a surprise to me when I got Belle’s first email which explained why she had decided to drop the programme. I was really touched when she told me how she had cried the whole night when she first saw a picture of me…wow! It got me thinking that Belle was a pretty emotional soul. And from then onwards, I began to receive Belle’s emails from time to time. I almost jump for joy when M & R decided to take up the programme but on condition that we revealed as little as possible about ourselves. It was really nice when I even got one of Marc’s email (actually replying on behalf of Belle). Thus all that I could gather for the time being was that they did quite a bit of travelling and M & R indeed had very good written English. Funny that there wasn’t the slightest mention of kids at that time but I had an inkling that they possibly didn’t have children.
When all the itinerary was at last finalized, I was very delighted to see that the flight details had been changed to a direct flight and that the time schedule were practical too. Little did I know that M & R had to go through quite a number of obstacles with the ABC in order to get us to where we were. Over here, all that I was instructed to do was to have the interview which was done by some local people that the ABC hired and to get my passport and visa done (which I managed to do within the course of 2 weeks). The excitement of it all got me pretty stressed and sick though.
27th September 2008
It is a Saturday and the great day has come! My small travel bag has been packed and comprises of 2 sets of pajamas and 3 sets of blouse and pants for my 4 days 3 nights stay in Perth. Yeo (my neighbour and cab driver) fetches me to the airport at 7.00 am and there is such a long queue at the check-in counter. Three very long snake lines and just a handful of ticket counters are open. As I stand there among the travelers, I notice that I’ve got the smallest and lightest baggage! The rest of them have these trolley bags of all sizes. I see the clock tick by as the airline staff check-in each passenger at a snail’s space. Finally I get mine done and I wait with the rest of the Australian passengers to board the plane. Wow….first time flying overseas and all alone but I am not scared at all.
I am given a window seat and next to me sits Joe Collins. I start a conversation with him and soon am telling him about the ABC, reunion and first travel overseas. I’m truly a ‘jing jang jane’ and Joe has to guide me on how to operate the LCD screen and remote control to get access to the movies or music that I wish to watch or hear. He is indeed such a nice charming man and with good looks too….like Robert Redford. The 5 hours flight is a pleasant one. Joe gives me some Australian cash before I get off the plane and tells me to get some stuff for my kids. I show my appreciation and delight. We walk together till immigration check-out and walk our separate ways.
My heart is beating a little faster now as I near the exit of immigration check-out as I know waiting right outside that door is Rosabelle and the ABC TV crew. I’ve got my blue sweater on (thought it might be cold). I enter the waiting area and I am greeted by Rosabelle and the ABC crew. The spotlights are immediately on the both of us.
The very first impression I get of Rosabelle is that she looks a lot older than me. I had already thought so coz of those big round glasses of hers. She is wearing a bright floral blouse and black pants and has make-up on. She hugs me and her face is full of emotions but at the same time, I can literally see a question mark by the look of her face…. It’s confirmed, we’re both summing each other up and Belle needs to be convinced that we do look alike…. I had already envisioned Marc (Rosabelle's husband) as a big guy with a bald head (I’ve never seen a photo of him) and yup…. he is big but bearded and not bald. That hat and big frames of his makes him look like a man from Texas. After some emotional ‘fuss’ the ABC drives the 3 of us together with their crew to King’s Park.
While waiting to be interviewed by the tv crew, the three of us have a cup of coffee on the cafe terrace. Rosabelle hands me a cross-stitch of a Japanese girl that she has kept for a couple of years of which she had been meaning to give to someone special (that's me....hehehe). Marc pops up the first question about my favourite colors and almost drops off his perch as he realizes that the answer to the question is identical to Rosabelle's.
During the interview, Rosabelle and I were interviewed separately and given the same questions. What amazed Darren of ABC was that we had answered the questions in such a similar manner that it was as if we had talked about it first. The truth was that Rosabelle and I had only just met and we knew nothing about each other.
The interview took about one and half hours afterwhich we were taken to Good Earth Hotel to retire for the day. Rosabelle and Marc was given a suite whilst I was in a standard room and I was one floor above them. During our stay all meals was cooked by Marc and I especially loved his mushrooms fried in butter.
We stayed in Perth for 4 days and 3 nights whereby we did a little exploration of Perth city and Fremantle. During the evenings we spent the time in the hotel catching up on lost time.
Surprising to say that though it was the first time that I met Rosabelle and Marc, we got along very well and all of us felt at ease with each other. During that short acquaintance Rosabelle and I realized that we liked and disliked almost the same things especially when it came to food.
We had a good time in Perth afterwhich Rosabelle and Marc returned to Malaysia with me on 30th September 2008 and spent another 2 months with me. The three of us bonded very fast and Marc began to notice many similarities between the two sisters. We spend most of the time together and made a short trip to Penang and Malacca. My days with them were the most happiest and as the time approached for them to return to Perth on 30th November 2008 I was beginning to feel depressed. I realised that I had to see them again and I made arrangements for a second trip to Australia in January 2009.