- Associated Press - Sunday, June 14, 2015

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (AP) - Two women whose friendship began as children in Thailand recognized something when they attended college in Michigan: each other.

Rani Noor and Indigo McCollum were pals in Bangkok until McCollum’s family left the country years ago after fifth grade. On Sunday, they graduated from Kalamazoo College, capping an unusual reunion that began at freshman orientation.

“We’ve gotten really good at telling the story,” McCollum, 21, told the Kalamazoo Gazette (https://bit.ly/1IDOAaZ ).

McCollum is the daughter of teachers who worked around the globe. After fifth grade in Thailand, she and Noor occasionally sent email but mostly lost touch.

Fast-forward to freshman orientation in 2011 at Kalamazoo College, a small liberal arts school.

“I walked up to her and patted her on the back and I’m like, ‘Indigo?’ And she’s like ‘Rani?’ And then we hugged,” Noor, 22, recalled.

McCollum, 21, remembers that day, too.

“I think we might have cried a little. I’m not going to lie,” she said.

McCollum has Michigan ties. Her father attended Hope College, and her grandparents live near Lansing. Noor wanted to attend a U.S. college. She has relatives in Saginaw, so a Michigan school was possible.

“They are bright, insightful, warm, intuitive, motivated and respected deeply by the faculty. … The story of how they serendipitously met and maintained their friendship is amazing,” said psychology professor Karyn Boatwright.

Noor is headed to Phoenix to be a teacher. McCollum plans to take a year off before looking for a job.


Information from: Kalamazoo Gazette, https://www.mlive.com/kalamazoo

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