July 8, 2010
RDH Editor Mark Hartley returns from the International Federation of Dental Hygienists' meeting in Glasgow and wonders if you need a pen pal.

By Mark Hartley, RDH Editor

Pen pals. Whatever happened to them? It’s a question I want to ask Maria Perno Goldie and JoAnn Gurenlian when I next cross paths with them.

A curious sidebar to the International Federation of Dental Hygienists’ meeting in Glasgow, Scotland, was the number of hygienists that I met who attended the conference for the additional benefit of reuniting with an overseas pal.

I blogged about the IFDH meeting here, here, and here, but as I headed off to Edinburgh and St. Andrews for three days of relaxation I wondered about why more American hygienists don’t correspond with overseas counterparts.

Over there, over yonder.

These hygienists who are old friends meet every three years in rather exotic locations to catch up on families and careers. How cool is that? Pretty cool, I think.

Goldie and Gurelian, two former ADHA presidents and well-known American hygienists, are two vital components of an international committee setting the stage for the next IFDH meeting in South Africa.

South Africa is way, way over yonder. But at least two South Africans were there in Glasgow, touting the beauty and charm of their country. The World Cup certainly aided in setting the mood for a dental hygiene invasion in 2013.

The Australians that I ate dinner with knew that it would be unlikely that they would travel again to Europe. So they made an extended vacation of it, many of them headed for the Continent after the week in the United Kingdom.

You should have a pen pal. Write an e-mail to him or her every month or so and then meet up in Cape Town three years from now. How cool would that be?