How Small Is it?

I like to think the world is small.

When I was 20 years old, I visited the Tower of London and ran into someone I knew from years of doing children’s theater.

That same trip to Europe got me lost in the basement of Gatwick airport, where I passed one person…whom I hadn’t seen since high school graduation.

Some time after the airport incident, I shared a hotel room with a couple women in Barcelona. I nabbed one of the women in the train station because she looked nice (Canadian). I nabbed the other because she was speaking Spanish (American, visiting Spanish relatives and traveling). It was nice to share room costs, and to dine with these women once or twice.

A month later, my parents told me friends of theirs visited Italy that summer. They were on a train platform, discussing directions, when a woman offered to help them. They got to chatting, and my parents’ friends said they were from Chicagoland.

The woman asked, “Oh. Do you know Alana?”

Yep, it was my hotel-mate from Spain, talking to my parents’ friends in Italy.

A handful of years later, I’d not only visited Europe, but lived there. When I moved back stateside in 2001, I experienced some re-entry culture shock. I felt a ungrounded, and uncertain about what was next. My answer? I got a job at a restaurant, as one does in one’s twenties. My second day on the job I met a woman in the kitchen, and we just kinda…blinked at one another. And smiled. It was her first day on the job. She had just moved to town and do you like Mexican food let’s go out for dinner and be friends forever, okay?

Our first date did, in fact, bring tacos and margaritas. (Okay, to be clear: it wasn’t a date like THAT, but we were in love.) She asked if I liked bluegrass. Of course I did. She wanted to go see a band next week.

I said, “They’re playing here? I know someone in that band! Like from real life, not music life. Let’s go!” You know, because I know so many semi-famous musicians. Or because the world is small.

She became a freaking force in my life. We even lived together for a short bit. I eventually moved to the east coast. She moved to the west coast. I had the honor of being her bridesmaid. I haven’t laid eyes on her since that beautiful wedding six years ago, but my sappy love for her continues.

Flash forward to my current life. You may recall from the past zillion blog posts that the Swedelock and I just bought our first house? Well. We live next door to my friend’s brother’s in-laws. My friend’s brother’s wife grew up next door to us. My friend’s brother and I will see one another when he visits for holidays and to show off the new baby.

I have lots of small world stories. But this one is so small.

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2 Responses to How Small Is it?

  1. Mari says:

    Love it…a small, but beautiful world!

  2. Joshua Goldberg says:

    Oh, you’re going to get a bunch of these I’m sure.

    When Max and I were visiting synagogues after we moved to Baltimore, we were chatting with one rabbi, and (I don’t know how these things come out in conversation), somehow, we figured out was the same guy who’d been rabbi for a couple of years and my own synagogue growing up in Fall River, Mass. He was only there briefly, and I was too young at the time, but he’d taught my brother, knew my nana and other aunts and uncles, etc. It made for a very warm welcome, especially for Max, and was probably a nice piece of what made Max feel so at home there. (He’s since moved on, and so have we actually, but I think it’s helped him feel comfortable in general at synagogue… and we still go back sometimes.)

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