Friday, April 20, 2012

It Really Is a Small World After All

I am not the type to ask for people to take photos of me. As a result, there is relatively little photographic evidence of my existence. Usually I am the one taking the photo. In fact, there are more photos of Peter from trips we've taken together than there are of me. I noticed this as I reviewed the photos of our road trip to San Francisco after we'd returned. As a result, I have made a conscious effort to ask for photos to be taken of me. (If you're a facebook friend of mine, you'll notice how the majority of the photos of me were taken in Europe--when I apparently surrounded myself with more picture-taking-inclined friends.)

All of this is to say that the above two photos of Jacky and I, are two of the few that I have of us during our travels together in Europe.  There are actually no photos of us in the same frame.  Here we are sitting across from each other at Café Kadijk in Amsterdam enjoying rijsttafel, a Dutch take on Indonesian food.  Jacky as you may remember, if you have been reading this blog, was my travel partner to Amsterdam, Berlin, and Prague.

The last time I saw Jacky was almost a year ago.  It was a sunny, warm day in mid-May and we had decided to meet at la Grande Poste in Saint Étienne so that we could ship the books we had accumulated back home.  My friend Paloma, whom I visited in Toulouse where she lives with her husband, had told me about how there is a special rate in France to post books.  My box of books came just under the weight limit, but Jacky's did not.  She had the unfortunate task of having to choose what to ship and what would stay behind.  I stayed to help her, but then when we weighed her box a second time it was still too heavy to get the special rate.  Having committed to meeting a collègue of mine for coffee, I couldn't stay to help her cull a second time.  We casually said goodbye and parted ways.

And that was the last thing we said to each other.  We hadn't realised that that was goodbye.  That afternoon, Jacky was going to Lyon, before going on to Paris (to fly to Montréal and then bus to the USA).  At some point, Jacky realised that was goodbye and sent me a touching text.  I responded, but I don't know if she got it as by the time I did, she would likely have been on her transatlantic flight (I later discovered upon arriving in Montréal that Orange pay-as-you-go phones don't work in North America). 

But tomorrow, we'll be reunited as Jacky is coming to visit!
I had not expected to see anyone from my year abroad so soon.  The story of how this trip came to be highlights how small the world really is. 

I think it was in Berlin, but at some point when we were travelling around Europe, she had told me that she had a friend who was going to be moving to Vancouver for his PhD.  She had asked if it was okay for her to pass on my email address to him if he had any questions, to which I said of course.  I didn't hear from him, and kind of forgot about it as I went about settling back into life in Vancouver.

Then, in January, I posted a status online asking if anyone had read Eating Animals, and would want to meet me to discuss it.  Jacky responded, "Check your email!"  She had written to me saying that this same friend of hers, Josh, had read the book and would be interested in discussing it with me, preferably over steak.  Instead, Josh, Peter, and I met up over brunch, and a small-world friendship connection was made. 

Josh and I may have been independently lobbying Jacky to come to Vancouver, but when our forces combined, they proved irresistible.  We are picking her up tomorrow, and she'll be here for a week.

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