I met my new friend Oriana through the most ordinary of circumstances, although our finding each other was evidently destiny.
Please enjoy our story of a chance meeting within 4 degrees of separation (which makes us much cooler and much closer than Kevin Bacon), followed by the impossible-ness of it all.
In December, I went to Bali. After having the time of my life, I decided to keep up with my new friends through Facebook, an online site that I had been avoiding for years. Within a couple of months, and by finding friends of friends of friends, I had doubled and tripled the amount of friends from my Bali group to include college, high school, Kiwi, and Waukee friends.
Not so long after opening my Facebook account, I was approached by a random Nihon-jin (Japanese person) who was evidently destined to find me: a Nagoyan-born citizen studying his doctorate at the University of Iowa. The chances of that? Slim and none. So, I invited the nice man, called Sato, to join my group of Facebook friends.
After talking to Sato for a few months, I fell into my usual drone of talking about the lack of people around here to talk to, and he offered to introduce me to his friend Kirsty, a Brit, whom he also randomly met through Facebook. Kirsty and I had a coffee one day in a small shopping district called Osukanon, and spent the afternoon gabbing and chatting and having a right good time.
Kirsty has a roommate called Will, another Brit, who is gay and terribly cool. Will is an English language teacher at a middle school in Nagoya, a job which is both underpaid and under appreciated.
Will's friend Oriana is another ELT in his company. The two of them are the only young people in their company's group of 30, so they hit it off immediately. They spend a lot of time together sipping coffee, drinking beer, and picking up men. Exactly what friends should do.
Oriana is a Kiwi. Her nana, Tereza, works at an elementary school in Ponsonby, Auckland. The name of the school? Richmond Road, which sits at 150 Ponsonby Road. A place where (and hopefully the name sounds familiar to many of you), for 10 months, yours truly walked to, and taught in, almost every single day.
While sitting out at a bar last weekend, completely oblivious what we were about to find out, Oriana and I had the following conversation (which is not word-for-word, but instead taken best from my memory after having had a few beers):
W: So, Kirsty tells me your a Kiwi?
O: Yeah! And she told me that you lived there for a year as well?
W: Yes. I loved it.
O: Where did you stay?
W: In Auckland. What part of New Zealand are you from?
O: Auckland as well, but from the east side, about 40 minutes out. I came into the
city each day for school, though.
W: Do you know the bar S.P.Q.R. in Ponsonby? It was one of my favorite places.
O: Oh. I don't know it. So, what were you doing in New Zealand?
W: Teaching. I left America to try my hand at teaching abroad, and it seemed like a
good place to start.
O: Where did you teach?
W: Ponsonby, in Auckland.
O: (slowly) Uhhh... which school?
W: It's called Richmond Road Primary, on Ponsonby Road.
O: (looking shocked) My nana works there! Wait... wait... no... you're not 'the'
Wendy, are you.
W: Um, I'm not sure.
O: My nana is Teresa, and she told me that you would be coming to Japan and that I
should look for you!
W: Your nana is Teresa? Mother? We called her Mother!
O: Yes, that's my nana! No way. No WAY! I can't believe it...
Now, keep in mind, that 1.) That Oriana's nana Tereza had told her months earlier 'A girl from our school, Wendy, is moving to Japan. Well, maybe it's Korea, but it's either Japan or Korea. She's somewhere there, so look out for her.' and 2.) Japan is a country of more than 127 million people, very few of whom are foreigners, of whom even less live in Nagoya.
The chances? Slim and none. But, without sounding too cliche', it's a small, small world.