Friday, September 3, 2010

Global Nomads - A Conversation in the Science Museum

On our recent visit to London, we were house sitting for friends in a quiet little Muse street tucked away behind the V&A. It was another world- so quiet.

As we had been rushing around a lot, we decided to have a quiet day & enjoy the luxury of being spitting distance from both the Natural History Museum & the Science Museum. So later in the afternoon we popped out & went into the Science Museum. We made a beeline for the 'interactive room' whereupon my children busied themselves with a crane & shovel contraption, essentially bailing sand ad infinitum. The sort of thing you can find in several playgrounds.

As I was observing various children participating in this & secretly hoping my son wouldn't get too bossy about who did what & who wasn't pulling their weight, a voice behind me said, "Don't I know you from somewhere?"

I turned round and immediately recognised the woman.

"Yes." I said, "You taught at my son's school in Sri Lanka, & I did substitute teaching there."

That was 2 1/2 years ago already. We had a nice chat & catch up and then she said,

"So are you based in London now?"

"No, Albania. What about you? London?" I replied.

"No, Thailand."

Global nomads whose paths intersect for 10 minutes at 5p.m on a Sunday afternoon in the summer. You know the cliche, small...... etc

So what is your strangest coinicidence or unlikeliest meeting?

When a friend & I were Inter-railing round Europe, we met Uni friends in several places/countries, but we weren't surprised; we were on a European tourist trail, seeing the sights. I did once bump into an Oxford friend at the top of the Empire State building (again at 5p.m) one random Autumn Tuesday. That struck me as quite a coincidence.

And of course when I moved to Albania thinking I would know no one in such an obscure country, one of my closest Oxford friends, who lived 5 minutes from my house, had an au pair, who used to babysit for us occasionally. I now discovered (to my shame I hadn't realised) she was Albanian & lives in Tirana. And a fellow English teacher at the school I taught in, in a little market town in Oxfordshire, whose desk was next to mine in our department, also turned out to be working in Tirana.

So go on, tell me yours..........


nappy valley girl said...

My brother in law met a schoolfriend on top of a volcano in Indonesia! As for me, I remember being with my parents in Sydney Zoo and bumping into American friends of ours from Hong Kong, who were by then living in Chicago.....

Expat mum said...

I remember going to a FIGT (Families in Global Transition) conference a few years ago which was mainly full of global nomads. No lie - they had nearly all come across each other at various times over the past few decades. Amazing.

My biggest "coincidence" was when I first moved to the States. I met a woman through my husband's work who lived in Chicago. Just previously I had met some friends of a friend in Boston. Turns out the Chicago woman and one of the Bostom women were both from Buffalo. Still, they had no reason to know that they knew me - other than a chance comment about a new Brit in town with a close affiliation to a large international company. Needless to say they were gob-smacked.

Almost American said...

When I was a grad. student here in the USA I had been on the phone for a long time one day with a friend on the other side of campus when she decided she needed to go to the bathroom. Instead of hanging up, she said she'd find someone for me to talk to until she came back, and she grabbed one of her neighbors, telling him that I was from the UK. He immediately asked me "Do you know Henley?"
"You mean Henley, the place, like Henley regatta?"
"Henley regatta! You know about it?"
"Know about it? I've been there!"
A little more discussion and we figured out that we had been there the same year and I had photos of him rowing against my brother!

And then there was the time when I was working at a boarding school in the US, and one of my colleagues (an exchange teacher from Turkey) had a friend visiting from England. The friend came over to me at dinner and asked me what my parents' names are. (Our last name was a common one, but my mother's first name is unusual.) When I told her, she then told me that she remembered me as a baby - she lived in the same apartment building as my parents in Ankara, Turkey!

DAI said...

Just to say I'm enjoying your blog, and that, as you indicate, Albania is becoming quite a popular place for interesting encounters, eh?

kellyi said...

I've got two...

My husband went to school with a girl that is now good friends with my best friend from school - he was born and raised in scotland and I the South East of England.

I was on a flight from from Cyprus with two people from my Dad's work. Hadn't seen them for 15 years until then.

Grit said...

that is a fantastic meeting, paradise. i love chance meetings, and always long for them to happen.

i once walked into a reconstructed roman temple in northumberland to find the only other person in there was someone i worked with 15 years earlier in bucks.

but i'm still holding out for somewhere more exotic. top of a volcano would be 10/10!