Sunday, March 6, 2011

Such a big world or is it?

Often I sat back and think of how big this world is and how I would like to see the many different lands and countries on it.  But is this planet that large?  Have you ever met someone that you encountered years before in a seemingly uncommon place?  This has happened to me on a couple of occasions.

When I was in high school, I had a very good school buddy.  He and I went many places together.  We even worked for the same employer after school hours.  We were a couple of jokesters.  We were constantly playing pranks on others and EACH OTHER.  We just liked to have fun.  He wasn't a very good student.  Did not have any goals for himself for the future, or so it seemed. I, on the other hand, wanted to do anything that included traveling.  It didn't much matter. I fluctuated between wanting to be a CIA agent, international business women to world peacekeeper. I spent many days trying to figure out just how I would go from a small country town like Tuscumbia, Alabama to Papa New Guinea. Didn't have much of a plan.

Thirteen years later, I am on a Luthansa flight from Egypt with a layover in Germany headed to Washington DC. I am sitting with my children who are very antsy after about 10 hours of traveling.  All of a sudden I see this man walking down the isle toward the restroom.

"O my goodness, that looks like so and so".

"What on earth would he be doing on a flight from Germany?"

" No that's not him." 

" Wow, it sure looks like him."

I could not resist the urge to find out.  I stood up and went and got in line with the people waiting for the restroom. As he came out, I stood in his path and said,

"Excuse me, is your name so and so?"

He said: "Yes ma'am it sure is, with a SUPER SUPRISED look on his face." 

See, I had changed a lot. I had accepted the Islamic faith and had chosen to wear traditional Islamic clothing which included a full face veil.  I could see the roller-dex in his mind just flipping, trying to figure out,

"Who is she?" 
"Do I know her?"
"And just where would I have met someone like her?"

Finally, I said,

"You don't remember me? It's _____________."
"What, what are you doing in Germany?"
"Man, what are YOU doing in German?"
"Well, I am in the military now and I was stationed here, but I am on my way home for the 4th of July."
"Well, I had a layover her in Germany, but I am coming from Egypt going back to the States."
"Really, what were you doing in Egypt."
"Living and studying"
"Are you military or your husband military?"
"No, just decided one day to move to Egypt."

You can imagine here, his face is getting more and more bewildered looking.

"Wow, so, I mean, do you have family there or something?"
"No, but I have been there for three years.  I loved it."
"I had a couple of Egyptians in a class I did on base in Germany, nice guys."
"Man, wait until I tell______I saw you here in Germany. Man, so when you coming home?"
"I don't know.  I know I need to, but right now I am headed for DC."

Eight years later, sitting in Sudan, I receive an email saying,

"Every since I saw your name, I have been thinking of a person I met some years ago.  She was a guest in my home.  I really think that you are the lady I am speaking of."  And sure enough, I was. I met her on my trip to DC, the same one that I spotted my old friend from years back. Now years later, I am in Sudan and she in Saudi. We have crossed paths again.

I wonder who's next???!!!  Encounters like these, make the world seem like a smaller place. However, big or small, I am on a mission to see as much of it as possible.