Please note: The first sentence of the first paragraph is intended to be the caption for the first photo. Due to WiFi issues with many holidaymakers in the bush, I am unable to correct this issue at this time. Thank you.
Barbara of Lori and Barbara (Shark Tank) had what we called “Barbara’s Butt Bush Bouquet” which lasted for quite a while, making us laugh. We met a lovely couple, Marie and Bill, due to our site and a newspaper story about us in 2012. They lived in our neighborhood in our old lives in Minnesota and attended our church in Victoria. They wrote to us a few days ago as they’ve often done, over the years since we left the US.
We became good friends with Marie and Bill, even meeting them for dinner in Minnesota in 2019. Also, they attended our “reader get-together in Minnesota in 2017.
Their recent email read:
Hi Tom and Jess,
We have not forgotten you; we continue to follow and enjoy your daily posts. Our apologies for the long lapse in communicating, though.
We read with great interest your post about being at Jabula and connecting with Rico, whose son was in your photos. I love small world stories, and whenever we have traveled, having a small world experience makes the trip even better. I’ll try to share one experience we had some years ago briefly.
What prompted them to write this particular email was due to a story we’d done a few weeks ago about meeting a man at Jabula for an unbelievable coincidence. His adult son’s photo was on our website when we visited a rescue center in 2014. To see this story, please click here.
Here is Marie and Bill’s message received two days ago, posted with their permission:
“Hi, Jess & Tom,
We and another couple from Plymouth, MN, were traveling by car in France. One day we passed by a winery in Burgundy that Bill knew a lot about. Our friend asked if he would like to stop for a visit. At first, Bill said no because he knew we were behind schedule getting to our next destination. Our friend reminded Bill that he probably wouldn’t pass by that winery ever again, so we should stop. So we did.
As we entered, we learned there was an English-speaking tour beginning soon, so we signed up to join in. We were directed to another building to meet our guide and the two other couples who had signed up. Long story short, the two other couples just happened to be from Victoria, MN, and I knew the daughters of one from teaching. What are the odds of two couples from Victoria, one couple from Plymouth, and we from Chan meeting up by chance and touring together? Amazing! It is indeed a small, small world!
We are sending many good wishes to both of you for the new year. Stay safe and healthy. You are in our thoughts each day.
Bill and Marie”
Obviously, Marie and Bil were shocked and pleasantly surprised by running into people from their area in the same way we were shocked to coincidentally have a photo of Rico’s son on our website. That was indeed serendipitous.
But, over the years of our world travel, we’ve met people that oddly appeared before us, again presenting a weird coincidence. We met a woman on a cruise in 2017 who is/was the bookkeeper for Father Bob, from the same church in Victoria, Minnesota we attended for years.
Another big coincidence was when we happened to be dining in a TripAdvisor highly-rated restaurant when we were in Paris in 2014. While spending two weeks in the city, exploring its many unique sightseeing venues, we decided to try the fine dining establishment, when, most evenings we dined at mid-range restaurants.
The restaurant was a historic home renovated in typical Parisian charm with several small dining rooms. At the time, we’d been following another couple traveling the world, whose online story was similar to ours, although they spent a lot of time in Europe, which we did not.
Once seated in one of those tiny rooms with three tables, I told Tom to turn around discreetly. Sitting next to us, engaged in deep conversation, was that couple. We decided not to disturb them. They didn’t know us, but we knew them from their online photos, a book they’d published, and an appearance on a US morning news program promoting their book.
Since that time, they’d stopped traveling when the husband became ill and later passed away. Sad story but a reality for seniors traveling the world.
At that time, Tom and I discussed how uninterested we were in writing books, appearing on TV, and participating in any reality-type TV shows; after receiving some offers, we declined. We didn’t want celebrity and the life that went with it. It’s satisfying enough for us to meet people on cruises who know us from reading our posts whom we’ve never met who’ve greeted us enthusiastically. We are flattered during those situations but humbly decline to make a big deal of it.
But, these coincidences and random encounters always fascinate us.
This morning when sitting down at the table on the veranda with my coffee, I commented to Tom, “Gee, lover, we haven’t heard any frogs croaking in days. Tom replied, “No, we haven’t heard a single croak in days.”
Two minutes later, two frogs started croaking, one in the cement pond and the other in the birdbath. Knowing I was writing this story today, I particularly laughed out loud. Coincidence? Serendipity? Who knows. But it was fun to hear them once again!
May your day be filled with pleasant surprises!
Photo from one year ago today, December 29, 2020:
|This photo was posted while in lockdown in a hotel in Mumbai, India, on day #279. Simple yet lovely flower in Penguin, Tasmania, in 2016. For more photos, please click here.|