It’s a Small World.
Such a common expression, often spoken by someone who remembers meeting someone in an unexpected place.
As we all know, truth is often much stranger than fiction. At times it is even bizarre, as in the case of my mother-in-law who, while living in Germany, spent much time in Canada visiting with her two sons, one of whom is my husband.
Having just returned to Germany from one of her Canada visits, while in a train, she was joined by another lady of similar age. As ladies of that vintage are apt to do, they chatted about their families. My mother-in-law spoke about her visit to her sons and they both agreed that each of their families has moved to other parts of the world.
The lady then told of her niece, a hairdresser, who for several years lived in South Africa but has now, together with her family, moved to Canada.
My mother-in-law spontaneously exclaimed: “…and her name is Ursula Platz”.
The lady looked at her with a startled, fearful expression, and as she moved further away, almost escaping into the vestibule of the train, asked: “how do you know her name?”
My mother-in-law assured her that she is not weird and certainly does not have ESP but she had her hair done just recently by Ursula in Cranbrook, B.C. and the story matched the one that Ursula had told her.
Then came the day when my husband and I travelled by train from Germany to Belgium. While walking beside the tracks, I noticed a tall black man shouting and running in our direction. I thought he looked familiar but did not recognize him until he almost spun me off my feet as he grabbed me in a bear hug. His name is Solomon and we had met him while serving as volunteers at the Haggai Institute on Maui several years ago.
We had a happy reunion for 15 minutes until our respective trains arrived and we parted company, telling each other that we would meet again, if not on this earth, certainly ‘up there.’
Then came the day while my husband and I were sitting in a train compartment on our way to Machu Picchu in Peru with friends we had met on our travels.
My husband does not speak to strangers but often sends me. He pointed to an older couple who sat on the opposite side of the train and told me to go ask them if they are from Chemainus.
I thought he had lost his mind and told him so in no uncertain terms. I asked him if he had heard these people speak English, reminding him that we are in a foreign country, thousands of miles away from home.
He assured me that he had heard them speak English and continued to urge me to go and speak to them.
Reluctantly, I agreed to go and ask them if they are from Canada, thinking that to be a safe question.
I approached them rather cautiously and smiling apologetically, asked my well thought-through question to which the lady immediately replied: “Yes, we are from Chemainus and you are Christa Stegemann.” They were Mr. and Mrs. Brown, longtime and well known residents of Chemainus (Edna Brown – a retired teacher).
While visiting a convent in Arequipa in the south of Peru, we heard some English being spoken. Imagine our great surprise, when finding a couple from Duncan, who were there to increase their Alpaca herd on Vancouver Island. They told us their farm is just behind Russell’s Farm on Westholme Road.
While chatting with these folks we were joined by a young man who, when hearing part of our conversation, told us he also is from Vancouver Island and we could visit him at the Empress Hotel in Victoria, where he worked as a bell boy.
These are only a few accounts of happenings that caused us to exclaim: “Isn’t it a small world?!”