No Way Jose!

Guatemalan soccer

Crowded stands for the soccer championships in San Pedro.

The following story deserves its own special story because it is just too crazy not to share, and is too incredible to be a smaller part of a larger story.

This past weekend, we had an amazing encounter with a friend of Matt’s brother, that also happened to be studying in San Pedro, and who happened to be in the same café as us on his last day here in San Pedro. He immediately recognized Matt and he and his girlfriend ended up talking with us for 4 hours in the café as we all sat there in amazement at the chance meeting.

Well, that sure is an incredible story, but what if we told you that something seemingly more incredible, or at least of the same stature, happened to us yet again? Well, it did, and here it is.

Last night, after a long day of reading both Spanish and English books, of doing homework, and of being busy yet not very active, we decided to take a walk around the town before dinner. It just felt like a good time to go outside and stretch the legs. As we were on the downhill from our home, walking towards Lake Atitlan, we passed by another foreigner going uphill, and I said to Matt, “I really think I know that guy!” We let it pass for a brief second, then after 5 more steps, we both turned around to get a second look at the guy who was walking uphill, away from us. As we turned around, he too turned around to face us at the same moment. I made eye contact with him, and in unison, we both shook our fingers at each other as if to say, “I know you from somewhere, and I’m going to recall it any moment now.” A second later it clicked for all of us, and Matt, from some depth in that hard-working brain of his, shouted out, “It’s Andre from the bike trip!”

I hadn’t yet recalled his name, but I knew is face, and it in fact was Andre, another cyclist that we met back in September 2011 in Oregon, on our bike trip down the West Coast. We had spent time cycling around him in Oregon and California, and though we knew his bike trip continued through Mexico, en route to Argentina, we had no idea where he was, or what his intended route was. To our surprise, his route included a 48 hour stop in San Pedro La Laguna, Guatemala, and we happened to walk right by him on the evening before his departure from the city.

After walking back towards each other, we stood there in the street and talked to him for a good half hour, catching up on what had happened to all of us since we last saw him at a café somewhere in Northern California. It really was an amazing moment for all of us, to stand there in a cobblestone street in Guatemala, surrounded by motorcycles and tuk-tuks buzzing by, and people watching an ecstatic meeting of long-ago seen friends. The triangle of Andre, Matt and I buzzed with excitement and our worlds stopped for those 30 minutes, all of us focusing on the statistically-challenged, brief crossing of our paths. Before we left him, we each gave him a huge bear hug; it felt so right to embrace someone we knew that seemed to just drop from the sky, right in our laps.

As with all meetings of friends, ours had to end, as we had to meet our family for our 7pm dinner time, and he too had to go find dinner before turning in for the evening, readying himself for his departure the next morning. We found ourselves walking back to the house, unable to wipe away the smiles plastered on our faces, exploding with a good story that we couldn’t wait to share with someone else, including our family. The only drawback was that we had to tell the entire story in Spanish…so it’s good to finally explain it in English to all of our family and friends.

We’re not sure this chance meeting can ever be topped, but we’ll gladly welcome any other serendipity that may come our way, just to show us yet again how small this world really is once we find ourselves lost among its vast amount of possibilities.

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