A lifetime, decades, or a single dinner
You guys remember a Karen from Switzerland, whom I mentioned a few entries ago? I had met her and an Ann from Germnay on the Brazilian side of the Iguazu Falls with my friend Sara from the IFSA program who has a British passport. Well, I randomly ran into Karen at the lobby of the hostel in Mendoza that my friends from the IFSA program and I stayed at for a few days during the beginning of our last week. I was so pleasantly surprised with the random encounter.
Karen, a few other foreigners, and our group went on a horseback riding excursion in the Andes mountains that same day. It was very nice to meet so many people and get to know them in such a short amount of time. That day and the next night, I met Mary from France, Ana from New Zealand, and a Kayla from Ireland. This happened just from people I could meet at the hostel. Not to mention that I had also met Franco and Maria from Argentina who work at the hostel.
The last night in Mendoza, our IFSA group met three boys, Dylan, Tom, and Will, from England who we ended up eating dinner with and getting to know. They played the guitar for us, we sang along, they introduced us to their English accent, we to American accents, and the list goes on.
At dinner, I also met some people with amazingly random ties to my past. I met an Andy from England, who had worked at some point in a Korean academic institution called hagwons in Daejeon, the city I was born in. I had also met a Matt with a girlfriend who attended the same elementary school I did in Brookline, Massachusetts, a town I grew up in.
Perhaps we will never meet these people again. Perhaps we will stay in touch and be able to meet again some day. The amazing experience of simply getting to know them and having a great time is enough for me. I actually did end up having amazing and somewhat personal conversations with some of these people. Traveling with an open mind and trusting in others seems to be a perfect combination for a great experience and great relationships. It was a great time getting to know people with different objectives for traveling than fellow IFSA students, though my IFSA friends are pretty great. Whether these relationships last a lifetime, decades, or a single dinner, how meaningful they are are up to us.