I’m a bit in shock now. Argentina beat Uruguay tonight 1-0 and will advance to the World Cup. Great. But that’s not the big deal. I was preparing to leave work early today to meet up with a couple of people to watch the game in a bar. I spent the first part of the day debating whether or not I should even go out for it, as it was kind of a hassle to get down to San Telmo to watch it. Knowing it was farther away and I only had a half hour or so before the game started, I was heading to the subway stop a couple of blocks from my office. I left ten minutes earlier than usual.
I went right on to Calle Florida and quickly realized it would have been quicker on Calle Maipú, but oh well, too late, I thought. As I was rounding the corner to head to the steps of the subway, I thought I saw Chelsea, another volunteer from WorldTeach in Ecuador. But that couldn’t be right, because why would she be in Argentina?
Yet I got closer and saw her boyfriend Ryan, another WorldTeach volunteer, and immediately knew my eyes weren’t deceiving me, though my contacts went dry suddenly as if they were doing rapid adjusting. I yelled out her name and my heart raced, and I felt nervous. She seemed a bit shocked, but not nearly as much as I was. The only sentence I could muster for the first minute was, “What the fuck are you doing here?” I would have expected an email if a friend was coming my way.
But the mere fact that I should be walking a different way home, going the wrong way, at an earlier time than usual, all made it too weird. Just last night I wrote about missing Ecuador and thinking about it all more than usual. Earlier in the afternoon I caught up for a bit with my good friend Jamie, who is still in Cuenca. And now I accidentally ran into two volunteers in Buenos Aires, an enormous city with over 13 million people.
They were only in town for the day, just coming back from Iguazú Falls and taking off in 45 minutes for Mendoza. Apparently it was a spur of the moment thing to come to Argentina. But they’ll be back on Sunday before leaving for Ecuador again. And still, there is the shock that I just ran into two people I didn’t think I’d ever see again, but in Argentina, and so soon. It’s hard to explain what my thoughts were because it was too much of a blur to have any.
Recently I was contacted by another girl, Valerie, who is a friend of a friend, Jake, who was just living in Colombia for a while. How I met Jake was also by coincidence, because he met my friend Jamie in Cuzco when they both taught there. I met Jamie through coincidence at Thanksgiving dinner last year in Cuenca and found out she studied in Spain with one of my close friends from back home who lives down the street from me. Jake visited Jamie, I met him, and became friendly with him. Valerie now lives in Buenos Aires with her boyfriend, and we agreed to meet up on Saturday, but couldn’t pull it together. On Sunday afternoon, I bumped into them in the street at the crowded San Telmo Fair and recognized her from her Facebook picture.
These coincidences continue to pour on, and it’s creepy at some level. I’m wondering, will this continue?
Above: Chelsea, the other volunteer who randomly popped in to Buenos Aires today