Sunday, October 28, 2007

It's a Small World After All...

Well, now that I've managed to get that song in your head, I have a little story to share. First off, a little background. Most everyone who's reading this knows this, but I studied in Barcelona from January-May, 2003. Now, I am working for the same program that I studied with (the Knox College Barcelona Program). Ok, so now onto the story.
Here in Spain they have things called "intercambios". It translates to mean "exchange" and typically means that a native speaker in one language meets with a native speaker in another language to both work on the two languages. So, for example, I would meet with a native Spanish speaker (who is learning English) and we would speak in Spanish half the time and English half the time. Not only are intercambios a good way to learn a language, but they are also a good way to make friends. When I was here in 2003, I had one intercambio, but due to our busy schedules, we only met up a few times. However, my two closest friends in the Knox Program both had intercambios (and actually they had intercambios with a brother and sister) and so I would hang out with their intercambios and got to know them pretty well.
Flash forward to present day. Now, finding an intercambio is done over the internet (sort of like internet dating, except you are looking for a speaking buddy, not a date), and so I posted on this internet board that I was looking for an intercambio. I received tons of messages (mostly from 40+ year old men who I am sure wanted to exchange more than languages), but I also got some serious responses. One of the messages was from a 31 year old guy named Marc who seemed very serious about wanting to practice his English. So we e-mailed back and forth and agreed to meet up for coffee and to practice our languages. We were going to meet at the Metro stop right by my apartment, so I got there a little early. There was this totally sketchy guy hanging out, and so I ducked into a shoe store and started looking around, for fear that this sketchy dude was my intercambio. While I was looking at the shoes, I ran into one of the students on the program. We chatted for a bit and then I noticed that now another guy was waiting at the Metro stop and he looked completely normal, so I approached him and it turns out he was my intercambio. Phew, glad it wasn't the sketchy guy. At first Marc seemed very familiar to me, but I just thought it was because he sort of reminded me of this guy Marc that I knew in 2003 (who was the boyfriend of my friend's intercambio). However, the more that Marc talked, the more he seemed familiar to me. Eventually he started talking about his girlfriend and I asked what his girlfriend's name was. Turns out his girlfriend has the same name as my friend's intercambio from 2003. Then I asked him some more questions, and eventually we realized that we knew each other!!! This Marc was the same Marc I knew in 2003. We had hung out together and seen movies together. And I knew his girlfriend pretty well. WEIRD!
And seriously, what are the chances?? I somehow end up back here in Barcelona and decide to place an internet message about an intercambio. Marc somehow decides to answer my message. I somehow decide that Marc's message is a serious one, so I reply. And then we meet up. In a city of over a million people, how can it happen that I randomly met up with one of the probably 6 people I know here. SO RANDOM! And cool.
Anyways, just had to share. Isn't it so weird that the world is really kind of small??

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