Sunday, December 23, 2007

And the Coincidences Continue

This island is small. "Ess Em Alllll..." (to quote the great Sammy Davis in Cannonball Run.) Not just that it's small (because it's also really densely populated) but the world of Americans or non-Japanese folks on this island is really really tiny. You need to be nice all the time (not that it's difficult) because the person you're talking about - well, her best buddy whose husband is deployed with hers - is sitting right behind you at the coffee shop. SMALL.

Casey called me the other day to tell me she was at an Okinawan/American women's society luncheon and sat next to and chatted with my buddy Elizabeth that we met on the plane ride here and stayed in touch with. These kinds of stories are no longer surprising because I'd venture to say I'm the only Aviva on the island, so if you say my name - someone who has met me will recall. Thus conversations about me happen without my knowledge; story of my life.

So about a month ago, Casey and I went to SomChai for lunch. Yes, I'm a regular there now, it's the freaking bomb. There are about 5 tables in the whole place, and as we sat at a 4-top to wait for our meal, a couple (she was black and he was very tall and white) walked in with a little boy, about 2 years old. Casey & I commented on how he looked a bit like her son, Brice. The couple was speaking to each other in a foreign language I didn't recognize, and after they ordered food they looked for a non-existent empty table. Casey and I motioned for them to sit next to us, and they pulled up one more chair for their son and sat down.

I asked where they were from, and they said Sweden. Wow! I've been to Europe once in my life, back when I was working doing customer/tech support for an email software program. The company was Swedish - so when they launched their big upgrade, they flew the few US staff members over there to party with the owners of the company. Pretty sweet deal for me! We spent a week in Stockholm, in a lovely hotel, and enjoyed lots of Absolut and Ikea furniture. And licorice. Those Swedes LOVE licorice.

So I actually had something to talk about; fica breaks (their name for coffee breaks at work). And after I told them the two words I remembered besides that (skojl - or however you spell it - which you say when toasting, and hej and hej du -hello & good bye), they asked where we were from. At this point the food had arrived, and their son - probably 2 years old - was the most well behaved child EVER and was eating Thai food like it was his favorite thing in the world. At that restaurant, my kid would look at me as if I'd just placed a pig brain and rabbit turds in front of her and sang, "Bon appetit!"

I told her I grew up in New Jersey, and the two of them launched into wide-eyed grinning stories about how much they LIVE for Bruce Springsteen. They have a house full of bootlegs, and they want more than anything to live in New York because it's so culturally diverse and wonderful - and by the way, WE LOVE SPRINGSTEEN! YAAAAAAY BRUCE!

I guess the guy is here in Okinawa finishing his PHD in some kind of robotic engineering mechanical scientific field I know nothing about at a local university. Not related to military or government in any way, so it's challenging to find stuff sometimes when you can't just go on base to get it. And the girl is pregnant with kid #2 and they're homesick and though they love it here they're excited to go back to the US after he's done.

So we all had a lovely chat for a good while, and Casey and I said, "See you around," and we smiled and spoke for a while about how nice they were and went on our merry way. When I told the story to Craig later, I said, "Wow - this couple at the Thai restaurant in Okinawa was from Sweden, where I've been before, and they LOVE Bruce Springsteen and couldn't get enough of me being from New Jersey. RAN-DOM!"

So a couple of weeks back, after soccer was overwith, I called our friend Kanoe (whose hubby is a Marine and whose 3 kids are adorable - the older two were on Mia's soccer team, which is how we met, and their two-year-old Ella is Craig's BFF). I wanted to see if she'd like to have a get-together on Christmas Eve. She mentioned that deep fried turkey to us, and never got to have one on Thanksgiving - so I said, "Why not do it for Christmas Eve with the families?" She agreed and we figured we'd work out the details later.

This morning (Sunday) she emails & calls me and we set up who was making what, all very yummy & good. Then she said, "Listen - I have these friends, they have no place to go for Christmas Eve, and I thought I'd invite them. They're super nice - they're actually Swedish; he's here finishing his PHD, she's pregnant, they have a little boy and they're so homesick and would it be ok with you guys? I'm sure you'd like them..."

"Kanoe. Is she black?" (AS IF I needed to clarify that this was them....)


"I met them at SomChai about a month ago," I yelled - and laughed, and marveled at this weirdness.

THEN Kanoe proceeds to tell me that when she invited Myriam and her family for tomorrow night, she was telling them about us. Craig's from Ohio, Aviva's from New York (she didn't remember it was NJ and thought it was NY) and they have a daughter, and whatever else. And I guess Myriam brought UP meeting "a girl" at SomChai one day and she was from New Jersey and we talked for a while and they had such fun with her and wouldn't it be amazing if it was HER!?

Yes. Wouldn't it be.

So I floored Casey by calling her today and relaying that I'll be spending Christmas Eve with the Swedes we chatted with at Somchai a month ago. And as of yet I have no clue why Kanoe knows them - but I'm sure that'll be secondary.

1 comment:

Ryan Vener - Written Inc. said...

No way! Svenn Jorgenson? He and I played hockey on the Swedish National Youth Hockey team together.