Thursday, July 23, 2009

stumble upon

this morning i was the 9th caller on a local radio station and won tickets to see the musical Cats. i was so stunned that i actually was paying attention to the radio at the right moment and heard the number, was able to dial right then and then thought to wait a few beats so i wouldn't be 5th or 8th, and then say the right answer and give the correct name of the radio station. it all happened so fast, and then they replayed it and there i was, on the radio. truly, i was in the right place at the right time, and completely paying attention to the moment. serendipity!

i often think about how some of the best moments when traveling are when you hit the right place at the right time and experience something surprising and lovely and memorable. one time in florence i got separated from the other students i was traveling with, and was trying to find my way on my own, when a couple stopped me. they spoke in spanish and asked me for directions to the exact same cathedral i was looking for. this was strange, since they not only thought i looked like i spoke spanish, in a country that speaks italian, but thought i looked like i knew where i was going! i spoke spanish to them and forced confidence into my sense of direction, and led us to the right place. the scenario gave me so much joy and was encouraging to my spanish skills, and was completely serendipitous since i had been on my own only accidentally.

in new zealand we arrived at the waterfront town of Wellington, only to stay for a night, and leave early the next morning. i assumed this was just a "travel-through" city, and that's what it was going to have to be for us. we got off the train and went to the first hostel closest to the ferry we were to take the next morning. no beds left. on to the next hostel. same story. so we ended up walking along most of the waterfront to get to the main downtown area where there were more hostels, our heavy backpacks bearing down on our sunburns. it was so beautiful though, the sun was setting and the town sparkled with lights all around the hills that cradled the bay. and then we came upon this tented stage, with theatrical lighting and music playing. there were people performing a show, amazing acrobats that hung from fabrics and slid down ropes and did other kinds of daring amazing things. i stood there in awe, loving this surprising moment we had come to completely by chance. an outdoor dance performance at sunset by the water, on a wednesday night... when we might have easily been setting our packs down at the first hostel and calling it a night.

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