Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Small World

I have two roommates here in Geneva. Early this year, one decided to depart to Budapest for career advancement leaving a vacant spot in our apartment. Una and I began the the tedious process for finding a new roommate to fill the spot. Of course we are very picky, interviewing almost 2 people a night for 2-3 weeks. Finding a place to rent in Geneva is extremely difficult (1% vacant), so the renter (Una and I) can take the time to choose someone that fits the best. We wanted to make it into a talent contest like American Idol, but moving the furniture every nite would be such a pain. Finally we found Simon. He is originally from Ireland, which explains him having no problem with a couple glasses of wine for the interview. He installs golf courses around Europe and works for a company based in Scottsdale, Arizona. Pretty ironic, because I just moved from Scottsdale.

A few months ago I was walking home from the gym and hear a distinguished french accent I immediately recognized from way-back. I say 'hey Karim', he turns around with a shocked look on his face and a smile. I met him 13 years ago my freshmen year at the University of Arizona. Karim lived in the same dorm on the same floor. We both started talking about our funny moments, and shared experiences. Numbers were exchanged, so we can further laugh about ourselves, the people we know and the quirkiness of being college freshmen.

Karim gives me a ring to plan and meet up. We begin talking about a friend we had in common- Andrew. Andrew was a good friend of mine my freshman year. He lived in the dorm right next to me and was commonly stopping in to say hi or called upon for venturing out on the town. I ask Karim about Andrew and he mentions that he heard that Andrew may be moving to Morocco. I ask Karim to get me Andrew's information, which he didn't have, but knew who to get it from and would get back to me.

Simon and I were playing a golf tournament and talking about work. He was looking for a manager for one of the golf courses in Morocco and had someone in mind. He never said a name. I recalled, Karim mentioned that Andrew was moving to Morocco. It dawns on me...is there a possibility that my friend Andrew could be the same guy Simon (my new roommate) was talking about?

Naw, nej, na... nein, nope, non, naw.......NOOOO WAY!!

Two weeks pass while Simon is out of town.
Upon return, I nonchalantly ask him 'Do you know Andrew Rebman?'
Simon replied: 'Yeah, he called me today. I need to give him a call back. Why? How do you know him?'
Me: 'Oh, I've just heard of the guy. Tell him I said hi.'

It's things like this that makes the world feel extremely small. This is not even 6 degress of separation, more like one degree. We are all connected in one way or another.

What is: 6 degrees of Separation

You can also see karma come into play. We are constantly creating "seeds" though friendships, relations, and actions. Those seeds can and will follow us later, even if you are on the other side of the world. A friendship that was in the past or in the now will be somehow connected in the future. You can not escape karma. Live today and make friends today, because that is the tomorrow no matter where you are. I'm sure everyone has a story of these situations.

John Donne puts it into perspective with his work "no man is an island".

No man is an island, entire of itself
every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main
if a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were,
as well as if a manor of thy friends or of thine own were
any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind
and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls
it tolls for thee.

It means that we are all impacted by each other...and whatever happens to someone else, affects each of us as well. If you think about this. It is true in a number of ways, in individual relationships, in families, in social circles, and wider and wider in impacts. Information is communicated around the world creating a large network for connecting people in ways not previously available, by means of world news, blogs, skype, youtube, facebook, messenger, sms, email or even actions, where presidential candidates go overseas to speak in foreign countries. Because we are all connected in one way or another and issues are not as isolated as they used to be, people are not as isolated as we used to be. Your actions, your decisions, your vote, your choices, your treatment of other people, all have an effect.

When someone asks me, 'Are you ever homesick?'. Yes, of course, but there isn't anyone I can't get in touch with immediately over the phone and internet. This blog is an example of including family and friends in my life. We may not be next to each other chatting, laughing, enjoying the presence of one's company but we are sharing little experiences, making the world a little smaller than it was before.

"no man is an island"


Seth said...

Testing the comments. Anyone can now leave one without logging in.

Weilando said...

I know what you mean about the world being so small. A good friend of mine, Norman, Who lived in Santa Fe about the time you were born is now my best friend here in Costa Rica. In fact, he house sat for us on Fulton lane while we were on Vacation. And My best friend from kindergarten, Peggy Sweik, who I hadn't seen for more than 40 years ran into granny at a funeral. Well she contacted me and later came down here to visit for a week with her husband. And I studied the six steps of separation in one of my English classes. It is really interesting.

Jennifer Jimenez said...

That is an awesome story Seth. I totally agree. It is amazing to me how everybody lives touch mine.
I think that with technological advances also came the test of integrity. There are so many resources that we can now access which give us fewer excuses ie. couldn't get to a phone etc.
I think this kind of goes along with what you were saying about Karma and Relationships.