Friday, May 17, 2013

Fate and Fanny Packs

I'm not necessarily a spontaneous person, although I feel I have good capacity to appreciate and go with random events that happen in life.  I do not necessarily believe in fate, however, I think it is possible to find patterns and common threads in chaos.  Happenstance has been a powerful force in my development and in the relationships I build.  For example, one of the most interesting and serendipitous events in the past year was meeting my friend Tako.  

Last summer, while visiting the Como Park Conservatory to enjoy a Japanese lantern lighting festival, a friend and I were trekking across multiple parking lots and community green-space to get to the Como Park Zoo.  As we walked along, I noticed a girl with a really nice camera wandering around with a somewhat bewildered but determined look on her face.  She stopped us and politely inquired if we knew how to get to the zoo from her current location.  I told her we were headed that direction and she was welcome to walk with us if she wanted; she did.  I have a habit of asking people questions about themselves and trying to learn something about them, it was no different with Tako.  She told us she was from the Republic of Georgia, and she had just arrived in the United States two days prior.  Tako had come to study finance at the University.  Surprised that she had been in the US only two days, I asked what she was doing in St. Paul.  Fortuitously, she had come to watch the lantern lighting festival.  Given that we were all headed to the same place, with the same agenda more or less, I invited Tako to join us for the day.  We have been friends ever since.  What seems unusual about this is that Tako had only decided that morning to come to the festival after reading about it in the paper.  Aside from airport employees and the student who assigned her to her dorm room, Tako had not yet spoken with anyone, or even settled in (she had just arrived two days before!).  The portion of me that enjoys romanticized notions of relationships and fate really likes the story of how we met.      

Then: At the lantern lighting festival, the day we met.   
Tako is a lovely person.  She is cynical, very smart, incredibly caring, and spunky.  She traveled all over the US while she was here, made amazing connections with people from around the world, and made sure to use her time here to benefit herself, her country, and her family and friends.  For example, Tako raised money for an orphanage in Georgia she volunteers with there.  She also studied hard and did well academically.  I continue to be amazed by her conviction to caring for people and standing her ground about politics and religion.  Tako is a strong person, I admire that.

Now: At RYKYGNYZYR's first public performance last week.
Tako is returning to Georgia tomorrow.  I'm going to miss her quite a bit.  While she was in the US we celebrated her 21st birthday, her first Thanksgiving, and a midwestern Christmas that involved snow, a spin-out, and an explanation of how a fanny pack ("fanny bag" as she later called it) is very different from "fun bags".  I am lucky to have such good people in my life.  When I think of Tako and our friendship, it is an excellent reminder for me to be open to people and new things.  It is also a reminder to be mindful of what is happening around me as there are infinite opportunities for very cool things, I just need to engage with people to make it happen.

No comments:

Post a Comment