Of all the states and territories in Australia, Tasmania is the only one I haven’t visited…until now. I was invited to speak at a healthcare conference in Hobart this weekend. I was excited to do it as it’s a new healthcare segment for me and it is one ripe with possibilities of ways I could help them.
But as I boarded the plane on Thursday, I wondered how my life would change this weekend. Would it change? Who would I meet? What could that lead to? I was excited and open to the overwhelming feeling coursing through my blood, that there were possibilities looming.
As I boarded the jet to Melbourne, I sat next to a lovely woman who looked about my age and we smiled but didn’t talk. I pulled out my newly bought copy of The Life Changing Magic of Not Giving a F**k (see my previous post for details) and started reading. I was engrossed and didn’t talk to the woman on my right. But I did notice that she had a number of newspapers to read and I felt sorry for her. I figured she had some job that meant that she had to stay up on current events and read every paper in the country while I could sit there and snort my laughter through the F**k book.
We got off the flight, having never exchanged a word.
I was one of the last to board the next flight from Melbourne to Hobart and as I sat down I realised that I was sitting next to the same woman as on the previous flight. She still had a stack of newspapers to get through on her lap. This time I smiled and started talking to her. We ended up talking most of the hour long flight (and not just because I saved her from the newspapers!)
She is Norwegian, a couple of years older than me, has three young kids, has lived in various diplomatic postings around the world including some of the same places where I’ve lived. We talked about travel with kids, how hard it is for diplomatic children to make and keep friends and how hard it is to bring up children with a feeling of a ‘home’ country when they have either never lived there or hardly ever lived there. It was only after we had talked for some time that she revealed that she happens to be the Norwegian Ambassador to Australia and was on her way to Hobart to open an exhibition about the Norwegian polar explorer Roald Amundsen for this weekend’s Antarctic Exhibition.
We hit it off but the flight came to an end and as always, there’s that awkward moment. Do you exchange business cards? Do you just smile politely and go your own way? We decided to wish each other well and to enjoy our time in Hobart and off we went in our different directions.
The next morning I decided to take the ferry to the Museum of Old and New Art and duly bought my ferry ticket. As I was about to board at the terminal, I spotted a historical exhibition. Being the history lover I am, I walked over to check it out and who was there? Yep, my ambassadorial friend. We were both delighted to see each other and talked more until I ended up being the last person to board the ferry.
Later that day, as I decided to get some lunch at the museum, I ran into her again. It was weird in a great way. I kept feeling like the Universe was trying to tell me something. This time we exchanged cards and decided that we must meet up when we are back in Canberra. (I happen to live around the corner from the embassy.)
I went for lunch, she went to see the museum. I was booked to take the 3.00pm ferry back and (you know where this is going already, don’t you?) she was sitting on the deck with a spare seat next to her. We laughed all the way back to Hobart pier.
I have no idea why the Universe has put her in my life. But she’s fabulous and we hit it off so well. Maybe we will talk again and meet up when we are in Canberra. That would be great. Maybe we won’t. It depends on why we were supposed to meet in the first place.
I truly believe that the Universe introduces you to exactly the right people you need to meet when you need them. It might be that something that we talked about was important for me to learn, or maybe it was vice versa.
Maybe you only need a certain person in your life for a minute or an hour or a day or a lifetime, but somehow we are all connected and need each other. Some of the people I am most grateful to in this life are ones I may have only known for a few minutes, or a day or an evening. And of course there are others I am grateful for knowing my entire life (Hi, Mom.)
I find the more that I’m open to this prospect, the more the Universe delivers. The Norwegian Ambassador isn’t the only person I’ve met this weekend. Three other people: a Melbourne bike shop owner, a Irish-Aussie digital dandy and a creative silversmith/woodworker have come into my life in similar but different circumstances too. Again, I don’t know why we’ve met, but I’m sure it will be revealed to me in time.
Or maybe they were meant to meet me? Only time will tell. But I love that I just KNEW something exciting was going to happen this weekend….and it did! I think I need to visit Tasmania a bit more often!
Loved reading this post!! Such a great reminder to be present enough to “notice” these serendipitous events unfolding around us. Leaves me in awe and pondering the larger purpose in life. Xoxo
Hi Amanda. Yes, I know what you mean about being present. When my life was filled with busy-ness, I didn’t see the beauty of what was going on all around me, every day. I love that I’m open and willing to notice these things now. And my life is so much richer for it! Look how you and I ‘met’. That was serendipitous too!