I grew up just outside of Portal, Georgia: population 595.
Eric was raised on a farm near Urbana, Iowa: population 1,391.
Before moving to Brasil, we lived in the big city of Burlington, Iowa: population 25,549.
To say the least, we were used to running into people we know anytime we were out and about around town.
The greater Belo Horizonte area has roughly 5 million inhabitants.
So lately we've become rather used to going out and never seeing another soul that we recognize. Granted, we occasionally make a random connection with someone who knows someone we know, but for the most part we run around pretty anonymous.
So you can imagine our surprise when we're walking through the supermarket on Saturday afternoon and someone walks up to me and asks, in English, "Are you Emily?"
Several weeks ago, one of my friends and former coworker from Iowa emailed me to say that she had an old classmate who had just married a Brasilian guy and was going to be moving to BH in March. Subsequently, I exchanged a few messages on Facebook with the Iweegan-turned-soon-to-be-BH-resident.
This random person in the supermarket? The girl from Iowa and her husband! She had just gotten into town the previous day. We hugged, introduced the husbands, and then stood around chitchatting for several minutes.
On her Facebook page a couple weeks ago, I noticed her awesome engagement pictures and recognized that they were taken in/around BH. I had asked her for her photographer's name, as I had been trying to find someone to take maternity shots. As it turns out, the photographer is a friend of her husband's.
Anyway, we get on the subject of the photographer and I mentioned that we were hoping to go out to a local fazenda/park for some of the photos. Her husband casually mentioned what a beautiful place it was and said that his brother-in-law is in charge of the gardens out there. Eric and I quickly exchanged glances, because shortly after arriving in Brasil, we went out to this fazenda/park and ending up meeting a guy who did something with the landscaping there. The guy went on to explain that his brother-in-law was Italian. And wouldn't you know it . . . yep, that's the guy Eric and I met.
So, I met my Iowa friend's classmate's husband's brother-in-law and then a year later I meet my friend's classmate on her first day in Brasil while grocery shopping.
Oh, and in this big sprawling city - they are living like 5 blocks from us. (And no, the grocery store we were at is not particularly near our neighborhood.)
Turns out my mama might have been right! She always warned me to behave myself at all times because you never know when you're going to run into somebody who goes to church with your grandma. And like the good, obedient, teenager that I was, I always heeded her advice. (What is that choking sound I hear? Dad? Seriously, get yourself a drink of water!) I sort of believed it when I was living in Portal . . . but seriously, in Belo Horizonte, Brasil!?! Turns out maybe the whole six degrees of separation theory really does hold true.