The Hawaii Connection

After belaboring his doctorate supervisor for weeks, my friend finally got the green light to present his paper at a conference in Hawaii. As I was looking at his pictures sent from Waikiki Beach, another friend from a different part of the world, with a different career and completely different story, sent a message to our mastermind group: “Greetings from my vacation in Hawaii!”

“That’s funny,” I responded, “someone I know is also there right now, but to attend an academic conference.” “Which conference? My wife is also here to attend one!” My friend’s wife is a professor of economics, and so, when I checked the event schedule, inevitably, it showed both her and my other friend’s name. When I told them, we all had a good laugh.

What are the odds? Two people from two different countries, at different ages, studying different topics, united at a niche academic event in Hawaii in early January through coincidence, a connection with a friend, or a little bit of both.

Sometimes, it takes finding the unexpected in an unexpected place to start feeling familiar in a new location — but wherever we do discover it, the familiar, especially the familiar ones, can fill us with joy and appreciation.

The world is smaller than we think. Keep your eyes open. Connection happens everywhere, but only if we’re truly there to see it.