After my first day of work, my Airbnb hosts invited me to join them for dinner in Roma Norte. Three of their friends joined us halfway through the night and I just about lost it when they told me they were from Lille!! What. Are. The. Odds. Mexico City is home to more than 21 million people and is roughly 1,485 square kilometers in size. In comparison, Lille is home to just over 230,000 people and is about 39 square kilometers. I am always way too excited to meet my fellow Lillois, but this particular encounter was stirring.
It may sound dramatic, but I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Lille changed my life. If I had not studied abroad in Lille, I would not be the person I am today. I would’ve never met some of the most amazing friends I am fortunate enough to have in my life. I would not have followed the career path I am currently on. And I would not be living in Mexico City right now. Some may find it silly, but I truly believe that “the universe is always speaking to us… sending messages, causing coincidences and serendipities, reminding us to stop, to look around, and to believe in something else, something more.” Maybe I am just reading too far into a coincidental encounter, but I like to believe it was something more than that.
Seriously, what are the odds that a few of the first people I met in this enormous city turned out to be from none other than Lille? It’s crazy to think that maybe I brushed past these three Lillois when I was strolling down Rue Solférino on a Thursday night, sat next to them by the fountain in Le Grand Place as I admired the sunset with some friends, or maybe rushed past them in the halls of Le Catho as I hastily made my way to French 100. And now, here we were, sitting together and enjoying each others company in Mexico City as we drank Jabalí aka “Timon & Pumbaa beer” at an awesome speakeasy restaurant.
Dinner at Páramo that Tuesday evening was filled with hours of great conversation, laughter, and delicious food. Since my arrival in Mexico City, I have met so many people from such diverse backgrounds. I’ve met people from Lille, Puebla, Buenos Aires, Korea, New York, Paris, Leon, Cologne, Toluca, Cozumel, Barcelona, Cancun, San Francisco, Veracruz, China, Guadalajara, and Los Angeles. People ranging in ages from 5 to 25 to 40 to 65. People who are venture capitalists, architects, startup founders, chemical engineers, photographers, DJs, computer programmers, mezcal sellers, soap opera actors, marketing professionals, and exchange students. Anyone who knows me well, knows that I love fostering friendships with people that wouldn’t normally be found in my typical social circle. I almost pursue these friendships with too much enthusiasm sometimes. So, it’s safe to say that it has been more than exciting to meet all of these people. In fact, one of my main goals for my time in Mexico City was to push myself out of my comfort zone and interact with people who could challenge my perspectives — I am happy to report that I am already meeting that goal. Even though I have only been in Mexico City for 14 days, I already love it.
Below is one of my favorite words and its definition. To be honest, I found it on Pinterest a while ago, so who knows if it’s even a real word. But, I love it and it accurately expresses something I think of often.
sonder n. the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivd and complex as your own- populated with their own ambitions, friends, routines, worries and inherited craziness-an epic story that continues invisibly around you like an anthill sprawling deep underground, with elaborate passageways to thousands of other lives that you’ll never know existed, in which you might appear only once, as an extra sipping coffee in the background, as a blur of traffic passing on the highway, as a lighted window at dusk…
My life has changed a lot over the course of the last couple years — some moments have been amazing and some have been challenging. I have been doing a lot of self reflection and thinking of everything that has led to me being in Mexico City right now. My only conclusion is that the world works in mysterious ways and everything happens for a reason. It’s crazy how a chance encounter can literally change the course of your life. It’s such an immense “what if” to ponder… Even more, it is actually kind of terrifying in a beautiful way. When you stop to look around, this life is pretty amazing. Everything that we have lived through has brought us to being in this exact place at this specific moment in time.
The world is an epic story. And I am just beginning an epic chapter of my life.