Me and some friends took a weekend trip to the small city of Ningbo (population 5 million) this weekend. The reason for the trip gets a little complicated but it is worth the telling.
My wife and I have a friend, Pam, who works at the same school as my wife. Pam has an Australian friend named Lucinda who is also in Shanghai but works for another school and lives more in the central part of the city (we're way out on the outskirts of Shanghai.) A few months ago Lucinda visited the US and on her flight back to China she sat with a young Guatemalan man named Gus.
Gus lives in Ningbo and he is the reason we all went (turns out Lucinda wasn't really interested in romance there, but wanted to see him and figured bringing a half dozen of her friends would ensure he got the point.)
When we arrive in Ningbo we find that Gus has also invited a friend along who is actually from a little city very near Shanghai. I get to talking to Gus and it turns out he has lived in Arkansas for the last many years. Searcy Arkansas. And he went to Harding University.
I get a little excited at this news and mention that I have friends who went to Harding, and almost went myself.
At this point we're both a little 'no way,' and so Gus yells at his friend who also went to Harding. We start going through the whole 'do you know...?' thing but as they are many years younger than me there wasn't any overlap in who we knew at Harding.
Then we start talking about me and I say that I'm in China because of my sister and - holy crap - both boys know my sister and her husband! Actually Gus's friend lives in the same building, the same freaking floor, as my brother-in-laws parents.
So to recap my friend's Australian friend went to America and on her plane ride back to China she meets a Guatemalan. Just for friend the Australian and Guatemalan decide to meet up in a city about four hours from Shanghai. The Australian feels awkward and invites her friend who invites me. The Guatemalan feels awkward and invites his friend. Both the Guatemalan and his friend know my sister and one of them lives very close to my brother-in-laws parents.
Seriously, how whacked is that?