“I know you!“ she said, pointing her finger at me.
I was walking down a random street in Valencia, on my way home from the library, Michael conversing with me through the earbud I had in one ear.
“I’m Yvonne!“ she said as I pulled my earbud out and looked from her to the man next to her.
Not a few days earlier, there was an Yvonne who posted a response on one of my blogs about the Camino. Her name was the first that came to mind.
But once this Yvonne told me her last name, I knew immediately who she was. And why she was here.
Some years ago, I started joining international teacher Facebook groups as I thought that was going to be the door through which I got to live in Europe.
Yvonne responded to a post I wrote. Or maybe I messaged her when I found out she was a math teacher in Italy.
Whatever it was, we became Facebook friends.
In May 2020, I contacted her again as I was applying for a teaching position at her school.
For various reasons, that position didn’t work out.
But a few months ago, she contacted me to say that she was applying to a school here in Valencia. I offered to help in any way I could.
I answered her questions about neighborhoods, cost of living, etc.
I knew moving countries was no easy feat. So didn’t envy her! And last we spoke, I wasn’t 100% sure when she was actually going to move.
But here she was. Right in front of me. On a random street in a city of 800,000 people.
I popped my earbud back into my ear and told Michael I’d call him back later.
“We got here last night,“ she told me. She turned to her husband. “This is the woman I was telling you about!”
Confusion and then recognition flashed across his face. Introductions were made, hugs were given.
She told me they were heading to the Ayuntamiento. “Can I join you?“ I asked. “I don’t have to work till five, so if you want me to show you around a little bit . . .”
And this is one of the many things I love about my life these days. That I can run into somebody on a street on a random Thursday afternoon, orient them to the city, enjoy glasses of Agua de Valencia at the Mercado Central, share tips about bus passes and paella. . . .
And still make it home in time for work.