It’s a small world: From Bolivia to Montreal

Four and a half months ago, Thai An, Camille, and I met in Cochabamba, Bolivia under bizarre circumstances. The entire country was shut down for Census Day, and we weren’t allowed to leave our less-than-glamorous accommodations at Hotel Gloria for a solid 24 hours.

The situation was far from the dire: we had TVs, wifi, and had been able to go to the grocery store the day before to stock up on food. But still, when you’re backpackers traveling through a foreign country, it’s against your very nature to sit inside all day doing next to nothing.

Thai An, originally from Montreal, was working an internship in Sucre, and had been flown to Cochabamba for a conference that was eventually cancelled. Camille, who is from Paris, was in the middle of a one year, round-the-world backpacking trip. I was just past the midpoint of my 3 month trip, and still a gimp from recently tearing the ligament in my foot.

The three of us chatted, laughed and joked, watched TV, cut up fruit and made homemade guacamole in the common area of the hotel since there was no kitchen we could use. After spending hours together killing time online, lounging on not so comfortable couches, and getting to know each other, we’d said goodbye, and the next day I left at the crack of dawn for my epic journey to Toro Toro national park.

Thai An and I met up a few days later when I was in Sucre, and we’d all become Facebook friends, following each others travels after we’d parted ways. Two weeks ago, just before my 8 day trip to Montreal, I posted on Thai An’s wall, letting her know I’d be in Montreal and that we should grab drinks if she was around.

A few hours later, I had a notification that Camille had commented on my post as well. “I will be there too!!!!!!!” she’d written. What were the chances?

Turns out Camille was on the very last leg of her 13 months of travel, visiting old friends for a few days before making her way back to Paris. I was in the city where both my parents were born and raised for a mother-daughter vacation, to celebrate the Jewish holiday of Passover and spend time with extended family.

I could hardly believe it, but the following Thursday, the three of us, plus my Mom, were hugging hello at L’Avenue, a trendy brunch spot in Montreal’s Plateau neighborhood.

“It’s a small world” may be one of the oldest cliches in the book, but it has never rung truer. Five months ago, I never would have been able to guess that my I would be meeting two women I’d spent a few days with in Bolivia for to-die-for Eggs Benedict on Mont-Royal Avenue.

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