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Two days ago I told my friend Caren that it’s almost a year when we first met in Queen Victoria Building in Sydney’s Central Business District. Looking back on it I realized that there are people you meet for the first time with whom you mesh well with. It’s also interesting to reflect on stories about six degrees of separation and how far back you can trace your friend connections.

It was sometime in April or May 2005 when I moved to a new apartment closer to the Makati Central Business District. I became friends with Nona, a housemate, because we speak the same dialect. When I finally was cleared to fly to Malaysia for an overseas work for the first time in December 2007, she helped guard some of the boxes which contained stuff I didn’t want to bring for my sister to pick it up at a later time. She later became friends also with my sister and was even present when my niece was delivered in 2009 in a clinic not far away from my old apartment.

I went home in 2010 and a year after my sister and I would decide to go back to our hometown because of the high cost of living in Manila. I only saw Nona again in late January 2012 when I had to fly back to Manila for a seminar and for my flight to Sydney.

We stopped by a McDonald’s for lunch and I told her of my impending trip. Much to my surprise, she actually had a sister who lives in Brisbane while the niece of her husband, Caren, was in Sydney also. We had never talked about her connections to Australia before! And I thought it was too much of a coincidence that she only mentioned it a few days away from my departure. She suggested I add Caren on Facebook and get to know her.

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Queen Victoria Statue

Once in Sydney, I started chatting up with Caren and she agreed to meet up so we can roam around the CBD. The minute I spotted her at the entrance of the QVB near the impossible-to-miss Queen Victoria’s Statue, I approached her in a casual and brusque greeting typical of people who speak our dialect. We couldn’t stop chatting and sharing stories on our way to Hyde Park and George Street.

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For the next four weeks up until my last day in Sydney, we would meet up and roam around CBD and part ways with tanned skin and sore, tired feet but pleased nonetheless.

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With Cassie, Caren’s cousin

I like happy accidents and I can’t look back on my Sydney escapades without being reminded of friends I also made through Caren.

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