"While working at a department store in California, I hired a very nice lady (we'll call her Mary) from Brazil. She worked for me as a salesperson for several years, and we became good friends during this time. Since she didn't have any family nearby, she spent holidays with me and my family.
My family is a small one, consisting of myself, my mother, and my only brother who lives in Morocco with his wife and kids. Though not present for every holiday, my brother and his family visited the US often enough that Mary got to know them fairly well.
Time passed, and Mary was given the opportunity to work at a better paying job with considerably more potential for advancement. While we were sad to no longer be working together, we remained friends, and talked frequently.
About a month into her new job, which was at a law firm, Mary called me for some advice. She was very upset because she wasn't fitting in very well. No one had made any moves to befriend her, and because she still had some troubles with language, she was shy about striking up conversations herself.
My advice to Mary was to do a lot of listening. I told her to listen to what the others were talking about publicly in the lounge, and on breaks. I suggested that when she heard a conversation on a topic she was familiar with, she should try and become part of the conversation, and see if the group would welcome her.
Less than a week later, I receive a very excited call from Mary, and this is what she told me:
She was in the lounge, eating lunch, and listening to her co-workers talk. She had been trying to find an opportunity to join a conversation, and had worked up the courage and determination to do so that day.
As chance would have it, she heard 'Morocco', and thought that since she had learned something of Morocco from my brother and sister-in-law, this was her opportunity.
She listened a little more, and discovered that the speaker was sharing stories of her recent wedding in Gibraltar, and subsequent honeymoon in Morocco. When the wedding pictures came out, Mary got up with a few others, and joined the group looking at them.
Mary found her opening and was right in the middle of explaining how her previous boss, who she became friends with has a brother that lives in Morocco, and suddenly she said, "This is actually him, right here in this photo!"
To everyones' astonishment, the best man and the maid of honor at the wedding in Gibraltar were none other than my brother and sister-in-law. The flower girl was my niece, and the bride and groom had been friends with my brother for over 15 years.
Not only was Mary welcomed into the conversation, her entire status changed. The bride had worked at the law firm for 10 years, and was a cornerstone of the companies social hierarchy. By association, the bride considered Mary part of her family, and from then on, treated her as such. The two of them became instant friends, and Mary never again felt like she didn't fit in."
Part 2 tomorrow.
Coincidence Or Synchronicity: Example 3 - An unexpected meeting.