In 1992, while in Tiananmen Square in Beijing, China during my Semester at Sea study abroad program, a doctor from Madrid, Iowa came up to me after seeing my Iowa State sweatshirt. I was so excited to meet a fellow Iowan on the other side of the world! After the doctor got home, he and his wife sent my parents a lovely letter saying how they’d met me China. A few years later, I’d moved to Sydney, Australia and was watching a performance in the Sydney Opera House on Christmas Eve. I was feeling a bit homesick being so far from home during the holidays. But when I turned around, I was surprised to meet some people from my home state of Iowa. Coincidentally they were also from Ft. Dodge, Iowa and happened to know the doctor I’d met in China and even shared the same last name. Even more, they were actually related to the woman who owned the shoe store in Knoxville, IA—my hometown!
However, the connections didn’t end there! Over 20 yrs later, while flipping through a scrapbook with a friend, I happened to come across the letter from the couple from Tiananmen Square. My friend exclaimed, “Oh my gosh, that is the doctor who took out my tonsils!” What are the odds that my connection to that Iowan doctor would span 3 continents over 20 years?!