Thursday, December 26, 2013

26th December 2013 - Boxing Day (more like Snow Day) - met a young Ski Instructor who's mother ws born in Sydney

Woke up to HEAVY snow  right down to the valley. All the grassy bits covered in hours.  Was very conducive to a sleep in but for the hardier souls it was up the mountain to tackle the powder.

In my case the powder won easily. Visibility close to zero, snow past the knees, bailed out early. Beginner snowboarders however had their private lessons and are now ready to move off the beginner slope.

On the way down the mountain I shared a gondola with a young ski instructor. After commiserating about bad weather and difficult snow I find out that his mother was born in Sydney, and so was I! As a young Italian he had work ski instructing now but he told me he wanted to go to London to improve his English. I thought it was pretty good already, especially compared to my Italian.

Side Bar – Interesting connections and 6 degrees of separation

This little episode reminded me of how as social beings we naturally look for connections. We do this by trying to identify something we have in common, however obtuse. When we find something, we can start to connect and bond. If we find nothing then we will probably just move on and completely forget the contact. Sometimes it can be something simple like the episode above, that makes the connection memorable. However the more radical the connection, for example meeting a complete stranger in a place foreign to both of you and finding that you know someone in common….that becomes really memorable.

I had one such episode at a conference in Colorado many years ago. I was hanging out with some folks from Alcoa, Pittsburgh when one of them said to me…”you know I only know one person from Australia’ his name is Bill F.” Amazingly Bill was someone I did know as well through a work engagement. He and Bill had worked together at a previous company for them both. We laughed when to think that from a population of 20 million people that the two of us who had never met before would find a common connection.

More recently Julie and I had joined a tour group in Turkey and met Sharon and Tony. They lived in Sydney but had previously lived in Port Macquarie. After a bit of exploring we found that one of their best friends had gone to college with Julie and they had even lived together during that time! They shared some even more incredible six degree stories of their own. I find these small world connections so fascinating. We still keep in contact with Sharon and Tony, no doubt influenced by our shared connections. Interestingly, in that same share house of Julie’s she had another friend Margaret who she hitchhiked around New Zealand with over 30 years ago now.  Recently we found that it is highly likely that they are related based on some genealogy detective work that Julie’s sister Kerri has been doing recently.

It really is a small world after all!

Social Network Update

New connections

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