Bumping into people on a small island is expected, but what does it mean when these coincidental meetings span countries? Is it a sign from the Universe; one that puts you beyond denial that something bigger is at play? Reminding you this is exactly where you need to be.
People are shocked that I had no connections to Barbados before I sold my house and moved here during the pandemic. But there have been some unexplained events in the last couple of years that lead me to believe that I do have a connection to this place. These are manifested through a special person: Erin O’Neil.
Erin and I at Brighton Farmers Market. We have gone there Saturday mornings for two years.
Over two years ago, I blogged about meeting a fellow Canadian on the water surfing. A meeting that could have been interpreted as an overwhelming coincidence. I had never surfed Drill Hall on my own before that morning. Darren was kind enough to help me out as a beginner. He mentioned that his wife was from Ilderton, and I exclaimed that my dad was from there. For context, Ilderton is a farming community outside of London, Ontario that today still has less than 2,000 people. Darren also eventually recognized me from working with his wife, Erin O’Neil, at Ernst & Young 25 years ago. To make the story crazier, I attended their wedding as a mutual friend’s plus one!
Erin and I go to Brighton Market every Saturday morning to get our vegetables and find out what is happening on the island. One such outing in January, Erin exclaimed that she had found someone for me. She had been on a hike and talking to a man that she had known for years and thought highly of. This is what I knew – he was a surfer, newly single, my age, and his name was Nick. Darren was supposed to introduce us on the surf break. I broke my finger and was out for two months and then Darren tore his Achilles heel and was out for another few months. I never pushed it because, well, I was fed up with men. We were never introduced.
We had some bigger summer waves for late June at Drill Hall.
Enjoying some overhead waves at Brandon's on the South Coast, Barbados.
Earlier this year, I was set up on a blind date with a man that I dated briefly. Later, I met up with our mutual friend before she moved to Toronto with her Canadian boyfriend. She was sorry that it hadn’t worked out, yet I thanked her for opening my mind to dating again. That night I went to a yoga class I had not been to for months, and I met Nick.
It is uncharacteristic of me to approach men. My fear of rejection runs too deep. I had read that rejection is something you overcome by taking risks in situations such as this. So, I approached Nick and said that I recognized him from surfing, and he replied the same. We talked until class started, and then in the parking lot for the longest time after class. The next day he text me to see if I would like to go for a walk on the boardwalk. We have seen each other at least every other day since then. All because Erin put it out to the Universe.
At The Crane for Nick's birthday.
Last week, my cousin text me to say that her father (my Uncle Ken) was at a memorial service at the local cemetery and met Erin’s cousin Brian. The next day I got a text from Erin:
My mom went to a service at the cemetery where my family is/will be buried. Seems this is also the cemetery the Hords are buried. Anyway, your family was there and your uncle spoke to my Mom and they discussed Nick. (Well, the fact that I helped make the connection of you two). And we thought Barbados was small…
My father is buried in that cemetery in Ilderton. Barbados is the last family vacation that we went on before he died, when I was sixteen. I am not sure why, but I seem to have a deep connection to these two small places in the world.
Back in 2021 I wrote this about coincidences:
Maybe this is a coincidence and does not mean anything, just a cool travel story. I think it is proof that no matter how much you plan, the universe has certain things in store for you…We can call it a coincidence, and the interaction still feels like someone is looking out for me. I think that someone is the universe. It might even be my Dad.
Shortly after arriving in Barbados, I had the deepest sense of belonging here. Today it is my home. A home that I feel I was always meant to find, with the help of guides from a little farming community in Ontario.
Dad with my sister Laura and I as little girls