I woke up on that Saturday, and when I picked up the ringing phone the last person I ever expected to hear was Jane Fjeldsted. Mrs. Fjeldsted's voice is one that I know very well, as she is the mother of a couple of my best friends: Isaac and Lauren. They are some of my favorite people on the planet, and were good friends of mine all during high school and college. Isaac played the Trombone next to me for five years, and was my room mate for the first years of college. And Lauren was always good for going Rock Climbing with me, or going to the park to toss a frisbee around. And the day that I finally finangled her into playing Risk with me (an accomplishment that took years) She hands down destroyed me... Ugh I couldn't even hold on to Australia. They're great people!
Anyway, Mrs. Fjeldsted informed me that the whole family was in New York for a family vacation and wanted to know if I could have lunch that day! I tell you, when you become a missionary, you enter a completely different world. New people, new places, new routines, new habits etc. It's quite the jolt when your previous "life" connects with your current one, and it can be quite a blessing. That's how it was for me. Nothing could have brought a smile to my face that day than to see my best friend! I dragged my companion out the door and walked the mile or so to the Panaderia on Forest and Grove St.
With the Fjeldsteds outside of our Ridgewood
Chapel in Brooklyn, NY, May of 2002
Now we fast forward to today when Naomi and I follow a great job opportunity to another of our nations largest cities: Chicago. Again, new place, new faces, new routines and smells and challenges. A new life! And again I get completely suprised by a Fjeldsted as we're still pretty new to the Chicago scene.
It was last Sunday, and I took my little daughter Brooklyn (just because my time there was tough doesn't mean I don't love the place!) from Naomi so that she could teach her Sunday School lesson to the Young Women. Now the last person in the world that I would have expected to see sitting in a chair next to Naomi was Lauren Fjeldsted Allen (I'm not the only smart one with the idea of getting married!) It took my mind a few moments to fire the right neurons and collide those two worlds again, and after a few " uh... what the?! ..." I finally managed to say hello!
Turns out that Lauren's Husband, Chad Allen, has a brother who I know fairly well! Eric Allen lives about 3 miles from our house, and co-teaches a Sunday School class with me in our local Ward. In the 4 months that we've lived in Chicago now, I've gotten to know Eric and his wife Jenny, probably the best out of anyone. And because the two Allen boys look absolutely NOTHING alike, I would have never thought to connect the two.
It was definately a suprise, and as we all surmised, one whale of a coincidence! We all got together last Tuesday night for some Giordano's pizza (drool...) and some of Jenny's home-made breadsticks (even more drool...) We had a great time hanging out and laughing with them. Well, I guess not all of us were happy . . . we did force our little Brooklyn to stay up with weird people until 10:00 PM. Poor girl was cranky and tired!
With the Allens, April 2009. Why is it that I ALWAYS look like a midget around the Fjeldsteds?
Lauren's Words Verbatim: "Here, I'll squat down so you don't look so short!" Sigh.
I still can't believe that Chad and Lauren were so thoughtful as to fly all the way out to Chicago just to see us! Isaac, Heidi, what's the holdup? I expect to see you two out here soon as well!
P.S. While it is rather fun pointing out all of the similarities between the two random events, I must point out one very significant discrepency. That is while my former fellow missionary and companion Elder Warner was a stud ... I made NO allusions of similarities between him and my current companion, Naomi, who is infinitely better looking.
Elder Warner Vs. Mrs Hanks? ... No contest really!