I received a message from a friend of mine on a random weekend in July 2014. “I am about to take a graduate degree in Finland for the next two years. Let’s have a hang-out!”
I have known her for more than two years since our very first meeting for Ychallenge 2012. (No more to say about Ychallenge. Besides YVS, Ychallenge should be a very important event in my life, during which I have chances to meet lots of surprising people. The appearance of these people in my life has made a certain impact on my own perspective on life, making me believe in the life that made up by the people we met, the stories we shared.) My first impression about her is a small girl coming from the Southern Vietnam, who has just received an offer from McKinsey – my dream at that time (I’m not sure about now).
I have not had lots of chances working with her during 2012 except for couples of time we held conference via Skype. It was not until 2013 when we started kicking off some other projects that I have much more chances interacting with her as well as other team members. Her working style did not leave much impression on me, and sometimes, I really feel kind of awkward when we started conversations as I was not so confident that people paying attention to my own story. Or perhaps it was due to my Northern accent :)), which makes me feel kind of awkward while speaking with the people speaking with Southern accent.
Despite her seemingly disorganized working style, her little bit introvert personality, I find her sharing lots of ideas/ thoughts in common with me, which, of course, are better articulated in her writing/ presenting. I admired the way she wrote about her old schools in her hometown, about the long long ago stories about the little girl discovering the big cities, which made me curious about the sunny Southern land in my country, instilling my desire of living in these faraway lands. I find her ideas of learning for learning’s sake or wisdom itself a form of happiness striking a chord with mine. I have a clearer understanding about the idea of “creating impact” by working with her and other Yplatform members. I used to have vague ideas about this term, and even I can reiterate exactly what I read from books, I know the underlying idea was something that I hardly catch without having time working with her and other members.
Coming back to the Sunday afternoon, where we have a quick meet-up in the favorite coffee shop (the one I have spent lots of time last summer), the conversation, fragmented a lot with few awkward moments or few incomprehensible breaks though, was totally a meaningful one to me. Hardly could I believe that I spent an afternoon to talk about the idea of pure learning or right way of book reading or kind of education or anything related to youth development. The conversation once again persuaded me that she was a very nice person I have ever had the chance to work with for her surprisingly consistent and constant stream of thoughts/ideas that conveyed through disruptive way of talking (as usual). The topics got beyond the ones I have ever had before with my friends, i.e. career, love, or marriage. Or even it is something about career-related, we were forced to perceive it in another way. I was taken aback for sometimes at huge amount of knowledge she acquired. How come does she spare lots of time for reading books besides her busy workloads? How come does she synthesize her findings from books and make the findings her own belongings, building up her own ideologies towards life? I suddenly feel ashamed for my limited knowledge, for my criticism on the uselessness of some seemingly boring course at undergraduate level, i.e. Public Economics or Development Economics when I was still a student (I started regretting about this 1 year ago). If only…if only… these words echoed in my mind yesterday evening and today for many times when I feel helpless when trying to get the subliminal messages conveyed in some articles or writings.
She was also a very nice sister who kept asking us about our next steps, our next plans (she was also among the ones who helped me in finding a job placement after graduating, the effort did not result in a direct job placement but the kindness I received during this hard time would be invaluable) and wondered if my favorite field is research. I remember few times she talked with me about how to have a boyfriend :)) but few few times and maybe the only time I find her a little bit like other people or find our conversation a little bit more like ones shared between ordinary friends.
When we said goodbye to each other, I wanted to give her a hug for being an unconventionally inspiring dot of mine during the last 2 years and wished her all the best for her journey ahead to Finland (But it did not happen :))). I have jotted down with “source” in the first place but it sounds a little bit pompous so I decided to move on with “dot” for its better description of her appearance. A chain of strange happenstances results from a moment of impulsiveness in March 2012.A line of surprising “dots” has been drawn since that point of time. And I know people called it “Serendipity”.