Sunday, September 11, 2011


ser·en·dip·i·ty [ser-uhn-dip-i-tee]
an aptitude for making desirable discoveries by accident.
good fortune; luck.

Let me begin by saying that in any sort of major project, maintaining balance is crucial. A monomaniacal focus, while it can result in high degrees of productivity, can also lead to early burn out.

With that in mind, yesterday, on my first real day off in a while, I decided to spend the day with my amazing girlfriend, Megan. We had to planned to spend the day at the zoo, and then go to dinner with a friend of ours in the later evening.

Well the sun  same came out, and the zoo rapidly filled with strollers and wandering packs of those pushy, inconsiderate types that make any public venue, at best, barely tolerable. (Why I thought it would be any different on a gorgeous Saturday, I have NO idea.) So, after lapping the zoo a couple times, and it only being 1pm, we decided to leave and go find something else to do.

I had been told that down in the Fremont district is Theo’s Chocolates. ( Well, being the “boldly forward” type, I had no darn idea where it was other than a general sort of ‘over there’ (vague gesture westerly) kind of way. We wandered Fremont for a little bit, crossing block by block, and not finding it. Sensing that Megan was getting impatient ( I hadn’t told her why we were in Fremont), I tipped  a panhandler a couple bucks for directions. (Which, I might add, were completely wrong…teach me to take directions from a guy with pupils popcorning like something from Wonderland –grin.)

So we wander off ‘in that direction’ (non-committal wave over this other way), completely miss the chocolatiers. But, continuing down the street, we start coming to the fringe of the Fremont district, and I’m thinking “Well, this is a bust.”, when what do I see in a tiny little storefront, but a small hand-lettered sign saying “ALL HANDMADE PAPERS 25% OFF”.

Going in to the shop, (which turns out to be a small importer of Tibetan handicrafts) I rapidly find myself in a conversation with the owner Kirk. ( Turns out Kirk is one of those ethical, socially responsible sorts that has personal relationships in Tibet (he travels there a couple times a year) and has worked to develop sustainable business amongst the rural Tibetans in the mountain regions north of Kathmandu.

One of the micro-industries of this region is a hundreds of years old traditional of producing lokta paper. (The entire story will deserve its own post. It’s pretty cool.) So Kirk has brought the paper to the US, and was hoping to find crafters/folks that could use the paper, but hadn’t had much luck, and was getting at rope’s end. He really wanted to help his friends in Tibet to find markets for their products.  And here I having been searching for a consistent source of quality, hand crafted paper…I had even been talking to another lokta importer in Ontario, Canada of all places (double import duties….ugh). I wanted to have a relationship to the producers, I wanted it to be eco-friendly, sustainable, and above all, I wanted to be able have some say in what the finished product was.  All things that are now possible. And best of all, Kirk is LOCAL.

If the zoo hadn’t filled up early.

If I hadn’t randomly decided to take Megan to the chocolatier’s.

If we hadn’t gotten lost.

If the panhandler had given more concise directions.

If I had just looked a little more sharply and failed to go that one extra block.

A great friend of mine, Jeremy, hearing the story last night at dinner, said “It sounds like the Universe has you on the path you’re supposed to be on.”

I heartily agree. Serendipity.

1 comment:

  1. Good for you, I always enjoy an positive unexpected discovery.