Serendipity Never Fails Me

Serendipity; that is what brought me close to this beautiful woman in the photo.

Those are the encounters that have the power to make me feel that inexplicable feeling that life is not a solo experience, as it is meant to be shared, intertwined and enriched by countless experiences from others.

If we allow ourselves or dare to talk to strangers, we will always add new nuances and richness to the little and restricted universe, which we call our lives. It is a give and take, where you end up giving a bit of your time to someone, who may have been just in need of a smile, friendly talk and attention, and for that, feels happier afterwards. In turn, you feel gratified for having meant something to someone, by giving so little. Above all, you feel gratitude for the person reminds you of your humanity and the need to stay humble and attentive to others’ reality.

I was in Porto, Portugal, for a day trip with my husband and friends, as we enjoyed vacations in northern Portugal.  We had strolled up and downhill for the entire day, and as we headed to the parking garage, I spotted this lady, sitting in front of a door of ‘Mosteiro de São Bento da Vitoria’. She looked sad and distraught and yet very beautiful. She wore an elegant dress, impeccably matching with her ballerina shoes and a Burberry handbag.

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She might have sat there to rest midway in that steep street, before resuming the journey to her destination. She might have been hopeless and solitary.  I will never know. All I can say is that I stopped to chat with her and met instant openness to talk as well as experienced a remarkable change of expression on her face. She brightened her eyes and smiled all the time.

I could not leave without telling how beautiful she was, and without asking her permission to take her photo, and carry her image forever with me; to which she kindly agreed.

As you know, I enjoy to make portraits of the people I meet in the streets, and even more to make contact. I dream to come across more of these every time I am out and about. Some years ago I met a pianist and wrote about her, years later on my blog, in this post The Pianist’s Life Story, if you want to know what happened.

Back to my lady in Porto, I regret to have been in a hurry as our conversation and photos took place in fleeting moments, and when I realized that my husband and friends had continued walking downhill,  and were nowhere to be seen in a distance (already used to my not infrequent stops for photographing). As we were running late to hit the highway and avoid heavy traffic, I left my lady without asking her name and where she lived. I have not forgotten to endlessly thank her for our talk and photos, though.

If you know her, please let me know. And for now, if you have photos and stories to share of similar experiences, let us know in the comments.

Serendipity also brought me to follow a WP course at the blogging university some years ago. There I got to know the bloggers, who to this day, are part of my active and steady bloggers’ community. Some became friends, some I met in person, and I will talk about that in another post shortly.

One of the bloggers from my community is my friend Terri at Second Wind Leisure Perspectives.  In her own words, she is ‘a leisure educator (university adjunct faculty), self-published author, and retired recreation and parks practitioner living in Northern California’. Second Wind Leisure Perspectives is a blog about living a leisure lifestyle. In the hectic times we live in, her advice is worthy of gold, as we forget to take care of leisure and prioritise ‘doing’ too much and getting burn out.

She runs the weekly Sunday Still Challenge, and if you miss the weekly photo Challenge, go there to share your photos. I am also sharing some as she challenged us to bring pictures of something of 100 years of age. I am sure my lady is younger than that, but the city of Porto is not, and neither are these beautiful tile ‘azulejos’ standing time since the XII century, on the adorned walls of the Sao Bento railway station of the town. They date from 1905-1916, and its author is Jorge Colaço, a famous tile painter of the time.

Enjoy them.

 

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Sharing sights & insights captured with diverse angles. Ex-corporate, now my own boss. Cycling, hiking, cooking, reading, yoga, writing and photography, are no longer only hobbies listed on my resume. It's what I do when I want.

42 thoughts on “Serendipity Never Fails Me

  1. I especially love that last photo of the town, Lucile, and of course the portrait of the woman. I also enjoy talking to people and it’s amazing how many interesting things you find out and how many fascinating people you meet. Those are also two of the reasons I enjoy blogging.

    janet

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  2. What a lovely smile the lady has, Lucile! 🙂 🙂 It’s great that you brightened her day. Some people look sad in repose so hopefully she wasn’t too downhearted. I wouldn’t normally approach a stranger but if I was standing in a queue or sitting on a bus with one I am happy to chat. Not everyone has company at home. Lovely Porto! 🙂 Have a great week!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jo, I didn’t post the first photo to be respectful to her, because she didn’t look good. But like you, I did think that perhaps it was just a sad look not matching with feeling like that as well. You’re very right that not everyone has company at home, and that is what drives me to stop and talk.
      Her smile is priceless and she is a warm and friendly woman.
      Well, I need to feel first if approaching is not invasive, otherwise, I don’t approach strangers busy with themselves in the streets. We need an exchange of looks for me to make the move.
      Thanks for stopping by and for your kindness.
      Have a lovely week.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Yay! I’m so glad you added your serendipitous post with its gorgeous images to Sunday Stills, Lucile! Thank you for your kind words and shout out to my blog! I hope you can be a regular in our growing tribe of Sunday Stills participants! I giggled when you mentioned your group walked off without you while you were taking photo ops (happens to me, too)!

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    1. I’ll be there whenever possible Terri. It’s a pleasure to be part of your community and to be in touch with you.
      You deserve all shoutouts! So, no need to thank me.
      Isn’t that strange that they ‘abandon’ us just because we are taking a few photos? 😂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Enjoyed Porto, actually, we loved Portugal. Acknowledging another person on the street is quite rewarding for both parties. Especially the elderly who love to stop and chat. I have lost count of how many chats we have had and not knowing the language, we just seemed to nod and say “Si/Yes” in the right places 🙂

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    1. I do love Portugal and the people there are very friendly. Food is also great.
      I noticed that the elderly like to dress very well and to go to parks, and that’s where I like to chat with them. I happen to speak Portuguese and that helps.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Just outside our apartment in Porto, a group of elderly men got together every day while we were there to play cards. We loved watching them. Unfortunately, I do not pick up languages very well, though do try and speak as much as I can. Well done Lucile, on mastering the Portuguese language.

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  5. I admire your ability and willingness to approach and engage with people you meet, Lucile. I could never do it! I’m too shy myself and too worried about “bothering” people, which you obviously do not do. You and Lisa D. are a good people-photographing pair; in Madagascar, she was so warmly engaged with the people we met and I just hung back and took advantage of her stopping them! Still, it takes a special kind of soul to connect with others this way, and that’s why you two get the photos you do. Just beautiful.

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    1. I think you can do that too, Lexie, as it’s not much different than the way you interact here in the blogging world. You’re engaging, warm, friendly, attentive and captivating, so what else you need to start a chat?
      Your soul is special my dear, believe me.
      Lisa and I, most likely just didn’t think much about doing that and just did it as we do.
      Thanks anyways for the kind and considerate worlds which made me blush. I’m humbled.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I love this post, Lucile. And the beautiful lady has the same air as one of my oldest collegues and friends had too. She passed away last summer – I still miss her so much.
    I always try to talk to people on buses and trains and plains – but not so much in the street. As I have got dogs, that usually is a starter when we are out walking, but not always.
    And Porto – so many people I know recommend Porto for a holiday. Now you have got me even more interested.

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  7. We are all connected Lucile, so serendipity is just the way of life. It IS life. Neat encounter and great images. I find more every day; we are in this together. May as well make a ton of friends, help folks and enjoy the journey as your success expands.

    Ryan

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  8. I have been thinking, reading, writing on the concept of Serendipity and I came across your post. I noticed 38 likes and 38 comments and I was compelled to click on this post. I like how your photos captured the twinkle in this woman’s eyes and her genuine smile. Your words on how life is not a solo experience resonated with me. Thank you for your insights.

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    1. Hi Erika, feel welcome here. Thanks for taking the time to visit and for the considerate comment. It’s rewarding to hear that what I share resonates with others.
      Indeed life is not a solo experience, but I also believe that we have to learn to be ourselves despite the expectations of the crowd.
      Have a good day!
      Lucile

      Liked by 1 person

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