Quirky Reconnection

In 1994 I did Ineke's hair for her prom at her host parent's house.

Let me tell you a story about my long lost friend Ineke. 

Ineke was an exchange student from The Netherlands at my high school. We became fast friends the year of her time here — my sophomore year/her senior year.  I remember it was heart wrenching at age 16 to say good-bye to a best friend, with not so much as e-mail or Facebook to stay in touch. (Cue the “Somewhere Out There” music.) 

We wrote occasionally and managed to stay in touch through my first few years of college. At that time, my parents lived in Germany and over my Christmas holiday, I was lucky enough to visit Ineke and meet her family in her hometown, located province of Friesland. The following summer, I took the train from Frankfurt to The Hague, where she was living and working. We stayed in her flat and she took me on a whirlwind tour of her beautiful city. 

 While she was at work, I took a train into Amsterdam. While  most 20 year-olds were probably  visiting Amsterdam for an entirely different reason that summer, I was excited to get to visit the Anne Frank House, and find a little stationery shop I had read about. 

I do recall having lunch by myself at a cafe overlooking the canals of Amsterdam. I ordered a glass of white wine, (scandalous as I wasn’t yet 21!) and felt that somehow I had discovered adulthood. 

That was the extent of my wild times in Amsterdam. A historical museum, boutique shopping and a glass of wine.  

I admired Ineke who had her own flat and a job  in such a cosmopolitan city, where she rode bicycles everywhere and did her own grocery shopping. She was my first friend to have such an independent life. 

I will never forget that time. Or my friend. 

But somehow, we lost touch. Losing touch with a friend is a funny thing. You never quite remember how you lost contact with someone, but one day, you find yourself thinking about your old friend and want to connect with her, but you have absolutely no idea where to begin. 

And in a world of Facebook, e-mail and  Google searches, it seems like it should be so easy to find someone from your past, but it’s not always so. 

Yesterday, I randomly decided to see if I could find Ineke on Facebook. It’s not the first time I’d looked for her. But I thought maybe she could have joined since my last search. I typed in her first and last name and didn’t find anyone. Then I started searching in Netherland networks for Ineke’s (no last name.) 

I found a girl who resembled Ineke, but she had sunglasses on in her photo. She also had a different last name, so I wasn’t sure if possibly my Ineke had gotten married. I sent the following message: 

Hello Ineke,
I’m looking for an Ineke friend of mine who was an exchange student from The Netherlands in Kansas one year. You very much resemble her, but it’s hard to tell b/c of the glasses. Your last name isn’t the same, but maybe married? If it is you, then my search has come to an end.

If not, so sorry to bother you! And you are probably wondering why someone would ever go to Kansas for an exchange program. 🙂 

Best regards,
Stephanie Mitchum 

This morning, I opened my e-mail address for this blog and I saw an e-mail with the subject line: “A friend from far far away.” I opened it up and it was Ineke. But not the Ineke from Facebook. My Ineke, who had found me by doing a Google search and stumbling into this blog.

Her e-mail had nothing to do with my weird note to an unassuming Ineke in Holland. We were simplylooking for each other at the exact. same. time.

(And I’m not that hard to find.)

I had goosebumps.

It was like the Universe was whispering to us to find one another.

Somehow today, my world just seems a little more complete knowing that I have reconnected with Ineke — the right Ineke– again after all these years.


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27 responses to “Quirky Reconnection

  1. I got goosebumps. I’m a dork. 🙂

  2. Wow, what a coincidence!
    It is weird how people lose contact with one another – it’s scarily easy to do though.

    Lovely story 🙂

  3. Wow. That’s a great story. It sounds like God really did something special in your life!

    You might like my latest blog- check it out and comment if you get the chance!


  4. momromp

    Cool story. Always nice to smile after reading someone’s blog.

  5. wow…. thats really really cute…and creepy at the same time

  6. I got goosebumps too! This same thing happened between my childhood best friend and I a couple of years ago!

  7. Reme

    What a sweet story! I’m sure a lot of bloggers can relate to it. Something similar happened to me recently- My long-lost friend found me through a local publication in a foreign language, and she actually was living near the Wisconsin town I live in. We had met many years ago in another counry. Funny how small the world becomes.

  8. Wonderful. I hope you hold on to one another much tighter this time.

  9. Wow, that’s really cool. It’s interesting how things work out like that. Some people are just meant to stay in your life.

  10. bunyiip

    aww thats really cute!

  11. sad but beautiful story.
    good luck.

  12. conradvisionquest

    that is not quirky, that is kismet. pretty cool.

  13. Hi:
    I liked your layout…I wonder if I can share it on my blog:
    hope you will find Ineke soon…

    all the best,

  14. Thomas John Brown

    Another reason why Google rocks! I wish I would have bought stock in it long ago!

  15. Amazing…I love stories like that–very Before Sunset/Before Sunrise.

  16. I truly like the original nature of your blog and yes! I read some but not all of the 100o opps! 100 things..great.
    I am delighted that you found Ineke – but honestly I am not surprised. I am a great believer in the power of intention whether it is to find a friend or even a parking spot. The fact that you were both searching for each other at the same time Super Powered a quick result.
    All the best,

  17. that’s a beautiful story! it inspired me to think about my long lost friends. i normally think of them in a bitter way, wondering why we didn’t stay in touch. but this just goes to show maybe they miss me, too. 🙂

  18. The same thing happened with a foreign exchange friend of mine from Italy. Her name is Valentina. We stay in touch via Facebook and I hope to visit her soon in Italy. 🙂

  19. What a lovely story. Its wonderful to be able to catch up with people you havent seen or heard of in years. Modern technology really can be a godsend 🙂

  20. Great story. Funny, I grew up in KS and was best friends with a foreign exchange student from the Netherlands as well. Small world isn’t quite applicable but it’s a funny coincidence. Thanks for sharing your story.

  21. Great story, curiously enough I recently reconnected with a student we hosted back in the 90s. I had often wondered what happened to her, and now I know. Thank you Lord for giving us technology

  22. jleighd

    Proof that God does work in mysterious ways! Great story.

  23. Ah, QofQ! What a delightful tale!

    I tried to locate the teenage girl in a family I had lived with 30 years ago in France, but no such luck. Can’t imagine why they can’t find me with a name like Big Little!


  24. Lori Schmidt Lutze

    I love that!! Joyce is all about those connections . . .

  25. I’m so happy for you! What a wonderful story!

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