The very first time I got to know the word ‘serendipity’ was when I was a freshman at the university. Our dormitory had a pretty solid file-sharing network system, thanks to the majority of engineering students who were bright at technology. I downloaded quite a few movies to celebrate the beginning of university life in a four-person dorm room. Ocean’s Eleven and Serendipity were the first ones that I watched on my new desk.
Serendipity is a romance movie that shows how strong ‘serendipity’ can be. A couple met, fell in love when they both had a partner. They went on their lives but they couldn’t get over the fact that how strong they felt to each other years ago. She wrote her contact number on a book, then sell it to the second hand bookstore, and he wrote his number on a five dollar bill. She said if they are meant to be together, they will find each other. At the end, they find each other. Happy ending.
This is another typical Hollywood-style love story, but it still remains as one of my favorite movies. Maybe because the romance was so romantic, or maybe just because I liked to see sometimes universe does work mysterious way. Since then, serendipity became my favorite English word, because it was the word that perfectly describing what’s important in my life.
the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way : a fortunate stroke of serendipity | a series of small serendipities.
I’ve always liked to think that I was a lucky person. I met good friends in unexpected circumstances. My postcard I sent to a radio station got picked to read. The timing seemed like always on my side. Hard work is important in success, but following a good timing can be more important. As you can see from my bio, I’m a big believer of serendipity. It doesn’t promise me a better future or anything, but sometimes it helps me to power through the hard situation, and believe myself.
After I got to know the perfect word to describe my point of view of this world, I’ve realized how many serendipity moments I have in my life. Good things happen when I was least expected. Serendipity.
The one particular occasion I remember was from Taipei, many years ago. I walked into a dorm room in Taipei when a guy was on Skype with his girlfriend. I awkwardly changed my clothes to summer wear. He hung up the phone, and we exchanged the typical dorm room conversation. Where are you from, when did you get here, how do you like so far, etc. I thought he was American based on his smooth English, but he was Finnish. He said he was living in Korea for now. “English teacher?” I said, “Studying.” he replied. He was an exchange student from Finland, studying science, and surprisingly, he was studying at my university I just graduated a few months ago. For me, who didn’t have many global travel experiences, and lucky coincidences, it was a pretty memorable moment. I got to meet all of his exchange student friends from school when I went back home, and we became good friends. Now he is married to his back-then girlfriend from Colombia, and I got to meet his best friend in Finland when I went to Turku.
The recent serendipity moment came from the Rough Guides to Sri Lanka. Apparently, this is the very first place where the world serendipity appeared. Sri Lanka had many different names from different people in the old days. The Arabs referred this island as Serendib, the origin word for English word serendipity. I dug it little deeper. The 10th century historian Alberuni called Sri Lanka Singal-Dip, the world meaning island. However, in Arabic, Sri Lanka came to known as Serendip, which led to the Persian fairy tale ‘the Three Princes of Serendip’. This story led the first noted use of “serendipity” in the English language by Horace Walpole. In a letter to Horace Mann (dated 28 January 1754) he said he formed it from the Persian fairy tale The Three Princes of Serendip, whose heroes “were always making discoveries, by accidents and sagacity, of things they were not in quest of”. Sailan is an newer Arabic form of the old word Serendip, later came to be the root of Ceylon, the another previous name of this island.
It’s interesting what we learn when we are least expected. Serendipity, no?