Sunday, November 4, 2007


Serendipity - a fortunate accident

those who have watched the romantic, 'divine intervention'-filled movie serendipity (starring john cusack & kate beckinsale) would be amazed by how little misfortunes can lead to one great love. in the movie, john cusack explained to kate his theory of how their paths were meant to be crossed by "some serendipi-tatous reason".

i've watched this classic hopeless romantic movie for at least 10 times in the last 6 years. every time is the same: i watch, i become love sick, and i become hopeful that there is someone out there just for me. someone who isn't afraid to plunge into the unknown with me, knowing that whatever happens we would be ok because he has me in his arms. someone who would love my quirky ways and while may not naturally accept my inner monsters, would at least learn how to tame it and lock it safe in the deepest dungeons of my heart.

while i haven't met mr serendipi-lious yet. i must admit certain great 'epic' episodes in my life occurred by accident.

seeing that it's been 6 years since i watched the movie for the first time, let's go back 6 years..

6 years ago, i met whom many know today as the person i desperately love: arif. while our meeting wasn't by chance (we just 'happened' to be colleagues), my acquired taste for escargot was.

as a kid, my more affluent cousins loved escargots. every nice dinner that i tagged along, they ordered escargots while i played it safe with lamb chops. and as a kid i always wondered what they taste like but never had the courage to try them. as i grew up, julia roberts did the famous flying escargot scene in pretty woman. as the years went by, i associated escargots with wealth, class, great taste and c'mon... it even has a sexy name... es---car---go...

so when arif started showing interest in me, my initial thoughts were "gosh! he's cute... too bad he looks like a racerboy. definitely player material". this later turned into "o dear! rich kid syndrome". but by which time i had already been swooned by him and had started working on trying to impress him with my 'class' and erm... 'great taste'. being the silly girl in infatuation (at that time) i thought "ok, my 'social status' might not be way up there, but by golly i'm going to ooze charm and fine dining!"

so finally it happened.

we went on one of our first few dates at san francisco steak house near damansara kim. not exactly fine dining, but slightly more up market. there and behold, the menu stated: 1/2 dozen escargot in creamy garlic/butter cheese melt.

my heart sank.
can't remember the exact conversation but i think it went something like this:
arif: o! they have escargots
senn: yes, they do....
arif: you said you like them, right?
senn: er... yes.. do you?
arif: honestly... never had them!
(mental note to self: next time, don't oversell about being classy enough to try exotic garden snails when in fact one has only seen what it looks like on a platter!)

senn: o! let's have something else then. it's an acquired taste.
airf: no-no.. let's order and i'll have a go at it
senn: you sure?
airf: yup!
(mental note to self: whatever you do, do not puke on your date!)

what happened next was brilliant!

i've never tried it. lied point blank to impress the guy. suffered in inner silence, waiting for the waitress to serve the dreadful escargots. feeling like on death row and just knowing the angels were laughing at my retribution.

the escargots came.
all 6 of them.

out of 'grace' i let him try first:
arif: .......
senn: is it strange?
arif: no, it's good!
senn: really?

and it was good... it was soooooo goood....

many dinners after that included the must have 1/2 dozen escargots. the best ones are served at flamanco's in plaza damansara.

serendipity - a fortunate accident.

our relationship took a break for 2 years later that year, but i took with me, my new acquired taste for slimy snails. i swear the french are the true romantics of the world to create gorgeous food out of slimy slugs.

when arif and i got together again 2 years ago, i was fresh out of a break up and dying for salvation. i had quit my job for my ex-boyfriend 3 months earlier, thinking that a change of industry on his advice would save the relationship. i searched for a new job outside my comfort industry, found one, tendered my resignation, and broke up 1 month later.

so fresh out of painful break up, feeling frumpy, quit job in industry i love and embarking on a total career shift: so much uncertainty... so much grief & loss... so many insecurities.

then i met shen.

shen was hired to replace me and what a small world: she knew arif too! for 10 years prior at that. and she also knew my ex as a childhood friend so pouring my heart out became natural.

she told me to get on with life and that i needed to achieve something. she asked what my main priority was for myself now and i said "i want to lose weight. look super hot and make him regret ditching me"

shortly after, shen and arif took me on my first bike ride.

during one of our first weekend rides, shen brought up the topic of triathlons. i still remember the short debate shen and arif had:
shen: you guys should try triathlons
arif: nah.. cyclists and triathletes hardly mix
shen: how come?
arif: well, in a way cyclists feel that triathletes are jack of all trades, master of none. at least being a cyclist, you can master something and be really good at it.
shen: well, don't knock it till you've tried it.
arif: it's an admirable hobby, i've tried it once when i was 15. but i think i'll rather be a master than a jack
shen: well, like i said. don't knock it till you've tried it.

at this point in time, arif and i were strongly drawn to each other and being the girl that never learns fast i tried to impress him... again...

the monday after that weekend's conversation i sent an email to both shen and arif. the plot was simple. just send the email, shen will reply favourably, arif will keep at being a master not a jack and i should be able to wriggle my way out by saying i don't think i can heck it alone.

my email:
guys, are we really going to do this?

shen replied:
yes, there's one coming up in april, it's only december, you'll have loads of time to train.

arif replied:
sure. why not.

damn.... and so it began.

we started training, i found muscle aches i never knew existed. i was tired. i was slugging it out. i was having loads of doubt. i was kicking myself hard each time on the way to training. "stupid senn... this is stupid. why did you have to open your big fat mouth and appear gungho. stupid. stupid stupid..."

i held out till 5 minutes before my first a'famosa sprint. reality hit but i was too embarrassed to back out. i had bought nice race stuff to hype my excitement and suppress my fear and stupidity.

kept thinking: you've done it a again... escargot syndrome...

what happened next was equally brilliant.

we finished in moderate time. had beer to celebrate and watched shen do the olympic distance the next day. and i've never felt this great in my entire life.

2 years - about 2000km on bike mileage (maybe more.. but who's counting?), 9 triathlons, 2 interstates and 1 ironman later, i am again... heartbroken and alone.

but i have had a blast.
great memories, and i'm glad i have a big mouth that made me experience things i would otherwise not have the courage to. i have learnt alot about myself, became impossibly mental when it comes to physically challenging my physically challenged body and have been blessed by so many supportive and encouraging friends.

so the next time you think your making the wrong move, suffered from foot-in-mouth disease or 'accidentally' said something you think can't possibly achieve, have faith. life might just be leading you to another great love.

serendipity - a damn fortunate accident.