You’ve heard it before, “There’s no such thing as coincidence”. This story is full of them. In fact, so many it became a little crazy detailing patterns, synchronicities, numbers, connections, and putting clues together like a puzzle to reveal a bigger picture. It’s a little bit CSI, some say it’s a little creepy, and many say “Get the f__ outta here, that’s crazy!” It’s a story about why we moved to Miami, the coincidences that began years before we even moved, and what happened after, all combining into a splendid story of sweet serendipities. It’s about the connection of all things in this life beyond our control.
Do you have faith? Do we have free will to choose? Do we ultimately control our own destinies or is everything already decided? Is there some sort of blueprint? This story has taught me that it’s a little bit of everything combined, happening as it should, and that our coincidences become our confirmations. The signs are everywhere.
August 1994 – I met the love of my life, Andre. On our first date we talked about the things we liked & we were surprised to learn the other loved Depeche Mode, we didn’t know many people who eve knew them, let alone all the lyrics to the songs. We sang several together as we walked the streets of NY. It instantly deepened our connection. We also learned that our moms shared the same birthday. “Wow, what a coincidence”, we said.
July 1998 – We took our first vacation to Miami with our best friend, Carlos R., who was staying with our mentor at the time, Irene. Irene had just moved to Sunny Isles Beach, FL, from Newark, NJ. She was perfectly centered between South Beach and Fort Lauderdale, and 15 mins to either airport. It was my first time in Florida. Andre had visited before since his grandmother lived in Miami. I had never experienced such amazing weather, it was beautiful. Growing up in NJ you had to wait 10 months to get 2 months of summer, and you had to drive 2-3 hrs to get to the shore. The condo she lived in had pools, gyms, tennis courts, BBQ areas, a store on premises, and laundry on every floor, everything you needed in one place. And the best part was the beach was right across the street. We loved it!
The next morning, we woke up to a perfect weather so Carlos, Andre and I went across the street to the beach while Irene stayed in. We spent a great day in the ocean and on laying out tanning, and on our way back Andre was walking knee deep in the water while I was on the shore collecting seashells. I collected 8 beautiful seashells, and when we got back to Irene’s, I washed them, and put them atop her counter to dry. I planned on keeping them but she loved them, and since she had just moved in, I insisted she keep them to decorate her space. I told her I could always go back for more.
Later in the day, we wanted to go out for something to eat, but there was just one big problem, we couldn’t find the car key. Carlos R. had used the car earlier in the day but didn’t recall where he put the key. We called the rental company & turns out it was the only key they had and they were about to close for the weekend. We were pissed, as we planned a whole weekend of getting away & partying and no car!? You need a car in FL. We spent the entire day looking for the key, hours and hours, back and forth to the beach, all around the building, down the block, parking lot, the entire premises, and nothing! We gave up, completely frustrated and defeated.
More time passed and the sun was beginning to set. To get over the frustration, I asked Andre to accompany me back to the beach to try one last time. I wasn’t giving up, hanging on to the last ounce of hope. We got to the edge of the sand to see nothing but the ocean and an older couple in their 50’s or 60’s, the woman walking knee deep in the water and the guy collecting seashells. We were just standing there like zombies looking out to sea. “I can’t believe this is happening” I said, standing there shaking our heads, “let’s go back”. Then, as soon as we turned around we heard the lady yelling, “EXCUSE ME… ARE YOU GUYS LOOKING FOR THIS?” She was waving the key in her hand! We looked at each other and gagged, in the true sense of the word, jaws dropped wide open, faces frozen, wide-eyed & in a state of utter disbelief and amazement! How could this be?! So much time had passed, what were the possibilities? We couldn’t explain it, but we were happy as hell.
We walked up to them and thanked them profusely. “You have no idea how long we’ve been looking for this key”, I said. “Oh you’re welcome, I just saw it floating in the water, isn’t that something?” said the wife. We told them we were visiting from NJ and that was the only key for our rental and we lost it hours ago. “Oh, we’re also from NJ, we just moved here recently”, said the husband. “Wow, what a coincidence”, we all agreed. We told them how we loved it and how great it would be to live in FL but it wasn’t a reality for us. We chatted a bit more, thanked them again and began to go our separate ways.
Then, as we turn to walk away the man says, “Oh wait… here… I want you to have these” and he reaches out to me and gives me the seashells he was collecting. I thanked him so kindly and told him how I was supposed to go back for more. As we walked away I began to count. 1, 2, 3… 6, 7, 8. No way! He did not just give me 8 seashells! Chills ran down my body and I just looked at Andre, completely speechless. We didn’t know what was going on but we knew something was happening. We got both the key and the seashells back from another couple from NJ in the span of about 8 hours. Fascinating & a little creepy!
We got back to Irene’s to to celebrate; they couldn’t believe we found the key. I told them the story and while they were busy celebrating I placed the 8 seashells I got for Irene in one circle and the 8 the guy gave me in another, with the key in the middle and I took some pics. They were all laughing at me telling me I was being silly but it all meant more to me, the transfer of the seashells, the key, the number 8 and the couple from NJ. I felt I should document it, like I trying to figure something out, but I had no effing clue what the hell it was or what I was doing… call it instinct. I didn’t realize I only had ½ of the puzzle.
Car Key with 8 & 8 Seashells in 1998
2000- 2005 – Over the years we took several trips to Miami & Ft. Lauderdale, but we never went back to Sunny Isles Beach. I remember one time in 2004 speaking on the phone with my friend Frankie who lived in Sunnyside, NY. Miami came up in conversation, and we both joked about being neighbors in Miami. A few years later, Frankie and his husband Ricky ended up moving to North Miami Beach.
January 2006 – We booked an Atlantis Caribbean Cruise vacation departing from the port of Miami. Before getting on the cruise we had lunch with Frankie & his boss at the time, Jon. We all enjoyed the company, had a great lunch, and while they headed back to the office, Andre and I headed to the ship. We had the best cruise and then headed back to New Jersey.
June 2006 – I got a call from the Jon, the company was expanding and he asked me if I would join the team in South Beach. That was a big decision. I lived in NJ all my life, but I was ready to experience something new. Andre and I had always thought about the idea of moving to Florida (who doesn’t) but we just never had a solid plan or reason to leave New Jersey, or our jobs, family, friends, etc. Andre would have to leave his job in NY, but I had much faith that he’d be OK and find something easily with his skills. I had no family in south Florida, but it was a great opportunity, we always vacationed in Miami and Andre’s grandmother said she was praying for us to move down.
We spoke about it, and after much consideration, we decided to accept the offer. Everything happened so fast we didn’t wait long to make the transition. We took a flight to South FL, stayed with Frank & Ricky, who now lived in Sunny Isles Beach, and spent 2 days apartment hunting. We remembered we liked the Sunny Isles area, we didn’t have much time to look around and we didn’t want to be in touristy South Beach, so at the last minute we found something near the area. We flew back, gave in our resignation letters, called the movers, and planned the rest of our trip.
July 2006 – 2 days before we left NJ, on the 4th of July 2006, we threw a bon voyage party for our friends and family. We had a great view of the fireworks from our balcony since we could see the entire NY skyline, downtown, midtown and uptown. That day, while waiting for everyone to arrive, for the first time ever, a double rainbow appeared before us. I just looked at Andre and smiled, we knew it was a good sign; we were gonna be leaving in 2 days to drive down to FL.
2 Rainbows on the 4th of July, 2 days before moving from NJ to FL (July 2006)
We parted with everyone and I had so many plants in the apartment I couldn’t ship due to agricultural concerns that I had to give them all away, so upon leaving our NJ apartment for the last time, everyone got a plant on the way out, a nice way to give life, and keep it alive, a piece of our home would be transferred to theirs.
Two days later, we drove down in our 2005 Honda Civic from NJ to FL, just Andre and I, and our Russian Blue cat, Tommy. We spent a night in North Carolina and made it safe and sound to South FL. We moved 5 mins away from Frankie & Ricky. Then, I remembered that call in 2004, I told Frankie about it and we both laughed, “What a coincidence.” And the owner of the condo we were renting was lived in Sunnyside, NY, where Frankie & Ricky moved from. One day at work I saw his license and noticed he got it on my birthday, March 5. 305 was also our new area code in Miami, I felt I was home. I kept a small Kokopelli statue on my desk that was given to me by an old friend and co-worker at UMDNJ. Frankie noticed it and showed me the one he had on his key chain, and a few months after working with each other, we found out that our sisters had the same birthday in February. “Wow, what a coincidence.” Then, after about a year of working in the same building, we moved to another location, next to a park. That park was one of the first parks I visited in 98 on our first trip, we hung out with a group from Miami we didn’t know, they are all in our circle of friends now. I took it all as a sign I was in the right place.
October 2006 – 3 months after we moved in, I was taking a shower & I suddenly remembered the trip in 1998 when we went to see Irene. I reminded Andre about the 8 seashells and the rental car key we lost & found, and that couple from NJ, and the pictures I took. We began to wonder where it was she lived in the area since it changed so much so I decided to look for the pictures from that trip. Oh wait… it was 8 years ago.
It began to happen again…
We looked through the pics and I froze! According to the pics, we moved in to the same complex that Irene lived in 8 years ago. WTF!? How the hell did that happen, and we didn’t know? It had been so long, there were many more mega condos in the area and everything was totally remodeled that we forgot which building Irene had lived in altogether. In fact, they even changed the balconies from cement to glass, and repainted them so we really had no clue. It was just crazy! Here’s what it looked like in 98, with a cheap, disposable camera.
Collins Avenue, Sunny Isles Beach (1998)
I wanted to get the only huge condo on the left, The Pinnacle; it stood out so big amongst the others.
By 2006 I had become such a picture freak so I recalled every image and I noticed the pic looked familiar to one I had just taken with my digital camera when we moved in so I began looking for it on the computer.
Collins Avenue, Sunny Isles Beach (2006)
I was trying to capture the Trump International building to the left in black and white, one of my favorites. That’s when I noticed they were taken in almost the same exact spot, 8 years apart. I was bugging out. It was too close for comfort. The Pinnacle was still there, along with a bunch of new high rise condos, and the Texaco was still there with the same 2 trees. Wow!!! I was floored.
I kept looking and saw another pic and that’s when it hit me again, not only did we move into the same complex, we had a clear view from our balcony of the exact area on the beach where we lost & found our key 8 years prior.
View from our balcony in Sunny Isles Beach, across the street from where it all happened. (2006)
OK, before we keep going, let’s recap. We came to visit FL for the first time in July 1998, we lost our car key and I gave 8 seashells to Irene. The key AND the seashells returned back to us both within the span of about 8 hours from a couple in NJ that were on the beach doing the exact same thing we were, and 8 years later, in July 2006, we move into the same complex that Irene lived in, across the street from where it all happened and we didn’t even notice any of this until 6 months after we moved in? OK, it’s official, this is some crazy shit!
But of course I kept going through pics & noticed more… like this random shot of downtown Miami ’98, the 3-tier building to the far left caught my eye. We were also going about 50 mph so I didn’t get the best shot.
Downtown Miami Skyline from the highway. (2006) Don’t worry, I wasn’t driving.
Turns out that 3 tier building to the far left is the Bank of America Building in Miami, you’ve probably seen it many times in CSI, they use it for opening and certain scenes and it’s always lit up in different colors, and used in lots of TV shows & movies filmed in Miami. Well, a few month after living in FL, Andre got a job, and guess what building it’s in.
No such thing as coincidence…
One day while at our office in South Beach, I had to go to the bathroom but it was out of order so I went downstairs. I saw a sign on one of the office doors downstairs that read ‘Douglas Elliman, FL’. I called Andre and said, “Guess where your old job is located?” We laughed, since Andre used to work at Douglas Elliman, NYC, and left the company to move to FL. He had no idea they were in that building. That same time, I ran into a friend in the restroom we met on the cruise back in 2006… we hadn’t seen him n years, and laughed at what a coincidence of how we met.
The name of the first gym Andre attended in NY was NOVA Gymnastics. Back then, he went to Chelsea Piers. When he found a gym in FL, he called me all excited and tells me, “I have another one you can add to your story… I just walked in and looked up and the name of the gym & it’s NOVA.”
Also, our song, “Your Loving Arms” by Billie Ray Martin, was re-released in 2006. For us it was like a new birth of our relationship, the timing was impeccable for our new journey. The first time we heard it was at the Sound Factory in NY. Years later at Twilo, which we opened and closed. Then, we came to Miami to experience the opening and closing of Twilo Miami, both quite fun while they lasted.
And a funny one… our favorite cookies were Pillsbury Oatmeal Chocolate Chip, we only had them in the Bronx where Andre lived when we first met. We never saw them again & suddenly they appeared in Publix! We had a little conniption in the store and we laughed how we had to move all the way to FL to find our favorite cookies! Lol
As deep or silly as they may be, we began to realize that there really are no such things as coincidence, and that in fact, these were our confirmations. Everything was lining up. I documented everything for a reason, and was glad to have kept it all. I received messages though pictures, keys, seashells, nature, friends, numbers & the universe. It was like a mirror image, a life within a holographic life. The number 8 represents infinity, consisting of 2 circles, one over the other, the 2 sets of seashells, the key from the past and present connecting both circles, and everything was coming back around, in the same way in different places on different planes with different faces.
October 2012 – It’s been 6 years since we moved to FL and many changes have taken place since then, many other confirmations have occurred, but that’s another story. I’ve documented a lot and things are happening faster and faster. Meanwhile, life continues to be wonderful, Andre and I just celebrated 18 yrs together and we feel blessed to be here with great friends and family.
8 is the number of perfection, and represents the final point of the manifestation. In China, the 8 expresses the totality of the universe and the coherence of the creation in evolution. According to the Egyptians, it was the number of balance and cosmic order. It represents earth, not in its surface but in its volume, since 8 is the first cubic number. The Pythagoreans have made the number 8 the symbol of love and friendships. For the Japanese, the number 8 means multiplicity, a favorable number, associated with prosperity.
August is also the month that Andre and I met.
Sunset shot from Irene’s balcony (1998)
We lived on the E side for 3 years and the first day we moved to the W side the sky was unbelievable! I ran for my camera & the rest is history! This is the first pic I took on that balcony on our first day moving in…
First Sunset in new condo, August 2, 2010
When you’re not looking for these types of things to happen and they do, you can’t help but question things, or put it all together and smile, feeling one with the universe. I can’t explain it any other way. I don’t have all the answers, but I have lots of questions, and the answers always come, be it a few hours, days, or years, and nowadays it’s happening faster by the minute. You can just think something and it’ll manifest almost immediately. I get many random things that happen & it’s hard to keep up and write about them all. Some are so fleeting they wouldn’t even seem important to anyone else. Some have déjà vu, some pray, some chant and some meditate… whatever you do, find your peace.
When we ask and listen with pure love and intention, we will receive our answers. And sometimes you may feel unable to explain a “feeling” but knowing it means something, that it’s your truth, and only you can speak of it.
There are many things you have to fight for to create your own path, yet, I’ve always been a firm believer to trust the flow of life, and intuition, knowing that there’s something more, there’s a higher purpose, and even though we may not always be able to explain things, everything has it’s time. As they say, everything happens as it should. There are no coincidences… only confirmations.
December 12, 2012 – I was holding on to this story for a long time now and have been wanting to share it but I didn’t feel the time was right, and it wasn’t. But something hit me yesterday on 12.11.12 and I felt the change in energy and decided it was time. 11:11!!!!
11 11 Seashells & Car Key
That was my last & final confirmation that it was the right time to share this wonderful story. I also subscribe to daily insights and affirmations, and this one below hit home!
“I listen to the voice of The Divine within me. I trust the voice of The Divine within me. I act on the voice of The Divine within me. My heart and intuition is connected to all that is. When I listen and trust my heart and intuition, I allow the cosmos to guide me.”
©Carlos Juan Mendez 2012
AUGUST 17, 2013
So to add to the wonderful story of synchronicities, here’s another. Less than 2 weeks ago, for our 19th Anniversary, we went away for the weekend & headed to Palm Beach County. The beaches there are wonderful & teaming with seashells. When the waves come in they all clink & clank like chimes. I haven’t seen that many seashells on the beach in years. Actually, that’s a lie since we visited that same beach last year & I took pics of the shells b/c I was so in awe since there are hardly any on the beaches in Miami, but I got too close to the water & damaged my camera. This time, I wanted to collect a few, with the direct intention to find 8 nice ones to compliment my old story, “Coincidence or Confirmation”. We actually don’t have those 8 seashells anymore, not even sure what happened to them since 1996.
At any rate, what I didn’t know was that Andre was also collecting shells & when I got back from my walk, I saw a bunch on my towel. I was going to throw one away because it was just so tiny, like the size of my pinky nail, but there was something about it & something told me to keep it. I had set out for 8, but now I had more than enough & I didn’t feel like counting, separating or choosing, so I just wrapped them all up in my towel & we hit the pool since the tide was too rough to swim. When I got back to the room I took them all out, washed off the sand & placed them on a towel to dry. I figured I’d pick the nice ones out later. That’s when I proceeded to count… and we couldn’t believe it, together, yet apart & unknowingly to us, he collected 11 & I collected 8… for a total of 19 seashells! Once again, it came back to us full circle, on the beaches of FL on our 19th anniversary. No such thing as coincidence! And then it hit me, from the tiniest one, like the beginning of our relationship, to light & dark shades, ones with scars & some as smooth as can be… all felt like a representation of us & the years we’ve been together. So we’re keeping them all & I want to do something special with them but not sure what. At the end of our day & trip, it was another great & unexpected confirmation from the Universe that we’re on the right path on this journey we call life!
19 Year Anniversary & 19 Seashells – August 2013
9/28/15 – UPDATE
So last night, before we headed out to see the full moon, we were watching TV & Andre asked me if there was anything in particular I wanted to see. Out of the blue, “Flight of the Navigator” randomly popped in my head. It’s one of my favorite movies growing up. I hadn’t seen it in years.
It’s about a kid from Fort Lauderdale who gets abducted & then comes back years later. He hasn’t aged while everyone else did & he becomes part of an experiment by NASA, who also captured the ship. They realize he traveled through time & has access to star charts & planetary info. He’s guided back to the ship where it takes him through space, he meets other beings, & then he gets taken back into “normal” time.
I always remembered wanting to live where he lived in FL, it looked so warm & tropical, & I wanted to experience his journey on the ship.
So we searched for the movie & found it online (not on Netflix). It’s from 1986, I was 9. We started watching & not even 2 mins into the credits, they specifically stayed on one building in Downtown Miami, the one I just worked in, the Southeast Financial Center. I just looked at Andre. Talk about coincidence.
Then, in the movie he gets lost/abducted in 1978 & comes back 8 years later in 86. I looked at Andre again… “Really? The movie, that building AND the number 8?” He could see it in my eyes, I was having one of those moments when I freeze & everything hits me at once. I can’t even explain it but it’s emotionally overwhelming, in a good way. It’s like a some huge wave comes over me, signs from the universe, precognitive, but beyond déjà vu… thoughts, feeling & images from the present, future & past all sync up at once. I also happened to be born under a full moon.
My first visit to Florida was in 1998. We moved 8 yrs later in 2006 & we live 15 mins away from Fort Lauderdale. And, on that trip back in 98, I took a random pic of the building Andre works in now. For me, it’s all part of a bigger story that is still writing itself. It’s interstellar… random coincidences & confirmations. I continue to enjoy the ride. This life is truly a maze of wonder, synchronicity, mysticism & experience. Everything has its time.
Then, we went out & caught the blood moon, & I was so excited about that I didn’t get a chance to write about this experience from last night… until now.
Goodnight, and see you later Navigators!