Meet Cornelia - An unbelievable reunion in São Paulo

Accountant Interroll Switzerland, who decided to say goodbye to Interroll for half a year and travel around the world for six months

At the start of the 1960s the legendary Canadian media guru Marshall McLuhan coined the term Global Village’ and distances have indeed become smaller and smaller, and everywhere seems accessible. The modern world of the media brings the world into our homes in real time, we are active always and everywhere.

Yet it is still exceptional and almost surreal when two people who otherwise work together and are travelling for distinctly different reasons, suddenly meet on the other side of the world, especially if such an event takes place at a crossing in the metropolis of São Paulo! It’s a story perhaps best told by the two protagonists themselves.

Cornelia Masdea, Interroll employee in Sant’Antonio, Switzerland, who made one of her dreams come true:

Seeing the world for six months, experiencing adventures, getting to know new cultures and leaving everyday life behind. I decided to say goodbye to Interroll for half a year and travel around the world with two friends: to Australia, Polynesia, South America and the United States. Our last stop before San Francisco, where our trip was to end, was three days in São Paulo. It’s a metropolis that is home to 20 million people, a colourful mixing pot of people, mopeds, cars and lorries, but also of rhythm and music.

On 10th June, the city was even more chaotic than usual. Brazil was celebrating São Paulo Gay Pride. Helicopters were circling above São Paulo’s banking quarter. People were sitting on street lights and were climbing on top of telephone boxes. A caravan of music crates pumped out loud house music, with three million people dancing in its wake. The Avenida Paulista boulevard was bursting at its seams. We were only a few blocks from the chaos and on the search for São Paulo’s latest goldmine, the Havaianas shop.

The simple plastic shoes which are now the latest fashionable cult items, are at least as popular as the Cachaça, the famous (some might say infamous) sugarcane schnapps. Traveller’s should not leave this country without a pair of Havaianas. We assiduously followed our route through the labyrinth, but on reaching our final zebra crossing I stopped suddenly and said out loud: “Hey! She looks just like Jennifer!” It seemed more than unlikely to meet one of your work colleagues from Switzerland in one of the world’s biggest cities – but never say never! Arriving on the other side of the street, I turned around and started laughing out loud. It certainly is a small world!

Jennifer Borchardt, Interroll employee in Sant’Antonio, Switzerland, on preparing for an event in São Paulo:

Caipirinha, Samba and carnival – these were the first things that shot through my mind when I found out that Interroll was sending me to Brazil. Yet my emotions also included pride, excitement and respect, because I was the first from the Marketing department to visit my colleagues in Jaguariúna. And I knew that this meant a tough week with a lot of work: planning of the Grand Opening in Jaguariúna, set up of both the new showroom and the trade fair stand at the Fispal in São Paulo. In comparison with São Paulo, Jaguariúna is an absolute walk in the park! It’s a relaxed kind of place that feels quite modern, with friendly people.

São Paulo, in comparison, is a daunting giant. Huge, untameable and a little scruffy. Yet our hotel was situated in São Paulo’s banking quarter, and Thiago wasn’t just a good “Interroller” he was also the perfect tourist guide. Before we went to the trade fair together I decided to get breakfast from one of the nearby cafés. Making absolutely sure I didn’t spill any of my hot coffee over my blouse, I walked back to the hotel. Suddenly, I was distracted and I stopped, feeling a little confused, because I was certain I had just heard someone call my name – and it couldn’t have been Thiago, because it was a woman’s voice. My curiosity got the better of me and I turned around to see three young women – one after the other. Are there mirages in São Paulo? Never in my dreams did I think I would bump into Cony here, who was standing there smiling and waving.

It goes without saying that we celebrated our unbelievable reunion the same evening with Cachaça, Churrasco and friends! Those with a philosophical take on this kind of get-together might remember the old saying “all roads lead to Rome.” On that day however, it would appear that all roads led to São Paulo!