During a group lunch one day, our community manager, Travis, was prepping us for our time in La Paz. Our accommodations weren't going to be nearly as nice as in Buenos Aires, and he wanted us to have the right expectations. He proceeded to explain his own analogy about how there are 3 levels of fun, and he assured that if we had the right expectations, we would absolutely love La Paz and have lots of opportunities for "Level 3 fun".
A couple of days later, during our last day in Buenos Aires, Paige and I went on a journey to leave our mark on the city by painting a mural. That day the most unimaginable and serendipitous moment of my life occurred. After telling Travis about what happened, we joked that we surpassed Level 3, and set a new bar for Level 4 fun.
Here's how it went down...
Level 1 fun is the little things that you normally wouldn't think twice about. I went to an art store and purchased some art supplies for a project I wanted to do. I like art, and was excited for the project, so this is Level 1.
Level 2 fun is planned fun. The project I wanted to do was to paint red hats on a monkey mural I saw. Why red hats? It's a recognizable symbol of Jacque Cousteau, the man who our Remote Year 3 group is named after. I've never done any sort of wall art in the past, and I really enjoyed trying out a new medium for the first time. Level 2 achieved.
This is where things get interesting. Level 3 fun is when the unexpected happens. It's where most good stories originate. While I was worried about getting in trouble while working on the mural, quite the opposite happened. Throughout our time painting, multiple people approached to watch, ask questions, and learn about us. A couple of friendly city workers stayed and watched for almost 20 minutes.
Things really got interesting when a guy in a black hoodie and blue cap approached. He spoke decent English, and was very interested in what we were working on. He noticed I was working over an eexisting mural and asked about the original artist (I had previously looked up the artist, Mojo, and told him what little I knew about him). We talked about Remote Year, what the program was, and how we enjoyed our stay in Buenos Aires.
At one point he said he wanted to give us something, but it was around the corner. He left, came back a few minutes later, and asked if he could give us his business card. Naturally, we said "of course". He reached into his pocked and handed his card to Paige. Instantly recognizable, the card had a giant monkey printed on one side in the same style as the mural I was working on. It was MOJO!
Our minds were blown. Turns out, he was working on a mural around the other side of the building, and when his friend told him he saw us working on his mural, he decided he had to come meet us and say hi. He said he was "honored" that we appreciated his work, and he loved what we were doing to it. He was extremely humble, encouraging, and a pleasure to get to know.
This is Level 3. Completely unexpected, but in the best way possible.
Level 4 fun is a new level of fun that we didn't know existed before this moment. It's when the universe conspires to bring all its forces together to blow your mind. After already having our mind blown that we got to meet the original artist, completely by accident, it turns out the craziness wasn't over.
Before Mojo left, he had one more surprise hidden up his sleeve. Literally. With a smile on his face, Mojo pulled up his sleeve to show us a tattoo he had of one of his monkeys - and get this - it was wearing a COUSTEAU HAT!!! The universe imploded, and I must have said "What the fuck!?" 5 times.
My mind was already blown at the coincidence of meeting Mojo in the first place, but this took it to a whole new level. Level 4. We talked for another 10 minutes in disbelief of how our worlds had just collided. He asked us about our where our affinity towards Cousteau came from, and he told us his. Apparently, we're all simply in love with Cousteau for his passion for adventure and exploration. What are the chances?
In the end, it was an unbelievable day. I loved painting the mural, and the rest of the day's events were so crazy I can still hardly believe it. Mojo had even posted a video on Instagram of him approaching me while I worked on top of his mural. The clip in Spanish, but the translation is below.
"It’s really weird when you’re walking down the street and suddenly you find someone intervening on your mural - these guys only speak english… but I don’t speak English… it’s really weird, but it’s really cool… really cool… hahaha"
There you have it. Level 4.