"" Writer's Wanderings: Why Do We Travel? The People We Meet

Friday, November 02, 2018

Why Do We Travel? The People We Meet

What can I say? We have met all sorts of people from all over the world. Some have become friends. Some close friends and others we keep in touch with on Facebook. Others are just people we've met in passing but have left a mark on our lives by the impression they left with us.

Early on in our travels we did a trip to Paris with a church group to help a church group there renovate an old movie theater into a church. On our first day, the missionary in charge of our group took us to a park for lunch while he gave us an orientation talk. As we ate our lunch, a little boy and his mother sat across from us but when a few pigeons landed nearby, the boy started running after them and chasing them into the air. My thought was kids are kids the world over. It was reinforced when we saw two little ones squeeze together under a sign in a park in China and sat there giggling over their accomplishment.

We have met some characters as well. On a cruise one evening at dinner, a fellow who joined our table told a touching story about how he held his wife as she passed away from suffering with cancer. We were all sniffling. Then he said she was always with him and he kissed his diamond ring. "Yes sir. Always with me," he pointed to the ring, "and never talks back." Then he proceeded to explain how her ashes were made into the diamond he was wearing.

In Trabzon, Turkey, we were exploring on our own off the cruise ship. I was fascinated with the barrels of olives that a shop keeper had displayed. As we slowed to look, the man sitting in the chair by the door of his shop asked, "Deutscher?" (German). I shook my head and said, "American". He smiled. Bob held out a hand and the man shook it. They exchanged a few words. I don't think the man knew much English but somehow I had the feeling that we'd connected.

One of my favorite encounters was in Lichtenstein, the country so small that it's nicknamed "the postage stamp". We stopped in a little bakery shop along a trail we were following and the lady greeted us in German. I said something back in greeting using my ancient German language skill acquired years ago in high school. She asked if I spoke German and I answered how I had learned in high school many years ago. Then I noticed that there were colored eggs on the shelf behind her. It wasn't near Easter and I wondered why they were there. I tried to ask in English and she answered, "Auf Deutsch, bitte." (In German, please). I struggled but she spoke slowly to me and helped me along. I felt like I was back in school again.  I left feeling good about myself having obtained an answer that I could understand. But after I thought about it for a while I figured she could probably speak English and was just making me exercise some old language skills.

Oh, by the way, the eggs were colored so that you could tell which ones were hard boiled.

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