September 9, 2011
Note that this post is not all about taking trains to this country to beg for over-baked pastry dough.
My friend in Kenya is expecting and she told me how she has to drive an hour or two to get a proper stroller in Nairobi. Teaches you a thing or two about taking things for granted.
Here, I live in Catholic Land. Surrounded by nuns. They shop, buy candy, drive in their cars, all packed in with their habits. Or I see them bicycling or buying shoes. They all seem very happy in this divine sisterhood. Almost makes me want to convert. But then certain relatives would not be particularly happy about that.
This morning I went to IWAK Newcomers’ Coffee at Cafe Wierzynek in Rynek Glowniy. I wasn’t expecting the ladies to be near my age–but they were all mothers and grandmothers there. Minimum age I estimated: 35. But honestly for some reason, I sometimes feel I have more in common with middle-aged women than women my age. Not that I’m nearing menopause anytime soon. I was probably the median age of their children. But it was pleasant and educational chatting in Polish, Russian and un petit peu de francais with the ladies from Belgium, U.K, France, Scotland, and Denmark. The lady across from me was Polish-French and had to learn Russian under the former system. I enjoyed chatting with her in Polish and Russian since for her, speaking English was an effort or seemed to be. I learned that there is a festival of sorts at the Stary Teatr of the Chekhov play “The Sea Gull” performed in Polish. I expressed my interest in organizing an outing to see Roman Polanski’s latest film “Gods of Carnage” based on Yasmina Reza’s play of the same name–I saw its performance in Los Angeles–most of the ladies preferred to talk about other events and films. I learned there is a movie theatre in Bonarka where for 20 PLN more you could get a “VIP” seat, put your feet up, enjoy free wine, and really have a smashing night out.
I am planning a possible trip to meet several of my friends in Paris, France. It would be just me, Irina, Katya, and Tina. We would meet from all corners of Europe and converge for a fabulous weekend of shopping, sightseeing and decadence. My inner id is simply rubbing its hands gleefully.
A former schlemiel classmate of ours, named Ivan* did not graduate with the rest of the class. He told me a story about how while he was in Prague, he was messaging an acquaintance of his who lived “next door” in Poland, who jokingly invited him over for cookies. Communication over the Internet is not the best way of gauging context because he took her invitation literally and hopped on the first train to her city and knocked on her door several hours later, inquiring about these cookies. She begrudgingly let him sleep on her couch that night but he had to spend a day or two finding his way back to Prague or Budapest, or wherever he started his journey from.
I joked about the reason why this poor schlimazel fellow did not succeed as much as his peers.
“He was probably taking trains to Poland to beg for “cookies.””