She Was Right.
While we were living in Amberg, we spent a lot of time at a cafe down the street. It was a really warm, busy place, and when Amelia was not in Kindergarten yet, I liked to take her there and let her play in a fountain with a bunch of bronze pig statues, while I had a coffee and wrote in my journal or just stared into space. Gradually, we became familiar faces there, and met some of the other regulars. Most did not speak much English, but that wasn't always an obstacle. One such case was a really sweet couple my grandparents' age, named Edmund and Girda. They reached out to Amelia one day, and an instant bond was formed. They liked to squeeze her, smooth her hair, and buy her fancy chocolates from the counter. Amelia is never one to turn down attention or affection (or chocolate!) and I think they had a very mutually beneficial relationship. This was the closest thing Jeff and I got to babysitting-- we would go to Cafe Baroco on Saturday mornings, and Amelia would go sit with them and be doted on while Jeff and I chatted.
Once Amelia started school, I still went to the cafe several times a week to do work on my computer, and it was so nice to see them there, to feel like I wasn't a total stranger to everyone. I can't tell you how good it felt to get a hug and a kiss on the cheek once in a while! We would sort of chat, with lots of smiles and limited words. Shortly after Jeff lost his job, in the midst of me trying to wrap my brain around our situation, I ran into Girda again. I hated to tell her that we were going to be leaving. I tried to explain to her in my very limited German what had happened, and struggled to answer her questions, since I didn't know the answers myself. I thought I was doing a good job of concealing my sadness and anxiety, but of course she knew better. She took my face in both hands and held my gaze. I'm not sure which words she used, but she told me firmly that it was all going to be OK, that I would be OK. Of course, that made me want to cry, but I nodded in agreement and went back to my work. As I was leaving, I saw that Edmund had arrived, and they both motioned for me to come sit with them. Edmund speaks a few words of English and understands more, and wanted to know what was happening. He held my hand and squeezed it as I tried to explain. As things became a little more clear, he pulled out an address label and pressed it into my hand. Girda told me I would need that later, so I could write them and let them know where to send our Christmas card.
This exchange was almost more than I could take, but was exactly what I needed. It hurt to have to leave people who were so loving and kind toward a family of strangers, who took so much time and care to get to know us, and to just be with us whenever our paths met. But I really needed someone to tell me that I was going to be OK, that everything would turn out alright. Having a task ahead-- of letting them know where to send our Christmas card-- was also such a gift. This helped me move past my crazy momentary situation, and to think about the future, when we would inevitably be settled and opening Christmas cards. I carried that address around for months, and doing so gave me a sense of transcendence through our many, many moves.
So today I did something very important. I wrote them a letter, thanking both for their love and kindness, and telling Girda that she was right-- everything did turn out alright: we are happy, we are settled, we can't wait to get that Christmas card. Bless them both.
More Like This
Recent Posts by Ashack
Most Popular on BlogHer
Most Popular on Travel
Recent Comments on Travel