I’m on my way back from a lesson with a student (who is also my friend, gynecologist, etcetera, etcetera) where I’ve just successfully got her to use the present perfect unasked for the first time, and it’s a moody but refreshingly cool spring day. The clouds are sort of shifty characters and look like rain could spring forth from them at any minute.
Without thinking much about it, other things on my mind, I cross the blue bridge across the river where one of my favorite spots in Budejovice is. I like it because it reminds me of the banks of the Seine in Paris. But you know, in southwestern Czech Republic. Whatever works. I stop into a supermarket to pick up a few carefully chosen goodies for a friend’s birthday (him being a fellow Taurus, I know he will appreciate the selection of fine meats, cheeses and snacks in a world of… not enough snacks). I’m listening to my favorite podcast (in German language), and I take off my headphones to pop into a drug store for a few necessary household items.
Almost immediately after exiting the store and popping my headphones back on, the cutest little old lady approaches me and asks me if I speak German. For some reason, the serendipity of the moment of just having been listening to a German podcast at the moment she asks me brings a huge smile to my face. Or maybe it’s the fact that I never get this question. “Actually, yes! How can I help you?” She explains that she is looking for a nice café for coffee and cake, which for some reason makes me smile even more because normally it’s just people who want to know the way to the bank or whatever. I struggle a little to switch back into German after speaking Czech in the store and recommend one just across the way. She heartily thanks me as I start making my way up the street and home. (I hope she went there… you always sort of wonder if people end up taking your recommendation or not)
It was at that moment in the last minutes home that I realized these are the kind of moments that make me remember why I’m here and the scope of this strange sort of international life.