Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The eve of departure

(Location: Cafe Mokofuk in Berlin, contemplating the surreal nature of life)

This morning I awoke in mass confusion to my cell phone alarm at 7.30AM. "Time to wake up!" It speaks. Not quite springing out of bed but moving, I got myself dressed in my travel outfit and headed downstairs for coffee and breakfast.

Matuesz's brother, Mikel, was already in the kitchen, making coffee and arranging bread, cheese, meats and lettuce for breakfast and lunch sandwiches. The bread was freshly made by their father last night (in the bread machine, but still good). We sat at the table and chatted. Their mom came down, snapping photos and generally happy.

The sunlight streamed in the kitchen. My day of departure.

I'd arrived three days prior, and taken part in a family wedding reception, a name-day party and a day of sight-seeing in Poznan. All delightful. Just over two years ago, I'd met Mateusz on a minibus in Malaysia, the first Polish person who I'd interacted with. When I realised I was going to be going through his town, I emailed him. He invited me to stay with them and thoughtfully invited me to really be part of their family for a few days.

I'll have to reflect and write more, but suffice to say, I felt like family, and it was a perfect ending to my time in Europe. Poland reminds me of my roots, with the farmland and lakes, and people who are just regular nice folks. I mean that in the best way possible.

We drove to the train station this morning, Matuesz hopping out to make sure I went to the right track, and I waved him goodbye in his lime-green auto. Until we meet again.

(If you read the link to Mateusz's name, you can see how we ran into each other in Kuala Lumpur accidentally after our first meeting on the bus, something that occurred again yesterday when I was wandering around Poznan. I came up a street, and looked up and there he was saying, "Dr. Schultz!" We are not sure why we keep running into each other. It does not make sense. I am supposed to try to figure this out, but I think the chances of my enlightenment on this topic are slim. And no, my friends don't call me Dr. Schultz, only when they are harassing Polish guys.)

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