Sunday, September 03, 2006

It happened on Main Street

Sometimes peculiar things happen--things that are so unlikely we doubt their authenticity when they are related to us. One of those very odd things happened to me last year while I was in the States.

Our family was visiting the National Museum of Naval Aviation in Pensacola, Florida. One of the exhibits is the recreation of "Main Street, USA" circa 1943.

We were not visiting alone, but with an old friend that we hadn't seen for years and years. As we enjoyed the museum together, we also caught up on each other's lives. And of course, she had lots of questions about what living in Poland was like.

As we walked down Main Street, I noticed a little shop that reminded me very much of shops in Poland. Like the old "general store," all the goods were behind the counter, with just a little room in front of it for customers to stand and ask for what they needed. I stopped my friend so we could go into the shop, and I could explain the similarity between that little store and many of the shops I visit here.

When we stepped inside the store, there were two young ladies already looking around and discussing the exhibit. It struck me forcibly that they were speaking Polish. Suddenly the little museum display took a giant step closer to the Polish shops I know! I spoke to the girls in Polish, which in turn gave them quite a shock. They were university students spending the summer in the US as part of a work exchange program. We all got quite a charge out of meeting in a museum in Florida and chatted away in Polish for several minutes, to the delight of my friend who enjoyed hearing us speak with native Poles.

I actually forgot all about that incident until today. You just never know what's going to happen, do you?

Because that reminds me of a similar strange event that occurred within a few months of that one. We were driving south on I-65 and stopped at the welcome center just inside Kentucky. Krakovian overheard an older man speaking to the attendant with a heavy accent that he recognized as Polish, and since the man was speaking of living in Germany, he asked him where he was from. When he said he was Polish, Krakovian launched into a conversation in Polish, and they stood there chatting away happily, to the astonishment of the attendants.

Do things like this happen to everyone? When was the last time you ran into a native Polish speaker? Is it coincidence or divine appointment?

I honestly don't know.


At 4:17 PM , Blogger Astreil said...

This happens with my husband from time to time. He speaks French, though he is not a native speaker, he has been speaking since early childhood. His ears always perk up when he hears someone speaking French and he's always eager to converse. I think he'd rather speak French than English, but just doesn't have anyone to talk to. I can only read French.

At 5:29 PM , Blogger lastpaige said...

Oh, Divine Appointment!

We were recently at the Grand Canyon with cousins from Poland and our children. We were in the process of taking a group picture, so my husband was directing the cousins in Polish, and I was directing the children in English. Then this Deaf couple stopped short as to not get into the picture so I signed to them to continue, that we were figuring out the camera and they would not interrupt.

I think it's the Lord showing us that where ever we are, we are not alone.

Love it!
Mrs. L

At 6:34 PM , Blogger Calamity Jane said...

Many Polish people live in our little town in England, but I don't understand Polish at all. On the other hand, I have heard French, Japanese and German quite often wherever I live, since I started learning those languages (some I can speak, some I can only recognize). I enjoyed reading your stores, Krakovianka and Lastpaige.


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