Wednesday, August 17, 2022

The call to prayer and a rare encounter

I was at the grocery store yesterday and a lady my age with blond hair was having trouble understanding the checker and was having trouble  identifying her Euro coins to pay with, flipping them over to see the value as I do after all these years. 

She was wearing bright red pants with bright red matching Keen sandals. The exact sandals I had on, in black, falling apart after all these years. 

Then the lady made another mistake, she only gave the checker her Pfand receipt (bottle deposit) after her transaction was finished, so that was awkward. I was just dying to speak with her, thinking she might be American and could tell me where I can replace my 10 year old falling apart Keen sandals cuz I've tried twice on Amazon and they never fit anymore, and Keen itself told me "Come to a local shop and try them on, we've altered our sizing lately." Local shop, in Germany? 

So when it as my turn to check out, and the blond lady had stepped aside and started sorting all her groceries into her two-wheeled grocery cart, I said, in German "excuse me." Then in English, cuz she didn't respond, "excuse me." 

Now in Germany you do not talk in line, and you especially do not STOP the line by talking to a stranger. 

So I was slamming my food into my cart the entire time without hesitation. I had a big line behind me and they were super interested in what the heck I was doing, talking in line.

I pointed to my sandals and said in German "Where did you find these sandals?"

Again in English. 

I think she recognized that I had the same Keens on that she did, but she spoke neither German nor English. 

She pointed to herself and said, "Ukraine."

OK then. 

I smiled at her and the checker, who is new at our Aldi, said, "Where are you from?"  

By this time the entire line was peering at me disdainfully, that I might hold up their day.

I said, "America." 

She said, "That's so wonderful, it's so much prettier there, isn't it?"

I said, "Yes." as I shuffled things into my cart willy nilly, trying to escape the wrath of the line.

But I'm good. I kept up, as she told me she's always wanted to see New York, and people should travel whenever they can, life is short.

I was thinking, what a freak, talking to me in the line. *lol* 

Cuz in Germany you don't do this. 

So I agreed with her, mentioned that I'd just seen Afrika for the first time, and she's right.

I scanned may card and I believe the line had to wait less than 10 extra seconds due to the two separate communications that do not happen here in a German grocery line!

Aldi employees are not allowed to chat, they are in danger of losing their job if they don't scan something like 100 items per minute. We have managed to make friends with 2 Aldi employees, but we cannot know their names. One of them treasures an American quarter I gave her, she's from Italy, where people are nicer, and the other is about to retire and when she does, my heart will break, because she was the most reliable source of friendliness at a German grocery store. She doesn't know my name either, but always has a little smile for us, and I can get her to engage, after all these years.

As I drove away, I saw the Ukraine lady pushing her two-wheeled grocery cart up the street, and thought about how impossible it would be to live in Germany and speak neither German nor English. 

Just, "Ukraine?" and then she will get our sympathy.


The call to prayer happens 5 times daily in Tunisia, not sure about other Muslim nations. It is a reminder to pray, and separate from the world for a moment. I find it wonderful, a public sign of the devout. 

My cousin and his wife took me onto their balcony to hear it, and J made a joke but I'm sorry the camera did not quite catch it. It was something after Rachel said, "It's a real guy, you know." And J said, "Into a speaker, broadcasting, and before that..." I don't remember the joke but if you make it that far in the video you'll hear giggling. 

This also shows the city of Nabuel, Tunisia, from above. Neverending blue sky. (I never learned how to say our city's name of Nabuel.)

And Jonah sat in the shade of the plant, and was thankful, until it went away......and Jonah complained to God again, "Why me?" 

We often sought the shade of one or two branches of one tree. It's the closest I've been to the holy land, and when you look at the Mediterranean, all the stories of the New Testament come to you. Then you look for shade: ) 


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