every morning I catch the 9:02 tram from orionka. I walk three blocks from my apartment to the tram stop. when i get there there are three czech ladies that have just arrived to open their store. it's an odd store, i believe it sells chemistry equipment, mainly glass beakers and viles. they get to their store around 9am and as i get to the tram stop they are standing outside opening the display windows and standing around smoking their morning cigarettes and gossiping. i dont know them, and have not even ever spoken to them, yet i feel slightly comforted by seeing them everyday. i smile to them as i see them each morning, as they take a puff of smoke and burst out laughing at the latest gossip. its a strange sensation seeing these people that i dont know, yet i feel as if i do know them on some small level. coming from indiana university where i felt as if i knew everyone on campus, and before that zionsville, where i literally DID know everyone, its quite a change. there are people like this that i see everyday and have a "nonverbal relationship" with and enjoy seeing everyday.
i have a few people like this i see everyday. there is an elderly woman who lives on a first floor flat of a building i walk past each day. she is usually looking out her window at passerbys on the street below. i also pass a drug store and a dry cleaners where i see the ladies who open the shops smoking their morning cigarettes and getting a breath of fresh air before the day begins. i do enjoy seeing these familiar faces on my commute each day.
my favorite person to see is my boyfriend, honza. honza is an (approximately) seventy eight year old man who lives on the third floor of my building. he has a round face with rosy cheeks and hair as white as pure snow. he has a broad smile and a deep laugh and i hear it echoing through the stairwell. everywhere he goes he takes his darling little dog with him. ive never seen honza without a leash in his hand and a dog at his heels. we have always been cordial and said "dobry den!" to each other in passing but had never gotten to know each other.
when i came back from christmas break i passed honza walking his dog a block away from our apartment building. i greeted him as usual and he looked so excited to see me and burst out in a full paragraph of gibberish czech to me. i threw my hands up to cover my face and with an embarrassed laugh i admitted to him that i couldnt quite understand him (i couldnt understand him AT ALL). he smiled and grabbed my arm and very slowly and loudly (as if i were challenged...) said dva tisíce deset!!! (it's two thousand and ten!) "ah!!" i exclaimed. he was trying to wish me a happy new year. how sweet of him.
since he is the ONLY czech person i have gotten to know even in the slightest (aside from those i work with) i felt so touched that he was outgoing and kind to me (even though in a previous conversation i had admitted to him that i spoke little to no czech and was Amercian... he still talks to me :) ) so i bought honza a little new years present and wrapped it with a bright gold bow. i put a tag on it saying "PF 2010" (best of luck in 2010) and put in it my purse for our next encounter.
luckily that was today! i met him in the stairwell (dog in hand) and finally formally introduced myself. (i had to work up the courage to do so in Czech). He introduced himself as Honza and then said Joooohn! because honza translate into john in english. he beamed so proudly that he could make the translation. i handed him the gift and he exclaimed that he couldnt believe it and a lot of other czech words i couldnt understand. he thanked me kindly and pulled me in for a hug and a kiss on the cheek. i smiled all the way to the tram stop this morning. my encounters with sweet honza are my favorite part of my day, and i dont think he will ever know how grateful i am to him for being so welcoming and hospitable. you are wonderful, honza :)
love love love from praha!