March 16, 2013

The amazing people you meet by chance

In posting today, I found an old post I had written in January. I remember the internet was down and I never got around to uploading this...

Whether it be on my travels, sitting at a bus stop, in a pub or through a friend - i am forever grateful for the amazing people i have had the chance to meet.

Dinner tonight was no exception.

I am currently in Toowoomba teaching a course in Wearable Jewellery at the McGregor Summer School. The lifestyle of the course is very inclusive. You stay on campus in student accommodation, eat breakfast, dinner and lunch together with other tutors and students. There is something always going on during the 10 day course.

Tonight at dinner, a bubbly woman sat next to me. I had met her before, only briefly, during Sunday night's trivia quiz. She was on my team of 8 and assisted in us coming second with her correct answer to 'where does Lego originate?' (Did you know it was Denmark???)

By chance this lady sat next to me at dinner tonight. She proceeded to compliment me on my mater mother's sculpture and the slide show I presented the previous day. I enjoyed her honesty of not liking my symbiosis masters work but she got what I was trying to do with it, she said - but it just wasn't to her taste. Fair enough, I thought.

It was only a brief chat over mashed peas, cauliflower, corn and steak. I found out she was from Poland and I was so excited to tell her of the places I had travelled in her country. I mentioned Zakopane, Krakow and Auschwitz. It was almost immediate when she looked deep in my eyes and said in her thick polish accent, 'no, no I have never been to Auschwitz and I believe I could never bring myself to go.'

Her eyes instantly filled with tears and emotion.

All I could do was look back and touch her hand with comfort. We both agreed on the importance of transparency in history and the significance of such a museum for the education of future generations. I understood through her eyes, she had been significantly affected during WW2, when she must have been only a child. She couldn't talk any more on the matter and I simply continued on how magical I found her country - especially in winter. This brought a smile back to her face whilst we finished our meal.

It was only a brief encounter with yet another stranger on my travels through life - but her honest emotion moved me and reminded me of how grateful I am to not have lived through what she must have.
(this is the only photo i could bring myself to take at Auschwitz in 2009)