Like I've mentioned before in previous blog posts, I continue creating work (artwork) while on vacation in Europe.
The main way I get around here is via train. (Preferably the NS train because Arriva has given us so much trouble!) The first time we took Arriva we got stranded at Mook molenhoek train station at 11:30 pm on a Monday night. The second time we were on our way to Germany and our train broke down on the way to Venlo and we had to transfer trains at Cuijk and arrived at Venlo an hour late and missed our transfer... we ended up catching the next train we saw and made up almost an hour and a half because we had unknowingly jumped onto a high speed train. We were lucky no one kicked us off. The third time we took Arriva was on our way back from Germany... we got stranded in Venray on the very same Arriva line that we took to Germany the previous week!
Don't take this the wrong way! Arriva is a fine train company, I am not discouraging you from riding with them. They are especially good if you want to test your relationship. I think that if you can handle multiple delays and breakdowns without squabbling too much, that’s a pretty good indication of how sustainable your relationship is!
Usually when I am on a train I pull out my embroidery while Caleb reads or writes. We were on our way to Amsterdam Centraal Station. We were seated across from two ladies, they were speaking Spanish and when I pulled out my embroidery they smiled and started to point and speak to each other excitedly. I wasn’t another youngster on a cellphone, I was a youngster with an embroidery hoop! I started to explain nervously that I was experimenting with embroidery and didn’t know very much about it, but they couldn’t understand me and even after seeing my erratic stitches and experimental materials they were still interested, phewwww! I threaded my needle and passed the hoop to the lady across from me. She took it and sat there for a moment just looking at the stretched silk. She adjusted the needle between her fingers and took the plunge. The needle parted the weave easily as it slid through, the tail of the floss followed. It made a quiet tugging sound as it pulled taut and she plunged again. Her stitches were exact and I knew she must have many hours of practice. After she handed the hoop back to me I tried to mimic her stitches. She was patient with me and we passed the hoop back and forth as she showed me step by step until I got it. We talked to each other, all four of us! but neither Caleb or I speak any Spanish and they didn’t speak any English or Dutch. But that didn’t matter much, it just took a little more work. We used our hands and spoke louder than normal, somehow thinking that louder would make the words make sense. They asked us our ages and we showed them with our fingers. We even explained successfully that we were a couple and not siblings when they inquired, I knew the word “Hermano”. Most strangers assume Caleb is my brother!
Before we parted ways the ladies wrote down their mailing address for us so we could keep in touch! It was one of the most satisfying interactions because we all wanted to communicate so earnestly that we didn’t mind making fools of ourselves when we had to employ charades in the middle of a commuter train to get our points across!
Now whenever I embroider I think about that meet cute. I hope to decifer their handwriting and send them a letter some day!