and how’re you doin’?

when life is going in unexpected directions…

When I was in my teens, I spent two years learning to speak Serbo-Croatian in preparation for a semester in Yugoslavia. When I got to Novi Sad, I was placed with a family (grandmother and her two grand daughters) that spoke… Hungarian. Okay. So we couldn’t verbalize a lot.

For the first meal, the grandmother went out and bought a live chicken which she killed and cooked to celebrate my arrival. Gracious! And I thought I was vegetarian. Not that night.

Their tiny home had no indoor plumbing. I think there was one light in the kitchen. The two girls slept head to toe in the same bed with their grandmother so that I could sleep on the other bed, in the hallway.

Every week day, the girls would go to school. And I’d go exploring. I found no downtown. There were a few stores with maybe ten items for sale. Donkeys served as the main means of transportation. Luckily, I discovered the daily outdoor market which offered red peppers and fresh cheese. Just delicious.

So much that I had not expected.

But what stood out for me: caring. From the grandmother. From the two sisters.

I got it.

“How’re you doin’?”