Today I had a *moment*. And what I mean by this, is that events unfolded this morning that turned out so perfectly I couldn't help by step out of my life for a second to stare around and give a happy sigh of contentment.
I have to write it down, lest it get forgotten in some dusty cupboard of my brain, that will never be opened again.
It's raining today, in fits and spurts, and every once in awhile the sky clears its throat with a low rumble, just to let us know who's in charge. As I stood over the kitchen sink this morning, and stared out the window and listened to the thunder, I sighed at the realization I was going to have to go out in the rain and go to the store to get some food. My stomach backed up my brain on this one, by letting out an urgent growl.
So I put on my rain jacket, shoes, and grabbed a rainbow coloured umbrella to reluctantly make my way to the village's teeny tiny general store, or Dorflade.
The store was bustling this morning, and by that I mean there were at least four people in there, and all of them weathered farmers who were enjoying some good natured banter as they bought their goods.
After I had paid for my bread, hot croissants, yoghurt, and milk, I turned to leave the store. Well, the rain that had previously been a drizzle was now an open faucet that was causing gutters to overflow. I stood on the porch of the store, sheltered from the rain, and turned my flimsy umbrella over and over in my hands. I was going to get soaked!
As I stood there, the door tinkled open, and a sprightly elderly lady came out and started laughing about the rain. We stood there together for a few minutes in silence, in awe of the rain, and then her husband drove up. He hopped out of his white station wagon and joined us under the porch. The rest of the patrons of the store filed out, along with the shopkeeper, and we all listened to how loud raindrops can be.
It didn't take long before these good natured farmers tried to engage me in conversation. I smiled and stumbled over my limited Swiss-German vocabulary, as I introduced myself.
The lady who runs the shop lived for one year in England, and was delighted to speak English with me. The farmers asked her questions of me, and she in turn translated, then I did my best to answer in Swiss-German and English.
As this conversation continued, a particularly chilly gust blew through the porch, and the shopkeeper shivered in the cold and told us all to quickly get inside.
In a corner of the store next to a window, she set up seven chairs and took coffee orders. The farmer who had hopped out of his car earlier, pulled a chair beside him and patted it, and boomed to me, "You will sit here! You will sit here!" His wife's eyes twinkled, as she said to me in quick English, "He practice his English with you. This we love!"
This farmer looked at me, his left eye clouded blue with a cataract, and started asking me questions on Canada and my family, and how I liked his village.
As we chatted, the shopkeeper placed my coffee before me. As I grabbed my money from my wallet, the farmer quickly told me, "nay, nay," as he closed my wallet and handed the shopkeeper a bill to pay for he and his wife's coffee, and mine. Then he also pushed a little square of chocolate towards me, and motioned that I was to put it in my coffee and let it melt.
It was the nicest drink anyone's ever bought me.
The lady who runs the Dorflade asked me about Dan, and when she found out who he is and where his family is from (not ten minutes from this village) she excitedly translated to the group. There was the general commotion of acknowledgment, as their voices climbed over each other to tell me they knew Dan's paternal family and especially his grandmother.
The shopkeeper told me that Dan's grandmother was her midwife when she had her children, and some of those in the circle shook their heads as they remembered the passing of Dan's father, many many years ago.
They asked how Dan was, as though the passing was just yesterday. I assured them all he was fine, and there were genuine smiles of relief to know he was doing so well in spite of such a loss.
I sat in this circle of friends, sipping my hot coffee that had just a hint of chocolate swirled through, and listened to their fast paced conversation as they laughed and gestured towards the heavy rain that beat down on the windows. I had this utter feeling of peace come over me when I considered how snug I felt, and so...included. Initially they didn't know I was married to Dan--I was a stranger who turned up in their store, and didn't speak their language--but there was no hesitation to invite me to sit with them.
Our morning coffee lasted not more than twenty minutes, and then the rain slackened and they all briskly rose from their chairs to return to their homes and daily chores.
We bid farewell, and I grabbed my shopping basket and flimsy umbrella and walked home in the cold drizzle, warmed through with hot coffee and the irony of the fact a trip I had dreaded turned out to be the nicest morning I've had in awhile.
I will miss this village.
I will miss this village.