A First Trip to Poland

A flight to Europe can be quite tiring! My day began on Saturday with a bunch of things to get done. I had to leave shortly after lunch to drive to Charlotte for my flight to Wroclaw (pronounced “vrods-wahv”), Poland through Munich, Germany. The first leg of the trip, which left Charlotte late afternoon, was the longest…8 1/2 hours! That is the longest plane trip I have ever taken, though I am sure there are much longer trips to be had.

This was a pretty uneventful flight (and you want this type…uneventful). I was able to sleep a bit on the plane, though never deep or long enough. I was able to watch a couple of movies on the seat-back video system.

When I first sat down, I was seated beside an older guy who didn’t say much. I was cordial…nodded and said “Hi,” but not much of a response. I found out later that the guy was from Albania and knew very little English. What was even more interesting is that we ended up trying to communicate a bit through the last hour or two of our flight.

As we struggled to understand what each other was saying, I was able to determine that this guy had one son in the United States and six sons in Munich. He was on his way back to Albania from visiting his son in the U.S. I talked with him about my little girls (again, the best we could) and it really helped to pass the remainder of the flight.

At one point, I decided to try to ask his name, so the only way I knew how was, “What is your name?” I knew as soon as I said it that he probably wouldn’t understand, so I immediately followed with, “My name is Jonathan. What is your name?” (again) He thought I was saying something about money and we just moved on to something else.

I decided a bit later to try again, so thinking of how I could convey my question, I pointed to myself and simply said, “Jonathan.” I then pointed at him to indicate I wanted to know his name. I was finally able to determine that his name was “Navrus.”

I realize to some people that this may not be very interesting, but to me it was a new experience that helped me to think a bit more outside of myself and how to relate to people who may not understand what I am saying…I just got more immediate feedback of the misunderstandings. While it was frustrating at times to try to get our points over to the other, it was still fun to work through the challenges…and, it did make the rest of the flight go by a little faster.

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