What you do is put in a coin to unlock a cart and after shopping, you simply return the cart, lock it back up and get your coin back. Easy if you know what to do, but pretty stupefying if you've never done it before and you're still recovering from jet lag. ;o)
There I was trying to get a cart unlocked and a sweet woman named Lucy stopped to help me. She spoke only a few words of English so we spoke "Frenglish" and performed some charades as well. Once I had my cart, we chatted some more and I learned her son is studying at a university in New York. Cool, I thought. We exchanged contact info and that was that.
Two, I learned so much about this sweet woman's life. It reminded me of the fact:
Every person has a story to tell
if only we will take the time to listen.
Lucy was born in Portugal in the 1950s. She was the 11th of 12 children (yes, you read that right!). However, seven of her siblings died at young ages due to a lack of medical care. Her family lived on a farm in a remote village and struggled to get by. Lucy grew up working on their farm where they grew almonds, grapes for making wine, olives for making oil, fruit and other various things. She went to school from 6 to 10 years old, but then worked at home from 11 to 18 years old. Her parents believed a woman's place was at home, not in the outside workforce or in school.
When she moved to Luxembourg, she only spoke Portuguese, however over time Lucy taught herself Luxembourg's three national languages: French, German, Luxembourgish as well as Italian and Spanish. She never went to language school! She learned by listening to others speak and getting together with people to chat (like she did with me today!!!).
Several years after moving to Luxembourg, she had a son named Dany. She raised him as a single mom and now 25 years later, Dany is working towards a Ph.D at a university in Buffalo, New York. They talk about once a week on the phone, but don't see each other that often given the distance. Lucy lives alone in Luxembourg and gets lonely from time to time as she no longer has any family living in Europe. In addition, due to some medical issues, she was recently forced to retire. Now she spends her days at home, tending her garden, going to the grocery store and befriending people like me! :)
Are you taking time to befriend someone today? How about taking someone to coffee who just moved to town? You never know how one kind deed or one kind word can make someone's day!
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