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Thursday, 18 March 2021

Umbrella

A sunny though bitterly cold March day precluded our usual walk. I decided to tidy the closet by the entry instead and smiled when I discovered them. Our travel umbrellas were at the back of the shelf, there since our last trip several years ago. The compact devices, perfect for tucking into a bag, delivered much more than expected the last time my husband and I used them.


The temperature was different that day in late spring. We had spent the day in Budapest, exploring the city, including a tour, sightseeing on our own and trying some delicious food. We were ready to head back to Vienna, an exciting place in itself. Meanwhile, the skies had opened and it poured but we had umbrellas.


We stood under the eave of an old building although it was raining so hard our feet were soaked from the water pouring off the overhang and the umbrellas. Meanwhile, a young Muslim couple came and stood in front of us, getting soaked as they waited with the group. I tapped her on the shoulder and invited them to share our umbrellas.


They accepted the offer and we conversed with them while we waited for the bus. The eventual ride back to Vienna became more interesting than any tour could provide. They were a young Kuwaiti couple; he was a student of engineering in Cardiff, Wales and like us, they were in Vienna on vacation, taking day trips to neighbouring cities. She put her career on hold while he completed his degree. 


Luckily for us, there was a huge traffic jam that day and the trip back to Vienna was much longer than scheduled. This gave us more time to talk which was great. We learned about life in Kuwait, how it compares to other Arab countries and the couple’s experience in Cardiff. My husband and I had been to Cardiff the previous year so we shared our experiences as well. We talked about life in Canada and our part of it, Newfoundland, at that time.


Our lives were similar. While our cultures, religious beliefs and environments were different, it soon became evident how much we had in common. Family was as important to them as it was to us. They valued Art, Music and Literature as well as Science and History like we did. What made us similar was so much more than what separated us.


Borders meant nothing to us. Politics and religion weren’t an issue. Learning about each other's lives was all that mattered. The world expanded for us through the lives of two wonderful young people who accepted the offer to share umbrellas. We would share them again in a heartbeat.

34 comments:

Elephant's Child said...

Oh yes. All of us have MUCH more in common than we realise (and sadly more than some people will admit).
I am so glad that the skies opened that day and new friends were made.

Mage said...

How wonderful you had this time together.

Martha said...

This is such a beautiful story Marie, it brought tears to my eyes. I have had similar experiences and have are priceless memories from them. There is so much ugly prejudice in the world and it just breaks my heart.

bill burke said...

A wonderful memory from your travels and all because you shared a space under your umbrella. The story is priceless, thanks for sharing.

Rhodesia said...

Amazing how items can bring back such great memories and so interesting to find people to chat to. Keep safe Diane

William Kendall said...

Quite a conversation!

Debra She Who Seeks said...

What a wonderful memory! Everyone in the world should get along like that! What a different place it would be then.

DJan said...

Darn! Blogger ate my comment! I just wanted to say thank you for introducing me to this interesting couple and giving me a prompt for a post or two of my own! :-)

Boud said...

How great that you shared the umbrellas and opened up a world. Lovely account.

Joanne Noragon said...

A good day for everyone.

MARY G said...

What a marvellous story. I wish I could share an umbrella with you some day.

Tanza Erlambang said...

nice story and an excellent example that we can share with others, because we are the same in common, actually.

# as a student from southeast Asian country a long time ago, many Danish can accept me, but only a few are not.

Red said...

Key thing here is learning about lives. all the other mumbo jumbo doesn't matter.

Ruth Hiebert said...

Thanks for sharing this wonderful story.

peppylady (Dora) said...

If religion and politics stay out of things. Usual we all would have a great conversations.
Coffee is on

Ginnie said...

What a touching story, Marie, of what happens when we just share our umbrellas and listen to what people have to say! If only we could have a collective umbrella that covers the entire earth!

eileeninmd said...

What a lovely memory and trip! It is nice to meet new people while traveling.
It is a learning experience! Take care, enjoy your weekend!

David M. Gascoigne, said...

I think it was Rudyard Kipling who wrote, "What do they know of England who only England know?" I think you have just illustrated, Marie, that travel is indeed the most enriching event that can happen to any of us.

baili said...

one of the most beautiful story and how beautifully shared by you dear Marie !

the line " what made us similar was much more than that separated us " brought tears in my eyes ,thought of world when such thing will not exist anymore and people will share life and heart openly and more often made me hopeful too.

Umbrella in your story became a symbol of heart where we invite others and share it with them on the base of only one realty that should matter Humanity!
thank you for being inspirational my amazing friend!

Susan Zarzycki said...

Such a lovely memory for you to hold onto. Thanks for sharing it with us.πŸ’–

Anvilcloud said...

What a great experience, and it happened because you were thoughtful and generous.

Salty Pumpkin Studio said...

Beautiful experience
Umbrella Day, 10 February is a favorite holiday made better because I'll remember your travel story.

Susie of Arabia said...

I loved reading this post. Travel broadens our horizons and our minds like nothing else can. I know far too many Americans who have never traveled and have no desire to. They are intolerant and stagnant and are at the root of the problems America faces now.

The Padre said...

Go Team Human

Cheers

Beside a babbling brook... said...

A lovely memory.......

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Margaret said...

This is a wonderful memory. I too have met people during my travels and learned so much about them and myself. I helped a German couple in Paris once many years ago. They didn't speak any French, and I dredged up every bit of my 2 years of college German.

Debbie said...

such a natural extension of kindness became so much more. isn't that wonderful!! and isn't it wonderful to enjoy a traffic jam instead of being upset...again, more time, i too would have relished in that. i talk to everyone i meet and i learn too how our lives are similar or dissimilar, both are enjoyable!!

such a sweet story, i wonder how many times they have thought of you!!

Rose said...

I love meeting people from other places....we used to have a neighbor that was from Lithuanian and she had an old man from over there, too...that lived with her. His granddaughter and her husband and daughter came to visit one year at Christmas.

They could not speak a word of American nor us their language, but Elana had brought a book that translated words back and forth...we all spent one whole afternoon together and had a ball. And I still think of her...

I worked with two Korean girls...though we don't see each other now, if we ran into each other, it would be like we had never been apart. We worked and didn't really have a lot of time to visit...but how I wish I had asked them more about life before they came to America. They worked inside grading apples in the fall, and I was mostly out picking apples, etc.

Barbara said...

Wow. That was a great memory you got to relive.

Lorrie said...

Such a lovely memory of time spent with new friends. You are so right in saying that we all have far more in common than what separates us. I love finding out about different cultures.

Goldendaze-Ginnie said...

A lovely remembrance Marie. A friend and I had a somewhat similar adventure in Italy when a young couple from Germany (who visited there often) took us under their wings and taught us the ins and out of that wonderful country.

judee said...

Your posts are a delight to read- I love your writing and such a beautiful memoralble story..

PerthDailyPhoto said...

Half the enjoyment of traveling is meeting and finding out more about other cultures than our own and as you say Marie more often than not it can be very similar to our own. Loved the recounting of your memory ver much πŸ’™

contempladoraocidental.blogspot.com said...

Living in one of the most multicultural cities in the word, I have had many similar opportunities... but those encounters abroad are even more special.