Monday, November 8, 2010
In Warsaw, I spent most of one day by myself while Ryan taught. It was fun and quiet, like solitude can be. I felt so adventurous flying solo with only a couple of poorly pronounced Polish words in my pocket. I wandered in and out of shops, walked up and down the streets, and even took my lone self to lunch at a tiny café where I ordered a mile-high chicken sandwich and a tiny bottle of "Coke Light."
The sandwich was so grand, I took out my camera and documented it because there was no one across the table from me to appreciate its ginormousness. I deconstructed it with a knife and a fork, eating it in awkward pieces and wishing I had ordered the spaghetti instead.
After lunch, I wandered more. I people-watched and listened to my iPod. It was strange to have the soundtrack of my regular, suburban life playing in my ears in this foreign place. I almost turned it off, but then decided to keep it on in hopes that the next time I heard those songs they would remind me of Warsaw.
There was only one real task on my agenda and that was to find the street vendor with the oil paintings. We'd picked out a favorite two days before and tried to give the man a low-ball offer, being the savvy travelers that we are. (Smirk.) He counter-offered, but only for a little less. Our counter-counter-offer was to walk away and tell him we'd think about it. He let us walk away, which led me to believe that we'd reached the lowest price.
I left my art buying until the end of the afternoon. I found the little side street where he set up shop and reminded him of our last negotiated price. He smiled as he put the painting in an old Hugo Boss plastic bag and exchanged it for my money, tipping his hat as I walked away to meet up with Ryan.
The statue in the square was our meeting place, but it was crowded with a bunch of teenagers, so I found a spot nearby where I could wait and watch for Ryan. He spotted me before I found him. He gave a nod and then grinned as I walked toward him.
"What?" I asked, smiling back.
"I would pick you out of a crowd," he said and pulled me close.