We’re an American family living just outside of Bitburg, in the scenic but often-damp Eifel countryside of far-western Germany. We got the crazy notion to buy a haus here, and even though it’s not the renovated barn/carriage house/crumbling country manor of our dreams, it’s pretty cool—when the plumbing and heating are working properly. When we aren’t traveling, we live a pretty quiet life. Stop by for frequent doses of Gemütlichkeit, which just basically means a sense of coziness and intimacy--and an unhurried pace to counter the frenetic nature of modern life. Doctor's orders! Oh, and a special hello to anyone visiting from the Spangdahlem Air Base community!
"I see you made it to the flea market, after all."
"What? Oh, the egg--yes. I found just the one I wanted," Ella called from the kitchen.
"Did you get anything else?"
"No, that's all I bought. I got a bit sidetracked, Amy. That egg and I, we kind of had an adventure." Ella set the tea tray down on the antique chest that she'd put to use recently as a coffee table.
"An adventure? Tell me more!" Amy reached for a cookie and bit into it, while Ella poured the tea.
"Well, just after I paid the woman at the booth for my egg, I kept on walking. It was getting a bit late, and many of the vendors were beginning to pack up. I stopped at one more table to drool over some French enamel things, but then I saw why most of them hadn't sold--they were asking way too much."
"Where does the adventure part come in?"
"Patience, Amy. I was about to leave the market when this guy came up to me--just stepped in front of me, out of the blue. He had this goofy smile on his face. He said, 'I know this will sound weird, but you look really familiar. Were you on an overnight train a few years ago going from Prague to Amsterdam?'
I just said,'Um, yeah, I was. Why?'
'I think we were in the same sleeping car. You were talking to your friend about this Russian egg you'd found in Prague, laughing about how you'd pretended to be French so the guy you bought it from wouldn't think you were a gullible American who would pay whatever he asked. I offered you a cigarette. You took it but didn't smoke it. Am I right?'
'I'm sure he could already tell by the look on my face that I was that girl. I recognized him then, remembered taking that cigarette from him but not wanting to smoke it in front of him, because I didn't smoke and didn't want to look stupid trying."
"Are you serious, Ella? You really pretended to be French so you could get a good deal on an egg?"
Ella laughed. "Sorry, but it's true. And to add to it, I even tried out being French again later in our Amsterdam hotel. I pretended to be a French girl visiting her two American friends at the hotel so I wouldn't have to pay to stay the night. But hey, I was out of money from buying that egg--and a few other things!"
"Wow. So back to the present--what happened with this guy?"
"He asked if I wanted to go somewhere for coffee. I did, and we ended up spending hours together, mostly walking. Somehow we managed to stop by his apartment, where he said he'd like to show me something. Yeah, I know! But guess what that 'something' was? An assortment of about twenty Russian eggs, similar to my two. He said he'd started collecting them after our encounter on the train. Before I found my egg this morning, he'd seen it and wanted it, but something told him not to buy it. You know, this may sound crazy, but I'm thinking our eggs could be very happy together."
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