Girl Talk, Friday
Within 30 minutes of arriving in Brussels, I turned into a pathetically lost American. My cell phone service, which was supposed to access coverage in most of Western Europe, failed to connect to a network. Google Maps and Google Translate were useless. And, I had no paper backup map. I wondered for what seemed like hours through streets that all looked the same.
Tired, I stopped to scan the area for a potential guide. I saw a young impeccably dressed woman wearing a hijab. Her face had an open luminescence that I had not seen since I arrived on the Continent. I found the courage to ask for directions in stilted French. ( I don't know what I would have done if she had answered me in any of the other languages floating in the air around me.)
"Where are you from?" She asked, after offering to walk with me to my destination because she was going in the same direction.
"United States. But I moved to Paris several months ago."
"You came this far alone ?"
During the five minute stroll to Grand Place she displayed the interview skills of Oprah.
"Yes...yes, I did." Why had I forgotten that?
"Your french is good. You should have more confidence. Then you will practice more. And one day soon, you will be fluent. "
And then, she said in impeccable English, "I want to go to New York City one day, soon. I think now, I can go by myself."