We left Malmö this morning early, around 7:30 a.m., to take Michelle to the Copenhagen airport. It was a quiet car ride. We all hugged goodbye, and I apologized for the trip not working out for us all and wished her well. The drive continued through Denmark to the ferry port in Gedser. We loaded the van on board then found some seats up on deck. I was hoping to sleep or at least be quiet for the two hours on the ferry, but a Danish couple sat down across from us. We ended up chatting the whole way, and they were really lovely. Per and Lisbet are pensioners from Denmark on their way to Italy for a two-week holiday. They are driving their RV, which they called something else. Per is a professional storyteller. He does Santa Claus and Hans Christian Anderson as well as two other characters. Lisbet is a special educator at the elementary level and proud mom and grandma. She talked about the time she hitchhiked to Afghanistan in her 20’s (!!!!!). Her voice was mild and her eyes were kind. Per was charming and spoke about himself, America, travel, politics, and more.

We haven’t met many people on this trip. I don’t think we had any in Istanbul or Paros. In Athens, we met Theo’s colleague Vasilis and his wife Fotini over one of the best dinners of all time there. I’m still so touched by their generosity. In Kerry, Ireland, everyone we met was a conversationalist. From the B&B hosts to the taxi driver to the pub patrons at Caitin’s who just happened to have grown up down the road from our place in County Meath, we had good conversations and witty banter. I recognized how deprived I had been of new conversation with new people when the owner of the Indian/Bangladeshi restaurant in Edinburgh regaled us with bits of his life story. So when we connected with another of Theo’s colleagues - James - and his wife Natalie and their three kids in Stockholm I was grateful. We had an old-fashioned playdate and dinner with them at a great playground and then a delicious Mexican taco place.

three people posing for a selfie in a playground

We don’t often get to meet our Airbnb hosts, either. We did in Donore. Erin was so patient waiting for us and greeted us warmly and with scones! It was nice to chat. Kyle in Dublin was a primary school teacher working a side venture in real estate. Joost was accommodating and personable and I wish we could have spent more time with him in Amsterdam. He traveled around the world once in his youth, and having four kids himself he really understood the significance of what we’re doing with our three this year. Although I didn’t meet Emilie, our Malmö host, in person, I felt a kinship with her and have kept up a correspondence. I hope our “staying put” time in Germany will help us reach out to and connect with more people.

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