I think I’d like to go back to Krakow some day, as what little I saw of it did seem really lovely.
I had a nice final night there, sitting in a bar with Mr. Happy, who gave me a great deal to think about in terms of how I’ve been looking at everything: the Break-Up, my future, being alone. Yesterday, for the first time, I took my own thoughts and combined them with my conversations with Mr. Happy and McBouncy, and decided to try to look at things differently. Bitterness and blaming will get me nowhere. I’m moving forward.
Mind you, I have no job and no plan, but I’ll figure something out and get back out there on my travels again once I manage to gather up some funds. It’s nice to be back amongst friends and family for a while, and I have no doubt that I’ll soon bounce back and be filled with enthusiasm once more!
The journey back to NI went smoothly, and I had no time for moping, because as I was in line for check-in I was approached by a woman and her daughter, who began speaking to me in a language that I didn’t know. I caught a variation of the world “Belfast”, though, and nodded. “Yes, this is the line for Belfast”, I replied with a smile. They looked at each other, realising that I only spoke English, and tried saying something else. “I’m sorry, I don’t understand”, I said apologetically, and they moved away somewhat reluctantly.
Ten minutes later, they were back, and the daughter – about 13 years old – approached me nervously, having obviously rehearsed what she was going to say. In very broken English, she said “Can I go with you? I am first time fly.”. I was momentarily confused, then it dawned on me when she repeated her question.
“Yes, yes… I’ll look after you, if you want!” I replied with exagerated nods to show that I understood. The mother didn’t speak a word of English, but thanked me in her own language, looking genuinely relieved and grateful. I have no idea why they insisted that it had to be me. Everyone behind me and in front of me in the queue was speaking Polish; it seemed a little odd that they opted for the only English-speaker to take charge of the girl. But I’m glad that they did.
Instead of gazing mopily at the deartures board and wallowing in unnecessary feelings of failure, my journey was spent guiding the child through the process that is now as natural to me as sending an email or cooking dinner. I helped her check in, put her bag on the conveyor belt, took her with me through the busy airport, showed her what to do going through security, brought her to the gate and got us seats together on the plane. When she looked frightened during a patch of turbulence that most amusingly sent Julian the flight attendant sprawling across three passengers, I tapped her arm and nodded repeatedly, saying “It’s OK” to reassure her that to the best of my knowledge we weren’t nose-diving into the ground. I stayed with her until she got her bag back at baggage reclaim, and waited with her until she found the woman who was waiting for her outside.
For some reason, the girl’s mother insisted that I be the one to look after her daughter. She didn’t realise that it was the best thing she could have done for me, too. And so I left my self-pity and wallowing behind, and focussed on helping someone else. I can’t say that there will be no more self-pity whatsoever (it’s me, after all!), but I’m determined to make the best of things.
As my commenters have been consistently saying, the only way is up. Let’s go!