I usually don’t schedule much on Mondays because they have a way of filling up without any help from me. But, this week a client had a huge gap in her schedule (which is rare) so I agreed to meet her at a Starbucks across the street from Mission Valley Mall.
I called a taxi and then headed downstairs to wait for it. Our building seems to be difficult to find, probably because there is no name or number on the building. I’ve come to enjoy the game.
I’m looking up 6th Street and I see a taxi that has parked and the driver is looking around. He’s just got to get through one more light and he’ll be to me. I start waving in hopes that he’ll catch a glimpse of me. Sure enough he sees me but he’s in the far right lane and I’m on the left side of the street. Without even looking he makes a horizontal move across all lanes and heads right for me.
I smile inside because I can already tell this is going to be an adventure!
My driver is young, energetic and speaks with the most fabulous accent. I tell him where I’m headed and then he begins to talk my ear off. From Apple computers, to the weather, to San Diego he’s full of questions for me. I then ask him where he’s originally from. He turns around and with a wide, proud smile says, Uzbekistan! I love it, this is a first for me. I tell him that I lived in Albania and that I love to travel…something got lost in the translation and he came out the other end of dialogue believing that I’m Albanian.
I decide it’s really not worth trying to correct…this was more fun anyway.
I need to add that at this point we were maybe seven minutes into the drive and I felt like I’d been in at least three near death experiences. Just before we got on the freeway we were at a red light and he ran it after looking both ways! Driving is quite a dangerous sport in most countries. I remember when I first moved to Albania I couldn’t look out the window and I subconsciously would hold my breath until I arrived at my destination. Their system works for them, but it takes some getting used to.
Sixteen countries and many years later, I’m enjoying this crazy ride.
This is what I miss about living overseas – unexpected adventures, new friends and something worth writing home about. I was so wrapped up in the conversation I only looked around once we are sitting in the parking lot of Fashion Valley Mall. Oh no, wrong mall. I tell him that I need to go to Mission Valley Mall. He turns around with a blank look and says, I only know this mall, I just moved here in June. Thank goodness there’s a GPS in every phone today.
I could tell he was embarrassed because he silently listened to every move “Jill” on the GPS told him. When we finally pulled up to the correct Starbucks he apologized and wanted to take three dollars off my fare. What he didn’t know was he had made my day and gave me 30 minutes in another country without ever leaving San Diego county.
As I got out of the cab I paused and thought to myself…
Oh, this is LIVING!
Hungry for More, A. Monika
p.s. If there are typos, spelling or grammar mistakes in this post don’t worry about. Those are the kinds of things I’ve worried about for FAR too long. It’s time to just get it out and who cares if it’s not perfect, it’s from the heart!