She always loves to explore. These days, she’s a college professor who teaches world history. It’s a career she loves because it combines her two favorite things; educating others and discussing global events.
In recent years, she had expressed interest in exploring Eastern Europe. Unlike her past adventures, this was purely for personal reasons. My mother has distant roots to that part of the world. She had a desire to explore her ancestral homeland and learn about her family heritage.
That was the only place she hadn’t visited yet.
The timing wasn’t an issue. I was a college student and my mother was a professor. So that meant we both had breaks during the same time.
And off we went…
It was exactly what I expected. Eastern Europe had a small town rustic feel to it. It was like a hybrid of the very old and the very new. But it was the ‘very old’ which interested my mother. She wanted to see the history behind these countries. She wanted to know how her distant relatives lived.
We traveled from country to country by train. One of those old fashioned trains that are big and loud. But the interior of the train had been renovated for elegance. It was a fun experience. Especially since I had never rode on that kind of train before.
During our last night in an Eastern European city, we took a long walk and admired the city. We looked like typical tourists wandering around. My mother had a camera and she took a lot of pictures.
As we headed back to the hotel, my mother put the camera away. We needed to get our things and get to the train station for an overnight ride.
We were about to cross the street to reach our hotel. A few feet in front of us was an elderly woman who looked like a street gypsy. She seemed to walk onto the street without looking, while a car was speeding her way.
I was about to stop the lady, but my mother did it first. Even in her middle age, my mother still had the reflexes and athletic skills she had when she was younger. She tried her best to always stay in shape.
My mother was able to swiftly grab a hold of the elderly woman before she went in front of on-coming traffic. The old woman immediately realized that she was a split second away from a horrible accident, and she was extremely grateful.
The elderly gypsy thanked my mother in a form of broken English.
“There’s no need to thank me,” mom replied. “I’m just glad you’re safe.”
“You are very nice woman.”
“Oh, please, don’t mention it.”
“You tourist?” the gypsy asked in a heavy accent. “You like country?”
My mother smiled. “I think it’s beautiful here. Some of my ancestors were from here. But that was centuries ago.”
Just then, the gypsy gave my mother a long and hard stare. It was like the gypsy had a deep revelation.
“I can see past. Royal family background. You.”
My mother gave a polite nod. “That’s very nice of you to say. Make sure you have a safe night. We can help you cross the street if you’d like.”
The gypsy took out a tiny metallic ball from her pocket. She spit on it. Then she rubbed her hands together and said something in her language. The gypsy grabbed my mother’s wrist and pulled her hand forward.