Introducing our Romanian Guests at the Brunch

April 14, 2009


When S from Romania and her husband F arrived, I was relieved. When they got lost trying to find the mommies’ house and thought about giving up, I had feared they might “bail” on us and not come.

I had been very curious to meet her husband. When he arrived, he struck me as a pleasant and presentable gentleman. In fact, he looked a little to my eyes like Tom Cruise, except not blow-dried and packaged by a Hollywood studio. (When I later mentioned this impression to my wife she told me I am completely incorrect, as she often does.)

S, who is usually very organized and on top of things, was very embarrassed at getting the address wrong. She began to explain that she had used a Live Search map and the map was stuck on a previous address search and kept taking them to the wrong place.

In part to get her to relax, and in part because it is the absolute truth, I said, “When I worked for the library system, my job required me to visit many locations all over a large county (larger than three states). I have a terrible sense of direction and bad eyes that are getting worse. I cannot tell you how many times I got lost. I printed out many maps and drove dangerously trying to look at a map on the seat next to me without  running into buildings and other cars as I wandered lost. When I had to go to new locations, I would leave an hour early and still get lost and still arrive late. Welcome to the club of people who get lost all the time. Also, as I am dyslexic, I might have transposed numbers when I gave you the address, so you’re being late is probably all my fault.”

S replied, “Mary found her way here. It is our fault, not yours.” She said she had eaten earlier and declined to to eat any of our brunch, though her husband did eat some of the quiche and a muffin.

I asked S about her job. She had indeed received a graduate degree from the University of Washington, and then had been hired by the medical school. I am not sure I understand her job, but it involves something to do with distance learning.

She said, “At first, I thought of this as a temporary job and then I thought I would move on to something else.” She hinted that the something else would have involved working for Microsoft (as her husband does). “However, once I started my job at the medical school, I found I love it. I am having a great time.”

My daughter asked about the physical location where S works in the medical school. My daughter is enrolling in graduate school in the fall at the medical school to study “medical genetics.” My daughter said, “I have gone to the building where you work a couple of times for interviews while I was applying and it seemed very easy to get lost in this building.”

S said it is indeed very easy to get lost. “Fortunately, I work in a little temporary ‘portable’ building outside the the main building. When I moved in, the little ‘portable’ building was a terrible mess with furniture that had been dumped there and old papers tacked to the wall and old files piled in corners and it had obviously not been cleaned for a long time, if ever. However, I am the only person there and so I get to set it up the way I like and get my work done without being interrupted, so I love it.”

As I’ve mentioned, S speaks English very well with a slight (and charming) accent. Her English is not only articulate and correct, but also quite colloquial. In the years I have known her, I have sometimes played a little game with her. I will mention some obscure American slang term and ask if she knows it (under the disingenuous excuse of helping her improve her English, which is already probably better than mine, not to mention that my grasp of American slang is probably more out of date than hers). As she described cleaning up the portable building, I said, “The colloquial term in English for what you encountered is “grody.”




Everybody, including Random Granddaughter, got the look on their face that communicates, “Oh, that’s just Grandpa. Ignore him.”

I ignored their looks (as I usually do) and said, “I invited S to our brunch because I consider her an intelligent and charming person and enjoy her company and I figured anybody she would choose to marry would be an intelligent and charming person, and I figured everybody in my family would enjoy her company as much as I do. However, I had an hidden agenda as well, which I will now reveal. My daughter will be attending the medical school this fall, and I think it will be wonderful for her to arrive and know somebody who works there already. If nothing else, she can call S and say, ‘Hi, I am lost in the medical school building. Please guide me.'”

S said, “I will be glad to do so. Let me give everybody my card with my phone number.”


Next; S and F talk about Romania.

5 Responses to “Introducing our Romanian Guests at the Brunch”

  1. woo Says:

    I have a terrible sense of direction – however, I am a decent map reader (mostly because I have to be. Without maps, I would no doubt be lost in the Aussie bush right now, looking for the library…)

    I’d like to shake the hand of the person who invented GPS maps – the ones with a little dot to tell you where you are on the map.

  2. I’m not sure it bodes well that your daughter may be at the direction-mercy of a woman who, um, doesn’t seem to follow directions very well. Perhaps Random Daughter will end up in Romania.

  3. modestypress Says:

    David and woo,

    Perhaps I should get my daughter some sort of GPS device. Once lost, she can examine her device and exclaim, “Woo-hoo! We are in Romania!”

    Thus modern technology improves our lives no end.

  4. S sounds quite interesting. I get lost too, I try never to volunteer to go new places. I find it amusing that her husband who works for Microsoft did not notice that the GPS was set to the incorrect location . . .

  5. modestypress Says:


    Both S and her husband were cordial and cheerful when they arrived at the brunch. If the situation had involved me and my wife, we would have been snarling at each other before arrival, but as guests we would have felt as guests to not “share” with them when we arrived.

    I did not speculate, but accepted their demeanor at face value.

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