A Chance Encounter in a Foreign Country

In June, I went to a city in Europe because of a business trip. After three or four days of long meetings, it finally came to Friday, one day before the return flight, and I planned to go out alone on Saturday. As a middle-aged woman with a baby, it is really rarer than gold to be able to completely own one day.

After breakfast on Saturday, I took an hour-long interstate train to another small city. The ancient buildings of the 18th century are well preserved, and traces of Renaissance sculpture can be seen everywhere. The whole city is filled with a classical and romantic atmosphere. There are not too many tourists at this time, and Asian faces are rarely seen. After watching the largest old castle in the area, it was almost two o’clock in the afternoon. Following the recommendation of the map software, I came to a very popular small restaurant near the square and found that there was already a queue.

I poked my head over and asked the boss, how long would it take? The boss is a big European guy who is nearly 1.9 meters tall. He is busy preparing dishes and serving them at the same time. He wiped his sweat and said, “How many people are there?”


“Would you like to share the table?” he asked.

Oh, it used to be the same in foreign countries. After thinking about it, I told my boss that it was okay. In fact, in China, under normal circumstances, I am not willing to share a table, but considering the limited time, there are still several places I haven’t visited in the afternoon, so I made up my mind not to waste time waiting for a table.

Turning around, the boss threw the same question to a man in front of me, who also had black hair and looked Asian. After getting an affirmative answer, the boss waved his hand, “Then you two go together, there is a table for two upstairs.”

I was staring at the pile of fresh ingredients, and when I was thinking about what to order, I heard the boss start asking the man what to order. He took out his mobile phone and ordered several dishes from the app’s recommendations. He didn’t have a Chinese accent in English. Maybe he was Asian or ABC, I thought.

There are a total of five or six tables upstairs, most of which are tables for four, and they are all full. The only remaining table for two is a small one in the corner. After I ordered the food and went upstairs, I saw the man sitting next to him The wall position sits.

From his dark skin and his unaccented English, I boldly speculate that he is from Southeast Asia. But these small thoughts just slipped through my mind for a short while. I didn’t intend to talk to him, so I smiled at him and sat down. In order to hide the embarrassment of sitting face to face, I resorted to my usual trick – I took out my mobile phone and started looking through the photos I just took.

Flipping through the pages, I didn’t expect to hear the man on the opposite side say a familiar Chinese sentence: “Do you want to change seats and sit inside?” I was surprised and blurted out, are you Chinese? He said yes. I’m curious, how do you know I’m Chinese? He said, I think you should be Chinese, and foreign girls are generally quite open. We just chatted with each other, introducing where we are from in China and what we are doing here.

Let’s call him L for now. L came here because of the industry exhibition. He came here alone a few weeks in advance to make some preparations. By the way, he took a stroll around and lived in this small town for two days. He is about 1.75 meters tall, and his skin is darker because he often rides outdoors, but this makes his teeth very white, and the contrast is obvious when he smiles.

We chatted about the upcoming itinerary, and found that the places we wanted to go were highly overlapping. We all wanted to go to the castle first, and then take the cruise. I complained that a certain map software was unreliable and took a lot of detours, and wasted a lot of time in the morning. L took the initiative to say that he used Google Maps, which was more convenient.

“Let’s have a companion together?” L extended an invitation to me. For me, who has a very poor sense of direction, this seems to be a difficult reason to refuse. Although I thought it was unbelievable to go out together after meeting in such a short period of time, but L seemed to have done a good job in the strategy, so I agreed in a strange way.

In the past, I would never have imagined that I would be able to travel abroad with a stranger I just met. It may be that seeing compatriots in a foreign country is very cordial, so we have directly upgraded from a temporary meal partner to a travel partner.

On the way to the next old castle, we walked and chatted. I’m not used to chatting too much with people I just met, so during the whole journey, he was mainly responsible for talking, and I was responsible for listening, and then added a few words from time to time. He said that he had studied abroad for many years before returning to work in China, and found that the domestic work pressure was very high. Compared with his foreign colleagues, life was like paddling water. He also said that he is currently single and will be reminded from time to time at home.

As I listened, I responded intermittently, mainly about work. The work he complained about made me feel that he should be younger than me, or at least the working years were shorter than me. I have encountered some problems before, but it is not surprising now. As for life, I feel that I have nothing to share. One is that I am still a little bit wary of people I just met. The other is that there seems to be an invisible wall between those who have children and those who do not have children. It is difficult to understand each other. , Life inside and outside the wall is completely different.

Generally speaking, although there are not many common topics with L, it is still a good experience to travel together. He takes good care of the lady, and will take the initiative to solve any problems. For example, if he encounters a sign on the roadside that he can’t understand, he will take the initiative to ask, and I don’t have to worry about it.

When we were about to reach the old castle, we passed a small fountain. Playing in the water in summer attracted many children, spraying each other with water guns. When I first walked to the fountain, a boy next to me squatted down nimbly. As a result, the water gun of the boy on the opposite side sprayed directly on my T-shirt, and the clothes were wet a lot. The child next to him saw that he had caused trouble, and hurried over to apologize.

But what can adults compare with children? It’s just that I don’t have any other clothes in my bag. Looking around, there are only restaurants, and there is no place to sell clothes at all. When I was embarrassed, L said that he had a T-shirt in his bag, because he was used to carrying one for long-term riding, and if he didn’t mind it, he could change it first. Obviously, I had no other better choice, so I had to change into his clothes first, which were obviously a lot bigger, and then put my wet clothes on the bag and let it dry all the way, hoping that it would dry soon.

After the episode, we toured the castle together. It’s a pity that the old castle is not as tasteful as imagined. After five minutes, there is nothing to see, so we went directly to the cruise ship. The cruise was indeed a good experience. The weather was surprisingly good that day. I stood on the deck, and the sea breeze seemed to blow away all my troubles, leaving only the blue sky, white clouds and waves.

At this time, the little brother who sold the tickets came over, and we both took out the money, but the little brother directly refused my money, saying, men pay, women don’t pay. I hasten to explain, we are not together. As a result, the little brother turned around and said something to L, you didn’t tell her yet? An old couple next to him laughed. All right, the more and more it is getting darker, so I have no choice but to remain silent.

L may also feel a little embarrassed, and suggested to sit in the cabin, saying that the wind is too strong. After he got into the cabin and sat down, he suddenly started an open and honest conversation, and he went straight to the topic, “Can I ask how old you are?”

Fortunately, I was wearing sunglasses, otherwise I don’t know how embarrassing my expression would be. I replied in embarrassment, don’t ask, I’m not a little girl anymore. L refused to give up, and then asked, how old are you? I screamed inwardly that I’m having kids, so stop asking, and had a shameful little chuckle. But the embarrassment was not over yet, L said self-consciously, “I’ve always been the one who said, can’t you see that I’m interested in you?”

This time I was really shocked, and I was not prepared for his sudden bluntness. For me, we have only known each other for a long time, and we have just walked for a while, and we don’t understand many things, how can I say this?

Fortunately, the seats are side by side. Thanks again for my sunglasses. I really don’t know what to say, so I can only reply with an awkward silence. In the end, I still didn’t say my age. I’d love to ask him how old are you but feel like it’s a dead end and if he answers then I should also say how old I am. After a while, I finally found a suitable sentence to say, saying that it is almost 8 o’clock now, and I should take the intercity train back when I landed, it was too late. He asked me when is the last shift? I still haven’t called back.

It takes about half an hour to walk from the pier to the station when the boat docks. His hotel is near the station, and we still go the same way. On the way, he also offered to take me to the station, but I resolutely refused, “I will go downstairs to your hotel later, and I will find a bathroom to change your clothes. I am really sorry that I have no chance to wash them before I give them to you.” L Then I said, “You don’t have to pay it back.” I didn’t say anything, and walked back silently.

When I arrived downstairs at his hotel, I changed my clothes, folded them and put them in a bag and handed them to him, trying to escape this embarrassing scene quickly. L took it, but said, can I hug and say goodbye? I froze for a few seconds, then nodded. Maybe it was because of the stiffness in my limbs, he said forget it, let’s go, goodbye.

So let’s leave it at that.

The night I went back, I tossed and turned for a long time before I fell asleep, thinking about what happened that day and what happened in the past. To be honest, I’m not absolutely devoid of ideas. He wasn’t unattractive to me either. If I hadn’t had kids and I wasn’t married, maybe I would have responded boldly too.

When I was in school, there were some suitors who received a lot of love letters. Even so, I never encountered a situation where I knew each other for a long time and was confessed on the face. I don’t know if this is because I am used to this restraint in Chinese culture, and L is closer to Western habits and thinking patterns. But at that time, the shameful pride in my heart seemed to wake up a long-sleeping self.

Since becoming a middle-aged woman with a baby, from pregnancy to having a baby these years, life cannot be said to be a stagnant pool, but it seems that there is no self. In addition to going to work every day, I just take care of the baby. Sometimes weekends are more tiring than work. My husband can help, but it can only be said that talking is better than nothing. I also know that even if I cross that line, this experience may be just a so-called one-night stand, but that little light seems to illuminate myself, making me realize that I am still a woman, not just a woman. Mother.

I’m still that traditional guy and I don’t take this step lightly. But this experience reminded me that I still have to live on myself, not to be brilliant, but to have that shining moment.

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