This woman told us a story and we were listening to this:
“”It is centuries ago now, but there was once,
one language and many different people.
Those different people together started to build a high tower.
A very high tower.
A very, very high tower.
The people wanted to reach God.
The people wanted to become like God.
The people reached very, very high.
But God said: No, this is not such a good idea,
and then God gave them all their own language.
And that is the trouble we face at the moment.””
This was the story that this woman told us. And it was a random, glorious moment.
She was standing there on one side of the tiny bridge. And we were sitting at her feet, halfway the bridge.
And in between us was the time. And in between was the impossibility of understanding each other. For her, our rambling Dutch, all speaking together and all at once….and for us her fast speaking Croatian.
And we only could understand each other with the bridge of the words of our translator.
And what was it what she did?
She randomly passed on wisdom in a very authentic way. But if you don’t understand the words, it seems to me that you find other ways to listen, see and sense, as if the rumour of words isn’t standing in the way yet.
She was born in this village out in the middle of former Yugoslavia, and this woman and the surroundings of the ancient village and the nature seem to be in such harmony. Even the way she was dressed, not made up in a beautiful folklore way, but in plain black. Showing that the past also had black pages of pain and war. She had seen at least two wars in her life and could have heard the stories from her mother from the first World War. But than on a bigger scale going back longer ago to the ancient story of the tower of Babel.
It always strikes me how such random moments can be the most glorious ones.
And on a bigger scale in nature, where low mountains surrounding the place, far away from the main road, internet or phone. The road really leading to the -middle of nowhere- (even on Google maps..)
It is a restored village that some people have turned into a museum, where you can stay and live among the twenty five people who still live there. And that makes it unique. Normal life goes on as it did in the decades and centuries before. Attributes and utensils showing that the past doesn’t seem very far away.
If you ever look for a nice place to stay not too far from us, this can be a good option. (one hour drive) More about Stara Kapela: website about the village (eko-ethno village)
The Croatian language has the same alphabet as we have. Just 6 more letters and combinations. It is a Slavic language. German has four cases which is for many Dutch people hard enough to learn, but Croatian has seven cases, which seems to me rather overwhelming.
And I will need a long breath. I agree with friend Nina who translated the final sentence from the woman:
And than, God gave them their own language,
And that is the trouble we face at the moment!
But one day…. we will get there! Jelle and I are having lessons twice a week. Jelle is understanding the grammar much better than I do. But I don’t have much trouble talking to people on the street or at the market;)
Many of you have been very patient with me while I was learning English. (and I am still learning…) Thank you for your patience and encouragement. It definitely helps me now. If I did this once, I must be able to do it again. Don’t you think so?
One day at the time. Step by step, word by word.