#56: With Love from Warsaw

#56: With Love from Warsaw

Several years before I moved to Eastern Europe, a dear friend adopted a little girl, and we became good buddies. When I moved, I asked her to bring me a stuffed animal or doll of hers to take with me. She brought me a perfectly-sized-for-travel Mary Poppins doll. Over the five years I lived there, Mary took on a life of her own. She traveled everywhere with me, insisted on having her picture taken, and was quite sassy all around. I would email the pictures of Mary to my young friend frequently.


Lest you think I’m crazy, I had a wonderful friend who also lived in Eastern Europe and had a sock monkey – Mr. Monkey – who very similarly intruded upon my friend’s life. Over time, Mr. Monkey and Mary Poppins began corresponding with each other. Early in their friendship, Mary sent the following to Mr. Monkey:

Dearest cheeky Monkey,

Just wanted to drop you a line from beautiful, balmy downtown Warsaw. Don’t I look smashing up against all of these old buildings? Well, I haven’t written just to chat. I was wondering if Elizabeth had been swearing as much lately as Melissa has. Honestly, these American girls take such liberties!

Melissa and I went to Warsaw, which I thought was perfectly marvelous, to simply apply for our visas for us to live in Prague. First, she got all rattled unnecessarily when we were riding the metro into downtown this morning and people kept shoving their way onto the car in spite of the fact that there didn’t appear to be any air left in the car. I must admit, I was a little worried about her when she started shaking badly as soon as she smashed us through the crowds and out at the station that she guessed was somewhere possibly near the Czech embassy. I’m not sure she was properly viewing this ambiguity as the exciting cultural experience that it was!

Then, I don’t know why she got so upset that the nice Czech lady at the embassy told her her paperwork was wrong and she would have to go back to Prague, get some more papers notarized and a whole new piece of paper no one knew existed. We love it in Prague! What could be bad about that?

 Well, after we wandered around the city for a while (which I thought was lovely, but Melissa didn’t seem to like), we couldn’t find a phone anywhere to call outside of the country on, so we went all the way across the city to a Sheraton hotel – how exciting! – to learn that indeed, the Polish pay phones CAN call outside of the country, unlike every tabak salesperson told Melissa. She should NOT have called them an inappropriate name, even if no one could hear her but me.

So she finally figured out how the Polish phone cards work (I don’t know why, when she couldn’t figure it out, she started crying – that was extremely unnecessary from my perspective) and called her colleague in Prague, who told her to submit the paperwork anyway and that the nice Czech lady at the Polish embassy didn’t know that the laws had changed. She didn’t seem to enjoy the lovely long walk we had back across town to the embassy, OR the opportunity to get to know all of the nice Russian people in line before her now (she had taken great pains to be there right when the embassy opened this morning).

And then, instead of doing more sight-seeing, which I had loved and enjoyed so much all day the day before while our host locked us out of the house, she decided that we were going to sit at the airport rather than wander around “this God-forsaken city” any more (her words, not mine – I was having a lovely time). So we sat and “rested” at the Warsaw airport for five hours because Melissa was tired and couldn’t imagine lugging her suitcase around anymore. I thought this a tad selfish and lazy on her part, but honestly wondered what she would do should I have aired my thoughts on the matter.

I really thought she was going to go over the edge and that we were going to have to seek hospitalization for her (mentally) when the mini-bus driver that brought us home from the airport slammed the sliding van door into her side, and for a moment (I feel sure she was exaggerating – you know how she can do that) she thought he’d broken her rib. I peeked out at her from the suitcase several times as we continued on, and besides glowering at the driver every time he went flying over a bump, she seemed fine to me!

Well, please get back to me on this matter and let me know if you have any similar concerns. Maybe while they’re eating Thanksgiving dinner together, we should hold a prayer vigil that the Holy Spirit will convict them and show them the error of their ways.

Yours truly,


Melissa sig

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