Monday, January 25, 2010

Jed & Susanne

Every day the Costa Pacifica edited a little four-page newspaper called Today which contained a message from the captain as well as any important announcements of meetings or activities. This paper, which was printed in (at least) four different languages, was distributed in the evening to each cabin.

Each issue started with the Captain's commentary summarizing the route he expected to follow during the day, the distance we'd cover, any interesting historical or geographical notes concerning our next port of call and other various bits of interesting information.

We hadn't been long at sea before Sarah noticed that Italian lessons would be given at three in the afternoon of the next day in one of the lounges. Not knowing what to expect, we decided nevertheless to check it out and see — both of us having a love for the language but, aside a few words and phrases, little else.

Well, we turned out to be two of perhaps a dozen or so passengers with much the same idea. It was a fun class and we did our "homework" and took it quite seriously and ended up with a much better grip on the language.

During one of the courses, which were mostly conversational, I seemed to overhear a man opposite me say something about being from Canada. He was a nice-looking man with thinning hair, about my age, and with a soft voice and he was at the course, like me, with his wife, who sat next to him. I found an opportunity after the class to strike up a conversation with him and imagine my interest and surprise to find that he was not only from Canada, but, in fact, from Edmonton!

His name was Jed and we ended up chatting for over an hour about the cruises they've been on (this was not their first) and what places they particularly enjoyed. When we got around to work I found that he was a professor at the University of Alberta teaching Negotiation in the Business Studies department.

I've been so long away from the milieu of higher education that I found this amazing to think of; both from a student's point of view, as from a teacher's. It just goes to show how much I still have to learn and how locked one can be in one's own world.

Anyway, during this time Sarah was enjoying his wife Susanne's company. She's apparently worked in many countries around the world in an official capacity through divers organisations of the United Nations. Though Jed lives in Edmonton, and has for the last thirty or forty years, she lives in Austria — she just can't get used to the idea of living in Canada!

Well, we ran into each other often during the trip and even found ourselves together all day on the Assisi excursion (more of that later). We exchanged email addresses and will try to keep in touch. They are a nice couple and meeting them was another highlight of our trip.

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