PS on Friday.  At our hotel in Saskatchewan.
Gosia awakened, showered, and dressed for breakfast. She put on a black shirt that read “Nenana Ice Classic.”
“You think it’s cold out?” asked Gosia.
“Are we in Canada?” I said in my best smartass manner.
We went downstairs from our hotel to approach the breakfast bar. Gosia could not find the hot water for the teabags on the table.
I approached a server as she checked the warmth of fried potatoes and scrambled eggs on half English muffins. She looked midsized and about 40 with cosmetic eyebrows and blondish hair.
She failed to understand me. She pointed to her chest over the top of her apron. “Ukrainian,” she said.
Gosia approached us both. For the next 10 minutes I stood spellbound as Gosia and the server conversed in Russian and some Polish and some sparse Ukrainian.
Gosia excused herself to get hot water for tea. I pointed to the breakfast spread.
“Dziękuję Ci bardzo,” I said to the server.
I hit Gosia with a barrage of questions as we poked at our eggs.
The woman’s husband had heart trouble and so he was excused from the military. They lived three months in Poland but moved to Canada at the invitation of friends.
“Where is she from?” I asked.
“Odesa,” Gosia said. “It is a lovely city.”
I knew about Odesa, sometimes spelled Odessa. It is a busy seaport. I also knew Russia had hit its electric supply, throwing the whole city into cold and darkness in midwinter.
I told Gosia that I marveled at her adeptness at languages.
“Not really,” she said. “Some of the words mixed together in my brain.”
She brightened. Gosia said the server wondered how she learned such good Russian. Gosia explained that she attended school during Russian occupation in Communist times.
“She knew no English,” Gosia said with a laugh. “So she didn’t know that I have an accent.”