I am having a reindeer soup at the indoor market in the city center. I do not go there often but today there is the Reindeer Carnival and I cannot miss it. A lovely lady asks me if she can sit at my same table with her coffee. In Finnish. It does not happen often that a Finn spontaneously decides to join me, especially during the day and far from any pub. Of course I nod. She starts to speak to me, in Finnish again. I kindly answer in English that my Finnish is very poor, but she does not seem to mind.
This is how a lovely 40 minutes monologue begins. In total I get maybe ten sentences of which I am even not completely sure. She probably comes from Inari, Lapland, and she probably lives making woolen clothes. She probably tells me about her family, her son or daughter who travels a lot, her childhood. Sometimes she asks me something. I alternate some "joo" (yes) and some "en" (no) and somehow she understands that I have two daughters and that we speak English together since I can only understand Finnish but not speak it (?!?!). At this point I have no heart to tell her that I have not understood a thing of what she has been telling me. So I continue to nod and smile. At some point she asks me if the soup (which I have already finished) was good. "I got this one" I think and I say a sure "joo". She adds something, to me obscure. I nod. Then she gets up and she starts queuing to get a soup for herself. And I logically understand that I have just promised to wait for her.
When she is back I am able to formulate an excuse about the fact that it is late. Which it is indeed true. She tells me that it was a pleasure to meet me. I answer that it was a pleasure for me too.
Before leaving, I ask her if I can take a picture of her. She smiles shy.