I believe in this world of strangers, there are people who only exist in your world during that brief one second when you make eye contact, and people whom you meet and make incredible connections with, and sometimes meeting them will change your life in ways that you can never imagine. It was during the last dregs of Spring in Japan that I met Petra, a strong, beautiful woman with an equally beautiful mind.
Petra translates into rock in German. In many ways, Petra was like a rock. She likes and she doesn't like. She likes watching movies, technology, seafood. She dislikes bad table manners, the heat, camps. She has a dogged determination to master Japanese, no easy task I can assure you. Most importantly, she was my rock. She pulls me back when I am too far off in my fantastical world. She scolds me back into reality. She taught me my German numbers. Together we could eat thirteen plates of sushi in one seating, watch a detective Japanese movie without subtitles AND understand the story, just simply walking and talking for hours.
It was strange because despite our very different backgrounds, and having never met before, I felt that I have known her for the longest time.
During one of our first dates, we sat on a wooden bench, eating strawberries and tomatoes that were in season. I don't quite remember what we talked about, but I know I found her a little strange, and she thinks I'm weird too (for eating strawberries and tomatoes together), but I didn't mind. I felt comfortable enough to be myself around her.
Petra laughed at my taking pictures of trees (she finds trees like these mundane because she sees them all the time back in Venice). I laughed at her attachment to her iPhone.
Together we laughed at the Japanese who were walking their tiny Chihuahuas and Pomeranians.
Petra, I miss you.