Posted by: ourtravelingcircus | July 20, 2012

The gift shop

Lured by the little cart full antiques near the canal in Ossenzijl, I went down the path to a small cottage store behind this house. It was just the sort of store I’ve been looking for on this trip, and I was enjoying browsing the items when the owner came in with a smile and spoke to me in Dutch. I apologized for not being able to speak it and she switched to English, asking if I was from England and I said no, Tennessee in the United States. She said, “Oh, I was born in the United States, in Michigan.”

I said, “I was born in Michigan.”

I guess she thought I had just repeated her sentence because she said, “No really. I was born in Michigan.”

I said, “I live in Tennessee but I was born in Michigan, in Grand Rapids.” She looked incredulous and said, “Me too!”

It was just bizarre. We just laughed when we established that she had lived in Grandville and I in Kentwood. We proceeded to have a fascinating conversation. Her parents both emigrated to GR as kids and then moved back here when Marla, the shop owner, was ten. She said she could say about a dozen Dutch words at the time she came here. What was especially funny to me was that she has more of a residual Michigan accent than I do. Even she could hear that. She said she feels more confident speaking in Dutch now, grammatically, but English feels more comfortable coming out of her mouth.

I found the perfect little item for my Mom’s display box in the shop. Marla refused my money and said, “No, no you’re getting this from me!”



  1. Wow, unbelievable! What a neat (and I’m sure unforgettable) experience!!

  2. It IS a small world after all. (Apologies if that’s still going through your head at 3 a.m.)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: