The other day, I found myself speaking with a total stranger about where our parents came from. It seems we both had a parent from Hungary, so I asked her, “Where in Hungary?” I saw the gears grind to a halt behind her eyes, and decided to try something. I shifted my stance alongside hers.
“Hungary is here,” I said, placing my angled left hand in front of us. “The former Czechoslovakia is above it, here.” I placed my right hand above my left, tilted. “Remember, Hungary is this big country here,” I repeated, “and the Czech Republic–it’s not Czechoslovakia anymore, remember–is here.” She nodded. Comprehension was beginning to dawn. “Poland is over here.” My right hand moved just right of its previous position. I reiterated, very quickly, “Hungary. Czech Republic. Poland. Right?” In a space of a minute, I had overcome her obvious apprehensions about geography. She was delighted that she could “see” what I “saw”.