In my efforts to get a messenger bag that 'works,' I spent some time at Old Navy and Target, more to look at stuff I WON'T want to buy so I'll have an idea of what I DO want to buy. Well, the first stop was Old Navy, and I bought a bag there. I liked it, but was a little skeptical. I felt like I was wasting time, so I decided to get it. The size is great, and the material is rugged, but I didn't know if it had enough pockets, etc. I broke down and went to the cashier expecting to fork over the $25 it was going to cost. Turns out, my total was just barely over $6. Six!!! That thriled me. It wasn't until this morning that I realized the little journal I bought for the trip fits swimmingly into the little interior pouch. It wasn't until this morning as well that I noticed some extra pockets and pouches that fit my mp3 player, pens, etc. and that thirlled me.
That having been said, I was happy with my purchase, but strolled into Target to finish up some other odds'n'ends. I saw a lady shelving women's shoes, and her nametag read 'Lana.' I asked her a question I already knew the answer to, and she responded with rolled r's and non-English vowel qualities. I asked her where 'Lana' came from, and she said 'It's Russian.' Need I relate my ecstasy? We talked for probably fifteen minutes, and (maybe it was just the coffee, but) I was as comfortable and conversational as I've ever been. We discussed our families and backgrounds, and she wanted to know where I grew up in Russia. She laughed when I told her I was American, and then apologized profusely when she realized I was serious. She speaks German as well, but not very much, so we continued in Russian, but I was on top of my game and kept my cool. I have her contact information and will be ~following up~. I didn't discuss the reasons for our foreign language interest, but she lives in our territory, so we'll see. It was amazing.
Things are almost completely finished coming together for Asia. Holy crap: it's just over a week away.