This is my friend and colleague, Daniela. She was born in Poland and became a lawyer and a judge before coming to America twenty or so years ago. She got a job at my company doing secondary work in the factory. She did not understand a word of English. She hurt herself and they put her on "light duty" in the front office, assisting the Costing clerk in Accounting. It didn't take them long to figure out she had a crackerjack brain.
I befriended her when I discovered her love of Art. My mom and I put together a paintbox for her when I found out she had had to leave all those things behind in Poland. It turns out we have some amazing things in common. Although Daniela is about nine days older than I am, she celebrates her Name Day - which is my birthday. And she started working at our company on my birthday. We have sons who studied the same thing (computers) and attended the same college.
We came to be friends and we work very well together. I don't think at all the way she does, and she thinks that's great. Together we solve big problems. When she was learning English I used to berate our colleagues for talking down to her. "She may not have the language skills," I told them, "but she's freaking smart. Don't treat her like a baby. Just give her a minute to do the translation in her head and she'll catch up."
Daniela is now the Vice President of Finance, and actually, I work for her, but that doesn't get in the way of our friendship. We share shopping stories, cat stories, and sweets. Daniela loves chocolate.
I've been wanting to make her a quilt for a couple of years now, but each time I thought I had one she'd like, one of my family members would step forward to claim it. Last fall when I was beginning to work on this quilt (at the time it was called Snaps), Daniela told me that she wanted to buy a red couch, but her husband had talked her out of it. Daniela has her own terrific sense of style.
As the Snaps quilt grew, I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that it would go to Daniela. I sent it off to be quilted, but that was delayed by events beyond my control. In the meantime, I needed a name for the quilt. I talked to my son, and said I wanted a name of some type of candy, because the colors were sweet, and Daniela liked them. None of the names we came up with really sang for me, so we turned to the internet. "What about names of candy from Poland?" I asked my son. Every time Daniela returns from a trip to Poland she always brings back some chocolates. Maybe we could find a Polish candy.
My son found Ola Pola, a chocolate wafer candy from the Ukraine. As soon as I heard it, I knew it was perfect. When Chris emailed me to say the quilt would be delivered to me at work on Friday, I knew my weekend would be spent finishing the quilt. I've never finished a quilt so quickly, or spent two solid days on the couch handsewing the binding down. Arthritis be damned, I wanted to give Daniela her quilt as soon as I could.
So I made a "ribbon" out of leftover orange fabric, tied it in a bow around the quilt, stuffed it in a plastic bag, and brought it to work with me on Monday. Needless to say, Daniela loves everything about the quilt, including the big floral print on the back.
Now, she says, she's definitely going to buy that red couch, and she won't let her husband talk her out of it.