Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Never Liked Sundays Anyway

You know, at home in the US, Sunday was a distinct day. I never got out of my PJ's, slept in til noon, and did homework until sundown. It was my relax day. Ohhhh how ironic to think about a relaxing Sunday.

But I suppose I'll begin from well...the beginning. This past week I spent at midstay in Bad Honnef (in between Bonn and Cologne). It was a midstay specifically for Congress Bundestag scholarship winners. Our first rule was "German is the camp language" which was definitely not at all followed. By the end of camp, we even managed to get our camp counselors (betreuers) to be speaking English.

I'd go through details, but they'd be boring. I had absolutely the most amazing time, and we all agreed that we haven't laughed so hard since arriving in Germany. I got absolutely no sleep during the night, to the point when we were given free time, my roommates and I went upstairs, closed the blinds, and took a nap time like a bunch of three year olds.

It's lovely to talk to other Americans doing exactly what your doing. It makes you feel...sane. You realize many have the same problems as you do, and also get to compare your German to others (some came with no German and have better German than I do...fml). But it's amazing times like these that have a price. Returning home everything seems so quiet, the nonstop laughter's gone, and your stuck missing those you left. It happened after my orientation in Washington, after Late Orientation Camp, and now again.

Now to the Sunday Story. Sunday was the day we all went home from camp. I was on literally one hour of sleep and was completely out of it. We said our goodbyes and then a group of us took a train from Bad Honnef to Cologne. From Cologne, I caught a train to Berlin with two other Cbyxers Jack and Mike. Or at least, the train was SUPPOSED to go to Berlin (about 5 hours away). But little did we know that Storm Xynthia (could they have not spelled it with a "C"?), which killed 62 people in France, now hauled ass over to Germany. So what would you know if our train didn't get hit by a tree? And while we were in the middle of nowhere?

So after sitting in a halted train for two hours, watching sparks fly off wires and hearing of a flooded train car, we finally actually went the wrong direction on the tracks back to a small train stop in the middle of nowhere. They had two buses waiting to take us to a real train station where we could catch another train. But those two buses only fit half the people, leaving the other half of us waiting in the pouring rain and wind for another 2 hours before more buses came. We were hungry, and exhausted, and many had small children. Jack and I spent our time playing the game "How could this situation be worst". Finally we caught a half hour bus to the Dortmund Hauptbahnhof. Looking up at the Destination-Board, there was not one train that hadn't been delayed. It was now dark. The next train to Berlin was delayed an hour. We met an English guy and a German who were just as confused and we all went for Turkish tea together before our train came. Upon returning to the train station, it was announced that our train was canceled, as were all the other trains going to Berlin. It was 8 pm, in a town we'd never been in, on a school night, and none of us had working cell phones. My family had expected me home hours ago.

The train station said, "Tough luck. Find a hotel or sleep at the train station". They set up a train that stayed in the train station for people stranded to sleep in. But, Jack Mike and I weren't exactly thrilled to sleep in a train with strangers. So we called AFS who found us a former AFSer living in Dortmund who picked us up, bought us pizza, and gave us a beautiful place to stay. Needless to say, we were lucky. Our host was the nicest German I've ever met. We slept in and caught a 2 o'clock train the next day. It was an adventure, and as stressful as it was I am so thankful for both AFS being there and the fact that I had Mike and Jack with me.

And to add to this story. This is what happened to my shoe at 8 am on Sunday morning. But I said "Oh, no problem, I'll be in a train all day". Little did I know I'd be spending the day walking through the rain, wind, and mud for the next 14 hours.