Last week I attended a Language Coaching Workshop in Budapest Hungary. Hungary is a neighboring country due East. I took a 3 hour train ride from Vienna to Budapest. There are some of you out there who are thinking,“Oh how nice. A European train ride. Wouldn’t THAT be fun.” I can here my mom saying that and I am guessing there are plenty of people who would enjoy that. Unfortunately, I am not one of them. I find international travel to be nothing less than stressful.
I took the train after Church last week and was to pull in around 7:00pm in Budapest. I had looked up my connections online and knew where to go exactly from the downtown train station to my hotel. Everything was going fine. It even looked like we were pulling in a bit early. Most everyone in the train got off and so did I. To my horror I realized that I had gotten off one stop too early! Stranded, alone, just outside of Budapest. Remember Budapest is in Hungary and it is there they speak Hungarian, not German or English. It only dawned on me then that I should have picked up a phrase book or something. But I hadn’t.
There I was on an empty platform, not able to read anything nor understand a single word of the announcements. I did the only thing I could. I picked up my bags and pretended to know what I was doing and where I was going. Fortunately, there was one other train station that I had seen as I had mapped out my travels from the train station to my hotel. I waited patiently for that train to come and hoped that I could take that one. It was 20 min late and I was getting nervous.
There was one other person waiting. A lady who started talking to me in Hungarian. I smiled widely and said, “Sprechen Sie Deutch oder English?” She smiled big and said that she was Austrian. She had been living in Hungary for the past 5 years. She helped me get on the train, buy public transportation tickets and brought me to the bus I needed that would drop me off at the front door of my Hotel.
Okay, I hear you. You say, “Eric what a wonderful story. How that nice lady helped you. You made it all right what an adventure.” I say I could do with out the drama and it is eaiser to say than be the one stranded in a foreign country not knowing anything. Unfortunately, this was not the first time something like this has happened nor will it be the last.