February 9, 2018
Last week I took a train from Berlin to Nuremberg.
About a half hour into the trip the train stopped at a station and stayed there for about three quarters of an hour.
The engineer made an announcement in German and people around me nodded and went back to their books and phones.
A little later the train started back up and the conductor made her way through the car asking for tickets. I showed her mine and she saw that I booked on an English site so she explained that there had been a delay because of some problem with the train. She said she'd let me know if there were any other issues.
A half hour later the train again stopped for a long time.
The engineer said something and everyone around me laughed. Then children started running through the car towards the front of the train.
I'm not sure what the announcement was but it looked as though the food area had opened as many started returning with drinks and snacks.
We sat for over an hour and then people started to gather their bags and get of the train.
I asked the woman next to me what was going on.
She told me that the announcement had been that the train was stopping here and that we'd be transferred to another train. We had to get off and move across the platform to the other train.
I thanked her and said that if she hadn't told me I might never have known.
She shrugged and said I probably would have figured it out when everyone had gotten off the train.
I spent a week in Germany and a week in France and mostly gotten around ok.
Now and then I asked someone for help and they always were so nice and took the time to help me get where I needed to go.
I didn't speak their language and yet they always seemed to be apologizing that their English wasn't better.
There are things in France and Germany and all over the world that I want to experience. There is a history and a beauty and a spirit that is very different than the things I have at home.
If I restricted my life to places where everyone speaks English, there's so much I wouldn't get to do.