Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Lost in translation and transportation

Well it had to happen at least once right? (Hopefully only once). I mean it is me we’re talking about and when have I ever been good with directions?

Never, in case you wondering.

I had to take trains (notice the s) to get to my German language course ALL BY MYSELF. Priska, my host mom, practiced with me once and then my host sisters Kim and Anouk also took me once (well not just to practice, but to shop too. We are girls). But apparently it wasn’t enough. I had a printed and highlighted train schedule in my hand, but I still managed to get off at the wrong stop somewhere. Luckily though I was smart enough to figure out the non-highlighted time tables and I got to the Zurich main station. From there I had to take another train and once again I got off a stop to soon. So then I had to take another train to get to the right city.

Finally I made it, but I wasn’t out of the woods yet, oh no, way too soon for that! I arrived in the right city, but I exited the station on the wrong side, of course I didn’t realize it. So I walked and walked and walked, back and forth trying to find the McDonalds that would alert me to the turn I was supposed to take, while all the time trying to look not-lost to the locals. No McDonalds.

I went back to the station when an alarmingly loud, very annoying T-mobile jingle burst out of nowhere. I was pretty embarrassed when I realized it was mine, it’s a new phone. So I picked it up and guess who was on the line? My Hero, come to rescue me!

Except the rescue was so not as smooth as they lead you to believe rescuing is in the movies. Just one more thing to add on the list of things Hollywood has ruined, right underneath girl’s body image.

Basically this is how it went:

ME: Hallo?

GUY: Hallo. Hailey?

ME: Yes…

GUY: Where are you?

ME: (realizing he must be from the school) Oh! I’m at the train station.

GUY: The station?

ME: Yes, but I was by a pizza place and kiosk.

GUY: A kiosk?

Me: Yeah.

GUY: Go there!

Me: Alright.

Silence as I walk.

GUY: I don’t see you.

ME: Well I think it’s the wrong Kiosk. Oh hey, there’s a street name! It’s called (really long
German word that I absolutely butchered)

GUY: I don’t know where that is.

ME: (nervous laugh) Uh, me either.

GUY: I think you’re on the wrong side of the train station.

ME: Alright.
Silence as I walk and walk and walk.

ME: I’m on the other side.

GUY: I don’t see you, do you see me?

ME: Um, no. (I have no idea who this guy is, never seen him before in my life)

GUY: Do you see tram 11 (of course 11)

ME: (trying to help out with my rescue) no, but I see buses!

GUY: Go back to gate one (at the train station)

ME: (very exasperated) Alright.

Silence as I walk and walk and walk.

Anyways there was no luck at gate one and I think I may have scared a very big construction man with my abrupt questions. Finally I wandered off to a Burger King when lo and behold Tram Eleven comes racing by, well not racing exactly since trams aren’t that fast, but mystery school guy on the phone told me to follow it so I did, running in that embarrassing way that I do. Anyone who’s seen me chasing the bus knows exactly what I’m talking about. And hallelujah he finds me and takes me to the class. See what I mean, not exactly a smooth rescue. No super buff guy in tights and a cape zeroed in on my location, picked me up, got me breakfast, and then flew me over to the German course. I guess reality still has a few wrinkles to be ironed out.

I wasn’t the only kid who had to be rescued though. Several of us managed to get hopelessly lost. I swear when I left the states I was sixteen and somehow in Switzerland I got like 12 years knocked off my age. I’m getting lost, learning numbers, colors, and words, not to mention how slowly everyone has to talk to me, but it’s cool. I’m just hoping in the end I’ll get like two extra years back for effort.


Anonymous said...

OF COURSE 11! ha i didn't think it could follow us to other countries...

Hailey said...

wrong my friend it's still thriving here in die Schwiez