To see Part I, click here.
So my aunt and I were stranded on a train to Leipzig, without laptops, working phones, money, or (for me) shoes. To make matters worse, there had been a leak in the back of the train, so my socks were wet, and I was starting to no longer feel my toes. The conductor informed us that we would have to get off in Leipzig and sleep in the train station until a new train left for Berlin the following morning. I felt a little bit like my lungs were very slowly leaking air.
And this is the part of the story where a series very good people start to make the best out of a very poor situation:
A man from a few rows back walked up to me.
“I don’t speak very good German, but I understood a little of what you were saying. Is it true that you have no shoes?”
I nodded and laughed a little.
“Well, that is very good luck, because I just bought new shoes today, and I haven’t thrown away my old ones yet. They’re not in very good condition. I mean, they have holes and everything in them. But you can have them, if you want.”
“Yes, please!” I said. “That would be so great. Thank you so much.” He handed them to me, clearly a little embarrassed about their worn and be-holed state. I took them and hugged him, to which he seemed a little surprised. You don’t realize how American you are until you leave America.
2. Conductor G. Voight
Then the train conductor came up to us, and held out a few plastic-wrapped train blankets. “For sleeping on the station,” he said. “You two have been very calm. I am very impressed.”
My aunt and I graciously (I hope) accepted the blankets, and I stifled the urge to give a second hug, mostly because this man was German and his mustache intimidated me.
The train stopped about a half hour later in Leipzig. As my aunt and I made our way to the door, I passed the Juraj, Gracious Man of the Shoes, gave him the address to my blog (“I’ll write about you!”) and got his email address (which was on a slip of paper on my desk until this morning, and now, of course, I cannot find it- Juraj, if you are reading this, please email me or comment so I can thank you personally!).
And in this state, my aunt and I entered the Leipzig Train Station: with torn shoes, no coats, two train blankets, and only The Book of Stress for Idiots and Biblical Literacy to guide our way.
According to the conductors at the Berlin train station, all our perishable items had to be vernichtet. We hope that at least one of them had a chance to vernicht the beer himself, lest no have a chance to enjoy it.
Wish us luck.