What to do when the unexpected takes over giving us a small window of time to make decisions? Isn’t that just a chance to be creative? Isn’t it a chance to prove to ourselves that we can find ways to solve problems even if when we didn’t know we could? Even pushing us to communicate in a universal way that goes beyond language? Yes it is. And I guess that’s what I have been looking for in a while, ways to connect with people even without a common language.
That Friday morning we boarded our first train leaving the city of Trento in North of Italy with tickets bought to connect in Verona, Torino and to our final destination, Bra. It was still a little dark at 7:00 am, most passengers were students with backpacks, riding in groups, playing with their phones, talking loudly and laughing. Everybody moving almost like a bait ball trying to enter the train all at the same time while some passengers were still trying to exit the car. My son and I rolled in with our tiny suitcases and squeezed ourselves into the group.
An hour later the massive number of students arrived at their destination and we finally could have a seat. Ear phones playing our favorite songs, free wi-fi, beautiful landscapes passing by, and for a couple of hours dreaming of how wonderful would be to start a life in a new place? A new country? Ideas dancing in my mind while the train took care of feeding my dreams. A couple of hours later we were in Verona and now it was time to change trains.
Rolling our suitcase through underground tunnels and looking for the right platform was not the hardest thing at all, then up and outside to where we should find our train. Easy!!! There was our train at the platform! Destination Verona! We entered our wagon looking for our assigned seats and found a very old couple sitting at our place. I explained to them that those were our seats and showed them our tickets and they did the same. What to do when you have people with the same numbered seats as you? We are getting frustrated because my not so fluent Italian and their nonexistent English can’t come to an agreement. My solution was to pick my own alternative place. The train was pretty empty and I decide that any place could be my place.
After sitting and waiting for a while I realized there was something wrong going on, I mean, more than just the seats problem. The train had been sitting here for too long, so I used this chance to reach out to the young lady sitting just a few rows away from me. I shared with her my seat problem and for our “salvation” she tells me that I have boarded the wrong train line! Really? We exited at the speed of light just in time to see this train depart. Now every monitor at the station informs us that all trains are delayed due to an accident on the tracks, which we found out later that every line was cancelled that morning and there would be no more trains. The family of eight next to us had found out that they could get in the bus from here to Milan, not our destination but at this point… all I knew was that we had to keep moving, I grabbed my son and suitcases and ran for that solution while everyone else was doing the same! I couldn’t load our luggage fast enough and run for a seat.
In Milan we got tickets to Torino on a train leaving in less than ten minutes. This big BIG B.I.G. station is massive! People, security, everything! And nobody spoke English. I told my son “Run to the platforms on the left side while I run to the ones on the right” Go find the train! We. Are. Finally. In. And on our assigned seats for real.
Once in Torino… Well, that was another story but I’m glad to say that we made to our final destination with a last miracle, when we were found by our girl Alice who knew us from social media only. Yes, here we were in a place where we knew nobody but they were waiting for us. Waiting to help us, show their town, connect us with people, and even waiting to have us over for dinner. I come to the conclusion that whatever plans don’t happen there’s always an alternative. There are solutions for every problem maybe not the solution we were expecting but there’s a solution. I don’t worry too much, I trust the universe.