I’m sure most expats who are accustomed to driving at home, but don’t drive in their host country have days where they want nothing more than a car to get them from place to place and want nothing to do with public transportation. Yesterday was that day for me.
I was meeting the Brit’s mum and dad in a village about a 30-minute car ride from our house. (It is only 10 miles away, but because of the roads and road works it takes a lot longer.) There is no direct bus route there, so it was easiest for me to take the bus from our village into town where I would hop on the train to get to the other village which is 3 stops away.
I arrived at the bus stop just as a bus was pulling up — lucky! Although I’d never taken this specific bus before, it said it was going into town, so I assumed it would go the usual route that is just under a 10-minute ride into town. Ha! I was so wrong. Instead of turning right at the traffic light, we went straight. I had no idea which way we were about to go because that road could take us a number of ways. Imagine my surprise when about 25 minutes later we ended up about 1/4 of a mile from where I got on the bus.
The scenic bus route to the train station meant I missed the train I wanted to catch. I was so frustrated with myself and the whole system and the bus driver who took my £2.70! (Don’t ask why I was annoyed at the bus driver for following his route. It makes no sense.) The next train wasn’t for 20 minutes making me even later.
The whole time all I could think about was how much I missed my car and how much I missed driving.
Finally, the train came. I made it to my destination about 40 minutes later than I should have. The important part is I made it safely and it really wasn’t a big deal that I was late. Sometimes though, stupid little things like the wrong bus or a missed train can just be SO frustrating when you live abroad and you compare life in your new home to life back home.
But, at the end of the day, I realized I could have been just as late in the car for any number of reasons and that I needed to just laugh off my travel mishaps. So really, was it that bad? Definitely not.
It’s easy to get caught up in all that is ‘different’ and ‘wrong’ in a new place, but to make life easier I encourage you to look at the good in the ‘frustrating’ situation. The good for me last night?
1) I got to hang out and have dinner with my future-in-laws, which made for a really nice evening! Thanks, R and P!
2) I found a new 3.5-mile running loop because of the ‘scenic route’ the bus took!
3) I’ll never get on that bus again, which could save me from being late to something very important like a job interview!
I’m sure others out there have had similar annoyances when in a new place…doesn’t even have to be in a foreign country! Anyone want to share?