You don’t have to travel abroad to experience an amazing adventure. It would be ludicrous to think that way. The world is a giant place and there are people always traveling to ‘unknown lands’ to seek crazy and extravagant adventures, to places that would merely seem cool or common to a local. I will say that going abroad does up the ante on creative problem solving, especially when confronted with the added difficulties of confusing cultural traits and a language barrier you can barely penetrate.
Today’s adventure doesn’t really flex the incurred knowledge of international savvy; it focuses on the ability to run like the wind. I had to travel to another town to visit the dentist to get a cavity fixed. I call the cavity ‘Ukraine’ and the reason I had to travel so far is that the Peace Corps grants medical coverage only accepted by a handful of doctors. Hence the train. Getting to the Small Town was no problem at all. Leaving was the obstacle. I will say my time abroad gave me the mental tools to handle the sudden stress without losing any precious time.
My train left at 4:22PM (16.22) and my dental appointment ended at 4:10PM (16.10). I signed the paperwork and made my way to the lobby.
The receptionist, Jessica, looked at me and said, “What now?”
“Now, well. Now. I. Run.” And I did just that. Jessica threw her hands into the air as if her team just scored a touchdown (or she said ‘Good luck’ and shooed me out the door, I can’t recall, I was moving that fast) and I was gone. I turned the corner and bolted down the road. Two miles away the train station waited patiently for the moment to make a proper fool out of me.
I admit I played a little fast-and-loose with the pedestrian right-away rule. Most cars stopped the moment they saw me huffing and puffing down the road. I think they stopped to stare and I understand; walking shoes, jeans, button up shirt, ball-cap, and a brown satchel hiked up under my left arm to protect the iPad from banging against my back as I stomped across the city streets.
I ran. I ran faster. I slowed down a bit, foot cramp, and then I ran some more.
And then I stopped. Six lanes of traffic and an orange hand told me that it was in my best interest to wait. As a general rule I am highly interested in things that are for my best interest, interestingly enough. No cars were coming in the particular direction I needed to go and I stared at the orange hand with a deep hatred but it’s Gandalf Shall-Not-Pass magic held me at bay. Finally, I ran across the street and I was on my way.
Down the road. Up a bridge. Down another road. Up a road that went uphill for no conceivable reason other than to test the prowess of my newest exercise regime. And then I was at the train station, 2 minutes late for the original 4:22PM (16.22) arrival / departure. Luckily, the train was running 7 minutes late. I sat down, pulled out the Flaming Skulls Bandana a student gave me in Ukraine, patted down my neck and head, and then wiped the slobber around my mouth.
In my excitement of running I forgot that both sides of my mouth were still numb. Maybe THAT’S why everyone was stopping to stare.