Monday, July 21, 2014


So there I was on Sunday, ticket in hand for my 12:10 train to Lucca, since I was scheduled to start work at the camp on Monday. Steve bought a ticket for the 12:00 train back to Milan, and I was ready to get to Lucca. As we are checking for the tracks for each train, I can't find the 12:10 on the board, and the 12:50 says "cancellati" next to it. Now, I don't speak Italian, but I was pretty sure this meant it was cancelled. Steve found a train guy and asked him what the deal was. I figured, okay, it's probably just those two, there will be one right after, right? Wrong. Train guy says they've cancelled all trains to Lucca until at least 9pm, if not til tomorrow as if it's no big deal, this happens all the time. Apparently it does. 

It's 11:50, Steve has to board his train, and I'm about to be alone with a suitcase I can't handle myself because it's so god damn heavy, and no way to get to Lucca to start my job the next day. Oh, and I haven't slept in what seemed like weeks between the overnight flight, jet lag, and Steve's snoring. Also, with no internet connection I have no way to contact the other teacher at the school who was planning to pick me up at the Lucca train station in an hour and a half with the key to the apartment I'd be staying in. 

I start to feel a bit panicky, and Steve says to quickly use his phone to call her and let her know. By some miracle Maria answers and though her English isn't the best, it's enough for her to understand the predicament and she tells me to look into taking a bus. Steve and I look at the hoards of people in line for the bus who have already realized the situation long before me. I tell Maria that I will possibly never get on one of these buses and then she half suggests that maybe she could come to pick me up. Normally I wouldn't accept the help and have her go out of her way when I don't know her. But today..I do. I tell her that she would save me and yes, please come. Meanwhile Steve's eyes are bugging out of his head because if he doesn't get on his train now he'll lose the 50 Euros. I hang up, bid farewell to Steve, and go outside to find the McDonald's to wait in front of with all my shit. 

I plop myself on top of my suitcase and wait. Then, as I look around, I notice another McDonald's across the street on the other corner to the right. How was I to know which McDonald's Maria meant? The only clue she has is that I have a big blue suitcase. The only one I have to know her by is that she'll be driving a gray car. She won't be able to call me either, or I her. Loads of gray cars.

Eenie meenie miney mo..the McDonald's across the street I pick. So I trek over there nearly toppling over my luggage and myself and sit and wait. An hour and a half later when I've begun to accept that I'll be waiting all day and night at the train station, someone taps me on the shoulder.. Maria!

In the car, I tell Maria she saved me. We discuss camp the next day and she says in her heavy accent, "Good Luck." Yikes.

She does however ask if I've eaten, and I have not in fact so once we arrive in Lucca, she invites me over to have a late lunch. I meet some of her friends and daughter and we sit down to a large meal of pasta, bread, wine, and cheese. Pretty sure this counts as "get invited and go to Sunday dinner at someone's house" from THE LIST, right? Check!

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