well i’m on a couchette train… but it’s not the one i’m supposed to be on, going to nice. this chouchette is staying right here at gare d’austerlitz instead of going to nice because as my freaking luck would have it, the first time i ever take an overnight train, the first time i ever take any train, the overnight trains decide to go on strike! however i don’t discover this until i get to the train station with all my belongings and have already checked out of the apartment. i threw away sabine’s number because i thought i wouldn’t need it. the worst part about it was that at the train station, in front of God and the rest of the world, being my emotional self, i started to cry.
after sitting for a little while, waiting for mom to call back with sabine’s number, i went to exchange my ticket. the girl at the window was so nice. she asked me why i was crying, if it was because of the strike, and i said i just don’t know anybody and have nowhere to go. “is there a hotel nearby?” she said “you really have nowhere to go?” i thought she was going to take me home with her with the way she looked at me, but then she told me the station had a couchette train for people to sleep on. she was so nice, closed down her booth to walk me to the check-in area, talk to the other station employees, then make sure i got on the train ok. she said “you’re from texas? that’s why you’re so sensitive.” i’m not sure what that means, but i was thankful for her help.
the first one on the train, i was worried about being bored and now i wanted to sit and cry in relief, but just then two russian girls were brought to my room – if you could even call it that – oxana and linea (not sure of spelling!) linea spoke more english than oxana, but both knew very little. they did however know disco and jokingly asked if i wanted to go. they shared with me their sunflower seeds and storebought pains de chocolat, which were gross and nothing like the ones from my boulangerie, but i ate them anyxway since i hadn’t eaten dinner. we talked, or at least tried to… about paris, familes, jobs, and where we were going in france. then we tried to sleep – this was worse than the plane except i could lie down. the sounds of the station continued late into the night and my mind would not stop racing. if i was worried about oversleeping, my fears were calmed by the lovely early morning, and i mean early, activity of the station? nevertheless i am on my way to lyon/nice and when i got to my seat i was postive i was accidentally in first class, especially with all the businessmen around me. good luck finding a husband sans shower, yesterdays makeup, and unbrushed teeth… i couldn’t even find my breathmints!!! at least the first is a way of life here!