Getting Lost in Germany

A happy little run that had me stressing

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Photo by Emma Simpson on Unsplash

I’ve never been much of a runner, even when I was in insanely good shape. I hated it. It was boring, nothing really happened, you did the same thing for a long stretch of time. No thanks. When I was visiting Germany, my friend wanted to head out for her nightly run. Thinking that I had ate too many fries and delicious treats (and thinking I was extremely fat even though I was far from it), I decided to join her.

It all started off as well as it could. We ran down the block and into a little forest, following a trail. We stopped to take in the view of a small meadow, and I felt like I could maybe get into running. If running meant only running in a forest and taking a huge amount of breaks, then yeah, it would be alright. My friend, being someone who enjoys running and does it often, was going on a long journey. I didn’t feel like I could run that far and that long, so bid her adieu, taking mental notes of where we broke off and thinking I would find my way back.

Spoiler: I didn’t.

Instead, I ended up in a suburb, but not the suburb I wanted to be in. My German, though studied at University, was paltry and I couldn’t hold full sentences. The sun was setting, I had no phone (ah, the good old times when we had to use our wit instead of just Google Maps and Uber), and I started to panic. I found some people outside of their homes, asking, in German, if they spoke English. They shook their heads, so I kept on walking. Nervous that I wasn’t going to find anyone, and had no fucking idea as to how I would get out of suburban hell, I was close to tears. Finally, I found a family loading up into their car. I rushed over, asking if they spoke English. Luckily, they did. I explained my story, explained where I was going — always memorize the address of where you’re staying. I could say my friend’s address perfectly in German, and they knew exactly where I was talking about. Too bad that was, basically, all I could say, even after a full year of studying my butt off.

Turns out, my friend’s place was just a few blocks over, but when you’re winding down streets you’re not familiar with, you get a little confused. I was tucked into the backseat with their daughter who was already strapped into a car seat. This bitch spoke damn-near flawless English, and I felt shame on North America for not teaching us more than one language as children. Hell, the second official language in my country is French and they barely taught us that properly.

The little girl chatted to me, telling me that they were going for an Easter celebration. I politely responded to her questions and pretended I didn’t hear when she asked her dad how to say specific words in English. He and I smiled through the rearview mirror as he taught his daughter more than my school system taught me.

We arrived at my destination in short time, and I bid farewell to my saviours. I walked up the steps of the house, smiling, and a little happy that I had gotten lost. If I hadn’t, I wouldn’t have had such a wonderful experience with equally wonderful people. Isn’t that the reason we travel?

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