The latest post from my friend Nikki made me think about several things. Truth to be told, I am very quiet when it comes to being in a different environment. I am not very talkative if there is a person sitting next to me on a plane or train, mainly not to bother anyone and such. However, that changed on one of my last trips.
I was traveling from Gdynia to Kraków on train. To those who don’t know, it is a trip that takes about 9 hours and you practically cross Poland from North to South. The night before I went out for drinks and that meant staying up until late, saying some honest truths and some goodbyes. You can guess how I woke up. I practically rushed to the bus stop to catch my bus to the train station and then, take my train. I had no time to make myself a sandwich (so I relied mainly on biscuits, crisps and juice) and honestly, I forgot to buy one at the station.
My train ride started quietly. I tried to sleep for a while, but also I wanted to catch a glimpse of the landscape. My compartment was packed, but everyone was practically on my same situation (sleepy, tired, wanting to listen to music). Halfway on my journey, most of my fellow passengers went on their different ways, leaving a man (whom I soon learned he was Russian and did not know Polish) and I on the compartment. Suddenly, a Polish woman sat on the compartment and the Russian man started speaking to her… in Russian. She replied to him and started talking to each other about Politics and current events, specially the situation happening in Ukraine. I managed to understand some key words (despite I only know random words in Russian) and decided to get into their conversation, but in Polish. I probably said something in the lines “I don’t understand most of what you’re talking about, but it really is interesting!”
That phrase made me create a bond with those two people. I suddenly learned a lot about their lives: the Russian man was a journalist from Kaliningrad who was heading to Kraków to do a research about an actress who lived there while the Polish woman was a financial consultor, and I… a Chilean man strongly interested in Poland and spending holidays there. We talked about education, childhood, religion and politics… all of those touchy subjects you talk with people you just have met and probably will not see each other again in your life. We all learned about each other’s lives and realities, all of them quite different (because of different generations), but gladly, with more or less the same ideals, same spirit, and if we want to, we could have changed the world from a train compartment, in three languages (Russian, Polish and English).
Getting out of the train meant I had to say goodbye to those two people and one of the few moments I regretted not having business cards because it would have eased keeping in touch with them (despite I have the business card of Vladimir, the Russian journalist). Alas, who knows if I’ll ever see them again.