Monday, August 3, 2009

Förlorad och Återfunnen (Lost & Found)

I love Swedish clouds
By the time I arrived in Copenhagen, I had been up and traveling for 19 hours and had not really slept well in several days. Off the plane I was met with a sea of languages and long lines of people.

There was a Danish child next to me in line who literally never stopped talking for the entire 45 minutes it took for all the passengers one by one to show their passports to the guard. I began to wonder if I really liked the sound of Scandinavian languages after all.

Waiting for my baggage, I looked around for the train ticket office, or a map of the airport, or someone who looked as if they worked there.

I had a map in my pocket, one I had drawn myself from looking at the Kastrup website earlier. However, both it and the wall map I eventually found made no sense; no red dot saying "You are here" and no little arrows pointing to know which direction was which.

Then suddenly there was the way and there was the ticket office. I managed to buy a ticket, to find the train platform, and to get on a train that more or less went where I wanted to go.
The Oresund Bridge
The train trip was an adventure in itself, going over the Oresund Bridge, chatting with elderly people from southern Sweden (who have a particular accent, Skånska), and looking at the pretty green countryside dotted with perfect little lakes and red houses with white trim, crowned by a bright blue sky with sweeping clouds-- the kind of sky I have seen every day in Sweden.

While on the train, I studied the train table and map and figured a way to shave an hour off my trip, but it required getting off the train in the middle of nowhere (Alvesta) and waiting for another one that I wasn't really sure would come.
The Oresund Sea
But it did. And I arrived in Kalmar, an hour early with no Swedish kroner and a useless cellphone.

I wanted to call my friend Anders and tell him I was early, since he was driving an hour from Oskarshamn to pick me up. There was a payphone in the station, but I didn't know how to use it.
Mysterious payphone
Up until then, when people found out I was American they spoke to me in English, broken rusty English sometimes, but English nevertheless. However, in Kalmar station, all three people I went up to said they didn't speak English.

But a nice woman at the ticket counter dialed Anders' house and I told Martin, his son, that I was at the station.

I hauled my luggage out onto the sidewalk, a cobblestone sidewalk, a European sidewalk, surrounded by European buildings, and up to some things I can only assume were benches (I hope).

I had no more time than to sit down and cross my legs, when Anders and his eldest son, Patric, zipped up in their Volvo, driving right up onto the sidewalk directly in front of my feet. He had left early on the hunch that I would be early too.

It was the best, best moment, which words can't even describe.

Next: odyssey of food


Raven said...

Yea Carol!!!! You made it! I love the last line of this post! I'm so happy that your trip is going well. I knew you'd make it through the train station, and look at that, you even changed it up a bit!!!! Now put down the damn computer and go play!

Marianne.Ahokas said...

My Finnish grandmother grew up in a little red house with white trim, with a mountain ash in the yard.

Indie said...

Kim, I've hardly been online since I got here, but today was a home day so there was time to blog and get in touch. And I knew you would understand that line. :)

Marianne, those houses are everywhere, tidy and adorable. I've taken lots of pics.

Anonymous said...

Dear K, I also love your last line, it almost brought tears to my eyes. And man, don't we all know this feeling very much? And I gotta agree with Raven, go out and play now! Take tons of photos. Me, I'm enjoying your trip so far ;-P Keep on posting. Or even better: stop by my place! ;-) Hope to read more soon. R.

Anonymous said...

PS: Did they understand your Swedish on the train at all, I wonder? Wherever I came travelling around the world people were just so happy I understood at least some words of their language *lol* Just curious. R.

Indie said...

I dared not speak Swedish on the train. All they heard me do was pronounce place names.

beachcomber said...

I imagine you standing in that airport or train station...staring at the brightly colored object that is only probably a pay phone, not sure how to make a connection, wondering "what was I thinking?!" just for that brief moment. Then your friend arrives and all is well. I see that one 'best' wasn't enough to describe your day. Feeling your excitement all the way across the sea.

Indie said...

You are absolutely right! About all the feelings!!

Petra H said...

Oh, I am so happy that you arrived ok to Kalmar, and that you even heard the beautiful (??) dialect of skånska ;-) that's how I speak! Strange that nobody spoke English in Kalmar, maybe they were just shy...