Actually, this story is more of a fairy tale of an, ahem, mature, princess looked after by three handsome fairy godnephews.
To celebrate the successful conclusion of our TEFL course, my classmate and I met one of the school instructors, the lovely and vivacious Katka, and her sweet, engineer husband, Martin. There we savored the glories of the famed Czech beer and some dinner, then headed back to the flat via subway.
Each activity was the last – a somewhat melancholy thought. Said classmate, who shared the flat with me, is a tall, young, good-looking Irish-American. He had a hard time believing I had found the Vysehrad Metro entrance to the subway and that I did indeed know how to get back to the flat from there.
With barely-concealed incredulity, he followed me as I confidently climbed the stairs out of the Metro station and strode off into the night. We got directly to the door. Ha. Then, goodbys all around and in the morning, I was off to Zurich by bus, then train.
On the DeutscheBahn bus to Munich I briefly met a young, very good-looking Swiss man heading for the same stop in CH that I was – a station in the city of Winterthur.
He said he knew how to navigate the Winterthur train station and would be happy to help me. He’d meet me at my seat on the Munich-Winterthur train and get me to where I was supposed to go, then Mr. Navigator headed off for his train car, several cars away from mine.
In the aisle near my seat was a lovely guy, just heading home after a wild weekend at Munich’s Oktoberfest. He was tipsy, but not gross. He didn’t even look silly in his lederhosen. That was probably due to the fact that I had become inured to the ‘look’ by being in a train station full of young men wearing them, plus lovely young women wearing traditional Oktoberfest clothing as well.
He wanted to talk [in English]… to me! Fine by me. He reminded in many ways of my businessman BIL, had traveled all over the world and made friends easily. Lots of other young men and women stopped by to chat with him.
He said he was in Marketing, and looked a bit depressed. I pointed out how marketing activities made consumers aware of needs and desires, and the goods they purchased brought them happiness. He was a bit surprised and seemed happy to hear that point of view.
Turns out he lived a short distance from the Swiss border in Austria. Had a wife and two kids, savored his good luck. He got off the train one stop before mine. As he left, Mr. Marketing turned back and put his hand out for what I thought was the traditional Swiss and European handshake everyone does.
Imagine my utter surprise when he kissed my hand! I’d forgotten that old and delightful custom! Maybe it was the spirit of Oktoberfest!
After Mr. Marketing left the train, I had a few minutes to read, but as we approached Winterthur, Mr. Navigator came back to my seat and said he was ready to help. We had a nice chat, again in English, and I learned he was a chef, who had just recently found a position cooking and teaching at a local Swiss prison. Interesting.
The train pulled into the station and the race began! I had two light things to carry and he had two heavy ones.
We rushed down a ramp – I knew there would be something like that! – even though I was simply going from Track 4 to Track 3. We ran toward the next ramp back upstairs where Track 3 was and headed over to the proper train, all dressed up and nearly ready to roll.
I had been quite worried about getting everything on to the train, since I remembered a wide gulf between track and train entrance and a yawning, scary crevasse to the tracks. But no! This train had a litte extended platform that covered that gap and exactly matched up with the track! It was easy to get everything on it.
We said fond farewells, but he was Swiss, so no gallant hand kiss. No matter, he’d been by far the best looking of them all! From there on out, everything was smooth sailing. What a day!