Trains zoomed past me. I tugged at the end of my backpack as I peered up towards a map of Berlin, where I was spending the summer with my aunt and uncle in Germany. I followed the green line to my stop, Buckower Chaussee. The S2 train rumbled forward. I quickly ran through the door and grabbed a seat by the window. With earbuds in and Clairo playing, I watched as the city transformed into trees. Suddenly, the train stopped. It was the end of the route. Passengers drained out. This wasn’t Buckoweer Chaussee! The train never reached my stop!
I looked down at my phone. It was useless. I didn’t have a sim card– I couldn’t use Google Maps or call my family, but, conveniently, could play music. In an instant, my brain completely panicked. The earbuds were shoved into my pocket. Suddenly my feet started moving. I was running down the stairs, out to the street, and to the bus stop. Rapidly my eyes scanned down the schedule, looking for the X11 bus. Please, please, please, I prayed, fervently hoping for a solution. My heart dropped– it wasn’t there. I spun around, ran back across the street, up the stairs, and onto the platform. I started pacing. What was I gonna do? In desperation, I bought a Twix bar and began chomping my way through the fear.
Hopelessly I looked up at a sign of incoming trains, and saw the S2 coming! WHAT?! It was a miracle. Apparently, I had gotten onto the wrong line because this train kept going. It kept going all the way to Buckower Chausee.
I walked out of the train station and marched myself over to the bus stop. Ten minutes later, the bus arrived. I took out my bus card, then slumped in my seat. The worst was over.
Or so I thought.
Twenty minutes later, the bus driver announced something in German that I didn’t fully understand. I saw police lights out the window. There was an accident. All the passengers filed out of the bus. Oh no.
Slowly and dreadfully, I followed the passengers out of the bus. There was an intersection. I had no idea where I was. I looked for a cafe or someplace that might have Wi-fi. I was surrounded by trees, gardens, and a couple of houses.
I watched the line of people make their way down the street. I looked left, then right. Miserably, I put one foot in front of the other, whimpering down the road. Through heavy steps, my head lifted, and, amazingly, I recognized a brick building and I knew where I was.
Earlier that morning, when my aunt dropped me off at the bus station before I went into the city for my classes, she pointed across the street to that very same building. While she instructed me on my route home, I took in the building with no idea that it would become my guidepost.
My pace quickened.