“Oh, and thank you for knowing English!”

I shouted this as I sprinted from a cab of strangers to catch a train.

Twenty minutes earlier, when I had landed solo in the Karlsruhe/Baden-Baden Airport, my plan had been to wait an hour for a bus to go to the train station. Then, I’d have to wait over an hour for my train. I anticipated the multiple hours of waiting and traveling ahead of me.

Instead, at the airport, I saw two groups of younger people around me checking the bus time tables and then, they approached a cab driver, speaking in German for information. It seemed like they were going to split a cab, but I couldn’t understand everything.

I approached one of the girls and asked if she spoke English. Relieved when I got a “yes” answer because my limited German was feeling a bit rusty from all of my recent travels, I asked her if she knew what a cab costs to the train station. It was a hefty 29€, and she said for 3+ people, they were going to charge 36€. She asked if wanted to join them, and a minute later, I was in a cab with 5 strangers headed toward an earlier train.

I found out that 3 of the people were siblings from Romania, and one worked in Frankfurt. I texted Chris to let him know I was going to be home earlier. I wrote, “I met some Romanians, so now I’m getting home 2 hours early.” Realizing that sounded strange, I texted him back to let him know I was just sharing a cab with them.

When we got to the train station, I had 4 minutes to catch my train, so I grabbed my bag and thanked them for letting me share a cab with them. Then, like I said, I yelled out to thank them for knowing English. It sounded silly, and maybe even pathetic, but I just felt so grateful that we didn’t have a communication barrier.

Karlsruhe Hauptbahnhof

I’ll probably end up saying it again, though, to thank the many people I keep encountering who, by knowing English, enhance my travels and expat life in some way.

While minor this time, as a result of the Romanian siblings’ excellent English skills, I found myself home 2 hours early which made my trip to Budapest about 6 hours door to door. It was perfect timing so that I could share some of my Hungarian strudel with Chris before he fell asleep.


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