FW: Most stupid thing I have ever done

there is so much. so very, very much. Of course, what can I actually write here that will still allow for some sort of respect from my students?

I think I have managed to mention on here that I traveled around Europe about a decade ago. Well, on one of these adventures, I was heading from Munich in Germany to Prague in the Czech Republic. I traveled by train–a pretty straight and normally, a really easy trip. I took traveled at night so I wouldn’t lose any of my days through traveling. thus, I boarded a sleeper car.

so sleeper cars are not an American concept. In fact, traveling by train is hardly an American concept. In Europe, however, pretty common.

I boarded the train at 1a in Munich and headed to my assigned bunk in one of the cars. What I did not know was that there were three bunks in each car. it being 1a, everyone was pretty loaded up and already sleeping by the time I boarded. Getting to my bunk–of course the TOP bunk–entailed me climbing up two bunks. Awkward genius that I am with my too-stuffed backpack climbed on the face of not on but two sleeping Germans. so not happy with me.

Because I caused such chaos in boarding my bunk (I also turned the light on when I walked in, waking up half the passengers, apparently a no,no in a sleeper car) I wanted to slip out of there first thing when the train hit Prague.

So early morning light, I got ready, jumped down and as soon as the train came into a station, I got out, trying to avoid the people I had so rudely stomped on the night before. Leave it to me to get out the station BEFORE Prague.

Here I was, stuck at a train station in the middle of the Czech republic at 6a. Sun breaking through the trees, completely alone and clueless. You know, they do not speak English in Prague. In fact, it isn’t even the same alphabet.

my vanity, pride and embarrassment took a bruise. Especially having to find a way to Prague that day, 200 miles away.

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10 thoughts on “FW: Most stupid thing I have ever done

  1. I want to know more! How did you eventually make ti to prague? And there is always something about being alone and embarrassed that makes it so much worse. I always hate wallowing in my embarrassment post stupid moment. We both had embarrassing moments where we clearly didn’t know the etiquette. But, that’s what helps us learn, right…? maybe?

  2. eurogate says:

    Hahahaha enforcing the stereotypes of american tourists!

  3. Ashley says:

    Can I just mention that I love it was two GERMANS you stepped on, above any other nationality? A Briton would have shucked it off, a Frenchman wouuld have probably tried to roll you right into his bunk, but a German….now that’s great. (SPEAKING of Stereptypes…)

    I’ve done far too many stupidly embarrassing things to even BEGIN to categorize them into a ranking. But my most recent one was wearing my shirt inside-out to student teaching yesterday…and having it pointed out to me a full hour into my day by 2 of my 17-year-old students, to whom I was issuing a make-up quiz in the hallway. I leaned forward to press my laptop to move to the next question and one of them exclaimed, “Miss Yang! Your shirt is inside-out!”

    My immediate, defensive reply as I looked down at the floral decal on the front: “Is not!” (fact: embroidery looks the same front and back)

    Student 2: “Yes it is! See? The writing is on the outside here, on the back!”

    Lo and behold she was right. I had gotten dressed in the dark after all.

    And how does Miss Yang, respected educator-to-be, sitting in the middle of the hallway with 2 students, react to this bit of knowledge?

    “SON of a BITCH!”

    So I hurred them through the quiz and had to run into the staff room and flip my (black) shirt around, then try to scrub the deoderant stains from the OUTSIDE armpits using school-issue paper towels that kept shedding all over and just making the situation worse.

    Again: Not the stupidest thing I’ve done. Only the most recent.

  4. laurenthinks says:

    Haha, this is hilarious. Literally just enhanced my fears of being a stupid, American tourist– I don’t think I want to study abroad anymore! But really, trains are scariest enough, I’ve never been on one! And to sleep on one? Unimaginable. Since when are bunk beds TRIPLED? Thats crazy. And with my luck, I’d be in the same situation as you, getting the top top bunk. Fun. Ah, I guess if I ever travel in Europe I’ll just plan on staying in a hostile!

  5. maddiecarens says:

    It is funny that you mention the stupidest thing you have done happened on a train in Europe. This past spring I happened to do two stupid things myself, while on a train in Switzerland. For the month of April I stayed with a family in and took French classes for three weeks. Every morning I woke up and traveled 30 minutes to Lausanne, where my class was located. Of course my first day, I hop on the train not thinking I get comfortable and put my feet up on the seat in front of me. It was not ten minutes into the ride to Lausanne that a train ticket taker, stomps up to me, and starts yelling and pointing at me in French. Not understanding a word he said, I gave him my ticket and put my feet down. All of a sudden he was much happier, that did not last long though. Once again he had something to yell about that I did not understand. This one was more serious. He made me stand up, grabbed my arm, and walked me to the next train car. Turns out I was sitting in 1st class, with a business class ticket… To say the least it was a confusing, and eventful first ride to French class. Luckily I learned for my next three weeks, that putting your feet up is horribly rude, and that the train ticket takers have no mercy for those sitting in 1st class that aren’t supposed to be.

  6. karinaaramboles says:

    Right away this reminded me of when I went to Vietnam and I traveled from Hanoi to Hue by sleeping train. It was the most uncomfortable ride of my life. It was blazing hot in the streets of Hanoi and then we had to board the train sweaty and then we couldn’t shower in it. Then to top it all off the bathrooms were disgusting, the food was horrible and the food stunk throughout each cart. I was stuck with five other kids who I was traveling with and one of them I could have sworn was going to die that night. He turned the light on an hour after we boarded while all of us were sleeping and he seriously began to play with two toy cars he had bought that day in Hanoi. Everyone was about ready to kill him during that night…how rude was that especially since everyone was tired and not in a happy mood. In the morning we were happy to be leaving the sleeping train to board a van that was taking us to, silence please, a boat on the beautiful and lovely Ha Long Bay. That was the best weekend on the trip over there literally sea food for two days and I took advantage and saw the sunset and sunrise every day. I hope to go back soon!!

  7. Traveling abroad is so difficult and scary! When I was in Portugal with my older sister we got lost every where we went! It’s hard enough trying to understand the language but to navigate public transportation is almost impossible! You are not used to the signs, the smells, or the people. There is nothing familiar at all, which was the thing that made me the most uncomfortable. My sister lived in Spain her freshman semester of college, and said it was the hardest thing she had ever done. She not only had to navigate around the city to get to classes but was also required to travel around the country. She was always with a group of people, but they said they were targeted because of their ‘American-look’ to be ripped off our even robbed. Her and her friends were robbed while in rome, and were sold false train tickets. She said it was an experience that made her mature more than any other experience ever could.

  8. Jackie Minnehan says:

    Hahahaa – this story is amazing. I cannot imagine sleeping on a train full of strangers, in the middle of the night, in a foreign country – I give you props. I recently applied to the study abroad program here at Hobart and William Smith, and one of my applications was for Prague, Czech Republic! Applicants find out this coming week whether were they were accepted into the programs or not. I am so nervous! But reading this blog post gets me very excited for next year. If I do get the opportunity to live abroad in Prague next semester, I can only imagine the weird and uncomfortable situations I will get myself into in a foreign country at 19 years old. I have never been to Europe, and I have only been told amazing things about it. I believe people who have the chance to travel to foreign countries, study abroad, and experience a completely new culture with new people, are changed by the experience. I definitely think a few months abroad, hopefully in Prague, will help me build a greater acceptance for diversity. Among my friends, I am frequently told I am “sheltered” haha. And I honestly know I am. I have not really dealt with other people who are very different from me, which is definitely a result of me growing up in a small town in western New York. However, college has already opened me up to so many new things – food, people, beliefs, etc. So, thinking the chance that I may be spending four months in Prague, Czech Republic next year is unimaginable.

  9. Clune says:

    Perfect example of how clueless we as Americans are when traveling abroad. Not to say that I’m the all – knowing, all – seeing expert traveler. I’ve noticed quite frequently that American tourists more often than not end up committing these accidental acts of insult. It just goes to show how different European culture is than the American culture we’ve grown up with.
    I traveled to London and Paris during the summer before my senior year in high school. When I first arrived I didn’t quite feel how different London was. The English would be the closest thing to American culture in Europe so the fact that I didn’t quite notice any distinct differences wasn’t much of a surprise to me. However, when we landed in France I noticed many differences. First off, the food was a very hard thing to adapt to. Being the incredibly picky eater that I am I had a very hard time with this. The meat in France practically still has a pulse when they put it in front of you. Also, they tend to eat snails, which I was never really able to warm up to. Also, it’s a rather serious insult to the chef at French restaurants if you don’t finish your meal. I managed to mess this up a few times. Another traditional French custom I had trouble accepting was the fact that there were people smoking everywhere we went. I have nothing against people who like to enjoy a quick cigarette from time to time but when there are masses of people doing it in virtually every public space it tends to become overwhelming.
    Other obvious customs that I noticed involved driving on the left side of the road and the irritating language barrier. If the French know you’re American they actually won’t speak English to you even if they in fact know how. The 18 year – old drinking age was quite the experience. I had just turned 18 the month before and actually being legal to drink was insane. It was like I had jumped 2 years ahead into the future. However it was easy to see how the reduced drinking age affected the youth and their view of drinking. It was so much more of a casual thing to them than it is to the youth in America. Maybe if we were to lessen our drinking age the youth of this country would be more casual about drinking.

  10. mreeg62 says:

    When I was younger my family and I did a ton of traveling, before all the boys had girls and would rather hang out with their friends than travel. When we went to Italy we road one of these trains, and I loved it, I thought it was so much fun, I was also only six though. Our family also had a very awkward situation; our train was totally open, just like the one in the picture. This was a big problem because my Dad has sleep apnea. This means that he snores in his sleep, most of the time when my dad snores it’s only a little bit of snoring, but sometimes, it sounds like a dyeing dragon. This night was one of those nights. It was like three in the morning when I woke up because of it, and I noticed that almost everyone else was awake. I felt like it was the right thing to wake up my dad and tell him what’s going on. He didn’t sleep the rest of the night because he didn’t want to leave everyone awake, but this made for a very cranky father the next day. Also when we were leaving the little room my brother jumped off of the middle bunk and ended up landing on someone that was sleeping on the ground because of my Dad. Other than this, this trip was amazing. I love going to Europe, everything is just so beautiful. We didn’t have the language problem like you did though, we have a lot of family over in Italy that also speaks English.

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