Good to be on the road back home again...

Have you ever been caught with your pants down?

How about on a train?


I wonder if the intro to this post really needs a deeper explanation... We'll get to that point.

I got back to Landau on Saturday evening. The flight to Frankfurt(Main) from Riga was fine, except that I was dizzy and feeling sick because I had eaten a (seriously) large amount of what can be translated to "Bread Yoghurt." Usually yoghurt, for me, in small amounts is fine, my system can handle it. But by the time I had gotten to the departure gate in the airport and was waiting for boarding to begin, I felt feverish and woozy. The feeling continued for most of the flight, and I was glad that I had decided to NOT eat the plane-food-sandwich, because during landing the turbulence was

If you're reading this, Mom, skip over it until you see the SAFE TO READ title in the post. Nothing bad happened, I can assure you, but if you think that what might follow this sentence could in any way really worry you, I repeat: DON'T READ IT. This goes for the rest of you as well.

not insanely disorienting, but it was a proper turbulence situation. And, considering that I wasn't feeling up to par in the first place, and the woman next to me kept asking her husband in an annoyed -- AN ANNOYED(!!) -- tone, "Goodness, what is going on with the plane? Why is it shaking and tossing like that? What, can the pilot not drive properly?", I wasn't too excited about the bumpy ride. I'll say now that most of the passengers were Latvian or Russian, and some Germans. So this woman, in a very loud voice, is asking, in Latvian, a language most of the plane probably understood, why the plane is going nuts. The plane WASN'T going nuts, but it was normal landing turbulence -- the weather was nice, sunny, etc. I wanted to turn to her and say politely, "Why is the plane shaking? Why, can't you see the flames from your seat? Would you like me to move so you can see out of the window better?" Such thoughts are better kept to yourself.


So I lucked out with the train ride from Frankfurt back home, because instead of sending me from Frankfurt to Karlsruhe (a city about 30 minutes south of Landau) and only then to Landau, I managed to get a train that took me to Mannheim, then Neustadt, then Landau. I had to get on and off more times, but it was a straight trip south, no back-tracking. Because it's semi-important to the story, I'll add that during this time I was going through the last day or so of my period. In Mannheim I get to the next platform to wait for the train to Neustadt, and I realize, quite suddenly, that I need a toilet. There are no toilets on the platforms. Only in the main parts of the station. So I stand and wait for the train, praying it comes NOW NOW NOW and hoping the damage won't be too great or visible. Train comes, I literally jump on it, throw my bags down on a shelfy thing and turn to the toilets. There is one normal toilet with a ticket envelope wedged in the door, and a red square, indicating that it's probably in use (although I figured out later that the toilet was probably broken, because the ticket envelope belonged to no one, no one was in the toilet room, and the door was locked) and one handicapped toilet room. A big toilet room with an electric door that's curved and opens like sliding doors at a grocery store. I think "screw labels, I'm bleeding" and push the green button labeled "Öffnen" to open the handicapped toilet room door. I go in, look around, push the red button "Schliessen" to close the door. There is no *apparent* lock in sight. The handle on the inside of the door has zero qualities of a lock mechanism and there is a red light blinking and it makes me anxious. So I try to orient myself, can't get past my coat, get my pants down and try come to terms with the fact that I have no idea what to do, when "geeeeeeeeeeeeeh" the doors of the toilet room start to open. I am confused. I, pants half down (thank GOD I had my long coat on) look rather helplessly at the door. The man who pushed the button from the outside looks in, hurriedly apologizes, I say "No, REEEALLY!?!" (in German) and push the red lock button as he turns quickly away. Once the doors have closed, I re-dress myself, stand for a moment trying to figure out what to do, decide not to risk that again, and exit the toilet room. The man is nowhere in sight. Smart. Eventually I ask a woman trying to make a call to stand guard while I make a second attempt. Afterwards we talk, trying to figure out how the bathroom buttons work. We decide that once you are in the room, you have to press the red button and do stuff as quickly as possible, even though the blinky red light can be seen from outside next to a plate that reads "Besetzt"(in use). Then the lady asks if I'm British. I say no, and that I'm from the US. She says she is as well, which I find odd, because at the beginning I had asked her if she spoke English or German better, and she said German. Then we figure out that she thought I said RUSSIA, and commented that I looked Russian (if not European/Eastern European). I contemplate this. In the past year, I have been told I lookScottishh, and now Russian. I do not know which is worse.

Finally made it to Landau, took a taxi home. Gushed to the driver about how pretty everything looked now, and he said 'What do you expect after being gone for two weeks -- it changes!' Once I got in my flat I wanted to scream, because not only was the apartment not as dirty as I had expected it to be, but I was so glad to be back.

And to have my own toilet where no one will walk in on me.