Train to Transylvania
My cousin Michelle, who lived in Romania as an English teacher for a couple of years as a missionary, hosted a friend, her mom and dad and myself for a visit to her temporary home in Bucharest. I had awakened her one early morning with a surprise phone call to announce my plans to visit, inviting myself within an hour of deciding to go. Thousands of miles, many hours (in fact, a day or so later) and several layovers later, some tired and achy bodies arrived to Bucharest.
After a few days in Bucharest, Michelle surprised us with a train ride trip to Transylvania, the old town known as the home of Count Dracula. I was excited about this really cool trip. It even took the chill out of the bitter January winter air since there wasn’t much heat in the homes of Romania. Ironically, what heat they didn’t experience in their homes and outside, they more than made up for inside modes of transportation. The trolleys, cabs and even the train were really hot inside.
Halfway during the five hour train ride to eerie Transylvania, I had to take care of some business, so I headed down the hallway to the restroom at the end of the railcar. I was glad I didn’t need to use toilet paper for many reasons, one of which being the restroom was so gross I didn’t want to touch anything, another being that Romanian toilet paper resembled our crepe paper in consistency.
So, I stood with my legs apart as the train jostled bracing myself with my feet so I wouldn’t accidentally fall and hit the side of the wall. Halfway through the process, everything went pitch black. I realized suddenly that we had gone in a tunnel and the train hadn’t used any lights since during the daylight hours. I thought I’d wait until we emerged from the tunnel before I finished, zipped up and walked back.
Five minutes later I began to wonder if we’d ever come out of the tunnel. I wondered if someone would need to go and they would walk in, feeling around to use the restroom and find me and scare us both. I was afraid to try to walk back because I could walk off the train accidentally since the doors were open. Another few minutes passed by and I started wondering if the rest of the two hours were underground and the lights were supposed to come on and just didn’t. This was still a third world country, after all.
Finally, we did come out of the end of the tunnel and the saying, “There’s light at the end of the tunnel” never rang truer or better to me than before. I walked back and as I approached our seating area, I could hear the laughter erupting. Michelle didn’t notice me leave and would have warned me. Needless to say, I didn’t make the same mistake on the way back.