02 September 2015

Today, I had four very pleasant taxi rides between two railway stations and one clinic and our one and only home. It cost a bomb but I only do this twice, maybe three times a year. I swear that the taxi drivers all somehow guessed that this was a difficult day for me and they all tried to cheer me up. 

The Kurdish one during the 8:30 am traffic jam demonstrated his newfangled shiny purple reading glasses which fold into a small square and pop up just like that! He also told me that organised religion was the root of all evil and that we need to teach our kids to always keep their hearts and minds open. I totally agreed and it went from there. When we finally reached the station, he thanked me for a lovely time.

The Azerbaijani grandfather who dropped me at the clinic three hours later sang me the wedding song he has been rehearsing for his youngest daughter's wedding to a German policeman next week. It was a very long song and as I sat there watching him with his eyes closed and head thrown back, the clouds opened and all was shiny and golden sunlight around us.

The young Afghan who drove me back to the station offered me a cup of chai from his elaborately decorated flask and it was very very sweet, both the taste and the gesture, because it stopped me - just in time - to fall into that deep miserable hole of self pity and why me and all that stuff.

The last trip back from the station was a short German lesson because the Iranian driver had only arrived four months ago, for love, he told me, and so we went through a few phrases on his language app and after I had paid him, he showed me his young wife and his tiny baby daughter, gently wiping with one delicate finger from one image to the next on the surface of his phone. I would have asked him in for tea had I not been so exhausted but I took his card and promised to call him for my next trip, silently hoping that by then he will have passed the language exam to continue studying medicine.

On the train journeys I met:
A very heavily pregnant Japanese woman living in Cologne on her way to meet her parents at the airport, preparing herself for the inevitable onslaught of the expected Japanese misunderstandings regarding the European approach to birth. She was very flustered and I hope she and her parents made it home in time.
A former heroin addict who found jehova and the joys of keeping fish in various types of aquariums (aquaria?). Well, I now know a lot more about hard and soft water and African perch and why zebra fish prefer the company of neon fish or maybe not. 
About 20 preschoolers or their way to the Roman museum for really important stuff as one of them informed me. He also told me that under no conditions should I try and swim in the river because of the big strong currents and I promised that I will remember his advice. He then gave me a grape. 

With all this social encounter going on I managed only one picture. I didn't get that right, it's one river bend before the Loreley (yes, the Germans write it with a y) but it looks almost the same, only there are more tourist boats and flags. 

I also met my lovely immunologist and she did not like the look of things at all. Plan B has not worked out it seems, so it's Plan C for eight weeks with Plan D lurking in the background. Plan D is not nice, so keeping all fingers crossed for Plan C to do wonders. Eight weeks.


  1. You remind me so much of me in some ways. I find myself falling in love in a human-to-human way with so many people that I encounter in my life. The store keepers, the clerks, the stranger in line, the waitress, the person sitting next to me in a restaurant. Sometimes I think I have a secret sign on me that says, "Tell me your story," because I hear them all the time. And perhaps it's not a sign at all, just an ability for people to know that I would rather hear their stories than almost anything else in the world. They are all so fascinating! And we share so much! It is not unusual at all for me to tear up with someone whom I had never seen until ten minutes before.
    Thank you for these stories.
    Now. Plan C.
    Yes. Let that be the one. I am rooting for you from far away, here in Lloyd, in Florida, in the USA where we have rivers and stories too.
    Be well, dear Sabine.

  2. So many kind people in the world. Good to hear about so many of them. Keeping all my fingers crossed, too. I love your river, your writing, your awareness, and your love of life.

  3. What a series of encounters! I admire your openness and your ability to connect with so many people. They all make such charming stories. I am not so good at small talk when I'm traveling, but I'm sure I miss a lot by avoiding it.

    I've been on that very stretch of river and seen the Lorelei rock myself!

  4. You remind us that the world is a place full of beautiful human stories. It is good to remember. I wish I could sit next to you on a long train trip.

    Fingers crossed for Plan C. Hope it all goes well.

  5. I just read this post out loud to my mother on the telephone. She loved it. She thanks you for your beautiful stories and wishes you good luck with Plan C.

  6. Wishing you the best with Plan C. Your make every day count and remind me to do the same.