I told myself to go. I said, “Joy, no choice. Go.” I only whined a little:
“But can’t I just stay home and watch the Bachelor…?”
“But if I go that means I have to take the train for an hour into the city, and then an hour back. And I already did that today.”
I convinced myself to go. On the way to the train, I said to myself, “Stop thinking. Just go.” Why was I thinking so much anyway? My theory is that I was at my limit of uncomfortable-ness. On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the most stressed and 1 being at incredible ease, navigating the train system was about a 6, finding my classrooms and going to class was also about a 6, the fear of getting lost and losing my passport and my shoes and my head was about an 8. So going to this party and having all those things in addition was pushing me to a 9.
“Don’t give up.” I told myself. “I’ll just go to the party by myself. Two hours early. No big deal.” And then an image of me wandering into a club, squinting at fellow students and passing time reading the graffiti on the bathroom stall doors popped into my head.
I sunk into my seat and wallowed in self-pity. I got to the city at about 7:15 and sat on a bench to contemplate what to do. I tried listening to Rihanna to pump myself up,
but I kept picturing my host family, cuddled together in a candle lit room, drinking tea and watching a Danish movie. I looked at my train schedule. 1 hour until the next train going back into my town.
10, 20, 30 minutes passed. I counted 23 women with Hunter rain boots. I counted 37 bikes, 11 babies.
40 minutes, 50 minutes, 1 hour. Train! But this train looked different, was called something different, and therefore, I watched it pull out of the station. Then I looked at the screen, and realized it was an express version of the train I usually take. Express? I didn’t even know that existed. Next train: 57 minutes.
Enter: strange man with pointy black shoes. He sat down next to me on the bench and started speaking to me in Italian, and then Danish, and then French.
I couldn’t understand a word he was saying, but he kept talking.
I tried having an imaginary prolonged phone conversation so that he would leave me alone.