Don’t judge from the outlook. Furthermore, don’t judge from what others said.
I shrugged off when some people looked at me weirdly. I was just arrived in boarding room in Dubai International Airport, waiting for the next flight to Warsaw. I supposed I looked uncommon, a little and messy girl who solo traveled (didn’t know how to dress well at that time). And I bet it’s because I looked awkward and confused. I couldn’t blame myself since it was my first time going abroad. I didn’t even know the procedures of boarding a plane till I need to write it down on my notes. Just because. For I was going that far, and alone to the unknown sphere.
Gulp. My heart jumped out fast when I remembered it again. I was so nervous, it couldn’t be hidden.
Besides, I didn’t know how many times I’ve heard negative comments on the destination I’d be going to. “I heard there are a lot of pickpockets there, be careful”, they said. And a couple who sat next to me on my previous flight looked at me pitifully when they heard of my destination, “Take care of yourself. There are insane drunk people there.” I didn’t know what they mean and I didn’t want to care. Whatever happens, happens.
I walked excitedly toward immigration counter. I’ve arrived in Warsaw but it hadn’t felt like anything new. I couldn’t wait to feel the new air outside of the airport. But the officer’s voice disrupted my excitement, “Where’s your invitation letter?”
I didn’t bring it, crap! All that been told to me was to bring my passport and that should be okay! I looked at her hesitantly and admitted that I didn’t bring it with me. At first, I was scared she wouldn’t let me in. But she only sighed and said, “Next time, you must bring your invitation letter, OK?”, oki-doki! I swore to pay extra attention in the future.
I took a deep breath outside the airport. There wasn’t anything special to see, yet, it just felt different. I’ve been dreaming of wandering faraway since childhood, I couldn’t believe the moment it was happening. So excited!
I walked in again and asked the information counter officer on how to get to Lublin, only to found out that she spoke terrible English and in an incomprehensible accent. Long story short –I didn’t get what she said, at all. So I went outside again and asked strangers this time. Fortunately, there was a young girl who was able to communicate in English, and kind enough to help me using the ticket machine to go to train railway station. Then I realized it was the last place where I could use the trolley to carry my suitcases. Actually, my two suitcases, one backpack, and one sling bag. Perhaps it’s not good to let my mother helped me packing because she basically pushed everything she thought I would need. And I forgot the comfortable trolley is only available in the airport.
Somehow, I managed to carry it all the way to the train railway station. But then I saw the long downstairs to the station. At first, I tried to lift it up one by one, stair by stair, slowly, thereupon a young girl asked me, “You need help?” as she picked my biggest suitcase to the lowest stair even before me answering and leaving before I said thank you. I lifted my suitcases again through the flat road (Have I told you that one of my suitcase’s handle was broken on the journey and I couldn’t pull it anymore?). Then, I faced another climb stairs. I was lifting the small suitcase when suddenly an old man lifted the other one to the highest stair. He spoke something in Polish, and I smiled, “I don’t understand but thank you so much!”
I proceeded to the ticket counter. I said to the lady, “I want to take the train to Lublin.” She just shook her head and serving other customers. She couldn’t speak English! So how could I buy the ticket from her? “You need help?” The girl beside me offering me help, fortunately! I explained my destination and she spoke to the lady in Polish. Finally, I’ve got my ticket and only need to wait for my train. Almost there, I said to myself.
I noticed that every train that went through only stopped for 3-5 minutes. Considering all my luggage, I would not make it in time if I didn’t get close before the train arrives. I ran as fast as possible, as well as the other passengers when the train arrived. I showed my ticket to the officer. He pointed the other end, meaning I came to the wrong car. So I ran again to the different direction. I got panic when I heard the whistle sound, fortunately, a guy helped me pulling my suitcases from the car so I could make it just in time. When I looked at the sign, I found out that the car was still the wrong one. The right one was right after this. But, the car got a very narrow corridor so how could I reach it with this stuff? Once again, another guy came, “Need help?” then he took my big suitcase so I only had one left to carry. How nice!
It turned out all cabins were full, so I decided to sit on my suitcase all the way to Lublin. It’s around 3 hours, I guess. I only listened to music to kill the time. When the train almost reached Lublin, a guy came, he stood near me and initiating a conversation. We chatted a bit, then he helped me with my luggage when the train stopped at a small station. I was sure it’s the right stop because I saw some people looking distinctive with their balloon and “Welcome to Lublin” sign. Yeah, it was them! I said thank you and goodbye to the guy before walking to my friends.
What a day, what a place. Poland proved me people were wrong about their negativity right on the first day. It is actually a country full of nice people. Just look at how many people offering help on my way to Lublin. It’s surely impossible to know something we never meet, but it’s worth it to give it a chance. And, Poland was proved to be a good discovery.
*originally created on 14th July 2013.