The day started earlier than we would have liked, early trains often leave us rolling out of bed, tidying up to check out, and zombie walking to the nearest cafe for an Americano. Luckily, we didn’t have to go too far before finding some take-away’s, and the famous Nutella croissant, to get our morning going. After carefully walking our open take-away cups up the hill to the train station, we arrived slightly disheveled but joyful awaiting our train to go to the south of France. Ironically, we kept talking about what a great morning & easy day we would have. We were loaded with snacks, fueled with caffeine, and ready to conquer the three train rides that would get us to Nice.
But as quickly as the coffee brightened our mornings, the bad luck on trains clouded it. We got on the train, proudly finding the one that our Eurail allowed us to ride for free. After settling in & talking about the great day ahead, the conductor comes to check our tickets. We confidently show him our Eurails, like we’ve done many times in the last month, to find out that despite what we were told, this train does need reservations and we would have to pay double the original price.
After a few minutes of “discussing” the situation, we broke down, payed the fee, and he went happily on his way. It was at this moment, Megan made the vow to never pay these fees again if a similar situation were to arise…
Well, after arriving at the next station we decided to check again to avoid any more unexpected fees. We went to the ticket counter, showed our Eurails and when we were told we could ride the trains all the way to Nice, we jumped right onto the next train. Ready to settle into the 3 hour ride, securely knowing we wouldn’t be fined and ready to redeem the day after the morning – especially as we began chatting with the grandson-grandpa adventurers sitting next to us. Just as we joked in conversation about our bad luck, the conductor comes around to check tickets. Per usual, we pull out our Eurails – expecting him to check and be on his way. Instead, he looked at Nicole’s and gave her the nod of approval, but then turned to us and told us our passes we’re not valid.
After the last month of using them, we were told they were not validated properly(because activating them in Greece doesn’t count, according to this Italian man)and we would have to pay a pretty penny to make it to Nice. Keeping in line with the vow made earlier in the morning, we refused to pay – leading to a long thirty minute argument as to why our passes didn’t work and that they were, in fact, valid. Neither of us were ready to back down and the conductor was not about to either, so it was then that he decided he’d had enough of us & kicked us off the train. Stranding us in a small Italian town, where all local shops were closed & the bathroom was a hole in the ground.
Almost instantly after stepping off the train we broke down, it was a mix of bursts of laughter and uncontrollable tears out of frustration and amazement at what just happened. After a couple minutes of fuming with anger, letting go of tears, laughing through the situation, and a few prayers for grace, we knew there was nothing different we could have done. It happened, and it made the day a much grander adventure than we anticipated. And ultimately, we made it safely, only a few hours later than planned – ready to experience all Nice has to offer. And we must say, the baguettes we consumed had never tasted so good.
It is in times like these where you have to stand your ground with grace, it’s such an oxymoron and we are still trying to figure out what that looks like. Although we must admit we were ready to get as ungrateful as we travel with this conductor and tell him where he could go shove it, we were reminded that’s not how God wants us to handle those situations.
We are imperfectly learning how to live life in the way God wants us too, asking and thanking Him for plenty of grace along the way. In that moment of getting kicked off the train, and many times during this trip, laughter has been such a blessing. The ability to laugh at circumstances and not take ourselves so seriously gets us through bumps like these. It’s all about the journey, we play a role in God’s Divine agenda, but by no means does the weight of changing the world rest on us. We are not God, only He can change the world. We are privileged to be able to walk along side His global purpose, both during this trip and in our everyday lives. And we must say, this perspective brings so much freedom as we can laugh through the bumps in the road and know we are not carrying this load on our own as we walk with God.
So here’s to the unexpected adventures, the laughing through the tears, & the time spent alongside the train tracks. May we be able to handle them with grace and radiate Christ through any situation.