The Train

Homesickness is a weird emotion that can strike at the most unlikely times in the most unlikely places. I shouldn’t get it in Canada, should I?

As I took public transit downtown Wednesday morning, I had a flash of homesickness as the train pulled into the station. There’s a warning announced in English and French telling people to stay back from the tracks as the train arrives. 

As the words echoed, all I could think of was that it would be nice to hear it in German. Which is so weird after being home in Canada for more than a year.

Maybe it was transit angst coming to the fore. Maybe it was a reminder of dozens of train trips during teh time we lived in Germany. Ottawa’s public transit is an unreliable mess these days. I never had any problems in Germany. So maybe it is wishful thinking, harking back to a time and place when buses weren’t cancelled and the trains always ran. Which is definitely not the state of public transit in Ottawa.

If I were in Germany today I’d probably feel homesick for Canada. I struggled with the language (though I did get better with the passage of time), and at times the food choices in the local grocery store seemed limited. For example, early September is the height of the corn on the cob season in eastern Canada. I eat eat it frequently. Germans though think fresh corn is only good for cattle feed. Never once did I see it in the stores or at roadside stands

Still, it shows how a place can become part of you after a while, even if much of it feels foreign. I felt homesick for Gerrmany, at least for a fleeting moment.

Mind you, if the transit system was better here I probably wouldn’t have been feeling that way.


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