The Little Yellow U Bahn

Having grown up in the largest city in the US without public transportation, I was intimidated by the transition to Stuttgart, Germany, a city where not using public transportation is like not having legs. But after adapting to the trains, downloading a transportation app, and sprinting to make my train more times than I can count, I have fallen in love with the little yellow U bahn where you get to mingle with local Germans going about their daily life. Sometimes to practice my German, I would comment to a friendly-looking older lady about the weather or something innocuous, and then see what would happen. Most of the time she would take the bait and launch into a long-winded monologue. I would just smile, nod, and remark as genuinely as possible, “Ja!” or “Das ist sehr interessant!” or “Naturlich!” even though I had no idea what she was talking about. It was always a little awkward when she finished and looked me expectantly, and then the conversation would just end with a half-hearted “Ja…” and then I would be relieved to find out that my train station was the next stop. If I didn’t make conversation, I would do some last-minute homework, or catch up on some reading. One time, I accidentally left my purse in the S bahn, and of course, I proceeded to call my bank and cancel all my credit cards. But less than an hour later, I received an email and Facebook message from my German hero who found it, turned it in, and told me exactly where he left it. The interactions I had with local Germans on the U bahn are definitely unforgettable.

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