10/24/2012 – An Unexpected Reaction to a Mundane Event

October 25, 2012

This weekend, a couple of my best girls and I will be heading off to Lviv for a last hoorah. Since I live in the city, I was elected to buy our train tickets for this adventure, so I decided to use the opportunity to also buy my train tickets to Kyiv for COS – my final train ride, the one that will take me away from Chernivtsi for the last time.

I got to the ticket window about ten minutes before closing and was happy to see there was no one in line. I went up and handed the lady a piece of paper with all the tickets I needed (for complicated orders I find it’s just easier to write it all out, makes everyone’s lives easier), and she ran her eye over it before sitting down and beginning to print off everything. I waited patiently, and when she was done, I handed over my money, received the tickets, and double checked that everything was great. It was an incredibly smooth transaction, and I gave her my heartfelt thanks because buying train tickets sometimes leaves me really stressed, so having it go well was a real treat. Then I turned away from the window, walked back through the station…

…and I started to cry.

It’s not like I was bawling, it wasn’t loud or embarrassing. I just suddenly found myself standing in the middle of the station, unable to move with my hand pressed against my mouth, tears welling up uncontrollably, spilling over down my cheeks. A woman passing by paused to ask if I was all right, which just made the knot in my chest tighten. I told her I was fine. But that’s not what I wanted to say.

What I wanted to say was that I have been living in Chernivtsi for two years; I have made this place my home. I have bought countless train tickets at this station, have started so many adventures from these tracks, have ended every trip in this place. The feeling I get when I see the station come into view through the train windows, when I know I am so close to home after a long time away, is indescribable – a mixture of relief, warmth, and a quiet joy. And now in my hand is the final ticket, the one that will take me away from here. For the first time, there is no return ticket. I’m leaving. I’m really leaving.

That’s what I wanted to say. But I didn’t say any of that. Because leaving is inevitable. It may break my heart, it may make me cry, but that won’t stop it from happening. And I’m so excited about going to my American home, about starting the next chapter in my life. So I told the kind lady who asked me if I’m all right that I was fine. Then I continued out of the station and walked out into the night.



  1. Good stuff, friend! That is, the story and the writing, not the crying itself, per se. Though crying can be positive, and in this case, it seems to mean that Chernivtsi has been good enough to you that you’ll miss it a lot. Which is more than some volunteers can say. Though I am not one of the those. I like my site a lot and I’ll miss it very much, too. Although if I cry in a train station any time soon, it will be for the fact that I actually have to stuff myself onto another train…I cry a lot in train stations. Any way, good good stuff! Thanks for sharing this story!

  2. Michelle, my wonderful daughter. We look forward to having you back in your American home for a while. We love you. Dad

  3. An incredible journey so far! You are always an inspiration to those around you my dear. To many more adventures that touch your heart!

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