A post on trains

I don't know about the USA and Australia and all you guys' places, but here in Belgium students like me take the train to go to university every day. At first that kind of freaked me out because trains are risky things.

10 reasons why trains are risky things

1. You're stuffed into a narrow, metal snake with people you have never met before. That's the basic explanation of a train. And it does not necessarily sound very attractive.
2. This can therefore include being seated next to a potential murderer or drug dealer.
3. You could get your handbag nicked. A handbag contains important cards and passports and in the case of some stories, babies. (Little Importance of Being Earnest reference there; before you get wierded out.)
4. You can miss your train. Think of how stressful it is; you have to get in that thing before it whizzes away again - and if you don't it won't care; you'll just have to wait fifteen minutes or more for the next metal snake.  It does not care about your feelings. 
5. There is a small gap between the train and the platform. This is ok, but just don't fall. Death may occur and that death may be yours.
6. Sometimes trains are very stuffed. I have been on two trains today - one so stuffy a man was standing right in front of my face, a girl was sitting next to me, another girl was standing next to me, another man was sitting right behind the man standing in front of me; a lady sitting right next to the man standing in front of me (I was trying to concentrate on C.S.Lewis' The Problem of Pain) - and another nice and calm one where I had a little table and bench to myself and I could edit my story in peace. The latter is somewhat more of a rare specimen in school hours, let's just say that.
7. You can accidentally sit in the 1st class passengers and get a ticking off from the conductor.
8. You can accidentally lose your train ticket and get a ticking off from the conductor (+fine.)
9. You can accidentally get on the wrong train and find yourself landing in some weird-sounding place you have never heard of. Guys, train timetables are the most complicated dang things there are. Just make sure you have your phone with you so you can phone Mum whilst weeping. Like, there's 23 platforms. How am I supposed to know which one might potentially have a train that will bring me closer to my home?
10. Underground train stations are super creepy. Forget about the Matthew and Mary romantic train station scene in Downton Abbey. I'm talking black walls with graffiti.

... basically, my life is a play between life and death.

All right, I am obviously being overly pessimistic for dramatic reasons (;-P) and I have to say, I have already noticed some of its positive sides. I did not think I would find a lot of them, but I have found that travelling by train has its quaint, storybook sides. 

Such as:

1. Yesterday I was walking in the big grand train station, and outside there was this jazz band playing on the pavement - with saxophones and everything. As I went inside, and down the steps into the underground world of train platforms, the jolly jazzy sound intermingled with the sound of trains, announcements, and endless footsteps of people rushed to get on with their own life. With all those sounds drowning into each other, I felt like I was in one of those slow motion, soundtrack-y scenes in a movie. You know, one of those scenes where the main character feels all numb and struck and where he or she is reanalysing life and everything about it? YOU know. Anyway. I felt like I was in that kind of scene for a few minutes and it was cool. :-P
2. When there's a sunset shining through the train windows. Guys. Purty.
3. When I spot someone reading a book I like. Ok, that hasn't happened yet, but I'm happy to say that people are still reading books. Granted, more people are on their phones, but I have spotted many noses between book covers and that makes me happy.
4. Some of the landscapes I pass are very picturesque indeed.
5. Sometimes there are good looking people on the train. There was a guy dressed like Wooster this morning. And a girl with a nice handbag. There is always something to observe.
6. The rattle of the train is quite satisfying - not a bad sound.
7. Now and then us cold Belgian strangers will dare smile to each other. But never longer than half a second. Oh no; heaven forbid. That is far to familiar.

There was my little anecdote on trains. I'm training myself to get used to them. You'd better keep track of my process and station assignments on my way so I can improve. I'll keep a to-do list with boxes of things I have to do to improve, so that when I get the things done I can ticket.



  1. Here in the US, we either live on the college/university campus itself (think lots of mini apartments crammed into one huge building) or we drive cars. Trains are not common for commuting anymore unless you're in really big metro areas such as New York City or Philadelphia or Washington D.C.

    I've never been on a train personally, but I can imagine what it would be like to be on one from your description :)


  2. Bravo! And good luck on those trains! We don't use them much here in the US where I live, but I have heard of folks using them in Australia to go to work.

    1. Yup! We get the train to get into the city it's much quicker than bussing it! :-D

  3. Heh. That sounds a bit... terrifying. *hides* (And also an excellent opportunity for spying. I MEAN CHARACTER COLLECTING. Sorry.)

      << YES YES YES. :-)

  4. Naomi this literally made my little day:D I love that paragraph where you felt like a girl in a movie--that's the coolest feeling and you described it so well.


    Stay safe on those metal snakes!!

    ~Rilla Blythe

  5. Yeah I use the train and the bus to get to uni! Train travel is fun but nothing compares to those beautiful old steam engines. Fun fact I once had to get the train interstate for a friends birthday =D

  6. I enjoyed this post. :) There aren't so many trains where I live, but I am/have been going through the same thing with using our small-town bus system to get to the university. Complicated schedules, getting on the wrong bus (or the right bus, going the wrong direction — yes, I am that directionally confused), strange people and etc. Yet, I'm starting to enjoy it.

  7. Yes, in Australia, trains are very popular.

    (Goodness gracious, you wrote this just after I told you what a treat it was for our family to ride a train. Naomi! How DARE you ruin it! ;P)

    You actually made it sound very terrifying. Especially the last point - I have a phobia about getting lost. *hides in terror*

    I've been to the airport heaps, and it's almost similar in a way. There are so many people and often you have to sit beside a bunch of different people while waiting. They pull people over for drugs and stuff. Last time I went a woman was screaming to the security guards 'DON'T TOUCH MY BAGS! DON'T TOUCH MY BAGS!' But I absolutely love it, because I love to study the people. Every time I notice something about someone. Last time there was a guy who looked just like Tom Hardy, and he was staring at people, just like me, but every time I looked at him, and noticed he was looking at me, he turned away directly. And the time before that, there was a young man (I think he was African), wearing head phones and eating white chocolate. He crackled the paper to get his next piece of chocolate and met my eyes at the same time. I smiled, and he gave a guilty smile, laughed, and put the chocolate back.

    Like, seriously, I think people-watching is the COOLEST.

    ... and yeah, I realize I sound like a creeper.

  8. This sounds like so much fun!!! I have to drive 45 minutes to school 2x a week which isn't that great lol But I would *love* to take a train to uni everyday!

  9. You've started at university?!? CONGRATULATIONS!!!! *drowns you in confetti* That's so exciting, Naomi! How are your classes?

    Man. Commuting via train every day sounds like a Project. At our university, most people just drive to campus, and that's what we do, Rosie and I. We take turns (I drive in the morning and she drives in the evening). We also turn up our car radio indecently loud and sing along to gloriously stupid '80s love songs. It's a blast.

    I love the way you described your "movie scene" <3 It sounded beautiful.

  10. I can relate to all those things, yes. I have to travel every day with the train, to get to school. it's quite frustrating and sometimes very annoying. But, eventually you get used to it, although many times it still is annoying. Hurray for people who read books in the train instead of checking their phones.
    Those sunsets are gorgeous. I can see every day the sunset. <3
    Full trains are NOT fun.

  11. Ahh wow, trains are such a foreign concept to me. I've never even been on one, though I'd like to someday. Your train experiences sound mostly downright frightening, though. :P haha Thanks goodness for the few nice moments. I hope using the train gets easier and more fun as you get used to it!!



    but it also is, because I can just come here and feast my eyes with amazingness whenever I want but STILL.

    that is all.

    (oh except that I am here again to produce novel-length comments because IT'S NANOWRIMO AND WHAT ELSE DO YOU DO WHEN YOU HAVE A MILLION TRILLION WORDS TO WRITE STILL?? that's write, you procrastinate.)
    (hehehe pun totally intended and SUPER LAME I'M SORRY DON'T KILL ME)

    but seriously I love your blog so much <3 <3


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