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Bus No. 19N

Updated: Nov 8, 2020

“Good morning” I said to the ladies at the front desk while leaving.  I looked at the clock on the wall thinking that I must be late again!

“I bet she will have to run today?” I’m sure that’s what one receptionist said to the other!

Leaving the front door, I could see the bus No. 19N at the traffic signals in front of me. Just as I did yesterday, I started running while starring at the driver hoping he will see my sharp and begging look and he will eventually notice me!

Since I moved here, I have noticed that running in a snowy weather is not like running in normal weather back home! It is a struggle, trying to step in the right place making sure you don’t end up in watery snow or on slippery ground, whilst still trying to hint to the bus driver that I am actually trying to catch his bus!

I could see that I am the only person running in the middle of the road not caring about the amount of white mud flying from the back of my snow boots up towards my snow pants… yes everything I am wearing is snow friendly, and everyone can see that I am new here!

I finally reached the stop and caught the bus. While trying to catch my breath, the bus driver said, with a smile on his face, ‘just in time’. I tried to smile back! Whilst thinking that was not funny.  But, he is such a nice driver, especially as he did notice me!

During my first week, this was my daily routine, trying to get around in this City, sometimes joined by my Mum.

The bus No. 19N was our favorite. It passes through all the places we recognized and after a week of using the same bus we started to recognise the drivers. At first we were a little lost, and our biggest shock was on the way back home using bus No. 19S!

The North bus was useful and convenient, but the he South was annoying! On one journey home we realised this bus doesn’t stop near our building … not at all. The day we found that out, it was minus15c and we had to walk back home in the freezing weather thinking, what have we done wrong! Later on, we finally figured out that none of the South buses actually passes near our building. Live with it!

The bus passengers are from different backgrounds and I can hear different languages. Some are familiar are some aren’t.

On today’s trip, two teenagers got on the bus, four stops after mine. They looked very familiar to me! They both had dark brown eyes, bronze skin, curly hair and sharp looks. After a swipe of their bus cards they took their seats, close to me, so I heard their conversation.

Usually, no one really pays any attention to others on the bus.  But for a new comer like me and especially as an Arab, everything was getting my attention and I would maybe stare at things that some people find strange!

Back to the two teenagers… Seated, they continued a conversation that they must have started earlier. One of them said to the other in Arabic “what the Arabs are doing is a shame, can’t they just stop fighting!” The other one said: “I swear by God it is a shame” They had a North African accent, and it is a different dialect from mine, but I managed to follow their discussion.

The first teenager continued his talk and I could see a lot of drama at his face: “Wallahi” (I swear by God) “If I were them, I would have made my country isolated from the rest of the Arab World!” The other nodding his head agreeing!

I must say, it was hard not to smile! How on earth did I find two teenagers in a non Arabic country talking about politics! Especially at their age and here! The funny thing is this young man was right.  We are all sick of what is going on in the Arab World at this time and we all feel like we want to take all those people that are fighting, put them together in one big place and keep them together until they fix their problems. Then, when they are done, maybe they can come out and clear up the mess they caused! Or at the minimum, this is what we dream they will do!

Still holding back my smile and after a lot of new passengers joined the bus I could hardly hear the rest of their conversation, which I could see was still serious and interesting!

The recorded announcement with a women’s voice (not sure why it is always a women’s voice) announced my destination. I pulled the rope and the women’s voice announced “stop requested” and the bus came to a stop, with the bus driver smiling again at me and saying……

“Don’t run now. Have a great day!”

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