I think one of the most important lessons I’ve learned is: don’t miss your bus stop. When navigating public transportation there are key tips I’ve learned to live by.
1. Don’t use your airpods on the bus. This will be explained in the next point.
2. The electrical signs don’t always work. Either they’re off or give a couple stops behind than where you actually are. For this reason I have tip number one, you’ll need to hear the overhead voice telling you which stop is coming up. This is unless you’re following the stops on your phone.
3. Don’t be afraid to talk to those arounud you. There is no shame in asking who’s around where you are they know a lot more than you do and won’t mind guiding you in the right direction.
With this you might be asking – Emily how did you miss your stop? Well that also goes with another rule.
4. Do not try to memorize your stop with what’s around it because you will have no idea where you are at night.
Don’t be a fool like me and look for environmental indicators that your bus stop is near because at night there aren’t a whole lot of streetlights meaning you will have no idea where your stop is until you’re leaving it and it’s too late to get off. However, in the instance where you made this mistake and have missed your stop then point number 5 is here for you.
5. Do not panic. The transportation system in Denmark goes around in a big circle. Worse that can happen is you stay on until it reaches your stop again which, in my case, was another hour BUT I mean hey I got home.
I didn’t do extensive research on Denmark because I am a more learn-as-you-go type of person. I think the mistakes and the failures make for good stories you learn from. I didn’t want to come with any preconceptions or expectations. I trusted that all the need-to-knows will come from my host family and the rest I’ll learn through experience. My host dad warned me about missing my stop the second day I got here and reassured that the stops go in a circle so you’ll get back to your stop eventually, missing a stop is nothing to freak out too much about considering how small Copenhagen is. What helps me when I encounter unexpected situations is to remember that Copenhagen is VERY safe. While you should keep your guard because danger lingers everywhere, even the statistically happiest place on earth, it is ok to break it down enough to talk to those around you and ask for help. Whenever it was late and I really felt at a loss for where I am or how to move forward I felt comfortable enough to ask someone around me normally saying where I’m trying to go and how I can get there. Most times they’ll kindfully point you in the right direction or even walk with you to the bus/metra stop you need to go to and spark up a conversation along the way. They like to hear about what it’s like being American and are even more interested to know about what you think about Denmark.
So, if you ever miss your bus stop I hope you don’t panic, put on a good playlist, and think about telling someone about the experience so you can laugh together.