My mom had said to me before I left for Europe this summer, “You know, I think I get why a lot of people don’t go to Europe; it’s not really a vacation.” I dismissed her comment which should have been my first red flag – when I don’t listen to my mother, she’s always right. Little did I know what was in store for me…
1) The stress began before I even left my house. I (stupidly) left most of my packing until the morning I left, only to discover the backpack I planned to take was WAY too small. Praise God Jenny came to my rescue with a larger pack. What would I do without her??
2) Abby and I began our time in Rome with a €70 taxi ride to the northern outskirts of the city – our hotel’s actual location NOT the advertised location of “near Termini.” I felt the need to punch something while we road in the taxi, watching the money meter tick higher and higher…
3) The same hotel lied about the bus number to get back to the city center, so Abby and I trekked around Rome for a good hour and a half trying to find a nonexistent bus stop with our monstrous backpacks. This hotel is not getting the best review from me.
4) Our hostel in Barcelona gave off illegal vibes. We stayed in a random apartment in a back alley of the city. They only took cash. We’re also pretty sure someone shot off a gun in said alleyway the last night we were there. Needless to say, I wouldn’t recommend this lodging sight either…
5) And this is where the real fun begins! Our last night in Paris, Abby didn’t feel well, but we just thought it was some type of food poisoning. The next morning Abby felt that the pain was pinpointed right around her appendix scar, and she was throwing up uncontrollably. Here ensues 36 of the craziest hours of my life: figuring out how to operate French payphones, calling Mom and Dad, getting Abby to a Paris emergency room, sitting in limbo for 7 hours with limited contact to anyone who speaks English, a solo taxi ride to my hotel, navigating the Paris metro at midnight through throngs of drunken Parisienne concert-goers, meandering into a hospital afterhours with no clue as to where I’m going or what’s going on with my sister, and not eating for most of this (and anyone who knows me knows how poorly I operate while hungry).
[Update on Abby: She has now undergone two surgeries. The first was to remove a leftover appendix piece from her appendix surgery in 2009, the second was to drain her abdominal cavity of infected fluid and remove an infected piece of her colon. She’s currently recovering (and recovering well according to doctors – praise Jesus!) in the Saint-Antoine Hospital in Paris with my dad by her side. Keep them in your prayers!]
6) The whole situation with Abby has been beyond stressful. If it hasn’t given me an ulcer, it’ll be a(nother) miracle.
Anyway, as my mother predicted, this has NOT been a vacation. But looking back on everything that has happened, I can so clearly see God’s hand working faithfully in every situation. The 36 hours of limbo was full of miracles and people I’m pretty darn sure were angels. I didn’t realize it at the time, and I still haven’t fully come to terms with everything that has happened in the past two weeks, but I’m so thankful for a God who cares for His children and acts on their behalf.
Psalm 112:7-8 “He does not fear bad news nor live in dread of what may happen. For he is settled in his mind that Jehovah will take care of him.”