(NOTE: This is one of a series of posts about our family’s Vision Trip to Europe ahead of our planned move there within the next 12 months.)
By the time many of you read this post, Miranda, Phoenix and I will be well on our way to Europe, en route to a full week of fun and excitement in the Switzerland-Germany-France borderlands. Hotel—check. Rental car reservation—check. Passport—check. Winter coats—check.
We’ll share a quick story about our experience at the airport this morning, and then we’ll share a bit about our plans for this week.
We started out this morning in the rain in Houston, making our way toward IAH. We had about 250 pounds of checked luggage, a couple roll-aboards and backpacks, and a left-handed bass in tow as we pulled up to the curb-side drop off. Phoenix and I lugged everything to the check-in while Miranda dropped the car off at the Parking Spot.
We took everything up to the counter, were being assisted through the check-in process, and everything was going along gangbusters, until the gal behind the counter printed our boarding passes—or rather, our NOT boarding passes. Apparently, the original plane (a large Boeing 767) broke down sometime early this morning, and was replaced by one of its much smaller siblings (a Boeing 757). Consequently, we (and more than 100 of our fellow travelers) were seat-less.
Needless to say, a moderate wave of brief panic washed through my mind—what if we didn’t make our connection? What if only some of us were able to make it through? We had prayed, as we pulled out of the driveway, that we’d have grace and mercy as we travelled. Here was an opportunity for us to not only experience that grace and mercy, but also share it with others—and we did, by God’s grace.
We were given our non-boarding passes, whisked through security, and arrived at the gate to see a throng of people all trying to sort out the mess of seats and tickets and assignments and connections and everything else. We were, finally, assigned seats—not our original ones—but were also able to find kind souls on the plane who allowed us to sit together. United’s people, by the way, were nothing if not kind, patient, and courteous with the throngs of disrupted passengers.
Our plan this week, loosely, is to sort out the Things Which Need Sorting (TWNS). There are many Things Which Need Sorting, and many of the associated issues are intertwined with others.
Chief among the TWNS is: How are we going to educate our children? There are, fortunately, myriad choices, across two different countries. But with so many choices come many individual issues, including: cost, availability of spaces, suitability of learning environments to our childrens’ needs, and location. As part of this particular quest, we’ll be visiting some schools, and Phoenix will even be visiting a German school this week with a girl her age who lives in Kandern.
Which brings us to the next TWNS: Where are we going to live? The big answer to this one is tied up with the education question—Germany or France? Understand, first, that we’re only talking about 20-30 miles difference between the various locations—it’s literally a question of which side of the Rhine we will be on. In addition, we will investigate what kinds of locations/homes might be available within each country (city/country; apartment/detached homes, etc.). We will spend quite some time this week exploring this TWNS.
And that, finally, brings us to the last TWNS: How might we do life in this new environment? The “answer” to this one is not so much a definitive thing, but a gradual revelation. We’ve been given a head-start from our future team leader on some of the questions we might pursue (she had a list from her first assignment overseas), and we have playdates, dinners, and coffee dates with soon-to-be-friends in Kandern to help with this.
So in summary, these are the Things Which Need Sorting (TWNS): schooling, residence, and doing life. Additionally, if you’d like to pray specifically with/for us this week, here are some of our concerns:
- Continued safety in traveling, especially driving in winter conditions in Europe
- Productive meetings with soon-to-be-friends and others who might help us along the way
- That God would make it clear to us where we should be (Germany/France) and might even point us toward some housing options
- That we would be mindful of when we are getting too tired, and not try to do too much in this short week