Archive | adoption

who is invited?

Is the family of God exclusive or inclusive?

When I was about seventeen, I was attended a soiree. That’s right, not a party—a soiree. “Who is invited?” I had asked. My brother and sister who were sure the invitation included me, though that wasn’t completely evident. They were friends of the family hosting the event and I was an acquaintance of theirs. I put on my satin skirt and a black top, my mom gently suggested I put a little effort into my hair and we took the long drive to their secluded home.

It was Christmastime, there was wassail on the stove and horse devours on the coffee table and a shining grand piano that it would seem every guest knew how to play, but me. Everyone was very nice and I enjoyed my wassail and the live music, but I couldn’t help but wonder if I was out of place. The group seemed very exclusive and I couldn’t help but wonder if I hadn’t been invited at all.

Have you ever felt that way? It’s not the most pleasant feeling.

Now imagine receiving an invitation to a big, wonderful party (or soiree!) There is sure to be food and drink, live music and games, lots of laughing and talking and good times. Anyone is welcome, but you have to bring an invitation, and invitations are sent out at request. Would you consider this an exclusive party?

This is similar to a question a lot of people have about Christianity. If God is good, if God is love, how can He “send people to hell”? If you really loved people, you would be more tolerant, more inclusive. All people should be able to go to heaven when they die, right?

First of all, don’t take my word for this. Jesus said of Himself, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6, emphasis mine.) It doesn’t take a scholar to interpret that verse. The great news is, everyone is welcome into the Kingdom of God, but there is only one road, one gate, one key that we all must use.

The Bible doesn’t just say, “God is loving,” it says “God is love.” (1 John 4:8.) That means that everything He does is love, even his “severe mercies” as Elisabeth Elliot called them.  Making only one “key” to heaven’s gate, that excludes all of the other keys we could possibly try, and that’s done out of love for us. He isn’t trying to trick us, there is no riddle. There’s just one key. And the other keys? The key we make ourselves, the key someone else presses into our hands, the key we found somewhere along the way–they won’t turn the lock.

There was a time when God spoke to people only through occasional prophets on misty, glowing hilltops. He gave us the law carved in stone, there was no “buts” about it and we were swallowed by the earth if we failed to live up to those expectations. He was already Love, but His love for had not been consummated on the cross, yet. Out of love, He showed us that we cannot work for love. Love that we have to work for is not love at all. He chose a high priest, a Jewish man of a certain line, to communicate with Him. Communication was more tense than any meet-the-parents dinner. The priest entered God’s presence only once a year, and with so many particulars, Moses wrote an entire book of instructions based on God’s words to Him. The priests wore a rope round their waist when in God’s presence so their dead body could be dragged out if God struck them down for some reason (no one else could enter The Holy of Holies to retrieve him.)

When Solomon built the temple, the people who wished to worship were segregated into several sections. The Most Holy Place was for The High Priest only. Beyond that was the Court of the Priests. Beyond that was a court where men were allowed. Then there was a court outside of that for women. Beyond that was The Court of the Gentiles were non-Jews were permitted to enter. (Here’s a little diagram.) The curtain that hung in front of the Most Holy Place was a physical and spiritual barrier between God and you and I. (Personally, I am not a priest or a man or a Jew.)

However, when Jesus died, a miracle occurred.

And then Jesus cried out once more, loudly, and then He breathed His last breath. At that instant, the temple curtain was torn in half, from top to bottom. (Matthew 27:50-51)

I can’t get over the way the author of Hebrews puts it:

So, my friends, Jesus by His blood gives us courage to enter the most holy place. He has created for us a new and living way through the curtain, that is, through His flesh. Since we have a great High Priest who presides over the house of God, let us draw near with true hearts full of faith, with hearts rinsed clean of any evil conscience, and with bodies cleansed with pure water. (Hebrews 10:19-22)

The curtain that God Himself instructed man to create, was torn in half by the power of God’s love. His message was loud and clear: all are welcome in His presence, in his family and in His unending love. Men, women, Jews, Gentiles…absolutely everyone. 

That doesn’t undo what Jesus said about Himself. He is still the only way into God’s presence. We must come through he new and living way, through His flesh. That’s the only way we can have “true hearts, full of faith…rinsed clean of any evil conscience.” The party I was speaking of, is still invitation only. But there’s a catch: the invitation is open to anyone. As a matter of fact, when you come to the door empty handed, Jesus opens the door and gives you His own invitation to use as passage.

All you have to do is come to the door, knock and say, “I don’t have an invitation, I can’t get one on my own. But I want to come into the party and I know you can help.”

“It will not be just the children of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob who celebrate at their heavenly banquet at the end of time. No, people will come from the East and the West—and those who recognize Me, regardless of their lineage, will sit with Me at that feast.” -Jesus Christ, Matthew 8:11

#everlyabroad (entries from my journal 9)

blog photo-golden pancakes

Pancakes at Golden Coffee, Old Riga

April 15, 2015

Rented Apartment, Old Riga

We didn’t do a lot today, which was actually really nice. Because I didn’t use any public transportation today, I am about to put my pajamas on and watch “Decoy Bride” with the parents and then hit the hay! Yay!

We got up this morning and went to Golden Coffee for pancakes, but sadly-we don’t think their favorite waitress, Daniella works there anymore. The pancakes were good and I ate them all, which was good too! I have not had much of an appetite during our trip, especially in the morning. The latte at Costa is much better, however.

After breakfast, we came back to the apartment to get word about our visa appointment. When we found out it was one o’clock, we hurried over to Saint Peter’s to give ourselves a little tour. St. Peter’s was really pretty and the view from the tower is amazing. I loved it.

After that, we came back to the apartment to regroup before Mommy, Daddy and Dorothy had to head out. There wasn’t room for everyone in the car, so Phoebe and I stayed behind. They first had to run by the doctor’s office to have her sign off that Dot’s TB test came back negative. They didn’t get home until about four!

Chillin' with PJ

Chillin’ with PJ

Meanwhile, Phoebe and I had a relaxing afternoon watching “Support Your Local Sheriff” (one of those movies Phoebe loves but Dorothy doesn’t “get,”) painting and taking a nap. We also ate a whole bag of paprika potato chips while watching the movie. That’s what happens when you are locked in an apartment with no lunch!

By the time they got home, of course everyone was very hungry, so we had a celebratory “lupper” at a nice Italian place called “Felicitia” down the road a bit. I had baked chicken with vegetables and it was delicious. After that, we went back to Kuuka Kafe for coffee and dessert an walked around some souvenir shops.



We are home now, ready to wind down. Goodnight!

April 21, 2015

Well, I was doing really well for a while there! Once we were on the downhill slope of the trip, it was hard to slow down to write. Before we left Riga, we were able to do a limited tour of The Dome Cathedral (much of it is under construction) and spend a day with *Sintija! She took us to a new restaurant called Zoyste that a Latvian-American just opened. They use organic ingredients and put a Latvian spin on American dishes. It was pretty good!

House of Blackheads, Old Riga

House of Blackheads, Old Riga

We then went to our favorite place–Costa! Best coffee in Riga. After that, we met the lawyers assistant at House of Blackheads to pick up Dorothy’s visa and new, Latvian passport. It was a great moment to have all the documents—complete at last! But it was also bittersweet, knowing we have no “reason” to return to Lativa–or Europe for that matter. And it also meant we had to say “goodbye” to our Latvian friends, for who-knows-how-long. Wah.

Freedom Monument in Riga

Freedom Monument in Riga

So we had mixed feelings as we left the apartment and boarded our plane to Stockholm. However, we had all been looking forward to our time in Sweden, so we focused on that! Sweden was awesome. It really felt like a place I would like to live. The people were much friendlier than I expected. The sun was out almost the whole time we were there and, though it was cold, we kept comfortable by sitting in the sunlight whenever possible and continuing to layer our clothes as we had done for the entire trip.

I actually have callouses on my legs from wearing tights under my pants every day. Didn’t know that was possible!



Our first night in Stockholm, our contact came and got us settled in to the apartment. Her name is Juliet and she was born in Uganda, but has lived in Stockholm for nineteen years. She speaks perfect English and was very helpful. Our apartment was super nice. It was a very stereotypical Swedish design–sleek, minimalistic and mostly white. It had a sauna, heated floors and a nice, big kitchen.My room was a loft with a curtain for a door and a fold-out couch for a bed. I had a balcony and, though it was too cold tone hang out there, I did occasionally open the door and let the breeze come through.

Changing of the Guard, Swedish National Palace

Changing of the Guard, Swedish National Palace

Our first full day in Sweden, we went to the National Palace and saw the changing of the guard. We were told to “be early or be tall,” so we waited out in the cold for probably half an hour before it began. Sure enough, quite a crowd had gathered by the time it started. What I was imagining to be a five minute ceremony was actually a forty-five minute performance! There were horses, a marching band, commentary, salutes, and all sorts of “pomp.” We had a blast watching from our perfect spot on “front row.” Everything was very formal until near the end when suddenly, the band started to play “Sway” by Dean Martin! They played the whole song and the conductor wiggled to the music atop his steed. We had a great time watching the whole thing.

Walking in Stockholm

Walking in Stockholm

Before it began, Daddy tried to ask one of the guards a question and stepped a bit too close! He was loudly commanded to “halt!” Then Daddy wanted me to go ask him and see if he would treat me the same way. Not happening…

The changing of the guard happens every day but Monday (much is closed on Mondays in Stockholm) and a different “squadron” (or whatever they’re called) performs every day!

We ate lunch at a place not far from The Nobel Museum. We had “toast” (grilled sandwiches) and soup. Our first night, Daddy and I walked across the street to “Mama Dou” and got oriental food and brought it back to the apartment. The second night, we were too hungry to look for another place to eat, so we heated up our left-overs for dinner.



While in Stockholm, we also got to tour two museums: Vasa Museum and Skansen. Both were lovely!

The Vasa was way more interesting than I expected. It is a museum built around a warship that’s over three hundred years old. 98% of the materials are original! We also saw much of what was recovered from Vasa,  including several human skeletons, some of which were so well persevered by the cold, briny harbor that their hair, brain and clothing remained intact!

Skansen is meant to be a “little Sweden” from the past and is the oldest living history museum in the world. It has lots of actual buildings from centuries past, collected from other parts of the country. The park is huge and beautiful and is a strange balance of kept-up and left-free. There are gardens, animals, a zoo, shops, places to eat, glass-blowing workshops, a pottery studio, a blacksmiths, and much more. Unfortunately, we only gave ourselves about an hour there before much of these things closed for the night. The employees who dress in old-fashioned costumes and much of the “living history” activities were gone.



However, the park itself, including the zoo, doesn’t appear to close…ever! We walked to our heart’s content, discovering new pathways and habitats for hours.

St. George and the Dragon

St. George and the Dragon

Before closing time, we were abel to see a short glass-blowing demonstration, during which Phoebe and Dorothy got to blow some glass themselves. It was probably the best of our day for them! We also got to see The Great Cathedral of Stockholm that day, including the ancient statue of Saint George slaying the dragon. Awesome! Other than that, we took a boat tour, shopped for souvenirs, drank lots of coffee (“fika!”) watched the swans and ducks at the short near our apartment (on Kungsholmen) and walked and walked and walked.

wild swans

wild swans

Sadly, Sweden is far behind me as I write…along with the rest of the European continent. We got up at three o’clock this morning for a six-thirty flight from Stockholm to Amsterdam and are now on our flight from Amsterdam to Houston, where it all began.

I am so sad it’s over, but also very excited to see the rest of the family and be home.

*Sintija was Dorothy’s chaperone the first time she came to the states. We love her and have enjoyed keeping in touch with her. Parting ways was very sad. Come back to the U.S. soon, Sintija!!!

My Beloved Eyrie Park

My Beloved Eyrie Park

This concludes my journal entries from my trip to Europe, April 2015. There is always so much more to say, but I hope you all enjoyed “following along” in a way. It was an unforgettable adventure. A big “thanks” should go out to my parents for letting me tag along and for buying me so many lattes in so many countries. It was a blast, such a fun, special, insane, difficult, lovely blast…

#everlyabroad (entries from my journal 8)

Dottie on the water taxi!

Dottie on the water taxi!

Since we only had one day in Venice, it was really hard to decide what to see and do. Sadly, much our time on the trip as a whole has been spent discussing, deciding on and getting to our destinations. We thought we definitely wanted to ride in a gondola and tour St. Marc’s Basilica, but when we learned the price of a gondola ride and saw the line at St. Marc’s, we reconsidered all of our plans.

In the end, we had breakfast at the hotel (dry croissants and a cold cup of coffee) and hopped on a “vaporetto” (water bus.) We stopped at every stop to let locals on and off, and finally got off at Saint Marc’s. Of course, when walking around St. Marc’s square, surrounded by thousands of tourists from all over the world, we ran into none other than Veriato! He was with some friends, hitting the hot spots. Veriato became our very own Where’s Waldo?

We didn’t end up touring the Basilica, though I’d really like to do that some day. It is supposed to be incredible inside, but it would’ve taken most of our day and the girls’ were a bit exhausted of fancy old buildings by this point. The outside of the Basilica was memorably in-and-of-itself. I’ve never seen mosaics like we saw in Venice.

St. Marc's Basilica

St. Marc’s Basilica

We did, however, end up jumping a gondola—and I’m SO glad. The rides are very pricey, but our gondolier had dropped his prices throughout the day. Each gondolier pretty much has one “stop” where they take on new passengers, and if your stop hasn’t been popular that day, you may need to offer a discount. The gondola ride was super fun. It did not disappoint and the time passed too quickly.

Our gondolier is named Alarico and he is a third generation gondolier. He is part of the biggest family of gondoliers in Venice. All of his brothers, his father and grandfather are or were gondoliers. Gondoliers retire at sixty-five, they each own, decorate and maintain their own gondolas and take great pride in their work. Alarico was obviously very proud of his family’s legacy and told us the names of everyone in his family, including his sisters. He hopes to marry and have sons one day, to pass the trade to (though there is ONE female gondolier in Venice, whose name is Georgia!)

blog photo-everly on the gondola

He told us the exact number of official gondoliers in Venice (four hundred and something) and where each of his brothers work around the city. Alarico was very friendly. Unlike the other places we had visited thus far, most of the people we encountered in Venice speak minimal English and with a heavy accent. The ride was forty minutes long, and Alarico explained what we were passing along the way. My favorite part was riding past the music academy where we could hear beautiful music ringing out of the upper windows. We also had a little traffic jam with some of the gondolas, one of which had an accordion player on it! That was a highlight, for sure.

All of the gondoliers know each other and yell to each other in a friendly way as they pass. They use their one oar to scoot off of buildings and other boats as they go through narrow canals. They really do wear stripes and, when in the sun, straw hats.

blog photo-gondola traffic

I bought a purple necklace at one of the many shops, made of Venician glass. I sat in the square near the funny statue of a man conquering a crocodile, and drank a cafe latte. Lattes are called something different in every country, and Mommy’s order of coffee with cream was always confusing!

We kept some old bread in our pockets for feeding pigeons (one of my favorite things about everywhere we went!) and ended up having a blast near the end of our day in Venice, feeding the pigeons of St. Marc’s Square. Pigeons were landing on our arms and heads and shoulders and eating out of our hands. It was really fun.

There was one woman in the middle of the square who had lots of soft bread crumbs and the birds positively flocked to her. They even started attacking her boyfriend’s backpack where the bread was being kept! After a while, we ran out of bread and they let us use some of theirs.

blog photo-feeding pigeons

The next morning, the coffee was still hot when we got up. Daddy slipped out around dawn to photograph the canal. He said the boats were just unloading at the markets, the gondolas were being prepared for the day and he only saw a total of ten or fifteen people the whole time he was out. But, in a narrow alley, when he came upon one, solitary person, who was it? You get one guess.

At this point, he and Veriato finally exchanged contact information. He was flying out that day as well, but we were heading to Moscow and he was going to Madrid. Sadly, this did turn out to be our final encounter with the Waldo. For now!

We had to take the vaporetto straight to the bus station and the bus straight tot the Marco Polo Airport. Lots of “Marco?” “Polo!” jokes ensued en route.



We flew from Venice to Moscow and spent our entire time in Moscow “power walking” through the enormous airport to our gate. When we got to the gate, they were already boarding, so we hopped on our flight to Riga. The airport in Moscow had English announcements on intercom, non-stop, so you felt a bit like you were in a Dharma training center. The flight boarded about twenty-minutes early, so we didn’t have time to even stop and breathe. When we got on our plane, I was famished. They tossed us boxed sandwiches (three slices of bread, one thin slice of chicken, cheese and pickles) and I devoured it with a cup of coffee. I don’t even like cheese!



We have now been in Riga for two days and I love it here. Thankfully, our time in Latvia is going at a slower pace than the firs part of our journey. We went to Turaida Castle in Sigulda today. It is around 1,000 years old still stands, strong and authentic. We climbed to the top of the tower and, though it was VERY cold and windy up there, the view was worth the climb. I had never been to a real castle before, so that was another “first” for me!

Got to go to bed now. Pancakes and visa appointments in the morning…

Turaida Castle

Turaida Castle

#everlyabroad (entries from my journal 7)

blog photo-room service

The next morning, we did a quick tour of Juliet’s home and museum and got pictures on THE balcony, but the courtyard was already flooded with tourists by then. We had breakfast via room service at tables in our rooms, which was delightful. More pretending to be princesses ensued!

blog photo-juliet's courtyard

The hotel agreed to store our luggage while we explored the city (awesome!) and Daddy checked out while I signed the guest book. We then set out to see the fair city for ourselves. I hadn’t realized Verona is on a river, but our time walking along the river over bridges was some of my favorite. We had lunch at an outdoor pizza bistro and then found our first gelato! They served our drinks on ice, which this American really treasured after our days of lukewarm beverages. Our whole day in Verona, the weather was perfection.

blog photo-river in verona

I bought Jeweliet a little bronze magnet that looks like the statue of Juliet. I mailed my letter to Juliet, we browsed shops, took pictures and generally enjoyed ourselves. We also went to The Arena and gave ourselves a tour, which was awesome. The Arena was a precursor to the Roman Colosseum, and construction was started at a mere 15 A.D.It was used for sport, music and gladiator games and has maintained it’s glory. We enjoyed walking up and down the huge steps and finding fossils in the stone.

blog photo-letter to juliet

We saw Saint Anastasia’s church from every angle as we explored the city, so we finally bought passage and toured inside. Wow! It was incredibly ornate and glorious, but almost equally creepy. It is very sad to me to think some people believe gold and silver and art and candlelight cause God to hear our prayers. We also saw Saint Ferma’s from outside, and I thought it was really lovely.

blog photo-the arena

It was near Saint Ferma’s that we had to catch our bus to the (big) train station to catch our train to Venice that evening. Thanks to a friendly nun, we caught the correct bus! We took a short ride from Verona to Venice and watched the vineyards go by. As we were boarding, guess who we saw hop on? Veriato, of course! He was like the little bug you look for on each page of a picture book. ;)

blog photo-pizza in verona

All of the bathrooms on this train were out of order, so several of us were anxious to get off! WE spoke to Veriato when we all got off and he asked if we had been at the right stop when we made our dramatic exit. He had tried to tell us this was not “the right Verona” but didn’t have the chance! Veriato was meeting up with some friends in Venice, so we again parted ways.

blog photo-first gelato

At the station in Venice, I took Dorothy and Phoebe to the restroom (which cost me a few Euros!) Dorothy never locks the stall door in public bathrooms, because of a fear that was soon to be realized, so I had to stand outside her door and hold it shut and make sure no one intruded. While I was performing this service and waiting on my own turn, I heard a faint sound.

It was very loud in the bathroom, and I almost disregarded the sound all together, but then I was sure I could hear an American voice saying, “Excuse me? Excuse me ma’am!”

I decided it was coming from the stall across from me, so I got Dorothy decent, let go of the door and approached the voice. This poor girl, about my age, was trapped in the bathroom stall! There was no handle on the door and she had been trying for who-knows-how-long to get free. She asked if I could pass her something she could use to unlock it. I couldn’t think of anything! I looked around, but there was no possible way she could get out from under the door or into the next stall.

I asked if I a coin would work, and she didn’t think so. I walked to the exit and looked for an attendant, but found none. I didn’t want to leave the bathroom because Phoebe and Dorothy were still in there, I had yet to use the restroom and didn’t have enough money on me to get back into the bathroom if I walked out!

I came back to the girl and she said she thought a pen might help. I didn’t think I had a pen handy, because I had packed my journal and art supplies elsewhere. I dug around and—thank God! I found my Central College Ministry pen and passed it to her.

She was able to use it to unlock the door and get free! The poor girl’s hands were bloody and my plastic pen was all torn up. She thanked me in the sincere, quiet way only exhausted people who are late for trains can thank their hero (I know this tone well by now) and we all ran out of the bathroom to get to where we needed to be.

blog photo-my favorite things

When we finally got back to the parents, they were helping their own young, American girl. This girl had lost contact with her friend and her phone was not working, so she asked if she could use one of our phones. After several minutes on Daddy’s phone, she got a hold of her friend and gave the phone back. When it comes to European travel, Americans just need help.

We caught a water taxi and saw the canals of Venice for the first time. I hesitate to use this word yet again, but it was all very surreal. Even as I write this, with my torn up Central College Ministry pen, I’m not sure it’s all sunk in. We found our hotel (an 800 year old house, turned hotel) and checked in. Our room was up 75 stairs. There were no “lifts” in Venice, 800 years ago!

It was a humble room we all shared with big, shuttered windows that overlooked the red-tiled roofs of Italy. There was a fresh fruit market and some busy night-life restaurants in view. We dropped our bags and headed out in search of dinner. After walking around for a while and getting very hungry indeed, we stopped at little restaurant and ordered spaghetti and gnocchi.

The next day would be our only full day in Venice, so we headed back to the hotel to get some sleep in preparation for this momentous occasion…

blog photo-italian street

#everlyabroad (entries from my journal 6)

blog photo-waiting for a train

The train shot off and we finally breathed.

Looking around, we noted the Verona sign again, hanging high above our platform. We were in fact, in Verona at last…but the station appeared to be abandoned. There were no passengers waiting to board, and there were no trains waiting for the nonexistent passengers. The ticket office and cafe were both sealed up, there wasn’t a soul in sight. Verona is a popular tourist destination and we were told the buses ran all night, but we were the only tourists and there were certainly no buses.

This was not the correct station.

After looking at the informational signs, we learned there are not one, but two train stations in Verona. A big, bustling station in the heart of the city and a small, secluded station which closes at night. We were obviously in the latter.

We sat down with our luggage still strapped on in the unlocked waiting area. There was not a sign of a life to be found. Phoebe and Dorothy and I sat there and prayed silently, per my request. Not only were our dreams of Verona and Juliet’s Hotel fading into the distance, but sleeping in this abandoned station seemed a little frightening and unpleasant.

blog photo waiting again

After a few minutes, Dorothy said she was hungry and I said she should not say that again. We were all hungry and tired and dinner was the least of our worries. Mommy and Daddy had walked outside the station to look around, and this point returned with a number for a cab service. They “happened” to find an English-speaking local man while we were praying and he gave them the taxi information.

They called a cab and, after a bit of a wait, a van appeared and we gleefully flung our backpacks into the back and climbed in. Thankfully, our hotel is the most famous hotel in Verona, so we had no problem communicating our desired destination. The streets of Verona are very narrow and the taxi drivers are kind of crazy, but we soon arrived safely near our destination.

The driver pointed us in the direction of our hotel, we hoisted our bags onto our backs and walked to il Sogno di Giulietta. My dad had scored an awesome deal on our rooms, so we were all more than relieved to approach that famous gate to Juliet’s courtyard and confirm that this was actually the famous hotel. From the dark street, we could see the bronze statue of the young Capulet girl and the millions of graffiti notes, left in the name of love. We rang the bell and Wilmer (another hero of our story) came out of the hotel lobby to the left and unlocked the gate for us.

We walked into the courtyard in a bit of a surreal haze. Everything seems surreal after what we had just gone through, especially something as iconic and anticipated as walking up to Juliet’s house and gazing upon her solemn sculpture. However, we were even more excited about entering the hotel at that moment! We walked into the small lobby and checked in. Wilmer was very nice and took our luggage up the stairs while we took the tiny elevator up to our floor. I didn’t realize you exit the elevator in a different side than you entered it, so I nearly fell into the hallway when Wilmer opened the door/wall I was leaning on.

He handed us the preposterously heavy keys and showed us into our joint rooms. They were the most luxurious hotel rooms I had ever seen and I think we must’ve looked like Little Orphan Annie at Daddy Warbucks’ mansion as we explored. Not to mention we must have looked and smelled pretty terrible. Our rooms had little balconies, which I was eager to stand on (have I mentioned we were in Juliet’s courtyard?) but I couldn’t figure out how to open the door. Wilmer had to do that. Nor could I manage the key to the room, the lights, or the faucets. We came this close to ringing for Wilmer to show us how to use the sink, before we finally figured it out, and I turned the shower on my head, full blast, twice while I was trying to draw a bath for the girls.

blog photo juliet

As eager as we were to settle in, we went down the courtyard first and took a few pictures with the statue. A Russian ballet troupe was also staying at the hotel, so we helped them take some pictures as well. When we came back up, the girls bathed and got in the queen-sized bed under the down comforting, pretending to be princesses all along. I was on the small bed in the corner, so I was the servant…naturally.

However, even servants have their moments of bliss. When the girls got in bed, I drew the tub again and got in. I didn’t draw much water, and I could only figure out how to send cold water through the shower head, so I had to wash my hair under the low faucet, but I doubt I’ve ever enjoyed a tub more. I laid under the small amount of hot water and just breathed and smiled. I ate a dinner of chocolate from the tub and closed my eyes and pondered my own happiness. I had that strange mix of feeling of wishing someone else was there to enjoy the moment and being so very, very happy to be alone. Of course, there isn’t really anyone I would care to share a tub with at this point, so my feeling of aloneness won out in the end.

In the wee hours of the morning, I climbed into bed in clean clothes, with wet hair and thought about the last time I had been in a bed. Would you count the bunk on the train in Germany? Or go back to the air mattress on the houseboat in Amsterdam?

blog photo-train bunk

Before that was the pull-out couch in Haarlem, where I didn’t have a pillow, but before I got that far back into my memory, I was asleep.

blog photo the hotel

Powered by WordPress. Designed by WooThemes