I am not a seasoned world traveler, but I do consider myself fortunate to have been to Europe twice. The first time I I traveled to England as part of an Honors exchange program through my college. Despite my youth, I knew that the experience was a once in a lifetime opportunity. I relished staying in the Oxford University dormitory and tried to absorb every experience in its entirety.
second time I traveled to Holland to celebrate the Millennium with my
family. The trip was made more difficult by the fact that I was in pain
and on crutches (post injury but pre-amputation), but I still tried to
make the most of the trip. My Mom and I, feeling particularly
adventurous one day, set out to take a train to Germany.
knowing the language, navigating the train station proved more
difficult than we anticipated. Regardless, we felt quite sophisticated
when we finally boarded the train and took advantage of the pastry and
coffee cart. Our "we've got this" demeanor was quickly slashed when the
Conductor handed us back our tickets. Despite his broken English, he
clearly stated that we were en route to Belgium, not Germany.
hadn't planned to go to Belgium, but we decided to roll with it. It
turns out that walking through Brussels with my Mom was one of the best
days of my life. I have never seen a more beautiful site than La
Grand-Place. Just remembering the beauty of those buildings leaves me in
awe. Envisioning that my life would involve hosting dinner parties, I
purchased an extremely expensive, albeit intricately crafted, lace
tablecloth in one of the shops. (Incidentally, I have used it once in
the past 16 years.)
My Mom and I both became giddy when
we discovered that Belgium waffles are sold on the street corners
throughout Brussels. I'm sure that it wasn't difficult to surmise that
we were American as we gleefully posed for photos with our street
waffles. We became lost through the city numerous times, but each wrong
turn led us to a new adventure and story.
I woke up to the reports of the bombings throughout Brussels. As soon
as I heard the reports my mind started to drift back to the wonderful
day with my Mom. We still laugh about going to Germany and ending up in
Belgium. Although it was a navigation and ticketing mistake, I'm glad
that it happened.
The senseless destruction in a city of
such beauty is incomprehensible. Sometimes it feels like this world is
imploding while everybody is wringing their hands and drying their
tears. I don't know the answer, but I do know that I worry about the
future for my boys.