It is commonly said that when something unpleasant happens it usually comes in threes. Well, this past week was one of those weeks. While we were in Dubai I started to get those same stomach pains that I have gotten a few times in my life when passing a kidney stone. So, there I am, finishing dinner with the family that is hosting us in Dubai and realizing that pain is on the immediate horizon and it’s time to get some strong medication to stem the pain before it gets too intense. It took a few hours, but the stone passed and life goes on. Challenge #1 behind us!
The night we arrived in Athens, we found our teacher, Karley, crying in her room. Ilise went in to talk with her and then asked me to come in. Karley is extremely home sick, she misses her freedom, she misses her family and she misses her boyfriend whom she recently met and plans to marry. Originally, Karley signed up for a full year of this, but after 2 months she has requested to return to the US, which she will do in about a week when we arrive in Istanbul. Everything happens for a reason and we know that she did an amazing job helping us prepare for this trip. She has gotten Noah through about 90% of his course work and has been a huge inspiration and motivator for Drew. So, losing Karley after 40% of our trip is Challenge #2, but we will make it work!
So, that leaves Challenge #3, which came yesterday afternoon. Ilise and I were traveling around the city by ourselves. The kids were back doing homework now that we know we only have Karley for another week, so we want the kids to do as much as they can while she is still with us. We took the Metro to the center of the city, walked around the markets, bought some amazingly fresh salmon steaks for $4/pound (YES, $4/pound!). We picked up some olives and some other goodies as we continued our travels around the city. We visited the Temple of Zues as well as the Olympic Stadium that was pretty spectacular, but the fun didn’t start until we got back to the apartment and I went to take out my wallet from my pants pocket. It was gone!
We thought for a few moments about the last time I had my wallet and it was about 90 minutes earlier at the Olympic Stadium. We met a young couple from Australia that had been traveling the world for the past 2 1/2 years and I gave them a business card from my wallet. We hadn’t stopped anywhere since that time and we were on the Metro between the last time I had the wallet and that moment. It wasn’t more than an hour since I had it, but it was gone. Challenge #3! Now it’s time to take action and get everything we need for our travels tomorrow.
The first call was to my business banker in San Diego to get new credit cards, new bank cards and cancel the ones I have. He was not available so I left a message and sent an email. Then a call to AMEX. I purchased the Platinum card just for situations like this, and they came through as expected. They got new cards shipped to my next location and were able to advance me $500 in cash to a local money exchange facility so we have cash. The new card will arrive next Friday and all my cards were cancelled. Once I finished with AMEX I was able to connect with Chase and get everything settled on that account and expect those cards early next week in Santorini. Ilise called our HSA credit card company and cancelled that card and most of my wallet was accounted for.
The only outstanding issue right now is my driver’s license. I called the DMV in CA and it looks like I should be able to get a temporary license for 90 days, which should get me back to SD where I needed to get a new license anyway since we are moving. This just forces me to do it right when I get home. I have always said that everything happens for a reason and if someone steals from me than they probably needed what I had more than I did. In a country like Greece I believe that is true. I continue to get more and more relaxed every day on this trip and I can’t imagine having my wallet stolen will change that. It is a blip on the radar, as was the kidney stone and as will be the transition of this trip without Karley.
I know no other way to live my life other than going with the flow. I look forward to a great rest of the trip with the worst thing that happened this week was some physical pain, a few hours dedicated to replacing some cards, losing about $300 in cash and now I need to spend extra time with Drew helping her with 9th grade Geometry. I also will commit to working out regularly with her to keep up her fitness pursuit when Karley leaves. We are a family, one that is tighter than it has ever been and this trip will only make us stronger.
To a life well lived!