Right now I have 3 visitors staying with me from Baghdad. I know, Baghdad. the only place less safe right now might be Gaza. And, safe, it's just a relative term. I asked the girls how their families were faring. Without trying to be coy or evasive, Rand looked at me and said, "Growing up, during nearly two decades of war, if I only heard 3 bombs go off during the day--that was good."
The girls were here for a vacation, so on the second day when one of them lost or had her wallet stolen, it was a real downer. She wasted a lot of time running around to the consulate and filing a police report (not sure why since the report contained little information about the incident--not even an official stamp).
Anyway, the mishap reminded me of when my daughter was traveling and had her cell phone stolen. Kids--we're so worried for them when they travel. There are a multitude of things that can go wrong--and something usually does. And, because they are our kids, even a thousand miles away, we try to help them out. My visitor said that her parents were concerned and called all night long (day for them) trying to to get information, checking things out on their end, and discussions about how best to replace identity cards--and money. Apparently she lost a couple hundred bucks.
I felt an emotional connection. I understood exactly how her parents must feel. First you're disgusted with the thieves, angry with your child (hello! not a child, a young adult) for being irresponsible. Then, maybe not so much irresponsible as mad at fate for throwing a wrench into well-laid holiday plans. And, praying, praying that things turn out all right. This is every parent's prayer, no matter if you live in Baghdad or Chicago.
Thankfully my daughter was in a good place with good people. Her friend's parents whom she was staying with loaned her a cheapy phone, actually just gave it to her. This is Spain. I know, Spain where the wheels on the world's economy came off. They were so generous and kind and allayed my fears a hundredfold. She got by, got going, and had a wonderful trip.
I hope the same can be said of these kids, my visitors from Baghdad. And their parents at home, facing a great unknown. I'm just glad I could look out for them while they were staying with me.