Thursday, August 15, 2013

It Was My Fault

Well I think that I have traveled some 40,000 miles thus far while on sabbatical. I hope to figure out these numbers more exactly a bit later, as well as how many church buildings, communities, etc. And this has included driving our own car, a Hyandai Sonata (loved this car), a Kia something-or-other in Israel, riding planes through nine different airports, trains throughout Switzerland, boats up rivers and over lakes, shuttles, cable cars, a taxi, and a whole lot of walking. For just one example, the other day we took 9 trains, 7 cable cars, 4 buses, and 1 taxi in one day.

I've braved driving the streets of Jerusalem in the Muslim quarter during the highest holy days of Ramadan, the redwood "Avenue of Giants" in Northern California, the highways of Los Angeles (not that bad, really), and the Swiss rail system...a whole lot of travel. And I haven't even mentioned yet that much of this has been with four young children.

And we had no problems.

Until today.

And it was my fault.

As I've said, the Swiss Rail system is pretty awesome. But getting from and to the airport on it with eight people and all their luggage was not exactly easy. And today, we suffered a loss.

Swiss trains are known for their punctuality. To take advantage of it, you'd better pay attention by knowing your route, connections, the timing, etc. Well today we were on a train and weren't completely sure where to get off to connect to the Zurich Airport. I knew that there was some construction that was diverting some things around a stop. So we were closely watching the monitors looking for which stop to get off at. We saw it come up quickly, and with all of our luggage had to move swiftly to get off the train. 

In the rush, I left our camera bag in the over-head compartment.

This included "Meghan's" DSLR Nikon camera, two battery chargers, all of our iPad chargers (three of them!), both cell phone chargers, and three SD memory card readers. 

I realized the omission as I watched the train pull away. And there was nothing I could do. We had to catch the plane and the train wouldn't stop until it's final destination way south of Zurich (about 30 minutes before our plane was to take off).

Oh well...what're you going to do about it? It's just equipment, right? I mean, sure, some $1000 worth of equipment...but it is still just equipment.

Thankfully I had pulled the pictures onto my iPad late last night, so I have all of them (some are below).

It could have been much, much worse. We still have four children, four grandparents, all our clothes, no accidents, speeding tickets, or even scratches (though I did smash one of my girls' fingers with a bag on the bus today). Goodness...getting through Jerusalem during Ramadan might be a miracle enough!

So we are very thankful.

(I did submit a lost and found report with the Swiss Rail Office. I don't have high hopes, but I've done all I can do.


I have been inspired. Challenged. Filled with different emotions in a variety of ways. Some things I might have expected have not surfaced, while other unexpected benefits have been a pleasant surprise. 

I'm writing this in the air over the Atlantic. We will land in Toronto and then fly to Baltimore where my very gracious brother-in-law will pick us up and take us back to Salisbury. We'll spend the night and leave for the home of one of my best friends and his wife (who just "happens" to be Meghan's sister) sometime tomorrow. There we will begin the debriefing, reflecting, and have some time for the kids to play with their cousins. 

Brayden, Brenna, Brooklyn, & Brysen have been wonderful, having to sit on many a train or bus, or often putting up with the adults' slow walks along a river or in a museum. Don't get me wrong, they've had their share of fun and ice cream (thanks, Harris family!). But they've been wonderful for us in all things on this trip.

We are longing for our church family and our home. We are anxious to get back to a rhythm of home-life, but also knowing that this rhythm will likely and intentionally change. I'm not sure what that will look like yet, but greatly look forward to seeing how this experience will do so.


Here are just a few pictures from over the past several days.

I took a lot of pictures in Switzerland and Israel. Ron took about 100x more than me. 

We went a lot higher, but I liked this picture best. We went up Schilthorn. So in a two-week period, I was in the lowest place on earth (the shores of the Dead Sea) and almost 10,000 feet in the Alps.

If you look closely at the outline of the furthest mountain, you can see a base-jumper. I have always marveled at the notion of wing-suiting and I got to see some in action. Awesome. ( had a main page article on a guy who died in Switzerland just yesterday doing this. Not sure it's worth it.)

One of the many mountain lakes we saw while riding in the comfort of a train.

It's been a blast being with Ron & Patty ("Ta & Grammie").

"Daddy...take my picture."

Not a great pic, but I wanted to share this:
The town I live in (Hingham, MA) is a proud, historic town. I've marveled at the age of some of the buildings in Hingham. But they pale in comparison to thousands of houses/buildings right here in Switzerland. Right in the little village of Busingen (technically Germany) where we were staying there were dozens of places older than the oldest abode in Hingham. This place (1579) was literally at the end of the driveway of where we were staying. 

Brayden wanted me to share this one he took.

Our bus stop:

This church dates back to the 900s. A beautiful little sanctuary with great modern lighting, but wonderfully maintained with age as well.

I leave you for now with this one, perhaps my favorite of the summer. A fitting one in memory of our camera...lost on a train in Switzerland. RIP, dear Nikon. Enjoy your ride into the sunset.


  1. Indeed, holidays have always been a blessing. I hope you don't mind if I mention this in my custom dissertion writing as it is very similar to my topic of interest.