Saturday, March 31, 2012

Customarily Speaking

My daughter arrived today from the States for a two week visit. One of the deals made when we decided to move to The Netherlands was to make sure we got to see the girls regularly throughout the year. Families were meant to be together but in today’s world, sometimes that a bit difficult. Thank God for Skype, Facebook, texting, e mail, phones, letters, packages, smoke signals and every other form of communication to help a mom out when needing to talk to my kids. All I need some days is a little scan through Pinterest to know my kids are doing great! But today I got to meet my baby girl at the Schiphol airport and hold her in my arms.

As we drove to Eindhoven laughing and catching up, she told me about her experience of coming through Customs into The Netherlands. I’ve always taught my children to obey rules and respect authority. This is especially important when traveling from one country to another. So as she approached the border guard with her passport and smile, they began asking her questions. She had just exchanged her US currency for Euros. And for some reason this brought a little concern to them. What are you doing in The Netherlands? … Visiting my family. How long will you be staying? Two weeks. Then why do you only have 200.00$? That is surely not enough for your stay of two weeks. How will you survive, where will you stay, how will you afford food and other things? Ummmm…… I’m staying with my PARENTSJ Oh… ok! Then we’ll let you come into our country.

As she told me her story, I remembered being a child and going on a fabulous vacation with my mother, my Aunt Lois and my cousin Susanne. We were driving from Michigan to Massachusetts but going through Canada on our way. Well, my mother and my Aunt were both crazy funny ladies…. And Susanne and I were just as crazy and silly. As we came to the Canadian/American border, our mothers had to pull off to the side of the road to make sure we understood the importance of being serious at the border. We barely made it through without laughing hysterically. Susanne is great at making funny faces and suppressing a laugh, while I on the other hand almost wet my pants laughing at her. She is still to this day one of the funniest people I know. I love her dearly.

Coming through Customs is always an exhausting experience. You’ve just come off a long plane ride and then you have to be on your best behavior and have an important discussion. As an American, I’ve always known this but after 9/11, nobody in America takes security lightly. Yes, we may have to stand in long lines, we may have to remove our shoes, have our passports held up and inspected, go through scanners and yes, sometimes be patted down. Do I care? NO, not one little bit! So, to the people at the airport who questioned my little girl about her money, thank you! You’re right! She should have brought more money with her but she’s a starving college kid.

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