Monday, March 26, 2012

The Art of Thinking Like a Pick-Pocket or Why my God is so Incredibly Awesome!

The whole reason I was there was just to see Prague Castle. I've lived in Praha for 5 months and I have yet to go on the castle tour. I've walked around the outside of the castle several times, marveling at the beauty of St. Vitus Cathedral. I've explored Golden Lane and seen the house where Kafka lived. But, I have never been inside the actually castle...and I really, really want to!

So, when one of my friends told me her parents were going to be visiting and that she was going to be taking them to tour the castle, I immediately volunteered myself to accompany her. We're adventure buddies. We've explored many parts of Praha together. We went to Dresden together. We're going together to Milan and Verona next week. So, it seemed appropriate that I join her on this adventure.

We picked up her parents and took them to the catch the tram, Tram 22, affectionately known here in Prague as "The Pick-Pocket Tram" or "The Tourist Tram". It's the tram that goes up to Prague Castle, so it's crowded with tourists and pick-pockets. We mentioned this to her parents, but as sometimes happens, a pocket was picked and a wallet was stolen.

As we were getting off the tram and preparing to proceed to the castle, Adventure Buddy's father realized his wallet was gone....containing his credit card, bank card, driver's license, etc. Now, the nice thing (if there is such a thing) about Prague pick-pockets is that they tend to only want quick cash. Meaning, they'll open the wallet, take out the cash, and then throw the wallet away.

So, after going back to the hotel and canceling the credit card just in case, we used the process of elimination to figure out where the crime had occurred. When we got on the tram, it was very crowded and there was this guy who kept pressing up against us, weaving around us, and acting very, very suspicious. He got off at the next stop. After that, Adventure Buddy's dad had sat down. So, we were pretty sure Mr. Pick-Pocket had gotten off at the second stop. So, Adventure Buddy and I headed out to go "dumpster diving".

(I'm getting pretty good at "dumpster diving" by the way. Although, I've never actually dove into a dumpster. People tend to leave things they don't want anymore sitting by the dumpsters nice and neatly folded, ready for the taking. I scored a nice, almost-new pair of black boots last week, as well a a few sweaters.)

We walked all around the park at the tram stop looking in trashcans (and praying the entire time). Nothing. Still praying, we headed into the metro. Both of us were pretty discouraged. I was disappointed that the castle was not going to happen. Adventure Buddy was upset that this was marring her parent's visit. All in all, it was turning out to be a very discouraging day. We had looked in almost every trashcan in the metro and were about to give up there, when we saw one more trashcan sitting beside a Bank Machine.

Adventure Buddy reached in and pulled out...a wallet! But it wasn't her dad's wallet. We deduced by all the Czech writing on the business cards inside that it must belong to a Czech person. Finding that wallet also got us thinking about where to look. A trashcan near a bank machine made perfect sense. The thief could try to get some cash and then pitch the wallet.

So, praying all the while that God would salvage our ruined day and work a miracle, we headed across the up the stairs to the other side of the road to check out the trashcans there. Nothing. Nada. Zilch. Sadness.

Adventure Buddy told me she was giving up. I felt like giving up. So, I told God we were giving up. And we headed back to the hotel where Adventure Buddy's parents were waiting. As we did, we walked past another tram stop with two trashcans and thought, "Well, why not." The first one--nothing. Adventure Buddy got ready to look in the second one, and I pretty much told God that it was then or not at all. Adventure Buddy reached in and pulled out...a gum-covered, nasty black wallet. Except it was black. Adventure Buddy had said her dad's was brown or burgundy.

We decided to go through it anyway...and found out that her dad does NOT have a brown or burgundy wallet. He does, in fact, have a black wallet (that was covered in chewed gum-nastiness). Inside was his driver's license, (canceled) credit card, bank card--everything. Except the wad of receipts that were left after he had taken out his cash the previous night to give to Adventure Buddy. The poor pick-pocket had taken the stack of papers, probably thinking he had gotten some cash, only to end up with NOTHING! Ha...take that silly thief.

Needless to say, a lot of prayers of thankfulness were uttered. God had truly come through and worked a miracle for us. Would her dad have survived without getting his wallet back--yes. It would have been a pain, but he would have survived. But, God helped us to find it, working a miracle to show that He cares about things like stolen wallets. Because He's awesome like that! I have a pretty incredible God who knows in just which trashcan that a thief threw away a wallet. Now that,s pretty cool.

By the way, we managed to salvage the rest of the day. Sure, plans changed a bit, but it still worked out to be a pretty good day with an awesome story of how God really does care about our needs. :)

Thursday, March 22, 2012

A New Blog

I'm a teacher AND a world traveler. Part of my adventure is the country in which I live. Another part of the adventure are the countries to which I travel. But let's face it--what goes on inside my classroom is a pretty great adventure too. So, let's see if I can keep this up--but, here it is. A blog about my life--inside and outside my classroom.