By: Jconnphoto

Aug 19 2011

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Category: Personal, Random

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Focal Length:50mm
Shutter:1/0 sec
Camera:Canon EOS 5D Mark II

Photo blog day 361, August 19, 2011

REALLY long post alert. This is a recollection of the last part of my trip to Germany when I was 17 years old.

~I left Munich in a hurry after having a disagreement with my employer, though I wasn’t sure I had made the right decision. Six months before I had packed my bags and headed to Germany to be an au pair and have the adventure of a lifetime. My plan had been to stay for a year and had I stayed on with the first family I lived with I surely would have met that goal. But at 17 years old my decisions were rash and not thoroughly evaluated. Living with a new family my patience was put to the test and I was a slightly better treated Cinderella. Housekeeping and childcare were my duties but the expectations were high. Finally, hot tempered and naive I fought with my employer and decided to go home. A walk to the subway, a train into Luxembourg, and a taxi ride left me on the door step of the air port at 8 PM.

Two hours later I sat on the sofa in the ladies lounge and looked at the wide eyed girl of my own reflection. Beyond the door lay darkness. Only moments before I heard the sound of ventilation units shutting down and automatic door locks being set. I looked down at my hands, my fingers had intertwined themselves and were white at the knuckles. There I sat 17 years old in the international airport in Luxembourg. Only two deutschemarks left in my pocket and growling tummy. I had no ticket home and no place to go. I hadn’t planned well. Even if I had enough cash I wouldn’t have been allowed to rent a hotel room as a minor. So I hid in the ladies room in the hopes of being passed over. I needed to be at the airline counter at 6 AM  in order to obtain a stand by seat with my voucher left from the first portion of my trip.

I held my breath and waited. Then I heard it. The dreaded sound of a security guard on his rounds. I laid down on the sofa and pretended to sleep.  “Miss?” A strong hand shakes my shoulder. “Miss??” I peer through slit eyes and pretend to be disoriented. I open my eyes further and yawn. Kind and calm green eyes stared back at me. The guard addressed me first in french, then english. Having been immersed in German language for 6 months I was tongue-tied with my native language. I responded in my Germanglish and the corners of his eyes crinkled. He looked to be only a few years older than me but had a face that showed wisdom. I broke down and told the guard my story. He said that I couldn’t stay and as he stood to use his radio he looked down at me. I saw his resolve change and he said I should just spend the night with him in the security room since he couldn’t leave me alone and I had no where to go.

In the security room I watched televisons flick through video camera cycles. Airplane. Tarmac. Front door. Ticket counter.  The guard brought me a hot chocolate and asked me questions about America. He reached across the table to a worn paper bag and uncurled the top. Reaching in he pulled out a sandwich wrapped in parchment paper and handed me half. As I nibbled on the rich dark sour dough bread I thought about my situation. How fortunate I was that this person was willing to help me. I said this aloud and he smiled. He said that all of us have a guardian angel and that angel takes many forms during our lives.

In the morning when his shift ended he guided me by my elbow back to my “hiding place” and instructed me not to come out until I heard the televisions turn on. He took a scrap of paper out of his pocket and scribbled out his address, tucking it into my hand he looked into my eyes and said that I should go to him if I don’t get a flight again. He said it was the least I could do for having provided him with my companionship that evening. I promised to call if I needed help again and thanked him again. I did make it home to the U.S., just not that day, or even the next. But when I returned I wrote him a letter. A few weeks after mailing it the letter was returned, “Address not found”. I brought the scrap of paper to the post office and asked if I should send it a different way. We sent it again and again it was returned. I was left to believe that he was my guardian angel and since that time he has appeared in many other forms throughout my life. Protecting me from major catastrophes. Sometimes rainbows remind me of my guardian angel and I send a mental thank you to him.


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