When we left for this trip we knew we would need to work hard at teaching the kids educational facts in each country throughout the year. It has not been easy for any of us to try and absorb each historical fact (there’s just so much intriguing information out there) especially when you’re traveling each week to a new location. This blog is helping us reign in our thoughts with what we see and learn each day. So no complaints, we will stay the course and continue to take in as much information as we can. However, one powerful lesson we did not count on hitting us so impressively were our lessons in hospitality.
The one area we know for sure we and our kids have already been given a huge lesson in is hospitality. From our first day in Gelsenkirchen, Germany with Annetta and Werner and how they picked us up from the airport, gave us great meals, let us stay in their lovely home and showed us their region and their lives; our time there was too short with these great people. We never met them before this trip. In Greece our warm Greek family in Paro’s at Hotel Afrodite taught us that it’s about enjoying each other and being happy and not always making that extra buck. Now to Croatia, our final stay on this leg in Europe, the hospitality we were given was unbelievable. We will never forget the warm family service we were given at the beautiful Hotel Magdalena in Krapinske Toplice and would stay there again in a heartbeat. Zlatko and Gorinka our hosts from the same village, were such fun people and allowed us to truly be a part of their family. From the baptism and how they sat all the Americans in the front row of the church (and they sat behind us), to the huge gift baskets they gave us that were waiting in our hotel room when we arrived, to letting us join them in Brela on their family vacation, and their motto of “when in Croatia you will never be hungry or thirsty” (and we weren’t). I personally loved my long talks with Zlatko, we talked about everything from Croatian history, how he grew up in former times, our marriages, our kids etc. I will always cherish my time with him. I cannot say enough on how humbling it is to have been given such hospitality during the last 2 months.
As I sit in our hotel in Johannesburg, South Africa and write this, I am glad to say this lesson in hospitality has put tears in my eyes and I know I can and want to do a better job of giving hospitality at the level that has been given to me and my family. My kids have seen first hand “the giving” not for any other reason than love – no matter what country you are from, what language you speak, what religion you practice or the color of your skin…we all have more love to give.