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.
August 7, 2011 at 11:28 am
Beautifully written Steve!! These are “priceless lessons” your kids will never forget!!
August 7, 2011 at 4:05 pm
I agree that the lessons learned while traveling, not always historical, are some of the most important “lifelong” lessons learned! Priceless lessons that can NOT be taught at school!
August 7, 2011 at 4:56 pm
Simply beautiful, Steve. You really don’t have to worry about the kids…they “get it.”
August 8, 2011 at 6:19 am
STEVE your blessings of hospitality are returning to you 10 fold. You are doing what you are meant to, continue to enjoy each moment. hugs
August 8, 2011 at 9:46 am
Welcome to South Africa. I will be leaving for Tanzania on September 2nd ~ wish I could connect with you! Praying for you all everyday! As they say in Swahili “Karibu sana na Africa” which means you are welcomed warmly to the continent. Best wishes to all of you.
August 8, 2011 at 9:51 am
I know you don’t remember me, but I took your passport photos at AAA and was so intriged by the adventure you were about to embark on – your wife gave me your website address. This is wonderful and your children are experiencing lessons from life that are not so easily taught in the traditional way. Hope you won’t mind, but I would like to check in from time to time.
August 9, 2011 at 10:25 pm
You’re giving your kids not only a wonderful journey with memories of people and places that they will never forget, but also life lessons that will carry them through the rest of their lives. I have no doubts that not only you and Amy, but also Keegan and Kendall, will also offer similar hospitality to others in the future!
August 11, 2011 at 12:36 pm
When you speak of the hospitality you’ve encountered, it brings a tear to my eye too. Love you guys.
August 18, 2011 at 10:45 am
It was our great pleasure to be a part of your adventure. We follow you on your trip every day. You are our eyes in the world. 🙂 Thank you for including Villa Magdalena in your journey. Have a best time!
Dubravka & Marijana