Monday, January 13, 2014

Escaping a close call

Eleanor Roosevelt said: "A woman is like a tea bag - you can't tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water." Tell us about a time you felt your strength.

I love this quote from Ms. Roosevelt.  I felt my strength seep out in hot water when I first arrived in Barcelona for a semester long study abroad program in January 2008.  Stepping off the plane, I was simultaneously excited and scared out of my mind.  I was in a new foreign country by myself for the first time.  

Upon landing I called my parents assuring them that I had landed safely.  My Dad warned me to keep an eye out at the airport.  After checking in with my program and meeting a few other students in my program at the airport, I headed toward the airport exit to catch a taxi to my home stay.  I was pushing a cart stacked high with luggage with my laptop bag on top.  Upon exiting I was stopped by woman asking me a question.  She spoke in fast Spanish and I felt bad that I couldn't understand her.  "Lo siento, no comprendo," I said with regret.  I continued walking and was then stopped by a man who was told me where to go for the taxi line.  As I was about to reply in my broken Spanish I saw a tall man in a black trench coat and top hat out of the corner of my eye.  I watched as he swiftly snatched by laptop bag by the handle and walked away.  I sense of panic spread across my body.  I acted on my initial reaction and lunged forward grabbing the bag back.  "Excuse me!," I exclaimed as I took back my bag filled with my laptop and all my electronics.  The man who had been talking to me slowly slumped away.  My terror dissipated into shock and relief.  I finally hailed a taxi and loaded my precious cargo into the trunk.  I breathed a sigh of relief.  I gave the taxi driver my home stay's address and we sped off into the city.  

I will always look back on this incident and think about what could have happened.  Had I not grabbed my bag back, I would have lost hundreds of dollars in electronics and been without technology for a good part of my stay.  I felt my strength that day and I thank God that He gave me that strength.

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