People often dream of going to Europe. I was never one to do so. Those games where you say, "If you could go anywhere in the world . . . " I'd draw a blank. That is, until my brother moved to Slovenia as a missionary several years ago. He married and started a family, and our parents began to visit and send amazing pictures and tell wonderful stories. And we knew for sure we needed to make it happen. Our sister-in-law, Brooke, was the one to finally sit us down and say, "Okay, girls. Let's get this trip on the calendar." So we did. And we started saving up.
When the day finally arrived, we had mixed feelings. It was hard to leave home, but exciting to think about the adventures awaiting. There was the added element of the unknown. A new country, a different language, different currency, traveling without our husbands to say, "Yes, we go this way," using strange restrooms, catching connecting flights in Germany. (We needn't have worried. Somehow, everyone we met in the airports just knew we were American. We'd board a plane and the flight attendants would greet the passengers before us with a "Guten Tag!" and then look at us and say, "Good morning!" How did they know? Perhaps it was the deer-in-the-headlights expressions? Or the layered hair and big smiles? The cameras?) There was even some apprehension about spending two weeks with a part of our family that we really hadn't gotten to know very well. Again, we needn't have worried.
Writers often save the best for last. I'm throwing convention out. I want to tell you the best part first so you can read further posts about our trip through this lens: It was an absolute joy and delight to spend time getting to know Johnny, Brooke and Kinsley in their home, in their country, with the people they love.
We very quickly came to love Brooke as a really-truly sister, and when it was time to leave, we felt like our now-a-trio sisterhood was being cruelly divided by far too many miles. As amazing as it was to "traipse about Salzburg" and explore the streets of Venice (more on that later!), the greatest joy was feeling my heart open to welcome a sister and to create our own stories together. We packed those two weeks with laughter, tears, and everything else sisters whisper and giggle about in the late hours of the night.