More Autobio
Shortly after meeting Orin, we made a trip to Germany, driving Dan and Nancy’s car for them so they could pick it up after their furlough and drive it back to our new city.
This trip turned out to be very different from our previous ones. When we arrived at the Bulgarian border at about 11 am, the police said we had to wait there until there were enough cars to be escorted through the country.
When we asked why, a policeman said, “We are trying to prevent the entry of hoof and mouth disease into our country.”
“Hmmm,” I thought, highly skeptical, but prayed, “Ok, Lord, we will praise you for this, too.”
It was a nice warm, sunny day, so we sat back and enjoyed the afternoon. We bought ice cream from a shop there—it was the best ice cream I’d ever had, and we each had several cones as our wait stretched on.
Finally at about 6 pm there was a line of three hundred cars, a large enough group, and they opened the border. We each had to drive through a vat to cleanse the tires of any hoof and mouth disease germs; then we slowly moved off in a great caravan.
After three hours the lead police car pulled off into a rest area. There were about twenty toilets for all the passengers in those three hundred cars. You can imagine the lines, and how much in need everyone was after three hours of driving!
When most people were ready to leave, off we went again, arriving at the northern border at 1 am. We were near the front of the line, so we got through pretty quickly.
On the other side of the border was a long line of cars waiting to enter Bulgaria. These were locals from our adopted country who worked in Europe, and were now on their way home for summer vacations.
We didn’t realize how long this line was until we had driven several miles and still saw no end to it. Then suddenly the traffic in our lane stopped. I got out to look, and could see up ahead that there were cars coming towards us in our lane.
Since we had all been in the caravan driving across Bulgaria there had been no traffic in our lane for a long time. Some impatient driver on his way to Bulgaria had gotten tired of waiting and had decided to use our lane. Then everyone behind him followed along. So now we had gridlock!
We again thanked God for this 2 am adventure, even though there was one thing that intensified the situation for me: our gas tank was low—we had not been allowed to tank up in Bulgaria. I had planned to stop at the first gas station in Yugoslavia, but there was none in sight and now we weren’t moving.
Then the driver in front of me turned off the road into the orchard on our right, obviously trying to find a way past this traffic jam. Since the car I was driving was built high like a jeep, I had no qualms about following that driver off the road and into the orchard.
We drove along parallel to the road for a good ways, finally passing the last of the “road pirates” who were blocking our lane and climbed back up onto the asphalt. And shortly after that we came to a gas station and tanked up!
Just think of the God sightings here: we were near the front of the line, right behind the driver who had the idea of going off road, had a car capable of driving over the rough terrain, and made it to the gas station before running out of gas! The Lord had again showed us his bountiful grace and goodness.
In Germany we bought a used car to drive back, a somewhat beat up old yellow VW station wagon. And nn the return trip we left Dan’s car with a mutual friend who had worked in the Middle East for many years. We spent only fifteen minutes there, but they were life-changing minutes.
“So, what are you doing about education for your boys?” our friend asked.
“We are planning on putting them into the German school,” I replied. “We’ve learned how easy it is to be expelled from Turkey and since our ‘plan B’ is to move to Germany, if the boys are already in the German system, they could easily fit in here.”
“In that case,” said our friend, “I have some advice for you. Have your older boy repeat the third grade. That way he’ll only have to adjust to the language, not the material. That’s what we did with our children when we moved to Germany and it was very helpful for them.”
I thanked him for his advice while thinking, “Have my boy repeat a grade? No way!” What an insult that would be to our family and to my boy’s intelligence! No one in our family had ever stayed back a grade, only skipped them.
Little did know that the Lord was preparing me to “step outside of my box.”
The main road as it was when we traveled up to Germany
May be an image of nature, tree and road