Tamsyn and I had planned everything about our trip to Thailand. We knew which days we would be where and where we were going to stay and everything was booked and it was all supposed to be easy and stress free and nothing would go wrong.
We boarded our flight from Qingdao, giddy with excitement that all our bags were allowed on the plane, ready for the trip of a lifetime. Then, in 15 minutes, everything changed. Somehow, between disembarking our plane in Shanghai and reaching security Tamsyn misplaced her purse–which contained her passport, her camera, her cards, IDs, and a lot of cash.
We ran to the airline desk and had them call the plane, certain she had left it on board, and certain it would be found. But it wasn’t. An hour passed of running around in a panic trying to locate the bag, until time was up and we had to either change the tickets or I had to get on the plane alone.
After tearful deliberation, we finally changed the tickets to the next day, and resigned ourselves to a night we had not planned in Shanghai.
I quickly sent a message to our church group in Qingdao, and the outpouring of prayer and support we recieved was overwhelming. Within five minutes a friend had contacted another friend who lived in Shanghai, and then my phone rang with an invitation for us to spend the night. Another friend had a Chinese friend phone the airline to see if inquiries in Chinese would get anything done.
That afternoon I sat with our huge bags and notified our hotel and friends in Bangkok of the situation, while Tamsyn ran around doing everything she possibly could to locate the bag. But we had no luck.
That evening we took a taxi to our friend’s house in the state of shock. How could something like this have possibly happened when we had planned everything so carefully, so perfectly?
Four days later, the bag still has not turned up. I made the decision to go on to Thailand alone, though the thought made me sick to my stomach. But Chip McDonald, my old boss’s nephew, picked me up at the airport, and Kim Busche, a friend of Tamsyn’s, met me in Bangkok. So I wouldn’t be alone.
And Tamsyn wouldn’t be alone either. Lee and Cindy not only have allowed her to stay in their guest room, but have even taken her to the embassy and other places she needs to go in order to be issued a travel certificate to get back to South Africa. We are praying she will be able to make it for the final two weeks of our trip.
So now I’m here, in Thailand, alone. Something I could never have imagined in the past three months of planning and dreaming.
We may never know why this thing had to happen, but both of us have been working on coming to terms with it, as horrible as everything has been the past few days. I DO know that God is in control, and when things spiral so incredibly out of our ability to do anything, then the only thing we can do is trust in him.
Tamsyn is still stuck in Shanghai, and probably will be for at least another week. So prayers for a speedy exit process as well as the speedy passport issuing process once she’s in South Africa are greatly appreciated, as well as safety for my own travels.
So, for all you travelers who don’t take precautions (like splitting up your valuables, wearing a money belt, etc.) because you’ve never had something go wrong, please learn from our experience, because sometimes the worst does happen.