Last night, we got a notification from our leaders Mark and Anna that upon returning from a three-week trip to the United States, Mark had left a bag with his passport and $4500 cash and other items in the taxi, and it sounded like he was really struggling with forgiving himself for the error.
After daily weekday prayer this morning which included taking some time to pray for the situation, and that maybe miraculously the taxi driver would give it back upon discovering it, I was reminded of the time I left my laptop on the subway in Rotterdam 9 years ago.
I dug up the post in the archives of my original blog I wrote at the time. I fixed up some typos and left the content as is, other than re-wording a few comments to be a little more self-explanatory.
It was a long day. And thanks for asking.
The night before a day of change or excitement I never sleep well, so last night was no surprise to me that even though I was lying in bed at 1am, I failed to fall asleep for at least two hours before I stopped looking at the clock. I used the radio alarm clock in mine/David Lyons’ room, and to my surprise when I turned on the radio, it was some kind of French talk show. I normally would expect talk radio in the Netherlands to be Dutch. I was able to understand it and follow along, but it was too boring to listen to even if I had the time.
I took the train from Leeuwarden to Rotterdam, and it was a direct trip, no connections. Jayne met me at Rotterdam Station Centrale and helped me with one of my suitcases on to the metro subway. I really enjoy riding the Subway in this city. Not as much nice as Toronto’s subway system, but it’s definitely shorter, as this city’s population of around 1.2 million people so the public transport would naturally be less distance to travel. But the trains have nicer interior colors and are definitely cleaner.
My first ride on the Rotterdam metro I will never forget
Moments after we got off and began lugging my two suitcases down the escalator, it hit me like a ton of bricks—I forgot my backpack on the train! Why does this matter, you ask? Because it had my Toshiba Satellite notebook in it! And my digital camera, and both my pocket and slimline ESV Bibles. And the adapter to my phone I think.
I told Jayne — more like shouted at her in the midst of realizing my own stupidity for doing such a thing — and ran back up the stairs in case there was an information booth or office here that I could share my problem with in case they could do anything for me. Maybe go through the train at one of the stops and grab it.
That was what we decided to do.
Never mind my previous concern of not having any idea how to get to the apartment or that I didn’t have a key for it yet and was not able to get a hold of the landlord or the guy who showed me the apartment, nor Frank since he was in the hospital again with his little baby boy getting a check up after some fevers and symptoms have come back since his previous sick spell (stupid devil—I guess he doesn’t know how to mess with people his own size). Now I had my own headache.
We dropped off my suitcases at Jayne’s apartment, since it was close to the stop we had gotten off at. We got back on the metro and took it to the next stop where we spoke with a kind lady at the kiosk who was willing to keep calling other personnel and arranging for the train I was on to be checked for any belongings left behind.
We waited for a response for a while after the train was supposed to make its stop in some city just on the edge of Rotterdam, whose name I don’t know how to spell or pronounce if I could spell it, so I will refer to it as “Spike City“. After being made aware, Frank met us since the hospital he was at was apparently only across the street from the subway stop we were at. He came by and communicated for us with the lady since her English was only slightly better than my Dutch.
We went to get something to eat, and then tried the police station to fill out a report in case anyone turned it in to them then they’d have on record that I belonged to it. Since I didn’t have any documents on me to prove the computer belonged to me, I had to leave empty handed and theoretically come back tomorrow with stuff.
I think I kept a reasonably good attitude about it, even though the potential consequences of this were starting to torment me little by little. Like how I’d adapt to not having this important method of communication, how on earth I could justify another laptop for the second time in over a year. What if it’s been stolen—I have enough personal info on there that I’d hate the thought of it being hacked—and my internet passwords being saved on my browser, since I’m the only one really using my laptop. I was totally getting haunted by these kind of thoughts.
Around 4:40pm or so, right as I finish trying not to have a pity party to Jayne as I realized another grave consequence of having a complete stranger get their hands on the laptop, my cell phone rings. It was a man from the subway company letting me know it was found at the end of the train’s run, in Spike City. He tells me in English that I have until 6:30pm today to get it, otherwise the office will be closed and I’d have to do it tomorrow. We rush and take the 25 minute subway ride from where we were at the time, now accompanied by Jayne’s roommate Micah (I’m sure I’m spelling that the American way, but later when I find out the correct spelling, I will spell it right whenever I refer to her again). She has now joined us for the adventure, and spoke with employees there for us in Dutch.
Much to my chagrin, we found out it was a was a false alarm. The employees here had no idea what we were talking about.
Considering one of them called me, I was now no longer feeling stupid for having left the laptop on the train, but mad that they’d call me and get me to come all this way for nothing.
So I tucked my tail back between my legs, and we boarded the train that was heading back up the subway line, and got off two stops over in Spike City centrum, just in case I had heard the man’s instructions wrong over the phone (even though he said to go all the way to the end of the line, which we did). We let Micah ask the woman at this kiosk about it, and she asked if Micah’s name was Steve. So she let us around back, and gave us the backpack, which I didn’t even check to make sure still had the laptop in it because I could tell how heavy it was when I put it on, that it WAS in the same conditions as when I had it earlier in the afternoon.
Me and my laptop stories! [This was in reference to how I kept having multiple problems with this Toshiba laptop before flying to the Netherlands the month prior]
I hope this is the last one to share. I am currently writing this from “my” apartment in Rotterdam, where it’s now (finally) thunder storming out, which is a badly needed break from the heat wave we’ve had the whole time I’ve been in the country so far.
So that marks my first day in Rotterdam. I definitely will remember it. Praise the Lord that my laptop was returned safely from being left on a Subway when it could have been stolen. Maybe the threat of anthrax or some other form of terrorism has some benefits, like if you leave a bag on a subway people don’t touch it because they think it’s a bomb.
I don’t know, praise the Lord seven times today as you read this.
I will try to post one more time before the Summer School this Friday. So until then, tot ziens!