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The joy, and the anger

July 17th, 2009

Daughter’s boyfriend joined us on Thursday in Bratislava for the final week of our vacation. He flew into Vienna from Brussels and took the train to the capital of Slovakia,where we met him. His joining us brought back a flood of wonderful memories of how Jeanne and I had camped with her parents when we were dating.  In fact, it was on a camping trip that I proposed to Jeanne, in 1971.

Last night, at our campsite in Vienna, Boyfriend proposed to Daughter.  We realized what was going on when we looked out the window and saw them.  Daughter’s eyes gave it away. They were bright, big, filled with wonder, and wet. They kissed, talked, hugged, kissed again. I grabbed Boyfriend’s camera, better than mine, and took many photographs through the front window of the Mobi, in the evening’s twilight.  If I get their permission, I will post them.

So now it is Fiancé and Daughter, and we are so very excited and pleased for them.  He is a good man and shares with Daughter an unquenchable thirst for adventure, and laughter, and puppies, and wine and beer. Not just Belgian beer, but all kinds of beer.

So we were on such a high when Fiancé reached for his laptop computer in the upper cupboard last night.  It was not there. We searched everywhere, and couldn’t find it.  It had been stolen. Jeanne checked our belongings and found things were not as we had left them on Thursday when we parked Mobi at a dirt parking lot near the historic center of Bratislava, Slovakia.

Parking in downtown Bratislava was impossible with the Mobi, and this dirt lot — with another motor home and other vehicles — seemed the only choice. I took my cameras and laptop with me, in my backpack, as we set off for our 3-hour walk. Fiancée left his laptop behind, however. It was a big one, not easily carried.

Hours later, after we found our campsite in Vienna and after the proposal, we discovered the loss. There had been no outward signs of a break-in. We are 99 percent sure that the burglar used a shimmy to unlock the front passenger door. We think this because there were no signs of forced entry, and because when we entered Austria from Slovakia, Jeanne opened her window and it made a squeal/squeak that we had not heard before.

Also taken was Daughter’s small purse of jewelry. Nothing terribly expensive, but sentimental, including an amber ring we had bought her while visiting the 600-year-old salt mines outside of Krakow.  But other things were not stolen — our MP3 players, for instance, even some loose money. Mobi’s satellite TV equipment was untouched, too.

The loss of Fiancé’s computer is traumatic for him because it contained virtually all of the information he needs for the commercial scuba outfitting business he operates in Antwerp. He hopes he will be able to reconstruct it. If I were him I would be beside myself with anger and tears. Fiancée has a way of moving beyond trauma.

This morning is a new day. Fiancé and daughter are kissing.

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