Soon after I married John, Ragna, John’s Mom, telephoned and invited us to come over for lunch. We went. Soon after we began eating, she pushed a brochure about Austria over to me and said she was inviting me to take a trip. I politely looked at the brochure and then replied, “Thank you so much for thinking of me, but I cannot go. I truly appreciate the offer, but now is not the time.” She said, “Are you certain that you cannot go?” I again replied, “Yes.” We finished eating and left. As soon as I slid into the car, John said, “Susanne, why didn’t you say that you wanted to go?” I explained that I did not have money for a trip like that. He said, “My mom was paying for it.” I told him that I had not ever been given a free trip, even by Shaklee, that did not cost me money. He said, “Do you know that you are now married and that I might be able to help out?” I knew we both were beginning again, but John convinced me that we could do this. I could go. I called Ragna back and explained why I had said no. She was so pleased and explained that she was taking Beverly, her daughter, and Sandie, her other daughter-in-law. She felt that by doing this, I would quickly bond with the women in the family. Now I had been coming to family gatherings for five years before marriage and did not think of this being a bonding event. It was!
After purchasing a proper all-weather coat and a smaller suitcase than anything I owned, I was ready. When the time came, I was excited. We flew overnight. Ragna was in her 80’s, and I was in my 50’s. We sat together on the airplane, an overnight flight. She literally talked to me and shared all night! We did not sleep, arrived in Germany, and took a bus to St. Wolfgang, Austria. When we arrived, her three daughters thought it was time for a nap. Ragna looked at us and said, “No, we cannot take a nap. We need to see the downtown area and stay up. There is a reception this evening that we are attending, and then we will go to sleep. That will help us adjust to their time zone.” Ragna was a great traveler. She had been to so many foreign countries that none of us argued with her.
This was a beautiful town just a little East of Salzburg, Austria. The town was St. Wolfgang. We could go to Salzburg by ferry. We could see the Alps. Our scenery and the trip were fantastic. Not only did Ragna pay for our trip, but she also gave each of us $200 to spend on the trip. We each purchased our own lunch every day because that did not come with the trip. It, in itself, was so expensive that some days we actually skipped lunch. Now I have two stories to tell about this trip.
First story: This new mother-in-law of mine had so much energy! Where did she get it? I had less energy than she did. We took a steam-engine train originally built in 1893. It was the steepest steam cog-railway up the Schafberg Mountain. We had to climb a long hill to get to the place where we would board the train. Of course, Ragna was way ahead of us, walking up, up, up! And we were doing our best to keep up! Another sign of her energy took place following an episode I had in the middle of the night one night! Sandie and I were in a king-size bed in our room when I could not believe that I had an accident…diarrhea hit! We had to get up, strip the bed and remake it. I luckily had no more accidents in bed that night. I told Sandie that I did not think I should go on the adventure Ragna set up for us the next day. We both felt that was the best thing for me to do. I could stay in the hotel, look at the beautiful Alps in the distance, and be ready for the evening and our adventure tomorrow. Well, Ragna and Beverly knocked on the door, and they were ready to go to breakfast. I explained my situation and what had happened. Ragna said, “Just a minute.” She left and returned. That is when she threw me a diaper as she said, “Now get out of the bed. It would be best if you had something to eat before we go today. You are going.” I could easily see there would be “no rest” on this trip, not even if someone felt bad. Apparently, she had learned to push through everything that tended to hold her back in her past. I loved her attitude. I adopted it, got up, was careful what I ate and drank, and we were off for the day.
Second story: We had made a reservation for a five-star restaurant for dinner. We ate a good breakfast at the hotel and skipped lunch because we wanted to be really hungry when we went to that five-star restaurant. When we finished going to our destinations we planned for the day, we headed back to the hotel and dressed for the amazing dinner we thought we were going to have. When we arrived at the restaurant, they seated us. The room we were sitting in was not large. There were white tablecloths on all of the tables. Place settings were wonderful, and we had a small centerpiece of fresh flowers. A gentleman brought us menus to peruse. Following us placing our orders, we were each brought a small plate with a fancy 1 1/2″ x 3″ light yellow with what look like herbs sprinkled on top. Now here comes me, Miss Wisdom, in response to comments my mother-in-law and two new sister-in-laws made. They were saying, “What is this?” I replied, “It is an appetizer. When John and I ate with Dawn in her five-star restaurant where she worked, we received an appetizer to enjoy while waiting on the rest of our food. This must be our appetizer.” (Didn’t I sound smart?) We were so hungry from skipping lunch that we devoured this what I told them was their appetizer.” We each ate our food and the bread that came. I asked our waiter if we could have more butter. He looked at me and said, “No, we brought you butter already. You ladies ate all of your butter.” And he brought no more butter. Now we all got tickled. I thought I was such an expert! They believed me. Ragna was laughing so hard that it was all worth it. We decided we had better pay and leave. We were laughing so hard that tears were running down our cheeks. Ragna was laughing so much that we had to help her walk. She said, “They are going to think I have been drinking too much.” It was a great night, a beautiful night, and lots of fun! We could not believe that we each ate so much butter to begin the dinner. It was delicious!
LESSON: When you are invited on a paid vacation and want to go, say “yes”! That adventure taught me so much in so many ways.
GIFTS: We went into Germany and saw the parents of friends that I knew from a doctor that sweat with us. came to pick us up and drove hours to their home for a family meal. Then they returned us to our hotel.
Every day was great, and we did get to know each other so much better.
I have made a conscious effort to not act “so smart” again…ever! Every time butter is served, I remember our experience, how I attempted to sound like I knew what I was talking about, and what happening in my life. I continue to share my experiences in my seminars and the way I understand what is happening in many of our lives, but I know that we each have our own experiences and our own truths about things and sometimes we can be wrong. That butter was not our appetizer.