Here’s the thing.
There will be a time when you decide to take a trip to Ireland, and stop in Dublin to see friends you haven’t seen in years. Upon arrival in Dublin, you will bring your instruments to a well-known music session to meet said friends. When the session ends at 12:30am, your friends will take you to a well-known, late-night nightclub. At the nightclub, you will all order gin & tonics, fight through the crowds, and marvel at how much and how little has changed in three years. You will leave your coats and bags in a pile on the floor; but, because you all play Irish music and are overprotective of your instruments, you make sure to stand close guard over your cargo.
A few drinks later, you will decide it’s a great idea to head down to the dance floor. You bring your bags and instruments and decide to leave them unattended on the benches of the dance floor perimeter. They are within your line of vision, and while you’re dancing around proclaiming your love of the city, one of you makes sure to check on them every ten minutes. Life is good.
Around 2:30am, your paranoia will get the best of you, and you will head to the bag pile, planning on putting your cross-shoulder bag back in its rightful place. You will notice your flute case is not, in fact, in your bag, but is on a ledge right above the bench. You will think nothing of it, reach into your bag to double-check that your phone and wallet will be there–and will find the bag conspicuously spacious. Your two cell phones (Irish and American, natch) will be there. Your lip gloss will be there. Your wallet, containing cash, your American driver’s license, debit card, and passport, will not. You will quell the panic rising in your chest as you check under coats, other bags, behind the bench, on the dance floor. You will tell your friends, who in turn tell the bouncers, who tell you to wait until the club closes at 5am to see if the wallet turns up with the lights on. You won’t find it, and you will leave after having a minor, girly meltdown, images of deportation lines, exorbitant international fees, and feeling like a first-class idiot.
The next day, you will find out that the American Embassy is closed on both Sundays and American holidays. The Embassy also does not consider losing one’s passport to constitute an emergency. Since you lost your passport on a Saturday night, and Monday happens to be the Presidents’ Day holiday, you will not be able to do anything about your passport until Tuesday. You will curse yourself and the Embassy, knowing full well that a city girl who has traveled to Dublin multiple times has no excuse for letting her guard down like that.
You will go visit your cousins in neighboring Wicklow, and they will be kind enough to drive you into the Embassy on Tuesday morning. You will arrive expecting hours of red tape and bureaucracy. You give your name to the man out front, who, after making a quick phone call, will look you in the eye and say “Right, you may be sorted.” You’ll store your electronics, walk into the passport office, and see the man behind the counter gesticulating towards you. He will hold up your wallet–your precious!–and, reading from your passport, say “Are you Caroline?”
Apparently, someone, somewhere found your wallet and, upon discovering the passport, turned it in to the embassy. Whoever stole it simply fished the cash out and tossed the excess in the gutter. You will feel the giant knot deep within your gut unravel. You will praise God, Jesus, the powers-that-be, and Karma for this stroke of luck, and feel immense grateful that you have a support system in this country. You will also resolve to never be as stupid as to leave your valuables unattended in a club, and to avoid carrying purses whenever possible.
This new resolution comes in handy when, one week later, your friend has her purse stolen when the two of you are walking back to her apartment. That, however, is a tale of admonishment for another post.