On Kindness: Split and Dubrovnik

As I write this, the world is reeling from the UK vote to Brexit. I have seen articles of extreme racial/religious hate crimes being committed in the open, just after the vote. (All verbal or written, as far as I have seen-thank goodness). As if a 52% majority suddenly makes it OK to say horrible things to another person.

Our experiences over the last week have been the complete opposite. We have needed help, and it has always arrived at the opportune moment. Total strangers have become friends.

Our eldest, G is 11. She had a ‘cold’ in Venice.  In Rovinj, she hung in with us, walking to the beach -even swimming a bit. Exploring the old town.  Yet the ‘cold’ lingered. Same in Plitvice- she hiked for hours. Every day, she felt good in the morning, but a fever manifested in the afternoon.

We arrived in Split, and that evening we stayed up to watch Croatia beat Spain in the Euro Cup. G was still feeling crummy, but we walked to the harbour, and explored the basement of the Roman palace built in to 400s (the basement is an archeological site- there are cool old buildings above, but the palace doesn’t really exist anymore- it was rebuilt as a town.)

That night G’s cough got worse.  The next day was 95F…so we hunkered in the AC of our apartment.  Then G coughed up some blood.  A fever for over a week..now blood. We decided to go to the hospital.

And here is how a tech failure led us in the right direction. Our Croatian Sims were supposed to have some voice credit..but calls didn’t work. I have a work VOIP line on my phone, and that failed too. But, we needed a cab.

K knocked on the neighbors door -to ask if they could call for us. That’s how we met Ana. She heard our issue and flatly said ‘no. You don’t need a taxi. I’ll drive you.” So she and her husband cleared out the baby seat, and we climbed in. “This is what normal people do” she said as we thanked her.

The hospital ER was a mess. 2 car accidents had just occurred. It would be hours. K and Ana agreed to wait until the AM. Ana called her son’s pediatrician, and got us an appointment. She contacted our Airbnb host, and he sent a message that he was picking us up.

After we got home, Ana gave us homemade sherry and walnut grappa from her family farm. Delicious, and a good relaxer for Dad 🙂

Our host took us to the doctor, and sat with us in the waiting room. He was going to help translate for us, but the MD spoke excellent English.

Blood work (from a finger prick – take that US doctors) showed a bacterial infection. A prescription was given (and picked up on the way home). Our host dropped us off.  This all occurred in the time of one load of laundry (the spin was ending as we came home) 

The waiting began. We were told that the antibiotics could take 72 hours to take effect. Also amoxicillin has a toxic reaction if you are in the sun. It was HOT. So we stayed in the apartment for the rest of our stay in Split. We had hoped to see the beaches on the nearby islands….next time.

On Saturday, our host picked us up (645 AM!!) to catch our ferry to Dubrovnik. We arrived at noon, and went to the apartment to crash. I went with the kids to the organic market- but it was closed for a national holiday (so many in the time we visited). We did get to walk above the walled part of the city on our way to find a bus home.

Sunday was day 3 of antibiotics, and G was not improving. We caught a taxi to Dubrovnik Hospital, where a chest x-ray confirmed pneumonia.  New antibiotics and cough meds were prescribed.  I made a special trip back to get the DVD of the x-ray (it was sitting on a counter-really not where K was expecting it to be- she thought a person would give it to us).

We hoped the new meds would help G. If they didn’t ,the next step would be hospitalization. We knew the Dubrovnik was not where we wanted her in a hospital.

That night, we booked tickets to London…Arriving 3 days earlier than planned. Our Airbnb was available for those 3 days..but as we boarded the airplane Monday AM, our host had not accepted the earlier check-in.

A couple we had met in line at the airport baggage check…joking about which line was faster..and our rocking new exchange T, were right behind us on the jet bridge. We were chatting, and when they heard we did not have a place- they unflinchingly offered his flat for the night.

By the time we landed, our airbnb was settled, so we didn’t need his place . But the kindness that was shared was really incredible.

So, while we hear terrible stories on the news of racist, misogynistic, or anti religious acts… please don’t forget – most of the people in the world are good.. and spread kindness, generosity and love in simple ways to others.

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