3 weeks in Europe – surprise for others

June 4, 2007  
Topics: Europe

Originally written for CoolWorks.com

We were in Costa Rica and “officially” we were about to travel towards South America by searching a sailboat which would bring us from Panama to Colombia or any other South American country. Crossing by land through the Darien Gap was a bit risky, thus we did not consider it as an option (only in our bravest dreams).

But… Let’s go back to March 2007. We were staying in Panama City and received an email from Augustas step-father Robert asking us, if we would be interested in coming to Europe, and being the main surprise of the 50th birthday of Augustas mother Audrone. We stopped breathing for a while. Was it true? We were invited to be the main surprise during Audrone’s birthday? Yes, it was true.

We realized that this way we could not only surprise Augustas’ mom, but also our friends, and of course my family back in Germany. I remember imagining surprises for all of them, which made our hearts beat faster, butterflies appear in our stomachs, and tears cover our eyes. What great moments would they be to appear right out of nothing? We could fulfil our big dreams of being with our loved ones again, and also fill their hearts with pure joy, as the questions of “when do you come back?” increased meanwhile to five times since the beginning of our trip. Moreover, the trip would mean a perfect solution for transiting from Central to South America. A great way to pass the Darien Gap with such emotional detour.

No doubt, we will go. We kept quiet, letting everybody believe we are heading towards South America, and instead boarding a plane in Costa Rica on 11th of May, 2007. We still could not believe we are on the plane towards home. Finally. arriving at Berlin airport made us understand we are really back.

We went straight to Leipzig for our first surprise, directly to the school where my mother works. Soon after we entered the school, we heard her voice. She was talking to a colleague, while coming down the stairway. We prepared. Me in front, Augustas with the camera a bit in the back. Then she appeared and I said with an innocent voice, “Hallo!” My mom responded lax and lighty, “Hallo!” Still talking to her colleague, she was watching us for a while. Augustas started taking photos and I just stood smiling at her. Slowly her mind began working and all of a sudden she said, “I cannot believe it. You are impossible!” I started to laugh emotionally, finally taking my mom into my arms, and tears were rolling down my cheeks. I was so happy and I deeply felt that also for her a big dream came true. Later she told us what her thoughts were when we appeared: ‘Strange, these parents I have never seen before.’, followed by: ‘Oh my God! Journalists! Damn, how can I get rid of them now?’ (when Augustas was busy taking photos). We laughed resounding when listening to her explanations, and could fit every single photo taken of her exactly to these thoughts. Oh mom, you are awesome! During our visit in Leipzig we also surprised my two younger sisters and their children, my oldest brother, and my aunt.

Christian (left) and Therese (right)

Christian (left) and Therese (right)

After few days we headed for Berlin. Here we stayed with my friend Dorit. Dorit made our stay really happy and comfortable. Together with her I actually surprised my friend Christian, who is working in McDonald’s. Christians’ first words were, “Ms. Lachmann, what are you doing here?” His face was drawing an uncountable amount of question marks, so that I could not help but laugh out loud.

It was time to travel towards Lithuania. After 7 hours (!) waiting for getting out of Berlin, our hitch-hiking started with a wonderful Polish couple. They brought us into Poland, and even invited for a delicious lunch. We continued without problems, and reached Vilnius (the capital of Lithuania) in the morning of May 19.

It was early afternoon when we headed for Augustas mother’s house, which lays a bit outside of Vilnius. Staying on the last bus stop, from which we wanted to hitch-hike to the house, suddenly Augustas’ sister Izabele passed by. Still driving, her head moved slowly backwards, trying to realize if she is dreaming or really seeing her brother alive right at the bus stop. She stopped the car, got out, and full of tears took Augustas in her arms. Oh, such tears are the most touching mean that exist. Also our eyes became wet, and we hold each other for a long time. Then we were brought near the house, where we could walk the last hundred meters to the house.

Robert (mother’s husband) had seen us already from far and brought his wife to the window, pointing towards us. This was the moment to show the most important present of her birthday. There were not many guests yet, but those which were present looked at us with open mouths. Augustas’ mom came downstairs, nearly screaming in shock, and full of tears. What a hearty scene, it was impossible to stand her emotions. Then she said, “I knew why this time I bought waterproof make-up, I felt I would need it!” And she was definitely right.

During the party more surprises followed. There were uncles, aunts, friends, nephews, other relatives, and Augustas’ lovely grandparents. They nearly got a heart attack when seeing us. Augustas’ grandfather immediately put his sun glasses for hiding his eyes. We were all so touched and happy. Augustas’ grandmother later, said “We feel like in a fairy-tale…”. Both of his grandparents always understood that we had to follow our feelings of seeing the world, but at the same time they were afraid, they will never see us again. We guess this worry disappeared now.

do not they fit us?

do not they fit us?

We spent nearly a week in Vilnius, enjoying to be together with Augustas’ family and friends. Spending time with Izabele, Augustas’ sister, made our love to her and her sons Tijus and Vakaris grow stronger. Tijus we have not seen before, as he was born while we were already travelling. We are so much in love with them that we had liked to take them with us.

Our 3 weeks holidays in Europe ended up in Dortmund. Here we had to surprise my brother Marco and his future wife Peggy. We rang the doorbell. Nothing happened. Was nobody at home? We rang again. Through the door-eye we saw the change of lights. We were sure somebody must be at home. We rang again. The door opened slowly, and half of Peggy’s head appeared behind. “No… No!” Peggy’s words expressed great disbelief in the fact that we were standing right in front of her door. Now she opened the door completely, still repeating, “No! No! That is not true, is it?” Then she started jumping and laughing, taking me into her arms, and we jumped together. We laughed, laughed more, and could not hold us from screaming happily around in her apartments hallway.

Now only my brother Marco was missing. He was still at university, and a sudden change of his plans made him calling home, asking Peggy to pick him up. While Peggy was gone, we hide our luggage, and made ourselves comfortable in their sleeping room. Peggy and Marco came back. Silent like mice we were waiting in the room, and listened every little noise in the apartment. A long time nothing happened, but all of a sudden the door widely opened. I startled, and at the same time my brother got terrified, holding his right hand onto his heart, his mouth stayed open. We could not hold anymore and burst out laughing. Still breathing in shock, I took my brother into my arms. “Geeeaaaaaaooooo…., what is this? How do you come here? My heart was about to stop beating!” Oh, this man! I love my brother, and I cannot help but laugh whenever he opens his funny mouth. Happiness all over, the last mission was completed successfully!

A couple of days later we had to turn our backs towards Europe to continue our trip, this time in Venezuela. It took us real strength to leave all our families and our friends behind, and continue where we stopped three weeks ago. Compared to the start of our trip, I felt so strong how much I will miss all of them. Augustas felt exactly the same when leaving from Lithuania. The worst for me was that I could not say good-bye to Peggy anymore, because we had to leave to the airport short before she arrived back home. I felt terrible, missing the last important hug from one of the most important persons in my life.

Life goes on. Besides missing the last hug, we back on our journey track happily and our hearts filled with pure love.