Monday, October 27, 2008

I can't find you anywhere

On the sixth evening of my eight days in Holland, we came back to Christina's home in Zwijndrecht from a day out to Haarlem and later picking her parents up from Schipol airport.

For dinner, we picked up a 6-dish Chinese takeout meal which was a whole new experience altogether although really quite tasty! As my brother said a few times before and during the meal, one needed to wipe away any preconceived ideas about what Malaysians are used to when it comes to Chinese food. My favourite from what we ordered was the kuh-luh-yuk (sweet and sour pork) which came in the size and shape of golf balls (without the indents, of course).

Sometime after, i went upstairs to transfer the day's photos to my hard drive and that's when I reached into my pocket to find my phone - the spiral stairway was dark you see, and well, I couldn't see, so I needed my phone's flashlight function.

But it wasn't there.

The hours after that took me through a fluctuating frenzy of feeling hopeful and devastated:

- I searched inside, under and around the car, twice with Christina, twice with my brother.
- I searched the pockets of all the layers I'd been wearing countless times throughout, as well as the bags i had taken with me and also the ones i had left behind.
- We went out again to search the area of the now closed Chinese takeout place
- We went online to search for ways to pinpoint geographically the location of my phone (which led to either a crude prank or a huge payment).
- I went over and over in my mind my movements and tracks since I last remembered taking it out at a albert heijns (grocery store) in Haarlem.
- We looked up the contact number and opening hours of the albert heijns in Haarlem.
- We sent text messages in english and dutch asking whoever may find it to please call Christina's mobile number.

As the night went on, I started to mourn internally & externally my lost phone, as well as the photos I hadn't yet transferred to my laptop. I was thankful however, that i had transferred a few months worth of photos just a couple of nights before.

Some tough constraints on decision making - one was the knowledge that my battery was low. After my brother had called my phone 5 times at different intervals that night, we decided to conserve battery. It was still ringing although nobody picked up and that gave me a glimmer of hope that it was still somewhere waiting for me to rescue it! This also made us decide to tell Maxis customer service whom we had called on Skype not to deactivate my number yet, praying someone chivalric would pick it up. The fact that the battery was going out was good because whoever picks it up won't be able to make expensive calls for too long. Bad because whoever picks it up might not be able to see the messages we had sent.

Another constraint was time - the following day was a Sunday and we were supposed to follow Christina's family to church in Den Haag. So although we looked up various train routes and times to go to Haarlem, it was hard deciding if I should goh first thing in the morning so that I could get to church on time (which may not be possible) or if I should goh after church. But the latter would mean increasing the chances it'll be picked up by someone with an unknown level of civic duty.

Then there was the whole uncertainty of whether it went missing at Haarlem or Schipol Airport where I had got off the car for like 10 seconds when we were moving stuff from the backseat to the boot. So I looked up variations of train schedules from Zwijndrecht to Haarlem, Den Haag (where church was) to Haarlem, and Haarlem back to Den Haag stopping by at Schipol. Which brought in another constraint to worry about - how much all that train travelling would cost.

Also running through my mind was the thought of cars running over it on the street, although I was thankful that it was a Sunday and street cleaners wouldn't be working which increased the chances that it was still lying on the street somewhere - it WAS after all, still ringing.

I finally went to bed about 3am, reading Matthew 6 with sharp pangs in my heart, asking God to help me not be so attached to inanimate objects. Fell asleep somewhat at rest about not needing to catch an early morning train to Haarlem. I didn't totally lock in, however, on my exact course of action until Christina's mum said to me at about 9am: "Just go to church and say an extra prayer."

So I did. It was also really superb of Christina's parents to decide that we'd go in 2 cars so that we could later drive to Haarlem and Schipol. Still, I was conflicted inside about just letting it go and not wasting any more of anyone's time and money. So when the pastor gave the church a moment of silence during the service to bring our burdens to God, I sighed out the final throes of my missing phone woes to Him.

Then I opened my eyes, and my brother tapped me and he was telling me something I couldn't understand at first. He repeated: someone found my phone, they called Christina, it's in Schipol! I was surprised yet not surprised at the same time. I could only muster a soft "Praise God" with my voice but it was balanced by a great volume of praise within. The rest of the day, I remembered what I had read the night before, which had only taken a tenth of the time I had fussed and frenzied! =P

"People who don't know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don't worry about missing out. You'll find all your everyday human concerns will be met." -- Matthew 6:32-33 (the Message)

To end this long post & to celebrate the return of my phone, thought I'd upload some of the photos taken with it, the times I went DSLR-less in Holland. =D

At the Boijmans Museum, Rotterdam:

At the Jewish Historical Museum, Amsterdam:

At the Photography Museum, Amsterdam:

At the Escher Museum, Den Haag:


KeeSitt said...

Thank God you found back your phone. Interesting story ! HAHAHAHA

richrach said...

wow! amazing how u got back thy phone! i lost mine 2x... got stolen actually... and it never came back...

your pix look really good! :)

the boggler said...

Yeah, I'm really really thankful! =)

Here's Christina's account of the phone call she received that morning:

Ah yes, and then there's my part where the guy from Schiphol called in the middle of the church service. I was quite excited but he still wanted to verify...

"What kind of phone is it?"
"Uhm, I don't actually know - it's black..."
"Ok, so can you tell me the name of someone in the phone list?"
"Yes, her brother will be in there.... Chee Su"
- Scroll, scroll, scroll -
"Nope there's no Chee Su"
"Uhm maybe under the name Goh?"
- Scroll, scroll, scroll -
"I'm scrolling here - man there's a lot of contacts in this phone..."
About a minute later: "Nope, there's no Goh..."
"Oh dear - well then I don't know how she has named him to save the number. Now what?"

By this point I guess the guy must have been convinced I was sincere or tired of scrolling "Ah I believe you, you can come get it".

And note: the phone fell in the middle of the road, not on a parking space but right in the middle of a lane and somehow miraculously was not run over by a car.

Choon Ean: Hahhah - the guy couldn't find "Chee Su" or "Goh" cause I listed him under "Boy"! =D

Anonymous said...

Cool story! :)