Schlepp Goes to Germany
Schlepp usually goes to Vienna in his travels, but this trip was to take
him somewhere new--Bonn, Germany. He and Debbie were going to teach
a workshop in Knowledge Management to a group from the Middle East.
Debbie was travelling a lot this month: first in Canada, then
in San Francisco, and finally, all the way to Germany. Because she
was at a conference in California, Karl arrived first on a Saturday.
On Sunday he got to meet the other people
from UNM and the Middle East. It was cold and rainy, but the sun
came out for awhile and we got to take a walk in the nice park nearby.
Tuesday evening should have been a quiet time tucked away in our tiny
little rooms but that was not to be. As the workshop finished up
for the afternoon, a lady came in and said that a plane had crashed into
the World Trade Center in New York. A few moments later she was back,
saying that two planes had crashed.
Confused, we went back to our room and Karl
turned on the TV. There we saw terrible videos of burning buildings,
planes crashing into them, and then, one by one, the two buildings came
crashing down in flame and smoke. Thousands of people must have died.
We sat there staring at the TV in disbelief.
Karl got through on the phone to Caro on the
second try. She had dreamed about us calling her from Germany.
When Mark called earlier and told her to turn on the TV, she thought something
had happened in Germany.
Everything changed so fast. All airplanes
were grounded. We couldn't get home even if we wanted to.
Eventually we had to go eat dinner, but no
one had much appetite. We ended up in Debbie's room, watching TV
and drinking--but drinking didn't change anything--the buildings always
did the same thing: crash down.
No one slept well.
The next morning we decided to "keep a stiff upper lip" and continue
with the workshop. It was almost better to be busy and distracted
than just sitting around watching TV and the horrible pictures.
Once again, we finished the day and went to
dinner. But when we got back, we just sat there watching CNN and
Debbie was supposed to fly home in two more
days and still no airplanes were flying. And people were concerned
about us going on to Vienna afterwards.
On Thursday we had some free time, so we distracted ourselves by going
to a beautiful nearby castle. We drank
Mosel wine by the river and ate cheese and bread. But when we got
back, CNN still showed the same disasterous videos.
That night people in Albuquerque woke us up
worried about travelling to Vienna.
Eventually, they got it straightened out and Friday morning we took
off for Vienna and Debbie left for the US.
Vienna was fine and that was at least a touchstone
of sanity amid a crazy week. Debbie made it home but the delays were
terrible and it took two days to make it back. Even a week later
it would take us two days as well.