Saturday, September 11, 2010

Currency Problems

I have a theory that I can't travel anywhere without at least one thing really going wrong.  There was the time I forgot my wallet when travelling overseas, flying to India on Sept. 11th, 2001, not getting my luggage and countless others. 

This time, it was a currency fiasco.  I thought it would be a good idea to come to Budapest with lots of cash that I could immediately exchange.  Then I could get something to eat, pay my rent and so on.  The only problem was that I couldn't exchange the 220 Jordanian Dinars I had.  Yep, I had over $350 worth of cash that was absolutely useless.  After going to several banks and at least 3 exchange places, I was out of luck.  This country just doesn't have JD's.  My bank account in Jordan had 2 JD's and my debit card for my American account had expired.  I was out of ideas.  I was hungry.  I needed coffee.  On top of this, I had just arrived to a country where I didn't know anybody.  The last thing I wanted to do was say, "nice to meet you, I'm broke, can I borrow some money?"  I can see it now, "hey guys, look at the idiot who brought some obscure currency to Hungary and now is mooching off us." 

In actuality I got lucky to meet a really nice group of people who didn't want to see me go without lunch and coffee.  They fed and caffeinated me.  One person even brought me homemade food.  I was a happy camper.  I also got a briliant idea from a friend.  Call the Jordanian Embassy!  And so I did.  And luckily, the embassador exchanged the JD's to Forints.  I don't think it was a normal service but he did it anyway.  It probably gave him a chuckle and a good story. 

"So there was this American woman coming from Jordan who tried to exchange JD's for Forints in Hungary........"


  1. haha clever girl :) stick to ur $$$$ everybody love those lol

  2. Heather,

    I recall you had a similar experience in England in September 2001 when you realized you left your wallet at home on your dresser. I'll never forget that phone call in the middle of the night, "Mom, I arrived safely in England, but I can't find my wallet. Can you go in my bedroom and see if I left it at home." Sure enough, there was your wallet on your dresser at home in the USA. Wasn't doing you much good in England. But, thanks to the kindness of strangers, someone at the airport allowed you to place a long distance call home and gave you money for a cab to the hostel, which luckily you prepaid. The following day a couple in a park bought you an ice cream cone. They must have noticed the look of hunger or perhaps they could hear your stomach growling! You commented that the experience of having no money and no food reminded you of the mission trips you went on with Epworth's Youth Group and the people you helped - many of whom were also without money or food, but not just for a day or two. It's these experiences that bring you out of your comfort zone and allow you to experience a different side of life that you are so fortunate not to have to live on a daily basis. As you say, we are fortunate beyond belief, and it's experiences like these that wake us up to that reality.