We had already been looking forward to it for quite a while, our trip to Europa. And now it was nearly there! Tuesday June the 18th was my (Steven) last workday before our home leave. Because June the 19th was my birthday, my colleagues surprised me with a real birthday breakfast buffet. After this nice and very tasty breakfast I worked hard to finish up what I could and to hand over what could not yet be finished. While I was working in the hospital, Vikki was busy packing for our trip. She had her last day at work on Wednesday.

Around 05.30 Thursday morning the taxi came to pick us up for the nearly 3 hour drive to Cusco. Unfortunately, Leah woke up quite ill so she started the long travel with a fever. On the way to Cusco she was nauseous at times and she just felt miserable. Once in Cusco things did not get better. Because of the 8 degrees temperatures, Leah was walking with us through the airport shivering and crying, poor girl.

After a flight of about an hour we arrived in Lima where we still had another good hour to go before we arrived at the Diospi Suyana guest house. Once we arrive there we could finally relax a bit and Leah could also get some rest. That night I stayed up quite late (roughly 2 in the morning) to prepare the first presentation and preaching that was scheduled for Sunday morning at our local assembly in Eindhoven. When I finally went up to our room to get some sleep it appeared that Simeon was also getting quite sick. He felt hot and turned out to have a fever of 39,9 degrees! Vikki and I did not manage to get a lot of sleep that night. Also we were sort of worried about boarding a plane for 12 hours with a baby with such a high fever. Thankfully we know a lot of doctors these days and after receiving some tips through whatsapp, we felt a bit more at peace about it.

Before going to the airport we first went into Lima with the 5 of us. We had something to eat and drink, went to a playground and even met Paddington Bear :-). Shortly after lunch we left for Lima airport where we unfortunately had to wait quite a bit due to a delay. After a long wait (which is not good fun with 2 sick children) we could finally board the airplane. Very tired but very much looking forward to getting to Europe! The flight went well. Leah and Olivia slept 8 and 7 hours out of the 12 which was a lot better than the 30 and 20 minutes they slept went we traveled to Peru in 2017. Simeon did keep Vikki quite busy.

The delay in Lima did not matter that much to us because still had to fly from London Gatwick to Amsterdam and we had quite a bit of time in between those flights. The time that we had to wait extra in Lima, we now did not have to wait in London. Going in to one of the airport bathrooms to freshen up, I could hardly believe what I was seeing. Water came out of the tap just by moving my hand in front of a sensor. The water was nice and warm. And the best of all was the fact that I could just flush toilet paper down the toilet instead of having to put it in a bin. A couple of years ago these things would have all been really normal but now I was really pleasantly surprised by them.

After a short flight of less than an hour we finally landed in Amsterdam. During landing Leah was all hyper. The Netherlands, the place that we spoke about so frequently and that she could still vaguely remember. The Netherlands, the place where so many of her friends and family members live. The Netherlands, the place of the Miffy museum. Olivia had no memories of the Netherlands, maybe that is why she was sound asleep during landing.

Once we had gotten our suitcases of the belt the moment had finally arrived, we could meet up with our parents and several of our brothers and sisters again. My sister Eline had also come with her eldest daughter Yana. It did not take Leah and Yana more than 5 minutes to play together as if they had never been seperated. A very special moment :-).