>You know, those of us who go to live far from our native lands begin to see it as rather ordinary. When people ask me how safe Jordan is, I kind of scoff at the question. And, honestly, I haven’t given much thought to the family left in more typical surroundings. But a friend alerted me to this story, which has been much ignored in the press.
“Nicole Vienneau, a 33-year old Canadian tourist, has been missing in Syria since March 31st  (280 days). She was last seen by the desk clerk as she left the Cairo Hotel in Hama. She intended to return as her backpack was left in her room. Nicole had recently been asking other guests and hotel staff about how to get to the “Beehive Houses”, a local sightseeing destination, as well as Qasr Ibn Wardan (a nearby castle). No one at these locations recalls seeing Nicole (and they are not heavily visited). Nicole preferred taking local transit, but none of the minibus drivers remembers her either. The streets from the hotel to the minibus pick-up are main streets with lots of people, even at 8:30 in the morning.”
This excerpt is from Nicole’s brother’s blog about the search for his sister. How horrifying must this be for this family. Apparently the young lady is a veteran traveler who likes to take extended journeys around the world. She has traveled in the past for 6 to 8 months at a time. However, apparently this last trip was the one she shouldn’t have made. I must admit, this brought home forcefully how awfully far Jordan must seem to my Mom. To me it seems quite close, after all with Skype and Vonage we can talk every day if we’d like. When an emergency occurred, I was there in not much more time than a drive from Louisiana to Alabama would have taken (thanks to time zone differences, of course). So, to me the world seem terribly small. And then I hear about things like this!
Suddenly, it is brought home how far away the family must feel, how impotent in the face of bureaucracy half a world away. And, Syria’s right next door. I’m adding Nicole and her family to my prayers, that this situation will be resolved, that she is found unharmed, and that her family has the strength to go on regardless of the outcome. Anyone who knows anyone in this part of Syria, check the blog, read the posts, find a way to help. Together, as a community, perhaps we can help get answers for this broken family so far away. And, as a heads up, the post on December 6 (Nicole’s birthday) by her Mom broke my heart. I don’t know anyone (either in Syria or on the list), but maybe you will. Check it out. http://vienneau.livejournal.com