"We seldom get into trouble when we speak softly. It is only when we raise our voices that the sparks fly and tiny molehills become great mountains of contention."
- - Gordon B. Hinckley
March 7, 2014
Fear Bound in Amsterdam
by Dian Thomas

We landed in Amsterdam this morning (Feb. 26, 2014) on my way to South Africa. This was a return to the city that I traveled to when I took my first flight in an airplane. I had just finished teaching my first year at Orem Jr. High in Orem, Utah, where I was a home economics and art teacher.

Every summer for the past seven summers, I had worked at the Brighton Girls Camp, which I dearly loved. I knew that I would have to find something exciting to replace my experience there, and my choice was a trip to Europe.

While I was teaching I shared my desire to go to Europe with my friends and fellow teachers. One day Mr. Zimmerman, my assistant principal, came down to my room and put a piece of paper on my desk. He said to apply for this scholarship to study abroad.

Corning Glass had a sister plant in Orem and was giving the scholarship away to a teacher.

I soon learned that there were two of us that applied for it. I suggested that they give half to each one of us, but they said they could not do that. At the flip of a coin I got the scholarship to go abroad and study. I found a program in Europe, which started about three weeks after school let out for the summer.

A friend of mine suggested that I go early to Amsterdam, where the study abroad would start. She had been there on a mission and thought that perhaps I could pay a member family to stay with them for a few days. She wrote a letter to the branch president and I ordered my ticket to go early.

Weeks went by, and no word from the branch president. About three days before I was ready to leave I got word from my friend, and he said that they did not do that kind of thing in their country.

I was nervous to go without a place to stay, but the ticket was already ordered. I was so excited to go on such an adventure but scared to death to not have a hotel room lined up (this was before computers).

When I arrived in Amsterdam I found a desk in the airport that could book a hotel room for me. I walked up to the desk and asked them to give me a top-rated hotel, but there was a run on hotel rooms and they did not have one. Pretty soon the clerk found a place for me to go to that was on the third floor of a typical building in Amsterdam.

Now my job was to get a cab. It was my first time getting a cab and I was so scared that the cab driver would take me off and rape me before he delivered me to my hotel.

I sat in the back seat filled with fear.

I was so pleased when the cab driver took me straight to my hotel and helped me get my luggage to the third floor. I checked in and found out that my room did not have a bathroom, and that I would have to go to the end of the hall for one. Now my fear began to build that something bad would happen to me on the way to the bathroom.

I arrived to my room exhausted and scared about going down the hall to the bathroom. When I was ready to go to bed, I pushed the big dresser up against the door so no one could come in the room while I was asleep. I lay on the bed with my clothes still on and cried until I was sound asleep.

The next morning I was still so afraid that I wanted to stay in my room for the next three days until my friends came, but I pushed myself to have breakfast and then go to the famous The Rijksmuseum. This is the museum that houses De Nachtwacht (“The Night Watch”) by Rembrandt.

I found my way to the museum and waited in line for it to open. Then I noticed two young men with white shirts and dark pants with small black badges on their left pockets. I was so excited because I knew they were missionaries.

I went up and introduced myself and asked them where they were from. One of the missionaries lived in my stake. It made me feel much more at ease to have met someone from home.

I later learned that 92% of the things that we worry about never happen. Experience, time, and education help to take away our fears. I am so glad I continued to travel and experience the wonderful world that we live in.

Dian has written many idea books. For more information information about her books, go to www.dianthomas.com.

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About Dian Thomas

Dian Thomas was blessed with the good fortune to be born near and raised in the remote, breathtaking Manti-La Sal National Forest in southeastern Utah, where her father was the forest ranger. She took the skills she learned in the outdoors and turned them into a New York Times best-selling book, Roughing It Easy. Her appearance on the NBC's "Tonight" show with Johnny Carson boosted her into the national media scene, where she became a regular on NBC's "Today" show for eight years and then ABC's "Home Show" for six years. After more than 25 years of media exposure and 19 books, she now shares her practical insights and wisdom with audiences who want to savor life.

A former Relief Society president, Dian is currently serving as a visiting teacher. Visit her website at www.DianThomas.com

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