Rebecca's previous trips were to Austria/Germany, and then to Tanzania, Africa.
As Rebecca has grown up with a life-threatening allergy, there have been countless challenges and lost sleep. First Pre-School, then Play Dates, Sleepovers, Field Trips, Camps, Dating, etc. When she enrolled in college she was excited about the prospect of studying abroad. Me....well, of course I wanted her to experience the world but a part of me just wanted her to stay close. Navigating living with a serious allergy is hard enough - imagine if you are in a land where you do not speak the language!
Needless to say, Rebecca went ahead with studying abroad. The first one was scary for me. I have been to both Germany and Austria and know how many nuts are in their cuisine. We did a lot of research about what foods would likely be available, and she went over with 6, yes 6, EpiPens, lol.
She stayed away from the most threatening kinds of foods, such as baked goods and candy. She and some friends visited the Sacher Hotel in Vienna, home of the most famous of Viennese culinary specialties, the Sachertorte, a delicious chocolate cake. Rebecca knew she would not order any dessert, but went for the experience. The wait staff there was so concerned about her nut allergy that they would not even let her order coffee (they had flavored coffees so they were unsure), so she had water. She was OK with that.
One of the reasons the Hotel Sacher was so concerned about the allergy is that Rebecca had some SelectWisely cards describing her allergy and the serious nature of it. In German.
SelectWisely is a great service that provides wallet sized laminated cards in any language imaginable. Rebecca has a nice collection now (German, Arabic, Swahili, French). She would hand the card to the waiter when ordering. She found they were EXTREMELY well-received. Even when the staff spoke excellent English, Rebecca still felt that having it written in the native language gave her allergy more credibility and was also respectful. Most times the card would go back to the chef and come back with her order.
Rebecca poked a little fun at me before her first trip abroad and said the cards were a little over the top. But she used them and found them so useful she will never travel without. I would not be surprised if she ends up with a collection in 100 different languages - I'll still worry every trip but I'm also so happy and excited for her, and proud as well.
***** The information on this blog is not intended as Medical Advice. Consult your Allergist.