of bank accounts and library cards

Once upon a time, we were young parents with young children who loved to read. Each daughter would anticipate our weekly trip to the library and carefully select her allotted quota of books to borrow for the week. (We thought allowing 1 book per year of life would simplify knowing how many books to return the next week, so the 9-year old borrowed 9 books and the 6-year-old, 6, and 4 books for the youngest.)

A favorite children’s show of that era shared the adventures of a 3rd grade aardvark, Arthur. We learned from him that having fun wasn’t hard when you had a library card. But, we did not have a library card here in our host country.

For “date nights”, we would visit the library and have a reading fest, spending 4 hours, sharing a book between us. We found it better to take turns instead of reading over each other’s shoulders (and the fellow library patrons frowned on us reading aloud in the public space.) If it was a particularly good book, we’d pause after 4 hours, gaze suggestively into each other’s eyes, and say, “Let’s come back tomorrow!”

The day finally arrived when our employment pass and dependent passes were issued! As we anticipated getting a library card, we also made plans to open a joint bank account. All our life we had heard the benefits for couples to combine their finances as a way to foster authentic conversations about money. We left the office just after 9 am to arrive early in the day and get our banking done before the lunch crowd. While we were out banking our American colleagues were working on getting their library cards.

Imagine our dismay to discover that banks and libraries around the world do NOT open at the times we had naively assumed they would. We FAILED to even consider what time would the bank or library open! We thought we knew…and never asked. We both needed to wait for them to open.

Here is what else we learned that day:

  • Even though you have a dependant pass with the same family name as your husband, you still need to bring your marriage license in order to open a joint bank account. I didn’t have one with me. We failed in opening a joint bank account that day.
  • Even though you researched ahead of time and knew how much it costs to get a library card, you can’t pay in cash. You need a local bank account to pay for a library card. My friend hadn’t visited the bank yet and failed in getting her library card that day.

What lessons have you learned recently?

Were they painful to learn?

Did you feel stupid or did you get angry at someone for inconveniencing you?

What if these frustrations are opportunities for us to look beyond our needs, wants, and desires, and instead look at the author and perfector of our faith?

Here we are with our borrowed library books – we only borrowed three! We’ve not gone back to open a joint bank account yet. 🙂




2 thoughts on “of bank accounts and library cards”

  1. “we only borrowed 3” – that phrase made me smile. 🙂 And the rest of the post prompted helpful reflection. Thanks!

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