The German au pair applauded Hannah for not panicking. She said she knew other people (I think she even said 'Americans') who would have freaked out and made things worse. I admit that Hannah played it cool, but isn't this one of the times you are allowed to panic? I understand why they tell you not to panic before taking a test or visiting the gyno; if you don't, things won't go, well, smoothly. A stolen purse, however, is another matter. A woman's whole life is in her handbag. In Hannah's case, this life included cosmetic items that she had to surrender to customs on her way over from
Like I said, Hannah handled the situation very well and even laughed through the tears. One might expect someone from down under to say, 'no worries, mate,' and then drink another beer. Hannah's reaction was more realistic, however; she took the appropriate actions by going to the police and reporting the incident. She later said that she felt naive because New Zealand is so safe.
If I had been Hannah, the Swiss reaction would have made me want to hit someone. The Swiss told her that she wasn't the first victim of a purse snatching and told her stories about how much worse it had been for other people they knew. 'Who cares about those other people?' is what I wanted to shout on Hannah's behalf. She was the victim and her belongings were valuable to her. The Swiss even made fun of her for having, and then losing, ten lipsticks from her bag. I guess this passes for consolation in this country. At least now if I become the victim of a crime, I know who I won't come crying to.
I did my best to represent Team USA by giving Hannah all the cash I could spare and maintaining a grim composure out of respect for her situation. Unlike the Swiss, I believe you can't be the one to initiate jokes about someone else's misfortune in order to make them feel better. I was thinking I could tell Hannah, 'well, now you can go shopping for a new handbag,' but I'm saving that until the time is right.
* Update * The police found Hannah's handbag and returned it to her. The cash, cell phone and a chocolate bar were missing (my god they love their chocolate here), but her IDs, address book and snakeskin wallet were still there.