So–one wouldn’t think that such a small thing as keys would be so important…or maybe they would? They are very handy when you need to get back into your home…but what about getting out?

The house we are staying in has a sort of double entry system. One key gets you into the entryway and the next key gets you into the hallway leading up the stairs and into our flat. Five of our family was waiting down in the entryway for our eldest son and as he shuts the door to the hallway into our flat I hear my youngest son ask my husband if he can unlock the door from the entryway to the street. It was like a slow-motion movie as I watch my eldest son shut the door to the stairs, hear my husband say, “I don’t have the keys” and I know I do not have the keys.

My husband looks at me and I say, “I thought you grabbed the keys.” To which he replies again, “I do not have the keys.” So, I think this is ok. I will just message our host saying we cannot get back into our flat, we’ll head out the door and go to Venice and wait to hear from our host. As I reach for the door to the outside, my husband says, “That’s locked.”  It now dawns on me that we are stuck…in the entryway of our flat. There’s no way in or out. No bathrooms and it’s 10:00am and we haven’t had breakfast and it’s my birthday. I immediately start imagining which corner of the room we’ll use as our bathroom and how on earth we’re going to entertain our children all day in this small little room (yeah, I can be a little over-dramatic in my head sometimes–I would never have shared what was going on in my head at that exact moment in the moment, but I sure think it’s funny now).

My husband begins to look around the tiny room for any spare set of keys that could get us out while I’m messaging our host about our predicament. I first try messaging her on the Airbnb messaging system. I wait about 10 minutes for a reply and after we hear nothing, I try texting her…but I realize that I just texted someone with a 303 area code number in the States in the middle of the night…so I’m sorry if that was you!

As my husband is looking up the country code number for Italy, I hear my youngest son come up to me and say, “Mom, hold out your hand.” Now, I’m pretty busy right now trying to figure out a way from this predicament, but I hold out my hand anyways and he hands me a small piece of cardboard paper. I look at it strangely and say, “What is this Buddy?” To which he responds, “It’s your breakfast.”

I’m completely confused at this point, to which he seems to catch on to so he says, “See? I’m eating some and now you can eat some. I’m really hungry and now we can eat some cardboard for breakfast.” He sticks out his tongue as he says this and sure enough, he’s eating cardboard.

After a few minutes, I call the host, to which I’m very grateful she answers my call, and says she’s on the way to let us out. Our rescuer arrives and we laugh and smile gratefully, saying, “Are we the first ones this has happened to?” “No,” she shakes her head. Oooh boy.

So, the lesson we learned here was always make sure someone has the keys before you leave your flat….and a nomadic life-style wouldn’t be much fun if you didn’t laugh at yourself a lot.


Author: Jennie.Denney

Jennie lives in Southern California with her husband and four children. She loves to travel, write poetry, and be by the water. She received a certificate of the Bible through Torchbearers Bible School, attended Hope International University for her undergrad, received a certificate in Spiritual Formation through the Apprentice Experience at Friends University, and a Masters degree in Pastoral Studies. She has written Soul Cries: A Book of Poems, Soul Cries: A Journal, and her newest book is Shaping the Soul: An Artist Collective. She owns and manages, where she writes a weekly blog with stories, practices, and lessons she is learning, to help her readers know they are not alone in their own becoming and encouraging them to connect with God. Follow her on IG @jennie.denney and Pinterest @jenniferpdenney.

One thought on “Keys”

  1. Wow Jennie, I’ll sure remember that in the future. Mucho thanks. I can remember a flat in Italy that Linda and I rented before a painting course. We didn’t realize it was on the top floor (4 flights up). After getting our bags finally up to the flat, Linda informed me that when we left she was going to toss her belongings down the center of the stairwell and repack her suitcase at the bottom. Of course, Linda packed her things in net like bags, so repacking would have been easy. Lizzie packs every inch of her suitcase so if I’d followed Linda’s suggestion there would have been clothes and items all over the 4 flights on their way down to the entrance hallway.
    Like you, I was finally able to contact the owner of our flat and arrange for her husband to get our luggage down to street level when we left. Thank goodness!
    That experience made me rethink booking apartments in Italy. Location on a downtown square may be ideal, but the effort to lug up groceries and vino to the top floor apartment needs to be part of the equation. 😍
    Venice is still on my “bucket list” as well as a gondola ride. I can’t wait to see your photos. What a charmed birthday location that I’m sure Ryan made happen for your birthday! Love and hugs from Santa Fe.


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