Friday, October 31, 2014

almost home....

I wrote this a couple of days ago, but my host came home before I got round to posting it online, so I'm finally sharing it now!

Well I'm not sure if this is tempting fate or what, but I have so far managed to keep up with what I had planned this holiday in terms of energy. Only one more night and then I'll be home.

Planning the trip in such a way to be kind to myself and with mostly short travel times (except the last, and even more so the first day) and giving myself plenty of rest time seems to have paid off. For an assortment of reasons beyond the driver's control the bus yesterday was 3/4hr late getting in to Christchurch. One passenger who thought she had plenty time to spare went haring off at the airport with about 2 mins to spare before check-in. That was the moment when I felt really glad I'd decided to avoid such potential problems by doing one leg of the journey per day. Whilst my energy levels have been pretty good for me, relatively speaking, I would still struggle to run for a plane, or anything else! The added stress would not be good for my brain that can still only really cope with one thing at a time even when all is going well...

It is in the last few days that I have really started to notice the fact that my brain is feeling akin to jetlagged. The 'where am I, which meal is it?' feeling is fairly understandable when you've flown across several timezones but it isn't usually a feature of domestic travel! Another reminder that whilst my physical health seems to be improving in leaps and bounds, I've still a way to go before I reach what I'd like to consider as 'normal'.

It's the usual things that throw me, like decision making. You know, the really tricky ones like being asked 'what do you want for lunch?' Somehow that is much harder to deal with than me looking at the food in the cupboard/fridge and deciding what to eat. When I'm just left to it I can start on one thing and end up making something completely different, but when someone else is making it they generally want to know what the end result will be before they get there! I've been pretty much catering for myself for lunches this trip and know I have had Corn Thins, (British) Marmite, hummus and miso soup available so some combination of the above is what I have had, not exactly taxing. But when Catherine started reeling of a list of ingredients available today my brain just went into panic mode and blanked out. I knew having something different from the last few days would be nice, but I didn't know where to start! Yet last night I managed to successfully cook two different curries for us simultaneously, complete with giving chopping instructions, and hold a sensible conversation without any problems... go figure!

My short term memory has never been my strong point, but I know it is considerably worse at the moment. Usually I can look at a map to figure out how to get somewhere and then hours, or even days and weeks later I can find my way no problem. Yesterday evening I checked the map to find my overnight stay for tonight, I'd got my landmarks all sorted out. Then I arrived off the plane this afternoon and realised I could only remember where to get off the bus and the rough direction to head in. Admittedly it didn't help that half the streets in this neighbourhood seem to be missing their signage, but my recollection of where the street I was heading to in relation to Croydon Road (a name I wasn't likely to forget having lived on one!) turned out to be completely opposite to reality. Little things perhaps, but things I know that usually wouldn't happen. Thank goodness that not only had the morning's thunderstorms passed by the time I was wandering around, but that I actually had the energy to do so and the wit to ask for directions when I realised I was completely disorientated!

On the flight from Christchurch to Wellington we got The Hobbit safety briefing, the new one that is! (the old one is pretty good too). Having come through the Southern Alps yesterday, and having watched part of LOTR plus The Desolation of Smaug with the boys over the weekend I got quite choked up watching it. I'd been showing the safety video to them online just a few days before but having got Bear Grylls on the way down I didn't expect to see it on a plane so soon! I found myself surreptitiously trying to wipe away tears so the flight attendant standing right in front of me couldn't see. I did feel rather silly, but things still catch me off guard like that and for all my hormones are supposedly being sorted out now it is pretty obvious at times like that that there's still a way to go. Mind you to be fair to myself it's never easy saying goodbye to my self-appointed nephews and it's hardly the first time I've been teary on the way home from visiting them. But I did catch myself welling up whilst watching the films with them as the stunning local scenery was shown off to good effect. Ten years ago when that happened I put it down to homesickness, even though it was for a place I'd at that point only spent 2 months of my life in. I can hardly claim homesickness now for scenery I'd been travelling through a couple of days beforehand and would be returning through very soon!

On the whole though I coped far better than I thought I might. With a bit of luck this will turn out to be an ongoing improvement and I won't collapse in a heap once the travelling is over. If I can just get my brain to manage to multitask again I'll be happy and consider any further improvement a bonus. But simply getting there and back again over the last 10 days has been a pretty big achievement in itself and I'm really glad I decided to go for it, even though it felt something of a daunting prospect before I set off.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

on the road

This was written a few days ago, it's just taken me a while to simultaneously have time and an internet connection in order to post it....

There are times when you just have to make space in life to Get Things Done. For one of my co-editors of the national Friends Newsletter that meant going on retreat this last weekend to catch up on some academic writing. For me it has been allowing myself not to feel obliged to make the most of being in Auckland for a few hours and find someone to catch up with. So a couple of work in-house training questionnaires and a report on Yearly Meeting later (yes, exactly – that was in May!) I'm feeling as though the first half of my 3hr wait at the airport has been quite productive. It's much harder to procrastinate when doing what needs done is probably the most interesting option available!

I was about to pack away my notepad when I decided that I could draft a blogpost too, especially having failed to write one all month. Well that's not quite true, there are two half written ones in the Drafts folder... so it might be a case of buses posting again – nothing for ages then three come along at once. Then again, perhaps not.

I'm heading off for my annual tiki tour around assorted f/Friends and family, both a blood relation and adoptive whānau. It's a few months later in the year than usual but back in July I wasn't really up to it. So instead I'm encompassing Labour Weekend in order to get three non-school days with the boys in Hokitika in the middle of it all. I'm hoping my carefully planned bunny hops with a night in a bed between all but the first two stages (ie this one from home to Wellington) will ensure my energy levels keep high enough to enjoy the trip rather than simply enduring the travel. So far so good...

I must admit I'm feeling someone less organised that usual with several days only sorted in terms of a bed for that night rather than a busy diary of people as would be usual. This is partially intentional in terms of wanting to allow crash-out time should I need it, but some of it is simply slipping into the Kiwi 'she'll be right' attitude and making it up as I go along. Which was fine until it appeared that someone had changed their cellphone number and I realise I've left at home an address I need... ah well, it'll work out somehow [ed note - it did!]

Having set off though I've decided that I'll leave this trip very much in the lap of the Gods, or Fate, or whoever else is listening; but hopefully Thunder will be rolling sixes elsewhere and Death will be too busy rescuing kittens! (Mum you really do need to read some Discworld books then this will all make so much more sense...). These days the universe generally seems to have more of a plan than I do anyway. I've just come across this Harry Potter quote in my notes from the Yearly Meeting Co-clerks' address It's our choices that make us who we are, not our ability (Dumbledore to Harry, J.K. Rowling) I'm not entirely sure what that is saying about me at present, but choosing to let the universe decide is still a choice after all! My abilities are still something I'm getting to grips with as they continue to change week to week; many things that used to be easy still feel quite daunting, especially when they are cerebrally challenging. But at least physically things are somewhat easier again.

ps I'm still quite impressed that the first session of our YM included a Harry Potter quote; as the t-shirts say, 'Quakers are cooler than you think!' ;)