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.

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