I’m up at 5:00 am writing this weekly update, 2 days late, hating my life. Why am I hating my life?
Four dreaded words: I’M TRAVELING WHILE SICK.
Who’d have thought that after spending nearly 8 months in warm, tropical climates I’d catch a cold so severe I’m wondering if it’s actually the flu or bronchitis?
Almost a month ago our friends in Thailand were dealing with low-grade colds. Whit seemed to catch it, but only developed a runny nose. A week later I got a sore throat. A week after that we flew from Hong Kong to Salt Lake City, an exhausting 29-hour trip. My head felt like it would explode after that trip, a symptom I attributed to breathing recycled airplane air for hours on end. Nope.
In the last four days I’ve used almost 3 boxes of tissues, my coughs are barely useful because my throat is so sore I can’t cough hard, my body aches in any position, there’s a constant ringing in my ears and pounding in my sinuses, and I fall asleep at the drop of a hat.
Seriously- I’m awake now because I accidentally fell asleep at 8:00 pm with Whit while still wearing all of my clothes and without washing my face or brushing my teeth. And I was supposed to have a special girl’s night with my niece 🙁
I feel like I’m dying.
The very worst part? We’re traveling.
We planned a last-minute trip to spend the holidays in the USA after randomly finding cheap flights for a free block in our travel schedule. We broke the 3-week block into a week in three different cities to try and see as many people as possible, and our family was ecstatic. It has been fun to think about seeing everyone, and they all made plans of things to do with us.
Fast-forward to now and I’m in such extreme pain that I’m not up for doing very many of the Christmas-y things my very thoughtful sister hoped we’d get through. There have been no gingerbread cookies, I haven’t helped read Christmas stories or watch movies, and I have no energy to attend her neighbor’s holiday party.
Those things would have been fun.
Plus, I’m afraid I’ll leave all of her family sick!
The downtime has given me a chance to process what it means to be back on American soil (when I can hear myself think over the whooshing sound in my ears), at least. Here are some basic thoughts:
- At first it felt like we never left, which made me super sad. We lived near my sister for 9 months after selling our home in N.C., so the highway we drove to get to her was full of familiar sights. For a few minutes it felt like any other day in Utah, and I forgot all about the fact that we’ve been living our dream. It’s just so easy to step back into familiarity that it’s easy to focus on “homey” things and forget that you live a new normal.
- I love traveling. Sometimes it takes coming “home” to realize that you do love your new life. And I do. And Ben and Whit do. We are all enjoying spending some time in a familiar environment, but we’re also all excited to get back on the road.
- I can live without all of the things I thought I missed. Before coming to the States we sent each respective family a list of things we wanted to do/ eat/ see while back. The list included eating at Cafe Rio, Chick-Fil-A, and Olive Garden, baking all of my favorite treats, decorating Christmas cookies, going to Target, watching certain movies, etc. Now that we’re here we’ve only done a couple of the things on our list and that’s completely fine. I thought I missed American food so much, but, when given the choice of where to go to dinner for date night with my sister and brother-in-law, we chose Thai food! And then felt super nostalgic for Thailand when the restaurant’s dishes didn’t taste authentic enough! All I’ve cared about is spending time with loved ones. Material things I craved while traveling just don’t matter.
- While we love traveling, we do see the appeal of having a home base. It’s been hard to be so sick while staying with someone, and this is one of those times we long for our own home filled with our own special things to hole into. I was sort of expecting one of us to cry that we’d rather stay in America and only travel in the summers, but it hasn’t happened yet. We still have 2 weeks, though!
- This is a big one, and please don’t get mad, but we’re also realizing more and more that America isn’t the global powerhouse we think it is. There are a lot of systems other countries do better, and that’s just a fact. We had a terrible time trying to get temporary SIM cards, as an example. Literally every other place we’ve been to has had a stand at the airport for temporary SIM cards which you can buy for a variety of lengths of time. Not America. Not only is there no cell phone coverage from the airport, we had to visit two different T-Mobile locations then call 2 other phone carriers before finding one willing to give us a temporary SIM with seriously bad internet coverage for a huge amount of money! Why?!?!?! This is just one example of many things that have actually frustrated us about being back in the States.
We are trying to enjoy as much as possible with our family, though. Whit absolutely loves playing with his cousins, we’ve seen old friends, Ben has gone snowboarding, and I’ve been able to replenish our travel needs on a couple family shopping trips.
We love everyone so much I just hate that I can’t fully participate in their lives right now.
Pray for me.