Touch down and out of touch

I love the light, late midsummer nights in Scotland.  As my flight took off from Amsterdam just over a week ago, the sun was nestling on the horizon and sinking slowly from view.  As we travelled northwards, the sun rose steadily and by the time we touched down in Edinburgh 90 minutes later, it was again touching the horizon.

I always find it ironic that although I am in a super speedy internet space, time online is very limited.  This visit is one where I am spending a good deal of time either on the road (or rails), with family, and keeping my father company as he continues his medical path.  I am pushed physically as well as emotionally as a seemingly innocent mosquito bite which I brought with me from Yangon, has caused trouble and pain but finally seems to be on the mend.

In the meantime half written blog posts are cluttering my drafts folder and my mind,  random thoughts captured and preserved until they can be developed and processed.  Geographically nearer but somewhat out of touch …………

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Anticipation and reflection

“Harmony, Vitality and Adventure”

When I chose these as my guiding words for the year, I didn’t realise how often I would refer to them.  And here I go again!

My visit to the UK was over in a flash, and although I managed to get around the country and see my family, there was little time for reflection or relaxation.  I know that is the deal though, I have been overseas long enough to know that home leave is home leave and not a holiday. The special time with family and friends is accompanied by a crazy logistics-fest to get around the country and spend time with people.  I also find that the backlog of various tasks such as bank stuff, correspondence, immunisations, hair colouring (note how I just slipped that in there – oh yes, that is a subject for its own post), phone conversations and stocking up on various essentials and goodies which I can’t get my hands on is always takes far more time consuming than I realise.  Every year!

This time my visit was shorter, and I was sad that I was not able to connect with many special people.  However, this year was different to the general home leave schedule.  Two years ago I did not manage to get back on home leave, for a number of reasons.  The biggest one being the unplanned encounter with Breast Cancer.  Nuff said!  Last year, my visit was at the end of the treatment  and for the first time I did not even attempt to get around the country as much as I usually do and spent a good bit of time on a remote Scottish island.  Looking back, I realise how frail I was and how “cancery” I probably looked.  Being bald helped that image.

So this year has been very different.  Having my checks just before the visit gave me a wonderful peace of mind before travelling.  I also felt confident about travelling on my own.  In fact the main challenges I have found have been relatively minor.  There is the continual “faulty thermostat” issue – being too hot, then too cold, then too hot again (repeat ad infinitum….) and the yucky crumbly nails.  The faulty thermostat is no different in cooler climes I have discovered.  I just have more layers to remove and replace and often in more crowded spaces! I think the nails have probably been affected by the travelling – carrying bags, and putting my hands into handbags for passport, purse etc has resulted in 8 of my nails being quite badly damaged.  That is 8 of my fingernails, and not including toenails, so quite a high proportion!  One thumbnail has been particularly damaged and tore off eventually far enough down to cause bleeding.  Not nice.  I am not sure whether this is still the after effects of chemo, effects from Tamoxifen or both.  In any case, when you add the travelling factor, it has resulted in quite a combo.

So I flew back to Bangkok on Friday/Saturday and when I woke up this morning I had absolutely no idea where I was, what day of the week it was and what time of night or day it might be.  Slowly it came to me that I am in Siem Reap, Cambodia, for the first time in my life.  Despite living in the region for many years, and having had a fascination to come here, I have never quite got here.  Till now.

I am in that beautiful phase of “anticipation” now with a new place to explore and discover.  Planning for and anticipating the coming days for jungles and rainforest temples.  Enjoying the harmony of these surroundings and the break.  Feeling so much healthier and with a sense of real vitality.  And embarking on another adventure!

British Summer Time

I have arrived safely in the UK and find that jet lag, i phones and cold rain abound!

I can’t believe the difference from this time last year when I arrived following the triathlon of treatment.  From my gymnastics display in Dubai airport through to being unable to lift my luggage off the conveyor belt I knew that I would struggle with independent travel last year.  Sure enough, hubby J ferried and portered for me throughout the visit and I leaned very heavily on his support.

This year is unrecognisably different.  Although I am struggling with jet lag (I had forgotten it gets light at 4 am here in the summer) and rather tired, I have already been gadding around the country and London.  I even carted my luggage on the underground all the way to Kings Cross Station on my own!  Thank heavens they have installed lifts, albeit a very complicated system which should surely entitle anyone successfully surfacing where they intended to an Amazing Race like prize.  While I am tired, I feel strong and have re-found my confidence after it was stripped from me last year.

So now I am on the train to Scotland, grumping about the fact that there is no tea, or any hot drink on the catering trolley, and that a charge has been introduced for the onboard wi-fi.  Still this was balanced by a surprise check in facility for luggage.  “Yes, please – do take my suitcase and save me the trouble of humphing it onto the train, struggling to find it a little home and then worrying about it throughout the journey:.  Most convenient.

When I alight I will surely find out that I should have put socks on.  I have on ongoing issue with socks and always forget to wear them and often forget even to pack them.  Socks are not something which I have much use for in Yangon.  Well, in the days since I got a proper prosthesis 😉

In a couple of days I will head to a remote and restful Island off the west coast of Scotland for some special time with my father.  My overall break in the UK is shorter this year so I am whirlwinding around the country to try and see my family.

It is probably a good thing that the daylight hours start so early and last late into the night so that I can cram as much as possible into the time.