I have had a wonderful, yet rough week last week. Last Saturday I arrived in London with a bit of a sore throat...and since then it has been a full-on cold. Thankfully, no fevers or hospital stays (knock on wood)...but it has put a damper on my enthusiastically geekish (yet endearing) tourist demeanor. Though I may not have seen absolutely everything in these two cities, I definitely gave it the ol' Whiteside "participation before pride." (Pride being a coughing fit in Westminster Abbey.) I figure, I may feel like crap...but I feel like crap in EUROPE! I'm not good at math, but I calculate that as WAY better :) So here we go, here is London and Paris! (Thank god this internet cafe has "American" keyboards where I am used to where the keys are)
*Correction 2/28/12: Oops! This is Big Ben, unfortunately my picture of the Tower of London is MIA. Never type blogs late at night. (Thanks to Patrick for pointing that out to me!)
Video of going up the elevator!!
So those were a lot of the cool things I've seen/done. But like I said in the beginning, I'm not out...but I've been pretty down. I knew there would be tough times in traveling, and I was looking forward to a new challenge. But being sick just kind of makes everything a little bit more difficult.
Whine-y section: when I go to the pharmacy for meds everything is in French and the pharmacists diagnose you, food doesn't taste as good IF I happen to have an appetite. Usually I recharge my Claire battery by conversing with random strangers and their kids or dogs (those that have hung out with me know I am hard to walk around city streets with because I am constantly petting dogs and playing with kids). But when you can't speak the language well, and everyone else has their own agenda...it's hard to get that human connection. Also, I stand out. I am bright and puffy and smiley. People tend to look at me for an odd amount of time as if they were trying to figure out where I came from. Then, the creepers in the bad neighborhoods that cat call at me because I am bright and stand out make disgusting faces or comments. Luckily, I have never been shy about letting anyone know what I think about their gestures or offensive actions... that's the Jimmy Whiteside in my blood.
But this is why I am here! I am here to experience the ultimate recharge and embrace this once in a lifetime opportunity. This is definitely NOT the toughest thing I have taken on in life, but it has definitely shown me what I'm made of. I want to share a song that I became obsessed with several months ago by Florence and the Machine and it has empowered me since.
"And I'm damned if I do and I'm damned if I don't
So here's to drinks in the dark at the end of my road
And I'm ready to suffer and I'm ready to hope
It's a shot in the dark and right at my throat"
All of this to say, I think we should all welcome the chaotic, unexpected, and damaging with the same energy that we greet a glorious surprise. Head on. There is only one person to make you happy, and it's the same person that is going to get you through the muck and the mire, so treat you well.
I've arrived safely in Belgium, and the whole country smells of waffles and hops...I may not leave. Until next time :)
With great hobo vigor comes great hobo responsibility,