Published: February 23rd 2010February 23rd 2010
This entry is dedicated to my sister, Sarah, because she was there to listen to me when I hit rock bottom
Love from the Jitterbug :P
When one looks back on their travels they always remember the great times. The bad times are there but are always a second thought. For example, when I look back at my time in Malaga, Spain I view it as an enjoyable time. It was an opportunity to meet people from around the globe and live by the beach. What I don't recall the first time I think about Malaga was how miserable I was there my first week. I had an amazing time when I was in Greece, my destination prior to Malaga, that Malaga to me at first glance was a depressing concrete town. I yearned then to be back by the windmills in Mykinos and relaxing with my friends in Sintagma Square. Life got better in Malaga and I enjoyed the experience immensely.
This trip is not so different. I am excited to be travelling around such exotic lands but with the exotic comes new rules. I feel in some senses that during my time here in Southeast Asia I am playing a game where I am not so sure of the rules. Here old habits need to be broken. For example, in Southeast Asia to point the bottom of your foot at someone is considered very rude. I am a bit of a restless sitter and I commonly change my feet movement without a second thought. I have to admit I have caught myself with one foot resting across my knee more than once.
It is not just the customs that catch me off gaurd. I was warned that there will be begging. What I was not prepared for was how much and how intense it can get. At Angkor Wat, a holy place which I considered to be so peaceful, as soon as you leave one of the different temples gates you are bombarded. I had a young girl of the age of 7 hound me for a good solid two minutes about buying bracelets. All this hounding can get exhausting.
There are many more rules to learn and customs to get used to. All of it, I will admit became overwhelming the other day. All the above of course mixed with not enough sleep, some hormones, a sunburn and what I like to call the Southeast Asia weightloss diet. It consists of eating normally and drinking bottled water but still managing to be well lets just term it "regular".
Back to this day - I hit rock bottom. I had spent the afternoon at the beach and had a great time but when I got back to my room I was exhausted and very overheated. This heat didnt go away and I was not feeling so stellar. I went to meet with my group to pass on some money to see if they could grab some food for me. The first to arrive was Eva. She's a mother and her maternal instincts took over. She grabbed a thermometer and some Ibiprofin, since Advil decided not to cooperate that day. Low and behold I had a fever. And when you have a fever all you want is to be at home in bed with your mamma taking care of you (and dad or Sarah too lol).
I broke down once I got to my room. I got on skype and called my sister Sarah and did something that I thought I would never do - I said "I want to come home" (or at least go to Europe). I wanted to run away from this culture that was so different from mine. I've always enjoyed learning about other cultures and emabracing the differences, but at that moment I wanted to hear the words "toque" and "eh". I wanted to eat and drink whatever I wanted and not have to worry about how bad my stomach was going to feel. I wanted to be around my friends who know me and love my wierd ways.
So I cried and tried to talk, even though I was a bit incoherent at that moment. And my dear lovely sister listened and understood. And thats what I needed. That was my chicken soup. I needed her comforting ears and for her to say "hey kiddo, that's normal".
Once you hit bottom the only way is up. And thats where I am now. I'm back to enjoying myself. I enjoy the different types of people I have on my tour. And I enjoy being the odd one out. I get along with everyone on my trip and I am growing closer to many of them as time progresses but I still have what I came here to have - my independence. Today I trekked into town. I was waiting for a few of the others as they dawdled before a tailor fitting. It hit me why am I waiting? I came here to do what I want so I said farewell and went on my way. I shopped for souvenirs, ate a relaxing lunch on a garden patio while reading my kindle and pampered myself with a manicure.
I gave myself a Western day, because hey I'm allowed to! That being said I'm looking forward in the next coming weeks to eating numerous exotic dishes, visiting sacred Pagodas (temples) and most of all riding an elephant!