Europe – #AtoZChallenge

Oh, my. Traveling to Europe for a six-month trip was impacted by having MS in a variety of amusing ways.

First off, I decided that the best way to enable myself to be active was to take along a cooling vest, since heat can really exacerbate the symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis. The deal was, the vest looked puffy but was actually fitted with these long gel packs that you would freeze and then stuff into pockets that encircle your torso. It was so bulky and heavy that I had to wear it on the plane to save room in our bags, so I looked, basically, like a mild-mannered, middle-aged suicide bomber.

Modeling the cooling vest. Note the handy Velcro shoulder and side straps!

That was only the first thing that caused problems for airport security, though! The other was that I needed to bring six months’ worth of medication, so my entire carry-on bag was packed with drugs. Nothing to see here, security people!

Being gimpy and slow had two main consequences on the trip. First, David and Quinland would inevitably drift farther and farther ahead of me. Honestly, this didn’t bother me much, because I like to window shop and they don’t, so I’d have been falling behind anyway, and this was a good excuse. One time in Portugal, though, I tripped and fell while strolling down the street (very gracelessly, I should add; I just pitched over, face-first) and my family was just out of shouting range. Thankfully, I was immediately attended to by the wonderful local folks, whom I tried to assure, without actually knowing any Portuguese, that I was scraped up but otherwise fine.

The second thing was that — and this holds true today — if I over-exert myself on one day, I usually am laid up on the next. D and Q thus got to go on many adventures without me, though we tried to make those days either sites-I-was-less-interested-in or physical-activities-I-probably-couldn’t-do-anyway. It would have been fun to mountain bike in Istria or kayak in Norwegian fjords, but I can’t complain — I can still travel, and I’m incredibly grateful for that.

I’m also grateful that I got to visit massage therapists all over Europe, from the relaxing one in Lisbon to the near-chiropractic one in Barcelona to the health-club vibe of the one in Hannover. (After being introduced to hot yoga in London, I also got to explore yoga studios in Paris and Dublin!)

Movie madness

I arrived in California today for a week’s vacation. It’s not Spring Break, but I had to time it perfectly. You see, my sister and I are going to the Best Picture Showcase.

The AMC theater chain down here puts on a movie marathon before the Oscars. You go all day on the Saturday one week before the Oscars, seeing half the nominees for best picture. The next Saturday, you see the other half, and the Oscars air the next day.

It’s awesome. I went last year for the first time, and now I want to make it an annual tradition!

Hindsight isn’t really 20/20

I need to go back and finish blogging about our big Europe trip. I know it was almost six years ago, but since I determined that it was fine to go out of date order — and since I always meant to finish blogging the entire trip — I think I’m going to give it a shot.

The thing is, although I have thousands of photos and a pretty decent journal, memory is tricky. Looking back at the pictures, I’m sure that I’m going to see good things as even better and bad things, worse. I’ll have to rely pretty heavily on corroborating evidence from my partners in travel, especially since there were so many days D and Q did stuff while I was stuck in bed.

All that to say: Don’t be surprised if we appear to be traveling through Germany this week or next! We’re not; you’ve just traveled back in time.