I think it’s important to warn that this post may be a tad long as August has been a whirlwind of incredible adventures! So please grab a coffee (or whatever floats your boat) if you don’t have one already!
I sit here amazed at how it is already the ninth month of 2015, yet with the sheer amount that has happened in the last three weeks, it’s no surprise how quickly time is passing! After all, time flies when you’re having fun right??
In the middle of August, Elliot and I were lucky enough to be able to fly to Canada for his best friend’s wedding. The trip was absolutely incredible, albeit very short. When we told family and friends we were flying out for 4 nights, every-one thought we were crazy. The decision to go was very thought out – with finances very tight, and holiday being used up for our own wedding and trip to NZ in Jan, we had to compromise somewhere to be able to get there. So we decided to only take paid leave, and with the help of my parents, Alex, and Rebecca we were able to make the most of a long weekend. And to be honest, it was totally worth it.
It has always been a dream of mine to visit Toronto, the city that is also know for being the face of multiculturalism. Whilst we might not have spent much time in the city (the focus of our trip was Alex and Rebecca’s wedding so we were based in a cute township called Uxbridge), I feel that we made the most of our time there and still got to see the iconic CN tower, beautiful beaches and downtown city lights from afar. We were also treated to an evening meal at Rebecca’s favourite restaurant – a place called Medieval Times. This was definitely an interesting experience, and felt very surreal that we were actually in Canada!
The next day was wedding prep, where I was treated with the girls to a gel mani and pedicure. While we did this, Elliot and the boys had their bachelor’s day at a shooting range. Needless to say Elliot is still not a fan of guns, but had a good afternoon spending quality time with the lads. In the evening it was time for the wedding rehearsal followed by dinner; a whole evening spent with many laughs, good food and wine (Keira = very happy).
Alex and Rebecca’s day was truly stunning, their love for each other is so evident. Everyone looked beautiful, and I have to say, Elliot made a very dapper best man!! It also seems that I am extremely emotional, as I cried at least three times during the day!
With the weather being stormy the day before the wedding, I was slightly worried that it was going to rain on the day. I definitely worried for no reason- the sun shone the whole day and it was very very hot (39 degrees with humidity!) Unfortunately Elliot got heat stroke which meant he was very sick towards the end of the evening! Luckily he still managed to give his speech, and I enjoyed enough wine and food for us both 😉
The next morning, with Elliot recovered after rest and hydration we headed to Niagara falls with our good friend Vanessa. Vanessa is a Canadian who is currently studying medicine in New Zealand, and Elliot met her a few years ago. She is one of our favourite friends to go adventuring with and we were very lucky she was home and available to take us on this scorcher of a day! I think my heart may have skipped a few beats this day – I definitely say Niagara falls should be on your bucket lists!
To everyone else’s amusement I lost my voice on the first day in Canada. Two weeks later and I still sound like a man when I laugh, although am sounding more like myself each day. A little boy I babysat asked, “who’s that?” when I laughed at him the other day… he didn’t believe it was me! Along with my voice I also left a little bit of my heart in Canada, it was a truly stunning country and one day I would like to return to spend some more time there! There are just 14 other countries on the list first!
The day after touch-down back in England, I travelled to Oxford to be seen by a neurologist at the hospital. Running for this appointment in the rain due to delayed/cancelled trains made me realise very quickly that I was back to reality.
For those of you who are following me medically, the appointment wasn’t exactly helpful – she was unsure how, as a neurologist, she could help me so I have been discharged from her care. On the plus side, I am trying to minimise my time in hospital, so I am happy to have one less specialist – especially when their people skills are not quite all there.
On another positive note, I have been going to physio (somehow in between all of this traveling). As well as my neuro-physio, I was also assessed by a muscular skeletal specialist – who believes my ongoing problems are caused by my rounded, out of place shoulders, and curved back. Because I am super stretchy (there has to be some perks to being a marfling huh!?) she thinks that with a lot of rehab, I will be able to fix this, and that my headaches and subsequent vomiting could stop. To say this will improve my quality of life is an understatement – and those of you who have struggled with nausea will know how hard it is to continue daily living with a constant battle of feeling sick. I have now been referred to an inpatient clinic at Stanmore hospital, where I will get the opportunity to have intensive physio to correct the problems, and continue building my muscles! Please pray that the waiting list won’t be too horrific – although I don’t mind waiting as it is the best course for me!
Reality definitely didn’t last long, as I then booked a trip to Cologne/Koln, Germany to spend time with a good friend Katharina. Kata is off to do a research internship at Harvard medical school, Boston, so I joined her for her farewell weekend. To say I had lots of fun is to say the least! I think I managed to squeeze as much as I could into 3 days, which left about 8 hours accumulative sleep for all 3 nights! The beauty of Cologne and Bonn once again left me mesmerised. I feel as if I am the worst person to ask for travel advice, as I fall in love with every where I go, and I love embracing new cultures and people all over the world.
Day one was spent in Cologne city, where we visited the Cathedral, love lock bridge, a viewing tower, the cable cars, and had a traditional German meal and beer in a biergarten! It was fabulously warm, but I am still white as snow – just with an extra few freckles!
That night we had Kata’s farewell for her university crew where I made lots of new German friends, learnt lots of German and killed my liver to say the least. I think Cologne might remember me as the girl who stood outside the crowded club at 3am attempting to tell everyone that Jesus loved them in German. Cringey.
The next day we got to explore Bonn, see Beethoven’s birthplace, go to the haribo factory, a couple of cool cathedrals, and then end the night with another farewell BBQ! It is a shame I can’t remember much of the german I learnt – other than Ich liebe dich (I love you) and Mehr alkohol bitte (more alcohol please).
My month was definitely one of the best so far in my life, but it ended on a sad note, with with a harsh reminder to make the most of life while we have it. My best-friend from Uni (Bobbie) lost her younger brother unexpectedly, at the precious age of 21. It is encouraging to hear Davey’s testimony, and I am peace knowing he is with God now. I definitely felt far away from Bobbie at this time, and wished I was there to give her cuddles – I am glad she and her family are surrounded by wonderful people and continue to pray they are covered in love, support and prayer through this time. Davey’s passing has definitely opened my eyes to the fact that our time on earth is not promised, and we should definitely make the most of the present, because tomorrow is not promised.
In all the highs-and-lows of the month, one thing has become clear to me. That life is to be lived, valued, and appreciated, regardless of the stage you are at. I had some amazing travels in August, and it doesn’t look like I’ll be slowing down anytime soon, with some exciting opportunities on the horizon for September, courtesy of the Marfan Clinic!
Until next time,