Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Uncomfort Zone

Somehow yesterday got by me and I didn't post. Not usual, and frustrating for me. Work has been very busy lately, with a couple of 911 calls to send clients out, as well as me doing physical assessments on all the senior citizens in our program. There used to be 6 when I started here 5 1/2 years ago; now there are 13! So the quarterly assessments by an RN (mandated by their funding sources) that used to take maybe 2 hours total is now a much longer endeavor and requires several days to complete because I have to do other stuff too. Also, some of our clients are getting increasingly crotchety and uncooperative in their older age, and that makes everything take longer. Wah wah wah, poor me - I have to work hard at my job where I'm being paid to work hard. Don't they know I get some serious blogging done here in my down time, of which there is less and less these days?!

I'm in a weird place today, likely due to the fact that hubby and I are leaving this coming Monday for the Dominican Republic to stay for 8 days with our daughter who's in the Peace Corps. November 2 we depart, and that day has been the focus of my goal to get to 190 pounds. I set that goal on September 18th when I weighed 198 pounds. It should have been quite easy and doable to attain that goal as it was realistic. But I won't reach it (unless I lop off a limb in the next 6 days) because my weightloss efforts have been fairly shoddy and less than consistent. I'm not going to beat myself up...I'm still down from September 18th, but only by 3 pounds. My daughter could care less that my weight isn't what I want it to be...she's just thrilled we're coming. This trip has nothing to do with my weight, though the time in the DR will surely have an impact on it and my eating. So will the 6 days between now and then. I'm feeling nervous and uncertain about the whole trip, simultaneous to being excited and thrilled to see Jean and spend all this time with her. I'll be talking about different aspects of our trip and my feelings between now and departure day.

Why am I nervous? We are, afterall, going to a tropical island where the temperature ranges from high 70s to (hopefully) low 90s that has terrain ranging from world class resort beaches to mountains, forests and beautiful rivers. We'll be staying with Jean in her own modest casa she just moved into. We will get to observe her in action in her various roles as a Peace Corps volunteer and hear her converse fluently with the locals in their native tongue. I've seen Jean in various work settings since she got out of college, and it is a joy to see your own flesh and blood functioning as a passionate, competent, knowlegable and delightful adult in the real world. This is all good stuff that I'm eager for and can't wait to experience.

My nervousness stems from taking a giant leap out of MY comfort zone where the water that comes from the faucet is safe(allegedly!). Showers in homes are abundant. (When Jean was first in a DR town, she had to take "bucket baths" with cold water because the water supply was inconsistent. I don't think it's like that where she is now, but mama likes a hot shower!) The ability to do laundry requires nothing more than walking down steps to the basement. Electricity is a light switch away. (Again, service was spotty and inconsistent in the first town where Jean spent time). The poverty that exists in my comfort zone is on down the road a piece. Education is excellent and people love their pets and care for them like beloved family members. The language spoken by the locals is my own so my independence and ability to breeze through my days is a given. If I or one of my loved ones gets sick, I can advocate and run interference with the health care system. All my friends and creature comforts are easily accessed when desired.

None of the above list is a guarantee for us in the DR. Tom and I will have each other and the world class interpretor and hostess who is our wonderful daughter. We'll mostly be with her, but when we're not we'll have to fend for ourselves. I'm an adventurer from way back, seeking new experiences and at times risky endendeavors, but I see I've gotten soft over the years. More cautious. More tentative. More catastrophic in my thinking at times. I don't like these qualities in myself. Life experience has afforded me abundant wisdom, knowledge, and well...experience. With these come awareness that all isn't sweetness and light and comfort in the world. This is part of what makes me so admiring and proud of my daughter for signing on to be deposited wherever the Peace Corps saw fit. She's in a relatively close and safe place, but she was on board for whatever was asked.

During her first weeks in the town she will be in for the rest of her assigned time, she told me of experiencing lonliness and homesickness amidst the flurry of excitement over new experiences and surroundings where she was THRILLED to be. This from a kid who went to Australia between 9th and 10th grade. Who's a veteran traveler and true independent spirit. Who felt aloneness that came from the knowledge that even though she spoke the language well and could converse fluently with the locals, she was still a stranger in a strange land. She noted, "I keep bumping into myself". She was not in a comfort zone, and by choice. Talk about a chance to get to know oneself better.

She's well assimilated now, and loves most aspects of the Domincan culture. She isn't soft like her mom has become. Her youth helps. Her spirit and faith help. As for her mother, who is wondering something as petty as if I'll be able to drink my usual amount of water each day and get a comfy shower, I hope some of the adventuresome nature and fearlessness of my youth are rekindled. I hope my basic faith in humanity and divinity step up to my emotional home plate and enable me to go fearlessly into this amazing opportunity.

I'm expecting a package in the mail any day from Lands' End. I ordered a bathing suit for this trip that will be the first I've owned in 10 years. I know I ordered one in too large a size, an 18, but I didn't want to take any chances. I'm anticipating the ultimate uncomfort zone being seeing my pale dimpled flesh swimsuit clad for the first time in a very long time. This feels like more anticipated adventure than I can handle! Hopefully the upcoming swim tog experience will help me stay the course in the weight loss realm. One thing for sure, you'll hear about it when it arrives.


  1. Don't stress! Easy for me to say, but I'm an inveterate optimist and I'm sure this trip will be an absolute joy for you. Enjoy it for what it is. :o)

  2. You must be so proud of your daughter! I personally think you'll get there and find that no matter what the time will be well spent and many of these little worries will just fade away. Don't focus on the scale, focus on enjoying every minute of this adventure.

  3. Wow--what an amazing daughter you have! And she has an amazing mother! Don't sell yourself short. You are up to this and I bet you come back feeling more alive and renewed than ever. *Hugs*!

  4. How special for your daughter that you will be visiting her in such a far away place. My father won't even jet to Chicago from Boston because he "doesn't like to travel" to see me or the kids. I am teared up now reading how much love and pride you have for your daughter. It really is beautiful.

  5. Leslie, you really write beautifully. I laughed out loud multiple times and shook my head knowingly when you made the perfect analogy.

    As for the trip, I am so very excited for you! Not knowing does breed anxiety, expect, as you say, for the young. I was your daughter at one point in life (went to live in a country where I did not know the language at first), and now I am you (not as likely to make such bold choices). So I think it is all very natural.

    Embrace the wonderful person you are and dive in to the delights that are waiting for you. Then come back and write all about it for us in your beautiful prose!

  6. WOW is right - what a great story this is.

    And what I tell myself about travel - is that if it were the norm - I would have NO trouble with it. If the norm was to sleep in a different bed every few nights and pump water or take a shower once a week or whatever - then I would be fine. It is the transitioning that I gives me a hard time. Some how that helps me.

    Did you say how old she is?

    And the only reason I mention this is because it is NOT too late. When I order suits from landsend - I order the same thing in 3 different sizes and I order several different kinds (and those in 3 sizes too). Yes I pay more shipping to get it HERE - but I do not have to pay ANY return shipping for the rejects - because I can return them to the landsend counter at my local Sears Store.

  7. Hi Leslie. They say most Americans don't have a passport, and now I can see why! Of course if you're British then you don't even consider it a proper holiday unless you go somewhere you don't speak the language and are uncertain whether you can drink the water. And that's just going to France or Spain (ie bog standard holiday).

    My CPN just got back from a holiday in Africa. She didn't really see it as a proper holiday as she stayed with her mum who is working there at the moment (they are not from Africa or anything). Because of course it's not really a holiday unless you have to deal with those instructions in a foreign language on how to use the hotel plumbing!

    I'm sure you'll have a wonderful time. Many many British people have holidayed there so plenty of people will speak the lingo. And again, it's not a holiday if you don't try out a few phrases in the local tongue.

    Approach it with a stiff upper lip and you'll be fine.

    Best wishes,
    Bearfriend xx

  8. I can't wait to hear about everything from the DR. And losing 3 lbs is great and not gaining at all is even greater. You are doing good.
    You sure raised a wonderful daughter. Good for you.

  9. It really does sound like a great adventure for you and your husband! You can tell how proud of your daughter you are in your writings (as you should be, sounds like she is living a great life doing something she loves).
    By the time you get there and see your daughter, and spend quality time with her, I think you are going to have so much fun-all your fears will dissolve!
    Take lots of pictures for us so we can experience it with you ;)

  10. Whew! You hit two of my 'uncomfort' zones! Travel and swimsuits. But I am getting a little more adventurous as I get older. And I am determined to go to Africa next year. I deal with it by not thinking about it much! And the swimsuit issue--for me, it was my legs, and I finally took the plunge and bought a pair of swim shorts (knee length. I swam all summer with hardly any anxiety about it!

  11. Sounds like the apple didn't fall far from the tree Leslie. You will have a great time and try not to agonize too much about it.

    Can't wait to see pics!

  12. You know what I think??? I think you ARE an amazing and adventurous woman with an amazing daughter and husband and are going to have an absolutely MAGNIFICENT time on your trip...what an opportunity!! Make the most of it girl!! Also, I have an award waiting for you on tonight's post...come and get it!! :)

  13. Wow, what an opportunity....for giardia...just kidding. sorry.
    Man, I love trying new things, but I know what you mean about water and plumbing...if it makes you feel better you can actaully go to rei and buy portable filtration systems. It sounds all gung ho to be flippant about water but those sorts of things kill indigenous peoples left and right. It's a huge source of disease. Take a filter and enjoy the sights. bon voyage.

  14. I see Tammy also gave you the gorgous blogger award, but I had to add you to my top 7 list too~~ You deserve them both :)