In sickness and in health

I’ve been struck by how many people have trial by fire stories from a big journey — often at the very outset of the trip.

Two couples we know had all their belongings stolen at the start of long international treks, and in the book I’m reading, Letters from New Orleans, the author’s girlfriend has her car stolen almost immediately after moving to NOLA.

So I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised that our little adventure has kicked off with me picking up some rotten bug and getting probably as ill as I’ve been in my life. Trust me, you don’t want details, but I can tell you I’ve lost close to 10 pounds and today I’ve eaten a piece of toast.

There’s a cruel irony to a girl who loves to eat and drink coming to a city that does both exceptionally well, and being sidelined for a week. And we spent our first week here in a lovely hotel in the French Quarter, which I imagined would be our home base for enjoying live music every night at the many clubs nearby — but instead, I didn’t feel up to going out.

John’s birthday was Tuesday. I told him I wouldn’t be offended at all if he wanted to go out with friends, but he sweetly ordered dinner delivered and we watched 30 Rock on Netflix. Not the rockin’ celebration I expected, but there’s time for a do over.

New Orleans has already taught me lessons:

  • I didn’t expect to like Jazz Fest but realized I was wrong, and that I needed to be more open to trying things or I might miss other good experiences.
  • Last year my purse was stolen the last night of our Jazz Fest visit, and though it was a hassle, it could have been worse. I wasn’t hurt, I wasn’t threatened, the thief slipped it off my chair without anyone in our group noticing. Afterward, the kindness I received from strangers reassured me that many people are good even if some are predators.

What is NOLA teaching me now?

  • Much as after thieves took my purse, people have been so kind. Keith Ferrazzi’s Relationship Masters Academy teaches that one of the ways we really connect as human beings is vulnerability — letting down our guard enough to experience us as real, not the game face we wear as a mask. When I’ve dragged my frail self into public, I’ve pretty much had to let my guard down, and in return have had people take nice care of me.
  • There’s more to the city than endless oysters and cocktails. As I laid on the sofabed in our hotel room, French doors opening onto a lovely, lush courtyard, I still felt lucky. If I had to get sick, it’s a beautiful place to be laid out.
  • Perhaps most importantly, this week has rebooted my pace of life. I arrived a fast-moving, type-A New Yorker with ambitious plans for making the most of my time here — places I’d go, people I’d meet, tasks I’d accomplish. This week, I had to release all of that. I did work remotely, because thankfully on email no one can see how pathetic you look, but even that I did all nested into the sofabed with loads of pillows, drinking ginger tea. I’ve had no choice but to ease up.

So with one full week in New Orleans behind us, I thankfully enjoyed some food, drink and music our first weekend, then I got a hard reboot.

Now what’s next?


Categories: health and well being

Tags: , , , , ,

7 replies

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