Friday, April 11, 2014

The Best Trip That Wasn't.

I'm going to start the documentation of my trip with this one. This is not the good one. This is the one full of self-pity, the one about how my heart broke. But this isn't the whole picture and I want to get this one out of the way so I can talk about the real Ireland and the vacation not defined by a sore throat.

Yes, I got sick on vacation. I got sick in Ireland. And not just a little cold, not just a couple of days. And it kind of started with a bang. I felt it coming on the fifth day we were there. Sore throat, a little achy. We were staying at a bed and breakfast which also housed Ireland's Oldest Person and Ireland's Greatest Musician. So of course I stayed up listening to the Irish version of Purple Rain and Puff the Magic Dragon and partaking in Hennessy. I threw up violently that night and it wasn't from the booze.

I slept in the car while Jen and Kristi went to explore some caves. I skipped eggs benedict that I couldn't have eaten anyway with a swollen throat. I lost my voice. I woke everyone up with my coughing. I was unable to drink whiskey. Free Whiskey. At Jameson. By day five, when I realized this was far more than just a simple virus I had a meltdown. It hurt to cry, but the tears streamed anyway. I had to skip the horse races I had been dreaming about to go find an Irish doctor.

The diagnosis? Tonsillitis. Penicillin and pain meds that are illegal in the states. Which are so effective, that I was finally, nearly pain-free three days later. Rather than the three hours I probably would have felt at home. I expected to wake up the next day feeling normal but had another meltdown instead.

Being sick isn't fun. Being sick away from home is less fun. Being sick on a vacation that only comes along once in a lifetime is nearly tragic. I cried more than once over my losses. No horse races. No literary pub crawl. No drunken debauchery fueled by Irish whiskey. No frolicking with baby sheep or chatting it up in overrated pubs.

The greatest disappointment? That I wasn't me. I was far from my Best Self. I was not fun, I was not easy to be around, and I needed too much. My depression, anxiety, and self-hatred made an uninvited and unwelcome appearance.

There are truths in life. It is the truth that this wasn't the vacation I dreamed of. It is the truth that I missed out on more than I saw. It is the truth that I failed at a lot of things on this trip. It is the truth that I wish things had happened very differently.

But it is also the truth that I went to Ireland. It is the truth that I was with my best friend in a place that I never imagined I would set foot. It is the truth that I have unforgettable memories and it is the truth that nobody can ever take any of that away from me.

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