Warning! This blog post is coming to you from Heathrow airport and I am dictating everything! I am also writing this within 24 Hours Traveling straight. At this point, I have four more hours of waiting and then a six hour flight… let’s take a look at what it’s like traveling internationally while living with low vision shall we???
Foggy in Prague-y
I decided to take my time before getting on my flight in the airport in Prague. I now have a regular flight that I stay in, with a wonderful artist named Brigete. I have been going back-and-forth between frog and Brno, Time staying with her. And doing this, I have cultivated an unexpected friendship. This time around when I stayed, she invited me out to a concert which included some additional American Christmas songs but also some more traditional Czech folk winter music. I was thrilled to be able to go someplace to experience this and enjoy a taste of the local spots in this still artsy neighborhood. I took about a three hour long nap before we went out, trying to store up as much sleep time before the grueling travel ahead. The place that we went to was called Mandragora and it was one of those cozy intimate spaces down a set of spiral stairs. As I made my way down is slightly treacherous stairs, I was really hoping it would all be worth it… at least I was pretty sure that there would be mulled wine!
￼brigite was a great guide and helped orient me to the space and what was going on in a way that made me feel like I knew her forever. I was thinking, as I was walking with her and she was describing the different texture on the sidewalk to me, is there some thing about artists that helps them be a bit more conscientious when helping me navigate things? I have found that artist seem to have a certain instinct when describing things to me or in the way they orient me to different spaces. There is some thing that I respond to strongly in a way that I don’t with perhaps people who or specifically trained to help orient somebody with low vision. This allowed me to feel very comfortable throughout the night and when the performance was over, we all gathered together with the performers to have some beers and a local culinary treats, which was grilled cheese, and a thick bread with some onions and then also a warm cranberry sauce on top. There’s also a side of roasted potatoes which I gobbled up right away. I felt at ease being amongst artists and musicians, Laughing and talking in the dimly lit space.￼
Leaving, we were laughing and talking about silly things like old friends. This kind of camaraderie along with the holiday tunes, warmed my heart and it was exactly what I needed before this long trip back home. I felt fortified with the holidays.!I hadn’t felt this way in a long time, usually I was preparing for a final paper, running around trying to buy gifts and dealing with whatever other holiday stresses. I realize now I need to make more time to spend with friends and do things like this in the future
Santa Vo is Coming to Town!
Before I left frog, I just had to go to one more holiday markets. I had bought my friend a little cute cutlery set but realized that since I was only bringing one large carry-on bag, that they would definitely relieve me of the super cute fork and knife set. I made time with my friend Adrea to go to a nearby market andOnce again, I became totally in chanted with the glowing magical lights of the holiday markets here.￼
After Adrea and I found that one last special gift we look to find a nice little spot to get dinner and maybe a glass of wine. We ended up finding me a cozy French bistro and settled in for a night of deliciousness! Everything hit the spot but especially the cheese plate and the wine. We sat for hours talking about families, the holidays and all of our different ridiculous useful travel adventures. I felt so grateful to have this time with somebody and to decompress in a way that I reallyHas been able to well being in the Czech Republic. It was really as if the universe was sending me off from the Czech republic with the warmest of memories before I left.
I had made her a little card with watercolor, pen and a small sheet of watercolor paper. It was something small but it was a token of appreciation end it was also one of the rare moments where I had created some art while being away. It’s all good. When she gave me the cookie she had made for the holidays, my heart was so full. This little exchange of homemade things is my favorite kind of Christmas moment. I had not had something like this in soLong. What have I been doing with my life?
She walked me back to the Flats and we gave each other a warm hug. All the wine and cheese allowed me to death to sleep with no problems. I woke up the next day rested and prepared to pack up and leave. Strangely enough, I felt a little sad. I was only going to be away for two weeks but I guess this place had started to feel like home. I took my phone and saw I got a text message from Katerina And she had offered to take me to the airport. This was amazing, and I enthusiastically took her up on her offer!
We grabbed a couple of lattes and hung out for a little bit before we went to the airport. We talked over family difficulties, the stress of the holidays and the emotional baggage that comes with having lost appearance and being reminded during the holidays. As my father‘s health has been declining while I’ve been away, it was very comforting to be with her in this moment and talk with her about these kinds of things.I couldn’t believe that she had giving me a beautiful little handmade pin as a gift for Christmas. It was the perfect little token of her affection and and I cherish it. I had also made her a little watercolor card. This moment was precious to me.
We made our way to the airport and checked in. After waiting around for a bit we remit bye a staff person who would help assist me the rest of the way. I think we both felt his brusque energy and kind of gave each other a telepathic glance. When she said goodbye to me she kissed me on both cheeks and warmly said goodbye. As I walk away from her, I realized how many strong, deep connections I had begun to make while being in the Czech republic. I realized how much I would miss these people once I was permanently back home.
After we took off on the first leg of my airline travel, I fell asleep after about 10 minutes of being airborne. I wish I could sleep like this all the time on planes! The flight attendants had been amazing, taking time to make sure I was oriented and their sharp sense of humor didn’t hurt either! When we were getting ready to land, the flight attendant, Stewart, notified me that he would help me walk out of the plane and that somebody would be waiting for me. After everybody had left the plane, I walked out and I feel like a special passenger because at the end all of the captains say goodbye to me and told me to have a merry Christmas!
I had told the flight attendant and then the person assisting me that I had a 13 hour layover in London and they suggested that I go to one of the short term lounges, which is like a tiny little hotel situation. I decided this would be best for my own mental illness and also for Mike’s The person helping me, AJ was Darius and we had a really nice chat. He told me that he was from IndiaAnd I told him I was from New Jersey! We traded places at each other to visit him in that short time, we had one of those really nice short human exchanges. At the lounge, I was met with an incredibly hospitable host and she showed me into my tiny room.￼￼￼
As soon as I sat on the bed, I knew I had made the right decision to pay for this comfort. The room was perfect. I had asked the host if I would be able to get any food but she told me that everything was closed. Later she knocked on the door and she and another host had brought me a plate piled high with slices of cheese, crisps and crackers and another plate with tea, Sugar cubes and two oranges that seems like the most vibrant pieces of fruit I had seen in a long time. I was incredibly grateful. It was just the right amount of food for this gal. I eased into the room and began to orient myself more to the space.
I fell asleep listening to a podcast which was recapping the Star Wars Christmas special… What else am I going to drift off to wow making my way back home for Christmas?? The lovely post knocked on the door at 5 AM as per my request for the wake up call. I got ready and the ability to take a nice hot shower in the middle of this long layover made me feel more human in an airport than I ever had before. I finish getting ready and made my way down to breakfast with the help of the host. My eyes are always too big for my stomach and I ended up with a croissant’s, bacon egg sandwichAnd yogurt and fruit… I decided to eat as much as I could because who knows what the hell the food would be like on the airplane!! Later, another person came to help me to get to the next terminal which was far away. I must say, I was very impressed with all of the people were helping assist to get me to where I needed to go. They were courteous, kind and professional and I didn’t feel like they were treating me as though I was a child or helpless. This made a huge difference in my travel.
Getting to my final gate, I had to go through a total of three different security checks which I found to be really bizarre. Was there something specific between England and the US? I have never gone through so many security checks before but I was glad I had an assistant with me each time I had to takeoff my boots and put them on again. Each person I talk to for a little bit who is helping me. With one woman, his name is Genevieve, she told me that she was also from India and then she was making certain sweet delicacies for the holiday and she seemed excited about it. We began to both talk about food and our share the love of all things to be eaten! She then got me to the next person who would be helping me, he was a little bit more quiet but made sure I got to where I needed to go with no nonsense. Well waiting in one line, I said“ beep, beep“ through a small child in front of us and for about the next five minutes we both think“ yep, babe“To each other like some kind of special survival airport language
That leaves me
Here now at the gate.
In this last leg of getting to the gate, made a friend with somebody who is going to be also flying to New York to visit family. Kraut this travel, I have had the chance to talk to so many different people and it makes me glad for this opportunity to travel and also to be able to go home to all the people I love. They say that distance makes the heart grow fonder, and I think it is so true. I think I realize how much closer I need to hold the people I care about and make time to have dinnerCome and give handmade presents and have those long talks over wine and cheese. Making made me a playlist which has all the songs about coming home and I haven’t been able to really listen through it to be honest. I miss home way too much. But maybe now that I am on the plane, I can listen to it. I am finally homeward bound.￼￼