Sunday, January 23, 2011

conquering fears

P1060297, originally uploaded by akblaine.

More than likely, it has to do with the fact that I grew up in a small town with one main street. It was impossible to get lost, and if, for some reason, you did, all you had to do was look up and see the Twin Peaks and know you were looking East and you could find your way from there. This is the only logical explanation I can conjure for why I am terrified of getting lost in big cities, especially when I have to use public transportation without my trusty navigator Tony by my side. I worry that I am going to get swallowed by a swarm of people, or get stuck on some street and have no idea which way to turn, or get on the wrong train and end up in a completely different town and then have to stay there forever and start a new life because I'll never be able to find my way back home. Fear can make your mind do crazy things. It is because of these fears that I avoid being in cities all by myself.

That is, until this last week in Lisbon.

My James Bond husband did all the planning for this trip. When he approached me with the itinerary involving Graham and me taking a bus from the airport, getting dropped in the middle of the city, and finding our apartment (not a labeled and easy-to-find hotel), and then taking a train from Rome to Naples and getting on a bus in Naples for our return trip, I crawled under a blanket and said. "No. I'm not doing that. I'm not going."

You see, 007 had to take a special flight to Lisbon since he would be working there. His flight involved wining and dining and arrived at a different time than ours...


After much convincing and coaching on google maps, I decided it was time to conquer my fear. I, along with my 3 1/2 year old son who asks endless distracting questions, got on a plane, then another plane, landed in Lisbon, found the bus, and got off at the correct stop. It was dark, and as I went around the corner to the street I was supposed to take, it got darker and scarier. I let my fears take over my brain for a bit and started imaging the worst, but then something happened. I got really terrified of a group of guys huddled around smoking together. They definitely had their eyes on me as I must have been quite the sight pushing my jogging stroller up a very steep hill, sweating like crazy and trying not to cry. But they all just said, "Boa tarde" and let me go about my way. Not even a heckle. And certainly no reason to be afraid.

After we found the apartment, except for all the sweat, I felt good. Very good. Good enough to take some trips involving more trains and buses during the week with just Graham.

You know what I learned this week? That cities are not so scary after all. You know why? Because they have these wonderful things called signs. And maps. And goodhearted people willing to help me lift my giant stroller when needed and point me in the right direction.

We are home safe and sound, now. I have lots of exciting things to tell you about Lisbon. I missed ya'll last week. It was too long without writing. I hope that won't happen again.

For now, though, you'll have to excuse me, because writing about all this got me scared again,so I am going to go crawl under that blanket and talk to my mommy for awhile.

1 comment:

  1. Welcome back!!! Missed you amucho. You are really strectching it when you refer to Grover, Wy. as a small town. Remember? It's a post office that sold candy. Sorry you had to grow up so naive. NOT!!! Since leaving Wy. you have lived in Spokane, Pensacola, OKC, and now Naples. You have been to Seatle, Boston, NYC, New Orleans, Austin, Chicago, Minniapolis, Portland, Rome, Florence, Sienna, Madrid, Innsbruck, Sturtengrad, and now Lisbon. You would prbably feel lost in Grover now. I bet the population is purt near 200 now. But the Twin Peaks are still there. Remember what your Grandpa Howell called them? Well, catch your breath and let us see "Lisbon, Through Katherine's Eyes". Loves&Hugs, T&me