The Scamp Answers a Question

I’m still on the quest to write for fun at least two days a week. Fun is hard to come by right at the moment, so I am going to rely on an old set of journal prompts to get me thinking about something other than work…..except when I opened the document for the question that went with today’s date, that question was:

Tell me something weird about your day.

The thing is, there was nothing really weird about the day. Not a thing. If this question had come yesterday I could have discussed the fact that this crazy storm we are in the middle of has the weather all messed up. Yesterday was thunder, lightning and snow.

Yes, snow. I didn’t know it was possible to have a thunder/snowstorm. The thunder shook the whole building. It was just part of a day of weird weather. I was doing a teaching observation in the middle of the day. When I left my office there was a light flurry of snow, but nothing terrible. I sat facing the windows so I could see the lecturer and the students during the session….and that was a mistake. By the time the lecture started, there was a full-on blizzard. I’ve never seen it snow so hard in person. At one point between the wind and the snow, it sounds like the windows were being pelted by rocks. Not to mention that you could not see two feet in front of you. I was so distracted by the snow at one point that because of the lecturer’s accent, I thought he said murders and acquisitions rather than mergers and acquisitions.

I’m not going to lie, a class on murders and acquisitions might not be a bad idea.

I was able to sneak off a little early and make it home without any disruption to the trains, or anything more than just icy streets in Edinburgh, but compared to that, today was ordinary.

I need ordinary though. Ordinary is what is going to get me through the next month and hopefully allow me to finish the thesis and maybe, just maybe, pass and be done with a pretty shit experience.

The Scamp and Gratitude Challenge Week 18 and 19

I am way behind in the challenge. Way way behind. I have been spending my time trying to get things ready for my move, and I have been trying to get some yoga sessions in before I leave. I was able to find a Groupon that allowed me 30 days of unlimited classes at a new studio by house, and so far, it has been a nice change from doing routines in my backyard.

I’m feeling a bit strange lately, which is why it is important to get back to the challenge. Today I handed over my car to the new owner, and I am starting to have to think about what to pack. I have 30 days left in the US and I think it is starting to set in that I am about to leave for good. I have a place to live, I finally have all the paperwork I need for my visa, and I have meetings and work set up for when I get to Scotland, and the people around me are starting to express their excitement. I am starting to feel very strange about it. I have spent almost three years trying to get back to Scotland,and now it is starting to become real that I actually get to go back.

So back to the challenge. Week 18 is all about the weather. This is easy. Right now the weather is just about perfect. The days are sunny and warm, and the nights are warm enough that I can have my window open and enjoy the breeze and fresh air while I sleep. Lately I have been able to work on my tan too, so by the time I get to Spain for vacation, I will look nice and golden. I am really going to miss the warm weather and the sun, but I am looking forward to the definitive seasons that Scotland offers. I’m looking forward to sunny days in summer, the leaves changing in fall, snow flurries in winter, and the cherry blossoms in bloom in the spring. I know that Scotland sees a lot of rain and wind, but I think the change will be nice. I’m looking forward to practicing yoga in the park, walking everywhere, and my umbrella turning inside out on a walk from the bus to campus. I will miss warm sunny days in California, but that will make visits home that much better.

Week 19 is health. This one is very important to me. May is Lupus Awareness Month. I was diagnosed in 2008, but I feel very lucky. This disease can be horrible, but so far, I have been able to manage my symptoms, and keep the bad days few and far between. For those who are not super familiar with Lupus, breaks it down:

What is lupus?

Lupus is a chronic, autoimmune disease that can damage any part of the body (skin, joints, and/or organs inside the body). Chronic means that the signs and symptoms tend to last longer than six weeks and often for many years.

In lupus, something goes wrong with your immune system, which is the part of the body that fights off viruses, bacteria, and germs (“foreign invaders,” like the flu). Normally our immune system produces proteins called antibodies that protect the body from these invaders. Autoimmune means your immune system cannot tell the difference between these foreign invaders and your body’s healthy tissues (“auto” means “self”) and creates autoantibodies that attack and destroy healthy tissue. These autoantibodies cause inflammation, pain, and damage in various parts of the body.

Lupus is also a disease of flares (the symptoms worsen and you feel ill) and remissions (the symptoms improve and you feel better).

These are some additional facts about lupus that you should know:

  • Lupus is not contagious, not even through sexual contact. You cannot “catch” lupus from someone or “give” lupus to someone.
  • Lupus is not like or related to cancer. Cancer is a condition of malignant, abnormal tissues that grow rapidly and spread into surrounding tissues. Lupus is an autoimmune disease, as described above.
  • Lupus is not like or related to HIV (Human Immune Deficiency Virus) or AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome). In HIV or AIDS the immune system is underactive; in lupus, the immune system is overactive.
  • Lupus can range from mild to life-threatening and should always be treated by a doctor. With good medical care, most people with lupus can lead a full life.
  • Our research estimates that at least 1.5 million Americans have lupus. The actual number may be higher; however, there have been no large-scale studies to show the actual number of people in the U.S. living with lupus.
  • More than 16,000 new cases of lupus are reported annually across the country.
  • It is believed that 5 million people throughout the world have a form of lupus.
  • Lupus strikes mostly women of childbearing age (15-44). However, men, children, and teenagers develop lupus, too. Most people will develop lupus between the ages of 15-44.
  • Women of color are two to three times more likely to develop lupus than Caucasians.
  • People of all races and ethnic groups can develop lupus.

I have been lucky that I am mild. My health has been stable lately, and I have been fortunate enough to have access to doctors that can monitor me and keep me healthy. I know that I complain about Obamacare, but it is nice to have access to doctors and affordable medication. I am hoping that I can keep the trend of feeling good for a long long time.

This week’s gratitude challenge has temporarily calmed my fears and worries about the the coming month and moving to Scotland.