For more than two and a half years, I have not gone anywhere overnight except the University of California San Francisco’s Bakar Cancer Hospital. Nothing about this time — surgery, chemo, radiation, recovery, more surgery, more recovery, and the enduring exhaustion — resembled a vacation.
As you can appreciate, I was excited, nearly giddy, to board a plane for Europe last month. I was nervous about the latest surge of the pandemic as well. Not only did I get the vaccine booster, but, upon my doctor’s recommendation, I also received monoclonal antibodies before I left. I stocked up on N-95 masks and made sure to bring a couple of the N-99 models as well for the potentially more dangerous situations like boarding and leaving the plane and riding the train.
It was so good to be away from home, far from the intense worry and stress of the past years, and to remember what it was like to take it easy. I took a few days to begin to unwind, but I eventually relaxed and shifted into holiday mode.
My trip started with a sojourn in Paris, followed by a visit with one of my best buddies in Berlin. I got to spend time with friends and colleagues, take lots of long wandering walks, visit old haunts, and discover new places. The weather was warm and sunny nearly every day, which meant that I could meet folks outdoors for meals in restaurants and drinks at cafes.
After two wonderful weeks off, I taught a five-day postgraduate program in Munich. (It turns out that doing a week of work after two holiday weeks was just the right ratio.) Thanks to the easy-going and engaged group of colleagues from Austria, Germany, Greece, Poland, and Switzerland, the seminar — my first in-person advanced course since November 2018 — went incredibly well. The balmy weather meant we could keep the windows of the large studio where we met open the whole time, making it easy to practice social distancing during the Awareness Through Movement lessons. We erred on the side of caution, wearing masks when practicing Functional Integration.
Thank goodness we were careful because it turned out that one of the participants got the coronavirus during the course, but no one else got sick. I was incredibly relieved since I wouldn’t have been able to return home if I had received a positive test result before traveling back. Thankfully, I have also continued to test negative after returning as well.
Though the pandemic is not over, and there’s still considerable uncertainty about what’s yet to come, I am relieved to learn, firsthand, that taking reasonable precautions does pay off.
The image for today’s blog is of a bottle cap that is part of an ever-changing installation in my neighbor Jane’s front yard.
Willy Nelson’s classic rendition of “On the Road Again” from 1990 inspired this post. If you’d like to give it a listen, please click here.
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