Now that I'm home (and awake - thank you jet lag), it's time to write the Kili story. Or start telling. It was a very intense trip for a lot of reasons and I'm still processing it. I think I will be for a while.
I was struggling mentally in the first couple of days. I was tired, hadn't slept much before I left, couldn't sleep once I was there. Large groups make me a little nervous; I'm much more comfortable with just a couple of people at a time. I marvel at how easy everyone else is. Yes, most of them already know each other, but many of them also have that ease with people that I envy. I try.
I struggle to learn 39 new names. This is tough for me. I've never been particularly good with names, but I still suffer some after affects of chemo that make it much more difficult. Chemo brain can be so damned annoying! I don't want to insult these people by not remembering who they are. I don't want to worry about it. I just want to remember and be able to say the names. Often my chemo brain takes the form of aphasia: I know in my head what I want to say, but can't make the word come out my mouth.
I have little tricks to help me remember. We have 3 Gails and 2 Jims. At meals I look around to find the Gails - like living in a Where's Waldo picture. Thinking of personal connections somehow helps me. Steve, father of Jed, friend to Jim. Tim, tall, not a Jim. Theresa, a mother, but not Mother Theresa. Unfortunately, these threads are not fast enough for conversation. I notice that so many of them already know my name. They greet me - Hey, Julie, how's it going?....How's it going? My brain has dribbled out on the floor. That embarrasses me. I don't want people to know that sometimes my brain is a pile of goo. I guess that's pride; I guess that's not particularly useful.
And I'm nervous. I always worry about whether I'm ready.