At the time I laughed it off, but I honestly think my parents were serious when they said they would prefer I came home on Sunday rather than Friday afternoon because they had a dinner party planned for Saturday night! Never mind that I have been sitting in a Bangkok hospital all alone and scared for the past 2 weeks with the fear of the possibility of having to have surgery.
Dad picked me up from the airport. I was wheeled out into the arrivals hall and I cried as soon as I saw him. I was just so glad to be back in Australia. I was so happy to be able to have a conversation without using broken English. To be honest the tears actually started when the guy at customs said “How’s it goin?”, I’d never been so happy in my life to hear someone leave off a G in going.
It really shocked me at how little I could actually walk when I was trying to get from our basement to the lift to get up to the apartment. Lucky I had my crutches as I didn’t need them to keep a foot off the ground, but to steady myself when I walked. Mum had come home early and I gave her the biggest hug. The three of us sat down and after a few minutes we all admitted we were exhausted. The worry and stress were finally over and all of us were ready to crash. I was so grateful Mum had bought me fresh P.J’s. We got some bin liners out and wrapped my leg up so the bandages didn’t get wet and I took my first unaided shower in over 2 weeks. It felt so good to get into my own bed and sleep on my own pillows.
I woke up in the morning and I couldn’t believe I was home. I had kept my bedroom door open so I could hear the comings and goings. I said to Mum and Dad that the noise was very much welcomed after 2 weeks of isolation. For breaky I had Vegemite toast and a cup of tea. Another thing I was grateful for was Mum tending to my backpack and washing all of my clothes for me. When I got better I told myself I could go shopping for some new tops before I head off again as I was sick of seeing the same clothes.
I watched as Mum got ready for the dinner party. I was secretly very excited to be socialising with people and the icing on the cake was that my bestie was coming round as well. It was a lovely night, except I was bummed that I couldn’t partake in any of the free-flowing champagne because of the heavy dose of antibiotics I was on. I couldn’t if I wanted to, I just couldn’t stomach it. But bless Mikey’s cotton socks, he came baring a care package of popcorn, chocolate and Moet! Half way through the night my leg became irritated sitting at the table, so myself and Mikey retreated to the bedroom to wash trashy tv and catch up on our gossip. This was exactly what I needed!
The next day my brother and his family came to visit me. I gave me the biggest hug I could. If it wasn’t for him, god knows what would have happened. I presented him with a Toblerone from the airport as a “token” of my gratitude, to my shock he refused it as he was on a diet. I was secretly very happy at this as it was those chunky bastards that you can gnaw on. More for me!
On the Sunday, Mum took me to a GP to get the dressing changed on my leg. Dad didn’t want to have a bar of my leg as it grossed him out. I sort of don’t blame him, but come on man up! You have changed my shitty arse as a baby. The skin on my foot was dying off and peeling really badly. I peeled a section off my toe and it had become so harden that it looked like I took off a plaster cast of my toe! So yeah I do get it was gross I suppose. When the doctor took the bandage off, it was the first time Mum had seen my leg. She gasped. I had purposely not shared photo’s with them to try to minimise their worry. Good news was it was drying out nicely. I still couldn’t get my leg wet for a week. And then it peeled again. I was vacuuming daily as you could see where I was “shedding” around the apartment.
To build up strength, I would walk little happy laps around my dinning room table, something I watched Mum do after her knee replacement. I was trying to shake the “drunken toddler” walk. I would get very tired very quickly though. It was the weirdest feeling of limbo being home because I felt like I should be doing something like working but I had to keep reminding myself I was recovering.
Dad was my companion as he works from home and I love spending time with him. We were both so proud of me when I managed to walk from our building to our neighbourhood coffee shop. That was our thing, going for coffees. We would chat to his little social circle going on there.
As my strength grew, I started taking myself on longer walks by the river and to the gym when the weather wasn’t great. I would go to the coffee shop and work on my blog over cups of coffee, like a brooding writer that I am. This blog helped me a lot as it gave me a task to do whilst I was at home. Even on the road, when I need a few days rest from being a tourist, working on it is my escape.
The second week I was home, the “Every Woman Expo” was on. Dad dropped me off, and I was going to explore for a bit and he was going to pick me up. I got inside and what I did not anticipate was how overwhelming being amongst all these people were. It worried me a little because I had never had problems with crowds before. I took a breath and took it slowly. I couldn’t believe the crap they were selling but women were lapping it up. I still don’t understand the Turmeric craze though. It’s in everything. I did buy a large tote handbag to use as hand luggage. I was not going to use my backpack for part 2. I stared at it for 2 weeks in Bangkok and I think we just need some time apart.
Something I struggled with being home was just that, being home. I got really upset that I worked so hard, sacrificed so much and I was back at square 1. I was sad and disappointed. I had to find that strength I knew I had inside me. I was scared to go back to South East Asia. I am disgusted that I feel that way, but I can’t shake it at the moment. I started this whole expedition because I wanted to go to Japan. Well fine then, let’s go! So one night I booked a one way ticket to Tokyo. I gave myself a month to recover and this had me working towards a goal. I felt so much better and back on track.
During my time I caught up with my friends. Samantha and I went to a bakery market and filled up on yummy treats that we had been talking about when I was in Bangkok. I went for lunch with my childhood friend and her son. I was stoked we could go play on the new kids playground near the stadium. I finally did a “we must catch up for lunch!” With my good friend Tracey from my Qantas days. Pretty sure we reached 4 years of empty lunch promises but it felt like a few weeks since I had seen her and I cannot wait to see her again when I get home. Dinner and drinks with some of the crew from Crown. As much as I love the people, I don’t miss the place. Of course there was a girls brunch with my old housemate and her crew. Such a wonderful bunch of girls who are all very down to earth. It briefly makes me feel like I am part of a “group” instead of a lone wolf who has a bunch awesome friends who are not really connected. I tend to take 1 person from each stage of my life as I move on and “cut the fat” so to speak.
Being home isn’t really home though unless I spend time with my best friend, Michael. My favourite time is when we just hang out at home. We can be as silly and self obsessed as we like without judgment. Our nights are always filled with wine and nibbles because we talk too much try to actually eat a full meal. When we only lived a few minutes away, we would actually go to each others place already In our PJ’s. It was so cute he bought me a pair of bed socks for one of our sleep overs. I still believe it was to ensure my manky foot was covered!! Our last sleep over before I left again, we were obsessed with getting a giant cookie. So we did and ate cookie and drank Moet. Then in the morning I drove him to work and we said goodbye exactly like the first time I left, by giving air kisses as I shove him out of a moving car…..well a momentarily paused vehicle.
On my way back home from Mikey’s, I called Dad to meet me at the coffee shop. Had to squeeze another coffee date in as I was leaving tonight. I was so excited. I was on the midnight flight out with Singapore Airlines. My airline of choice when leaving Australia if I can afford it! It was such a bizarre take 2. Dad dropped me out the front of the terminal, but instead of goodbye he yelled out “Don’t end up in hospital again!”, to which I yelled back “I’ll try not to!”. I am sure we got some weird looks. I was going to miss my Dad after spending so much time together these past few weeks. It was a weird situation that we might not have again.
I got myself all checked in. I was nervous because I was on a one way ticket and they shouldn’t really be letting me travel without an onwards ticket from Japan, but they didn’t pick it up, which I smirked because I would have and would have made me purchase one before letting me go, I guess I am lucky not everyone is an arsehole like me, although I would be only doing my job properly. Anyways settled on the other side of immigration at a new bar with a glass of red. Am I ready for round 2…..or is the question are YOU READY FOR ROUND 2?!!!