I've spent the last three weeks at the upper level of stress, and while I knew it, I also knew that I couldn't evade any of the situations - so I just gritted my teeth and got thru it.
It all started out when hubby had a reaction to the flu shot and was sick from Tuesday night to Friday am, at which point I took him to the hospital where they determined that he had pneumonia. Followed by 4 days in the hospital on strong antibiotics. Got him home to find out a few days later that the antibiotics had caused a problem in his gut, and he needed a change in medication. Did that and at the same time realized that this enormous hurricane was coming. I was supposed to be leaving for Germany on Monday night, and the hurricane was expected to hit on Monday night. So I changed my plans and left a day early, basically ruining my Sunday.
The surprise day was Monday, when I got to Germany, checked into my hotel and had a lovely nap. Then I spent the day in my Jammie's and sweater (it was COLD there) working on my presentations. Met some people for a lovely dinner, complete with locally made German beer - I have to admit, it was an amazingly relaxing day.
I worked at our German office on Tuesday, and Wednesday our meetings began. Two full days with presentations, discussions in one of the three languages that were native to the attendees. I was running the meeting, making presentations, keeping everyone on track and basically responsible for the whole thing coming off well. There were a few moments when I put my head in my hands, but in general, we did OK and got thru it all.
Friday was a long 7 hour trip home, complete with uncomfortable airline seats and crying babies.
I think you can find interesting experiences even in the most stressful conditions - and I found something that is an interesting topic of conversation regarding identity awareness.
I will preface this by saying that I have only been to Germany once before - and that I found the people there totally friendly and engaging, and a heck of a lot of fun. But because I have blond hair and blue eyes, I was identified as German - even by the hotel staff, and airline staff and basically everyone that I didn't speak English to.
In the hotel everyone spoke to me in German - expecting that I would understand. At first I thought they did that with everyone but nope - some of my colleagues are Asian looking, some have Lebanese extraction and the hotel people spoke to them directly in English. I have never experience this sort of physical acceptance before, having usually traveled in Italy or France. In Italy and France I am too blond and not continental enough - but I seemed to fit in in Germany. DH and I had a long talk about this when I got home, is it sort of a reverse discrimination, or simply an acceptance of someone who resembles you.
I'd be interested in any one's feedback on this phenomenon - I think it's a topic worth a good think. Do we unconsciously accept those who look like us? or do we discriminate, or pull back from, people who don't look like us.
It was a great trip but I am SO glad to be home. 11 hours sleep in my own bed and I'm a happy woman.