3. /Balance/ Chaido - Baixa, Lisbon, Portugal.
It must have been the first night in the first darn hostel when I strained the back of my foot. Climbing up and down top bunk beds don’t particularly suit us islander women (Note to self – ask for bottom in all future reservations). Gahhhh I just remembered that Indian railway episode!
What probably made it worse was going up and down the hills of Chaido in Lisbon trying to find my hostel. There’s a reason I prefer paper maps to Goggle – because it stupid. According to Google’s directions – it got me out the wrong exit. Normally not a problem except in this case this exit was at the bottom of the hill instead of the top. So what was supposed to be a “150 meters from the metro” turned out to be an hours hike all over town.
This trip is turning out to be such a mess. One of the items on my 2017 to-do list was to meet my godparents somewhere in the world while they were traveling (it was something I missed out in 2013.) Because of the baggage delay, then flight delay on that day then the hill hiking, I got to Lisbon really late. As I sat at the Lisbon Poets Hostel (...I thought perhaps it’d inspire me to write a masterpiece or something – nothing coming through though..) heaving from the last 2 days of mishaps. my godmother spoke to me when I finally got wi-fi saying I didn’t have to meet them that night if I wasn’t up for it.
By now my foot was throbbing and swollen like the primary school elephantiasis poster on the back wall. But darn it, I wasn’t going to accept defeat in front of the travel demons. I came halfway across the world to meet on them on their boat, I darn well will! Never mind, I don’t get to wear my new white dress and red lipstick and brown sandals. Never mind I was late and only had 2 hours of my approved visit time left. Never mind I looked all hobo – I was going to get on that boat. Then I am going to go back to Nadi and tick off item 7 because there’s way too many things left on that list not ticked for this year.
It’s amazing though – how we can be on the other side of the world but feel like coming home with the people you love and my godparents have always been that harbour I return to when I’m battered and in need of repair.
Only after I saw them off at the Santa Apolónia wharf is when it fully dawned on me how inflamed my ankle was. Can I just say in my ‘pharmacy’, I had new tube of Deep Heat, some Tiger Balm and some leftover Moov as well.
An advice I’d probably give someone else in my situation was take it easy on the feet for a day or two, but I didn’t have a day or two to waste. Not in Lisbon!
So I hobbled. Up Chaido, around Baixa, in Belem. To avoid putting more pressure on my inflamed ankle, I started climbing up and down stairs one at a time putting all the pressure on the other foot. Soon I noticed, my other foot had started straining around the top probably because of all the weight it’s been taking. (God knows I have enough foot problems already).
But here’s something to ponder on.
In order to maintain my balance, both my feet need to be doing the work to carry my weight.
Not even into 3 days – and my good healthy foot couldn’t handle all the weight for 2. Then imagine all the extra weight we tend to carry in our lives – ones from our work, ones from our relationships, ones from our families.
Where’s your balance at, Dear Reader? How much longer can you afford to carry all that that is not yours to carry?