Slowly, Slowly

So much for writing regularly!

I have, by now, a dozen or more entries for this blog in various stages of development. Some are bright and energetic, others pensive and perhaps a bit sad, and I am looking forward to publishing all of them. It may, however, take a bit longer than I had hoped for any or all of them to reach maturity.

If you read my last post, you might well remember me glibly mentioning the inevitability of a crash-and-burn episode following the initial adrenaline-fueled rush of moving abroad. Well, this is it.

And though I feel this is relatively normal for study abroad students, it’s more severe for me. I hate to admit it, but I have to be very cognizant of the fact that for me, at this point in my life, working myself too hard doesn’t just put my grades at risk; it threatens my ability to stay in Asia and has direct negative impact on my already limited physical capacities.

Two days ago, I sat in a wheelchair for the first time in 9 months.

A few days before that, I was in hospital for two nights because I could not walk at all.

Obviously, my plan to ignore my physical ailments and proceed through my program as though nothing is wrong will simply not work. As much as I would love to run off to a different country every weekend, to backpack through Myanmar and Laos and snorkel in Kho Phi Phi and Bali, to hop on a train and ride from Johor Bahru to Bangkok…I can’t. I physically can’t. And that’s the hardest thing in the world to say.

So I repeat to myself the refrain I have heard many times in the last few weeks, a few times in the hospital but primary in Malaysia, and in particular from the kind family who helped me when I was stuck on Tioman:

slowly, slowly.

I’m really not sure where that comes from. Is it a direct translation of some Malay idiom? Is it originally English, maybe taken from Singaporean speech? If anybody knows, please share, because I’m quite curious. But regardless, it’s wonderfully applicable. I’m quite slow right now, indeed, so I might as well accept it instead of tearing myself apart trying to accomplish a thousand things.

Speaking of which, I did perhaps the bravest thing I’ve ever done, and actually cancelled a trip. I was planning to go to Banda Aceh for recess week (leaving a week from today, actually), and this morning a decided not to go. More on that when I can actually think, but for now…yay me!

I won’t write more at present, because I’m quite dizzy from all my medications and in a lot of pain, besides, so it’s incredibly hard to focus. I have a great deal of homework I’m very far behind on, and am just about ready to give it all up and go to sleep (even though it’s 1130). I wanted to share something, however, because the whole purpose of this blog is not only to document study abroad travels, but to document what that experience is like for somebody with a physical disability and moderate to serious medical concerns.

It’s alternately absurdly exhilarating and indescribably terrifying, is the short answer.
At least I’m in Singapore and not, you know, Ethiopia.

With the room spinning as I squint to view my typing, I sign off here with a promise to soon catch up on my very, very backlogged posts.

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