Generally, it's shifted, week to week. The first week was overwhelming, and fairly negative some of the time. Missing Kevin fiercely, desperate to be home, wondering why I thought this was a good idea. Exhausted, sleeping badly, culture shock, too much difference, and small frustrations that drove me right up the wall. I think when I arrived here, I was already at the very end of my coping reserves; the whole house-buying process was pretty damn stressful, for a multitude of reasons. I also was freaking out about money because Kev and I had made up what turned out to be a really unrealistic daily budget for the trip, so until he got back to me at the end of the week and told me that it really wasn't a problem to spend twice as much daily as I had planned to, I was pretty panicked. So I felt fairly fragmented the first week or so here. Still delighted to see Karina, of course, but also thrown even there by not having seen her in four years -- we've never gone more than a year or so before, I think, and it took a while before it felt comfortable again. All sorts of good and interesting experiences, but I just wasn't in the best shape for travelling to a new place.
The second week would have been better, and was, for the most part, except that I got sick towards the end of it. The money thing was better, though I was still fretting that I would somehow incur some huge expense, and all the hotel reservations and such had gone smoothly enough. I had read too many traveller's tales of mislaid travel reservations and being turned away from hotels, I think. We did have quite a few problems with not knowing quite how to find various places, mostly places we were staying at, but they all seemed to get resolved eventually. And while people occasionally seemed irritated with us for not knowing things, they also seemed pretty determined to take care of the two stupid tourist girls and make sure we got home safe. I was too exhausted and frustrated to appreciate that properly at the time, but I do now. There were tons more interesting and new experiences, most of which I just experienced, figuring I'd process them later. But really, both weeks, there were lots and lots of good times, happy moments -- probably the bulk of them, actually. Funny how the negatives tend to blank all the good stuff out.
The third week has been pretty good, actually. Feeling relatively healthy is a big help, as is being grounded in one city. I think we covered a bit too much too quickly in our itinerary; if I were planning this trip for someone else, I'd recommend four nights in each location, minimum, just to keep from getting super-disoriented. I've also had high-speed internet again, which is marvellously centering for me. It's the home I carry with me, and I think I hadn't anticipated how much I would be thrown by being cut off from it. I'm still missing Kevin like mad -- last night, in order to fall asleep, I ended up setting my laptop to slideshow photos of him and of us, and watched those until I fell asleep. But I'm talking to him every day now, at least for a few minutes, and it's a big help. I'm so glad that someone told my mom that I should buy a mobile phone when I got here -- using phone booths and cards would be an even cheaper option, but it's just so nice to be able to talk to him when I'm falling asleep or just waking up.
So there we are -- progress report. Glad I came, kind of startled that I'm going back in a week (I leave here the early morning of the 28th; get back the evening of the 28th to Chicago). Went from wanting to cut the trip short to sort of wishing I were staying an extra day or two. Not sure how that happened.