Wizarding World of Harry Potter -Feb. 6, 2018 Log (Pt. 2 Tuesday)

I have to say, this is probably the second best vacation I’ve ever been on:  I had the best solid sleep I’ve had in about two years last night, and everything is going well.  I had proper rest, we live in a great hotel, the weather is perfect, and we got to see the second half of Harry Potter Diagon Alley in Universal Studios today – I think I can add today as the fourth happiest memory I’ve had, with the first being in Taiwan with study abroad friends, the second being throwing a surprise party with kids for my co-counselor, and the third being sitting on a gondola in Venice.

I guess part of what makes it so happy too is going through what feels like hopeless hell, everything going wrong.  Today, everything went smoothly and right, which is rare.  No regretful feelings, we got to do pretty much everything.  I had a solid 9 hours of sleep, we woke up at 8am to get to the park, and rode every ride and saw every inch of Harry Potter World (besides the Hogwarts train but it’s seriously ok cause the rest of it was that awesome), I got Florean Fortescue’s strawberry-peanut butter ice cream, got my Gryffindor quidditch shirt in kid’s size, got my Hogwarts keychain that I regretted not buying the first day, my mom got her turkey legs, we saw the Mardi Gras parade AND managed to squeeze in E.T. in the last two minutes of the day.  We took a few pictures at the exit and I felt confident to take a photo in my wheelchair.  Yes, my wheelchair.

I dreaded this wheelchair forever, and the first day I rode it I had moments where I felt like my life was falling apart and I was becoming an even more useless, dependent person.  I brought not much joy due to my depression to others, I was physically weak and easily fatigued, I did not even bring much income in, I felt like I could barely help myself:  I felt worthless.  And truth is, I will probably feel frustrated by all the limitations again many, many times over, but I realize that accepting the help of using a wheelchair made my quality of life 10x better. I was no longer so fatigued and uncomfortable that I could not properly enjoy whatever we were doing, and as the second day, I got used to stares more and even stared back happily.  I guess it’s still different since I don’t know anyone personally here, so I feel somewhat less self-conscious.  Props to my parents for wheeling me around all day, I am amazed at how fast regular people walk without tiring!  The speed they go at is like a mild superhero speed compared to my own.  It saved us a lot of time too not to have to rest every other minute.

I have to say, to date I highly enjoyed both Harry Potter rides, I also enjoyed the Jimmy Fallon ride, Transformers, and the Incredible Hulk were the highlights.  The amount of blessed feelings and happiness I experienced in 4 days so far seems to make up for how shitty I’ve felt the rest of the past year.  To simply be able to accomplish more than I can brings me great elation and then I feel very satisfied and full.  I’d rather have one great vacation than 2 shitty ones where I feel sick the whole time.  Wheeee.  ^_^

Here’s to hoping the last day is a solid one as well.  I can probably live off this good vibes week for quite awhile, maybe it’ll last me till spring?  Fingers crossed.

 

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Wizarding World of Harry Potter -Feb. 2-3, 2018 Log

So… just to put down a few quick notes about my trip thus far:

I’ve been working on being less self-conscious, and realizing that in doing so is accepting all of me, even the “bad” parts that I instinctively try to hide.  It may not seem like a big deal, but it is to me.

  1.  The first step, was when I pretty much wore my filter mask the entire day… traveling at the airport, airplane, etc. I wore the mask.  It made me feel different even though I knew the mask was cuter than the surgical ones I used to wear.

Cons:

-felt like some ppl stared and tried to be chill about it

-got tiny bit humid after forever and kind of a hassle on my ears

-caught myself in the mirror and did not feel pretty

Pros:

-got kinda used to it after the 2nd hour

-was more breathable than surgical masks

-whenever a person coughed or sneezed close to me, I was no longer super paranoid that I would get sick soon after

2)  Wheelchair all day today:

Cons:

=stuck out very much and was pretty self-conscious, especially at moments when I got up and a couple ppl stared esp since I had no broken legs to show for using a wheelchair

-got no perks at the theme park since you can now pay extra for express lane

-had no freedom for movement since I was pretty much pushed by family all the time (dependent)

-became very aware of anything like a rope or steps that would be super flexible and easy for a walking human (inconvenient)

-did not like feeling so much shorter than everyone else

Pros:

-was kind of nice to be “pampered” almost by my family, who willingly pushed me around taking turns

-was much more attentive personally to other wheelchair-users

-no longer had headaches or felt like passing out, esp on the rides that were more extreme

-no longer felt past the point of dead after a few min of walking; however, felt that point approaching at the very end of the day (ah! lasted till the end :D)

-speed was much faster to reach all the attraction spots since we were now walking at the avg human pace, not mine

3)  Oxygen:

Used oxygen during the plane ride when I went to the bathroom, and my oxygen level dropped to an 85, but then went up to a 91 after a few seconds.??  After oxygen use it went up to a 97.  Walking from car to the hotel room my heart bpm was 158, and oxygen dropped to a 90, but standing still goes up to a 93 after a few seconds as well.

Other Cons:

-I still had a few moments where I felt like I might break down because my mind started to wonder to the fact that I was so dependent that I would not be able to experience a day like today without the help of being pushed around by someone else, and that my body would only get worse

-Didn’t particularly want to take any photos while sitting in wheelchair, but also didn’t mind as much as I used to

-my brother seemed kind of bored at times, and it made me feel a bit more like my family wasn’t enjoying with me but simply accompanying me to make me happy, which made me feel a little burdensome :/ but they did seem overall to enjoy themselves on the rides.

Other Pros:

-During the plane ride here, I saw a brief moment where my dad sort of held my mom’s hand for a few minutes-  Why it’s significant:  I don’t think I’ve ever seen my parents affectionate much like that, esp for no particular reason (like leaving the country for a month) I thought it was nice.

-I had a heart to heart with my mom on life randomly last night, just talking about some of our problems and experiences we have had with people in general

-my brother more than just the typical gestures of niceness like treating us to dinner today, but actually asked me if I was okay at one point and also asked me if I needed oxygen in the car, and that meant more to me than treating us to dinner tbh

-The Harry Potter castle ride was FREAKING AMAZING.  So was drinking butterbeer and seeing Hogsmeade.  An Ollivander’s wand is $70- I would buy one if it actually had magical powers… but instead, I settled for a Gringotts key keychain, and a Pumpkin juice drink for souvenirs.  Also had two delicious dinners in a row, one at Sonny’s BBQ, and today at Bubba Gump’s Shrimp restaurant. YUM.

-Other highlights:  The Incredible Hulk, the first roller coaster I’d ridden in like 10 years… really fast and smooth.   the Skull Island King Kong one was not bad as well.  Seeing cute little kids geeking out in full Harry Potter capes and waving their wands made my day.

I’M DETERMINED TO HAVE FUN.

 

3 Happiest Moments

Every time I read a Harry Potter book, I would pause when Harry had to use the Patronum charm to scare away the dementors.  I would rack my brain, unsure of what I would use as my happiest memory in a pinch.  Thankfully, in the past two years I can think of three points in time where I felt absolutely nothing but 100% bliss.

1.  My last night in Taiwan, Summer of 2014.  The last night: with all the wonderful people in one place, it was definitely the most bittersweet highlight of my trip there.  I loved the friends I made who I openly shared my stories with, cried with, laughed with, and explored with; they were memories that I never thought would happen to me.  About 17 of us gathered to eat dinner together and celebrate my farewell and Sharon’s birthday. 10604046_10152605361478960_8542847123242569586_o

Maybe it was the fact that I knew this trip would only last two months that I was so free-spirited and appreciative.  It was that whole sentimentality of “We will never all be together, at this exact place, at this exact time, at this exact mo-” well, you get the picture.   We found a rooftop-ish bar near central Taipei 101, drinking a little, taking photos, and just soaking in the moment.  Sharon gave me a gigantic card with heartfelt messages from everyone, and my Swedish friend Chris also gave me some (rather questionable) Swedish candy and a letter.  If there is any direct key to my heart, it would be a long sappy letter.  Sharon, Nathalie, and I sneaked away from the group to walk up to the actual rooftop, and we lay there looking over the city and the sky.  15 minutes of unadulterated peace, where I genuinely could not ask for anything more.

2.  My co-counselor’s surprise birthday celebration at camp, Summer of 2015. When you spend months holed up, a huge part of you enters hibernation mode and lays dormant, just hanging in there.  This is a unique circumstance applicable to just me, but what it does is wake me up when summer comes, and when I am in my happy place, I become aggressively friendly to make up for the rest of the times I am not.  Even complaining about stupid, trivial things like some seven-year old kid feeling up my boob, or people I worked with, brought me its own kind of happiness, because they were ordinary, fleeting problems.  Because when you’re depressed, all you see are the times you take from others, but when you’re happy, you give. It was nearing the end of Chinese-Immersion school, another bittersweet end, and I felt so grateful for the experience of learning, especially about children.  Let me tell you, kids be crazy.  But they’re also mean.  And sweet, hilarious, inappropriate, and cute.  Somehow I must’ve stalked my way into learning that my co-counselor’s birthday was in a few days, and with the other co-counselors, we devised a plan and riled up the students to put in a real team effort to surprise him.  True to Jasmine-style with sappy ass cards, we compiled a giant birthday card; his brother bought him a fancy cake, and our boss even bought him a batman t-shirt.  She sent him to the back of the building to do monotonous work in organizing reading books, and we herded all the kids into the kitchen to wait with baited breath. 11907853_10153558106773960_9058393633543729590_oAndddd it was a SUCCESS!  His reaction was so pure and so amazing that it caught me off guard and made my emotions soar off the charts.  11878987_10153558107218960_488502593364788403_oMaybe it reminded me of how overwhelming positive moments can be when they do come along.

3.  Gondola ride in Venice, Summer of 2015.  Getting anywhere is a fucking challenge.  You’re battling your anxiety, your fears, your limitations, physically and mentally.  But let me tell you, the journey to Venice is probably what seeing your baby after being pregnant for 9 months might feel like.  I imagine anyway.  As my parents and I roamed around the city and I stood in St. Mark’s Square, images of me being proposed to here flooded my mind.  And then I went and stuffed my face with gelato, shielding it with trepid glances at the many doves fluttering above my head.  Yes, birds have pooped on me before, so no, I wasn’t being too paranoid.  But, I digress.  We communicated as best we could with a handsome, older Venetian man and before we knew it, were ushered into a gondola.  I had never stood anywhere before where any given direction I stared took my breath away. 12045804_10153669170038960_6049158632185807722_o A city built on water, Venice was surreal.  A figment of my imagination, where men looked good sporting man buns. 

What are your happiest moments?