Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Jet Lag Ramblings

"Would you like to make that a medium?" the Swiss McDonald's employee asked me of my Big Mac meal.  "Actually, just make it a large," I sighed, knowing that an extra handful of fries would go a long way tonight after seeing my favorite Swiss family off to the airport. 

"Mademoiselle, we no do large. Medium is biggest size," she responded in broken English. 

Seriously, Switzerland?!?

You don't do large?!?

 You actually thought I wanted to downsize my meal?!?

Can this country get any weirder?!?

Just eight short hours before this preposterous incident, I bid farewell to  my dearest friends Jake, Kate, and Fynn Beaverson as they moved back to the United States after nearly five years of living in Switzerland. Just like that ridiculous medium fry I consumed in three bites---they were gone.  And I was feeling pretty salty.

The hardest part of this whole ex-pat life is the difficulty of starting over in a foreign culture that just doesn't seem to get you.  Kate got me.  For fourteen months, she was my confidant and tour guide, and without her here to ease the transition into Swiss life, I think I may have floundered. 

Until we meet again...

I heard the heartbreaking news of their departure while I was back in Illinois for the summer.  Agreeing I could no longer go without my family, hometown friends, or air conditioning, Matt sent me home for a glorious 36 days. Nostalgia hit me as soon at that 747 landed on Midwest soil. 

I wanted to do the things I had always done, so I drank cheap wine out of the bottle, played Scattegories with my hot headed friends, and took my mom's vintage bicycle for a long ride on the Fairview bike trails.  About four miles in, I gave myself a figurative pat on the back for being in such great shape after a full weekend of nachos and ice cream cake.  Ninety-two degrees Fahrenheit and I had hardly broken a sweat.  Actually, I was not perspiring at all...I paused to ponder this. Before I had time to come to a reasonable conclusion, I fell to the blacktop as nausea and dry heaves overtook me. I tried to call out for help, but the trail was eerily empty.  I could tell I was beginning to lose consciousness as I mapped out a plan in my head as how to call an ambulance, meanwhile cursing myself for leaving home without a telephone or blow horn.  I then realized that my entire body was now saturated in sweat as the sweltering black top burned against my skin.  "Roll to the grass," I told my gargantuan frame.  "Just roll to the shade." 

Spoiler alert: I survived.

It took me around ten minutes to fully catch my breath and gain the strength to stand back up.  I was shaking and terrified, certain I had just stared down death.  Once home and after a very dramatic reenactment for my family, I googled heat exhaustion and realized that certain medications can contribute greatly to this condition.  There it was: Prozac and heat intolerance. 

And this crazy biatch is on the maximum dose.

After stopping and giving my life a long hard look, I've decided I can no longer take unwarranted risks like vintage bicycle rides.  Since my medicated body obviously cannot tolerate rigorous exercise, it may be best to stick to my usual cardio routine of climbing mall escalators and lifting fudge pops.  We only get so many second chances.

Now back to the present: I am currently in Switzerland and am counting down the days until this heat wave is finished; that, or until the day the Swiss realize it is 2013 and air conditioning has already been discovered (along with the size LARGE).

I apologize that this blog post has no real focus.  I am going on day five of little sleep and a jet lagged toddler.  Throw some melancholy into the mix over the absence of Kate, and there you have it: a lonely, heat intolerant, unable-to-get-a-damn-supersize, Mademoiselle.


  1. I laughed, I cried, it became a part of me :^D

  2. Wonderful, as usual, Steph. Great to see you at the reunion.