Wednesday, July 01, 2015

The United Kingdom: Miss Austen in a Heat Wave

This day is still difficult for me to write about because it was a definitive low point in our trip. After days and days of running ourselves into the ground all over London and greater London and Dover, it all finally caught up to us and mainly to me. The little stowaway had had enough and today was the day that I would become keenly aware of my limitations as a pregnant woman. I was very lucky that I wasn't overly sick, but the exhaustion and heightened emotions caused their own problems.

The day started out with us taking the tube 2 stops over to the train station only to realize we forgot out train passes AGAIN!! I was already incredibly tired, so needless to say I didn't handle the set back well. It was going to be a long day of travel for us between trains and busses and walking, so to have to be delayed over 20 minutes to make our way back to the hotel and grab the passes was frustrating. Finally back at the train station, we got out tickets and then set off!

Did I mention that this day was also a record breaking heat wave in England? In London the temperatures reached 94 degrees... and since this country it not use to high temps like that, the presence of A/C is scarce...

We made out way to Winchester by train and then had to walk across town to the bus station to make our way out to Chawton. The buses don't have A/C, the trains don't have A/C and so it was pretty miserably sweaty and hot. We got to the Winchester bus station and figured out how to get tickets and then had to wait for 30 minutes for the right bus to show up. Finally on the bus we made out way to Chawton and then walked the 15 minutes to Jane Austen's house. It took us over 3 hours to get from London to Jane Austen's House.

I could feel my body giving out on me and feeling more and more nauseous because of how tired I was, but this was a day both Aaron and I were so excited about. Aaron loves Jane Austen and was so excited to walk in her home and read about the history of the incredible woman who wrote our favorite novels.

Since I had been to the house years before, they had expanded the experience and added to the museum. You get to walk through the house and see where she wrote her novels and lived with her family. There are letters she wrote to dear family members framed on the walls and artifacts and processions of hers to look at.

I could hardly focus on anything in the home and kept looking for places to sit down and relax while Aaron took it all in. I remember standing in Jane's room contemplating just how much trouble I would get into if I climbed into her bed and took a nap.

Just Jane and I taking in the view 

The house started to feel a bit stuffy, so while I was almost done with the exhibit, I left Aaron to take his time on the remaining parts of the house, while I sat outside in the garden. I sat on a bench and leaned my head forward between my knees to stretch out my back and completely fell asleep. I came to hearing a woman ask Aaron if I was ok. I sat up quickly to assured her I was totally fine. It was hilarious and Aaron and I had a good laugh about how weird I must have looked. People had told me that I pregnancy makes you tired, but I didn't believe the idea that I would be able to fall asleep literally ANYWHERE I was so tired.

After taking in the main house, we made our way to the buildings behind it to take in the rest of the museum exhibits. There are a bunch of interactive exhibits to take in from making potpourri sachets, practicing calligraphy with a feather quill, and also getting to play dress up!

After we finished with Jane's house, we had just enough time to pop in to the pub across the street and get some food, sadly their kitchen had just closed. So we went next door to a tea shop to see what they offered.

It was slim pickings and nothing sounded particularly good to my pregnant stomach, but  I made do with a Quiche and a Coke for dinner. We sat near the open door, hoping for a cool breeze to help relieve us from the heat, but the air was completely still and it was so warm and humid. We finished our food and then it was time to make our way back to London.

Our day was not nearly over. We had to still get back to London, get our bags, go back to the train station and then make our way out to Reading to our new hotel outside London for the rest of the week. It was hot and I had met my end. I was a pretty emotional mess as at every turn of our journey there were little frustrations and annoyances from the beginning of the day until the end. I wasn't handling things well and was so over tired that I just couldn't figure out how to rally. My poor husband had been so sweet and accommodating and caring for me. It is not easy to love and care for an emotional, hot, nauseous and exhausted pregnant woman. Normally I knew certain things that would help me reset if I got too overwhelmed while traveling, but none of them seemed to be working for me in my current state. So as we made our way back to the city, the day finally caught up with Aaron too. I sensed his tension, but as the train rattled on, I could only let the exhaustion take over me and I fell asleep.

As I woke up on the train with my head on Aaron's tense shoulder. The train was a little extra rattly and as I looked out the window I started to feel motion sick. I turned to look at Aaron and found a very silently frustrated husband. As the train went on, I gently probed to see what the problem was... and our day took a nose dive...

To sum up the argument briefly, Aaron was angry at me because he couldn't understand why I couldn't rally and felt like I wasn't even trying. He thought I was being dramatic and selfish. He was also angry at himself because my husband is a fixer and when things aren't working, he wants to fix it, and he couldn't figure out how, which made him frustrated. Meanwhile, I was feeling at the end of  my rope. I had mustered every bit of energy I could to get through the day. I knew I needed to take it easy and that my pregnant body couldn't handle what I was pushing it through, but I didn't want to sacrifice any part of our trip, so I kept pressing on.

Anyways, our argument culminated with Aaron telling me that he felt like I was refusing to rally and actually said the words "pull it together!" and that did me in. I mean I was emotional and under normal circumstances probably would have gotten a bit choked up and told him that I was hurt, but instead I started uncontrollably crying. Aaron immediately felt terrible and started apologizing profusely while I realized I actually couldn't stop crying. We were standing in the middle of the side walk across the street from our hotel and I was just sobbing. I remember thinking in my head, ok calm down Miranda, there is no need to cry this hard... ok calm down... ok seriously why are you still crying? I started telling Aaron over and over again that I was sorry I was crying and that I seriously didn't understand why I was crying that hard. It is hilarious to think about now actually. It was such proof that my pregnancy hormones and bodily exhaustion were coming together in a hilariously dramatic perfect storm. Aaron held me while I cried and a few men in suits walking home from work caught my eye with this look like "ma'am are you ok? is this man hurting you? do you need help?" and I would try to smile through tears to reassure them. FINALLY I stopped crying long enough for us to get up to our hotel room. The tension was broken by my crying and we talked things through and were so much better.

But then we had to pack our bags, head back to the train station and make our way to Reading to our new hotel. It wasn't too bad of a journey and we made it to Reading and to our hotel. I immediately hopped in the shower, in my PJs and into bed, while Aaron went out to a local pub. We know enough about each other that one of the great ways for Aaron and I to reset when we get out of sync or when we have just had a crazy busy and exhausting few days, that we need alone time from each other.

This day was the low point of our trip and after processing what led us to this level of exhaustion and tension, we decided to reassess the itinerary for the next couple of days and cut back on a few things to allow us late wake ups and early bed times. 

No comments: