It's been ages since I posted and I have lots of great pictures and posts from Lisbon (wonderful), Belgrade (eye-opening) and Brussels (enlightening) to upload. But here's the deal: I returned from the trip one week ago and I'm STILL exhausted. Partly it's the single day off I took between landing back in Seattle and returning to work. But mostly, it's because I'm a narcoleptic.
Okay, I'm not. Actually, I'm pregnant. But it feels like the same thing: uncontrollable need to sleep and all. I managed pretty well on the trip since I was blessed to have absolutely no morning sickness. (Yes, I know those who did suffer with it or suffered along with someone who did are gagging right now just pondering that sentence.)
Although none of the women fellows on this trip had kids, many of the men did, so they were amazed at my stamina and lack of wacky pregnancy-related behaviors or moodiness. Although I did once glare menacingly at a waiter in Serbia who took the bread basket before I was done scarfing yet another homemade roll. One person asked if I was craving anything. Yeah: MORE. And I seemed to have a Teflon stomach: pickled fish for breakfast in Copenhagen? Yes please! Smoked mystery meat in Belgrade? Two for me, thanks!
Luckily, we had lots of lavish meals, as evidenced by some of the earlier pictures. This trip was perfect for someone who was eating for two. Which is really not accurate, since the second being was about the size of a plum most of the trip. But I still chowed down like a marathon runner carbo-loading before a big race.
Nearly every meeting featured fresh pastries, breads, cheese or fresh fruit, in addition to the ever-present water (with gas (bubbles) or without, as they said), fruit juices, coffee and tea. The lunch and dinner meetings always featured a wonderful array of breads, salads, meats and desserts. In fact, my only occasional food challenge was when lunch started later than expected (1:30 0r 2pm). Luckily, I usually stashed fruit or bread in my bag from breakfast or earlier meetings to tide me over. My "bottomless bag of plenty" kind of became a running joke and provided sustenance to some of the other fellows on a couple of occasions when meetings ran long and blood sugar levels dropped.
More often, my challenge was staying awake after some lavish lunch in a hot (albeit somewhat smokey) restaurant, followed by an in-depth discussion of European expansion policies and immigration challenges. Jeez: why not just give me a Tylenol PM and be done with it? More than once I took advantage of the cover provided by one of the larger guys on the trip sitting between me and the speaker to hide my whiplash-like head nods. But generally I was able to maintain my composure and interest since the topics and speakers were actually incredibly interesting.
So now that I'm back and fully immersed into my work-a-day world again, I haven't really completely recovered from the trip. But I'm getting there and hope to finish off the trip posts this week. Expect short, picture-filled missives soon. Thanks for your patience. :-)