Sunday, 31 July 2011

Roll On Monday

This weekend was not enjoyable.  It was filled with drama.  And let me tell you... I hate drama.  The moment it rears its ugly head, I want to run away.  Unfortunately, running away only makes is worse.  This weekend was no different.

It all started with a text on Friday.  P texted me and I texted her back.  Normal interaction.  I'm thinking everything is great and I go out to dinner with a close friend, N.  N and I are enjoying dinner and chatting about our week.  I mention the text interaction I had with P earlier in the day.  Wow.  Big Mistake.

Turns out what I thought was interesting conversation only sends N into a fit of rage.  Before I know it, N is obviously angry.  He is raising his voice and peppering me with questions.  I've obviously done something wrong.  Unfortunately, I am clueless as to why a simple text would send him into a fit of rage.  Naturally, this makes things worse.  And the more emotional he gets, the more I want to run away.  And the more I want to run away, the madder he gets.  This lasts the ENTIRE weekend.  What a vicious circle!

And this is how it always goes.  I unintentionally do something that makes someone mad.  They tell me how angry I made them.  I wish with all my heart that I could take back whatever it is I did.  And if the person is mad enough, they keep at it.  They ask me numerous questions.  Each of which I cannot answer correctly. 

The entire time, I'm wishing I could say the right thing.  If only I could say the words that would make him stop getting mad!  Do I tell him that I want to run away?  What can I say to make it stop?  Why does the drama keep dragging on and on?  How can I answer his questions in a way that will make him feel better?  If I only had those answers!

Its Sunday night and thankfully, the drama is largely over.  I'm exhausted and feel an overwhelming urge to withdraw.  Friends are SO exhausting... I don't know how you all do it.  I'm looking forward to the week, so I can find comfort and solace in my daily routines.  In fact, it can't come quick enough... Roll On Monday!!

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Paris... Yes or No?

This past year has been wonderful.  I learned I love to travel.  I love observing new cultures and seeing new things.  It gives me perspective and allows me to live my life in new ways. So, when a close friend of mine asked me to go to Paris with her, I eagerly agreed. Now, I'm not so sure.

So, I love to travel.  And the thought of a trip to Paris with someone who lived there for 10 months was very appealing.  Until today.  I forgot how much I don't like planning.  For some, planning is almost the best part of the trip.  For me, its overwhelming.  I forgot this minor detail when I agreed to the trip.  There are so many flights to choose from and hotel decisions and the itinerary.  How could I forget about the itinerary?!?

I'll tell you how I forgot.  This past year, I've been traveling solely with TC.  He is my perfect traveling companion.  He takes on all the overwhelming stuff.  He plans the itinerary.  He chooses the lodging.  All I need to do is book my flight from the US to said destination.  He takes away all my Aspie obstacles.  No wonder I love to travel.  He makes it so simple and completely amazing.  I don't have to stress over the planning and once I get there, I can just do my thing... observe and soak it all in.

Traveling with someone new is way outside my comfort zone and will probably be good for me.  Actually, I know it will be good for me.  I'm trying to be realistic.  I mean, TC can't travel with me everywhere - can he?  I'll get through it.  Even if she refuses to fly non-direct flights.  Even if she suggested we stay in a Holiday Inn in Paris.  Who am I to judge?

Monday, 18 July 2011

Kashmir in Pictures

View from my room
Location:  Himalaya House, Pahalgam, Kashmir, India

Kashmir Valley
Location: Pahalgam, Kashmir, India

 Boy and his Goat
Location: Pahalgam, Kashmir, India

 My Guide... Napping
Location: Pahalgam, Kashmir, India

My Transportation to Kashmir Valley
Location: Pahalgam, Kashmir, India

Location: Pahalgam, Kashmir, India
 Local Children Playing in the Water
Location: Pahalgam, Kashmir, India

Military Presence
Location: Pahalgam, Kashmir, India

 Our Shikara Has Arrived
Location: Pahalgam, Kashmir, India

Lotus Flowers
Location: Pahalgam, Kashmir, India

Happy Birthday Dad

Today, I'm going to tell you a little bit about my dad.  He is classicly autistic and I am so proud of him.  He has managed to function successfully in society for the past 82 years.  Its actually quite amazing when I stop to think about it.

Growing up, I wasn't very close to my dad.  In fact, we fought a lot.  He was always doing his own thing and rarely interacted with me or my siblings.  I just didn't understand him.  As I got older, we grew further and further apart.  It really felt like he liked to make me mad.  I was often frustrated with our relationship.

Then a couple of years ago, I was diagnosed with autism.  Suddenly, all my dad's behaviors started making sense.  When I thought about the conversations I have had with my dad in the context of autism, I couldn't help but think my dad was amazing.  This man grew up with autism in a time where there were no supports.  He essentially figured out how to cope on his own.  When forced into social situations, he relied on his camera to get through it.  And when in need of sensory therapy, he would swim.

He was the first of five children born during the Depression.  He lived in China during World War II and returned to the US at the age of 7.  He had a lot of trouble communicating, but his parents chalked it up to his years in China.  In school, he got good grades and was great at Math and Science.  He was on his high school swim team.  He went to college and graduated with a Masters in Engineering.  He was diagnosed with diabetes.  He got a job and was married at the age of 42.  He has 5 children and 5 grandchildren. 

Today, my dad acts exactly the same way he did when I was young.  He has a very structured day.  And if you mess with his schedule, he will get VERY crabby.  He needs time to process changes to his schedule and to new situations.  He is very sharp and everything he owns has a place.  He loves numbers and when he is feeling agitated, he calms himself down by roaming the supermarket and comparing prices.  At family events, he takes an "up-close" picture of everyone attending the event. 

I used to think he was weird.  Now, I think he is amazing and am his strongest advocate.  My father accomplished so much in spite of his autism.  I am so proud to have him as my father.  Happy 82nd Birthday, Dad.

Thursday, 7 July 2011

On the Streets of Delhi

I decided to take the bull by the horns today and venture out into the streets of Delhi.  Wow.  What an experience!  Equipped with the cell phone lent to me by the owner of the Bed and Breakfast and 2000 Rps lent to me by TC, I decided that today I would leave the comfort of my room.

I showered and got ready and then went to find someone to help me.  I walked up and down the stairs, but couldn't find anyone and the lobby door was locked.  It was hot and humid and I knew I would be hungry soon.  So, I took out the cell phone and tried to call the owner of the B&B and got the message "this number is unavailable."  I called it again - same message.  Weird.  First, I stared at the phone.  Then I stared at his business card.  As I looked at the number on the business card a third time, I noticed a plus sign in front of the first two numbers.  Somehow the first two numbers are special?  Think I'll ignore the first two numbers and dial again.  Success!  The sound of the B&B owners voice never sounded so good.  He said he would send someone up with a map right away.  Phew!  I was going to be able to have lunch, after all!

I studied the map and took a deep breath.  It was time to leave the building and find some food.  I exited the building and took a left.  Everyone was staring at me.  And there was a huge truck in the middle of the street that I had to get around.  I squeezed through the tiny space between the truck and the gate and made it to the end of the street.  My senses were overloaded, but I just kept walking and was relieved to see the market up ahead.  The bad news was I had to cross a busy street to get to it.  I looked around and there were no crosswalks.  People were just walking into traffic and cars were honking.  Gah!  Would I ever get to eat?!?

I stepped into the honking traffic and made my way across the street praying that I wouldn't get killed.  And as I entered the market, I saw it.  McDonalds!!  Woo hoo!  Now time to get some cash.  I knew I had TC's cash as a back-up plan, but I wanted to do this by myself - without his help.  So, I made my way to the nearest cash machine.  With my own money in hand, I went into McDonald's and ordered my chicken McNugget value meal.  Life was good!

Once my tummy was full, I realized it was time to go home.  Unfortunately, I had been so overwhelmed by everything on the way to the market that I didn't know my way back.  I didn't really know what to do, so I went and hung out in a bookstore for awhile contemplating my next step.  I bought a book and then walked through the market a few more times.  Still, nothing looked familiar.  I knew the market was overall in the shape of a square, so I decided to walk around the outside of the market.  And there it was.. the busy intersection!  I happily stepped into the on-going traffic and made my way back to my room.  Things were looking familiar!  I couldn't wait to set foot in my room.

I quickened my pace in the heat and realized I was lost again.  I made a wrong turn.  I knew I had to get to D-193.  Good news is I was in block D.  Bad news in the numbers were too low.  I was hot and sweaty and was beginning to think I would never find my room.  Thankfully, my brain came to my rescue.  As I stopped in the middle of the street and looked around me all the numbers started to form a map in my head.  I knew how to get back!

Roaming the streets of Delhi by myself was clearly outside my comfort zone.  It was overwhelming and sometimes scary, but I did it and feel great about it!