I'm about halfway through my Christmas tour and I thought it would be good to write about how it's going. What follows are comments from the journal I'm keeping.
People in the coach are very friendly and sociable and I'm really enjoying the tour so far. It makes such a difference to get a group of really nice people!
Dinner tonight was amazing. I've never eaten 6-courses before and I thoroughly enjoyed every aspect of the meal. I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed eating. It's a long time since I've had any pleasure in eating. I can't remember when last I did. I reckon the last time I enjoyed eating like this is back in 2009 in Lucerne. Boy, that's a long time. I didn't realise quite how seriously bad my emotional relationship with food is, I knew it was bad but didn't realise it was that bad. It feels good to be able to enjoy food, if only for a few days. That's the trouble - once I'm home alone again with no-one to eat with! Hmm it's hard.
I have nice companions at my table. I'm slowly opening up and warming to them. I'm feeling very frozen emotionally and totally out of my depth socially. I realise how isolated I've become. I also realise just how little confidence I have on a social level, even superficially. I'm feeling very awkward and unsure of myself. I'm very quiet at the table and my usual super confident front isn't there for me to pull on. I'm not quite sure why that is or where she's gone, except she ain’t there to help me cover and front it out!
I've been very gentle on myself and I intend to continue to do so, after all "M" did ask me to be gentle on myself, and I'm doing an okay job at that so far!
I can't believe how much I'm enjoying this trip. Every moment of it is so enjoyable. Last Christmas I was completely exhausted, physically, emotionally and spiritually, I realise that now. The hard work of the past year has brought me to a place where I'm more relaxed in certain situations though not in others and much stronger to deal with just going with the flow of things. This is the first time I've gone away at Christmas and not stressed about the details or how I'm going to be – it is a noticeable difference, very tangible. It's good to be aware of that!
For the horse and sleigh ride today there were 2 carriages because there are 32 of us doing it. I was given a seat on the front of the first one, next to the driver which suited me perfectly. I don't think being crammed in close with people and always like to be on an end so to on the front like that was fantastic. It also meant I was perfectly positioned for taking photos and video footage. The next hour was wonderful. It wasn't as cold as we expected. We had a lovely ride through the countryside and wooded areas. We took a break at a scenic point halfway through to have Schnapps which knocked back was lovely, surprisingly tasty and very warming.
I took over 1000 photos today as well as photos and videos on my camcorder. I've taken over 6 ½ gb of photos so far. The most photos I've ever taken on a Christmas trip. I'm much more relaxed about taking photos now and don't really worry much what other people think about it. It makes such a difference to me following my passion for photography, it's part of my make-up, part of my identity, a huge part of my identity actually!
I'm getting on well with everyone, men as well as women, I'm not quite so scared as I was and more confident about how I'm communicating. That's another huge difference I'm aware of! Huge progress really!! Just wish I could be more confident socially and at meal times, that's a very different story unfortunately!