So, I am not going to lie, I couldn’t wait for 2018 to be over. It had been a rough one — full of extreme highs and valleys so low, that I often thought I could not nor would not be able to climb my way back out. While last year made me a published best-selling author, something I always dreamed of but never thought I would actually accomplish, it was one of my extreme highs and something I will always relish.
Anyhow, I just returned from a trip to Brazil, a dream trip that started out as a 10-day excursion that was changed to a 7-day trip due to schedule conflicts at work, and then due to not obtaining our e-Visa in time ended up a short trip with a 4-day turn around. I was devastated at the airport when they would not let us board our plane on Saturday, even begging to allow us to just get to Houston where the Brazilian Consulate was located and family was also available to help out. But they would not let us board the plane. So, after a night rest we drove to Houston on Sunday, and arrived at the Consulate first thing Monday morning and obtained our Visas.
Two days later than expected we arrived in Brazil and I let go of the stress of the year as I felt the warmth of the Brazilian sun hit my face. A few hours later after visiting Christ the Redeemer and taking a ton of photos that I could not wait to post, we then arrive at the Escandaria Selaron and I find that my apple iPhone touch screen won´t work, I cannot open my phone, not to take pictures, not to talk, or text – nothing. AAAAAGH!!!
No worries, my daughter and travel buddy has hers, and we have a SLR camera. Photos ensue, we eat a fabulous lunch and then head to find an apple store. We arrive just in time as it is closing at 5pm, and they advised to come back first thing in the morning. No worries, what is a night without a phone, I can do that.
As we leave the store nature calls and I find a McDonalds across the street. anyone who has traveled internationally knows that McDonalds and Burger King are godsends when you need a lu, toilette, bathroom, but you also realize that they are much, much smaller than the American standards, and a far cry from Buc-ees (a Texas staple). So, as I attempt to wiggle out of my romper in the toilet room where my knees touch the wall when I sit on the lu, my phone flies out of the pocket and I attempt to catch it in midair it falls to the ground and I raise and lower my foot right on the screen and hear a crunch. WTF, seriously!!! I finish my business and we head back to the hotel.
The next day we find Impanema Beach, and head back to Apple after a few hours at the beach, of course now that the screen is cracked the phone is no longer under warranty and I would have to pay full price for a new phone, in addition, they do not have the same amount of memory available. I resolve myself to just wait it out. I can survive the week without a phone and hopefully work and my schedule making can wait a few days as well. It is now Wednesday night and we have dinner at a fabulous Brazilian steakhouse, a few drinks at an interesting bar and head back to the hotel (our original show was cancelled and the bar is not exactly what we paid for but let’s just go with it.
On Thursday, we head to Copacabana beach we cannot leave Rio without a tan, and now the excursion that was supposed to pick us up at 2 tells us we are supposed to be ready in a half an hour, so we rush back to the hotel only to wait and wait for an excursion that does not show up till after 3:30, they then rush us to and from locations, which does not really allow for a lot of time for great pictures. Now we are rushed and hangry as the excursion had not allowed for time to stop and eat. Friday, on our last day in Rio, we try and hit up a few more must-dos, and take a few more photos with our regular camera and make the most of our last day in Rio. I want to head out early to make it to the airport, but traffic is unbelievable but standard for a city of 7 million, so we are delayed but thankfully still arrive on time.
The trip was not all bad, indeed I am blessed to even have been able to go on this trip but I wrote this to relay a few of the things that I learned in 2018, a few things that I have found to have enabled me to survive a most trying year.
1. Things happen for a reason – you may not be able to understand while you are going through these trying times, but when you make it through you come out refreshed and anew – seeing what is really important on the other side.
2. We are bound by the universe – placing and promoting positive vibes helps to realize that all will indeed work out for the best.
3. Letting go is difficult – I relinquished my need to take photos, I usually am the photographer on all of our trips, letting my daughter take charge actually gave me the freedom to look and truly see some of the most beautiful places in Rio. Pictures held in my heart, mind and soul.
4. Time will pass – regardless of your trials, these moments pass, anguish, self-doubt and pain will as well. It may not seem as if it will pass quickly enough but indeed minutes, hours, days, weeks, months and a year will go by more quickly than we anticipate.
So today, as I am ringing in the New Year at work on a 24 hour shift, celebrating the oncoming New Year with my work family I am thankful that I survived one of the most challenging years I have endured but I have come out stronger, and unfortunately, perhaps a little heavier due to a habit of stress eating, but I am stronger and more determined to let go of the negative and start anew. Here is to the prospect of a great New Year 2019!
Dr. Maria Perez-Johnson is a Pediatric Emergency Medicine physician who practices in South Texas. She is also co-author of The Chronicles of Women in White Coats She is passionate about the health care of children. She is a wife, mother and author and has found a new passion in writing. She spends her off days traveling and walking short distances with her bulldog Zeus. She can be followed on Instagram @mperejohnson.