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Learning to Draw

Life as it happens to be

With the nights growing longer, and the days colder, as leaves begin to turn from green to vibrant shades of yellow, orange and red, and then fade once more into grey, and fall and turn to dust, the evenings have become a perfect time for some cosy indoor activities.

So, I am attempting to learn to draw. I have always loved to doodle, but I have never taken an art class in my life, and I have never really known where to begin. I’m no artist, just a beginner, and I would love to learn and develop so much more.

This week I have been sketching and watching You Tube videos in my attempt to figure out just where to start. Here are four completed pictures that I have done. They aren’t great, as I’m just a beginner, but they made me smile and I hope they make you smile…

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‘Travel Snaps’ ~ The Hotel Diplomat (Vienna House) in Prague

For previous ‘travel snaps’ of my adventures, please click on the ‘Travel’ tab in my main menu 🙂

Wednesday 16th August 2017

As you will know, if you have been following on with my travel adventure series, arrival at our hotel was not without a little bit of drama! 🙂

However, it was lovely to at last get off the bus, after being on the road for a few hours. It was just before dinner time, and the evening was sweet, sun-kissed and pleasant. I was beginning to feel the excitement of a traveller in a new place.

Before me in front of the hotel was a long straight main street, clean, and neat, except from the occasional glimpses of graffiti, with trams gliding past. A couple from my tour group who have travelled extensively throughout America said that it looked a lot like San Fransisco.

I was pleasantly surprised as I wandered into the hotel to check in. The lobby was vast, and nicely stylised. However, you may want to take a sneak peek into the hotel for yourself. 🙂

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Depression, Loneliness & Keeping on Going! …

For previous posts on similar topics, please take a look at my ‘Mental Health’ and ‘Self Care’ tabs.

I’ve hit a bit of a wall in recent days. Without going into the back story or the journey so far in this particular post, in summary I am receiving treatment for Post Traumatic Stress / complex trauma, Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD), and severe clinical depression. It has been tough, however, recently I have made some positive strides, especially in terms of traveling alone again, going for a job interview two days after I got back from work, and managing the work of my team singlehandedly for three weeks while my boss was on holiday.

However, this last Friday and Monday were public holidays, which meant a glorious four days off work. The only thing was that they weren’t entirely glorious. A friend who was married earlier this year and who had moved to a different city was back visiting both for a work related conference and to see other friends, and asked to meet with me. I wanted to, I really did, and felt that I also ought to, but my desire to be a good friend, to socialise, and to make an effort was outweighed by my symptoms overwhelming me. Another friend asked to meet me on the Monday, but again I just couldn’t manage. It was a rough day – I ended up staying in my PJs all day, and for most of the time watching re-runs of ‘Parks and Recreation’ (possibly the greatest show ever made 😉 ) to alleviate the stress of the nightmares I have been having, low mood, confusion, dizziness, anxiety and disorientation. It was a sunny day, but I didn’t even make it outside. However, Sunday I actually accomplished some mini milestones; it was a rainy grey day all day, and yet I managed to travel by train and then by ferry to visit my good friend and her two young children, to see her little girl before her birthday. I used to make that journey fairly regularly, however I hadn’t for the past 5 years due to pretty much barely being able to function or manage the anxiety, depression, and trauma symptoms. So yay! And it was good to have the company. My friend, who I met in university, is only 5 years older than me, and yet she has been married for over 2 decades (they met and married young), and has two children, and is quite settled and happy in life. I knew her before she had kids, so it has been a blessing seeing her family grow and move from one stage of life to another. The kids growing up really signify to me how much time is passing. Not that I’m old, or feel old, it’s just that I haven’t met the ‘milestones’ that I thought I would have or wanted to by this stage in life, and although I have accomplished a lot for someone battling the conditions that I have, it is still sometimes pretty hard. Not to mention that just the day previously my news feeds were filling up with joyful pictures of newlyweds. It is lovely to see, but it sometimes brings up all sorts of feelings, especially being on my own with no company in the flat. I have longed for a family of my own. I strive to be thankful, for I am blessed. Perhaps broken, but also blessed.

I am looking forward to going back to work after this long weekend. I need to get back into a routine, and I need company. Recovery from trauma is tough, and living alone is great, but it would be nice to feel supported, and to share life with someone.

I wonder, do any of you relate? Whatever your life situation may be? I need to get my head back in the game, and overcome this fog and struggle that I’ve been feeling. But this is Life as it happens to be, after all. And so I remind myself that I am loved by SomeOne Who will never leave me nor forsake me, and I just need to keep taking the next step and overcoming each thing. I don’t usually long to go back to work, but it is a blessing to have companionship and human contact, and to feel productive.

So, que sera, sera, whatever will be will be. It has been a long road, but we all need to pause in our journey, take a breath, and take time not only to care for others, but also for ourselves. I hope you find a little oasis of peace in your day today, where you can do just that. xx

 

‘Travel Snaps’ ~ First Glimpses of Prague

Please click on my ‘Travel’ tab in my main menu to find previous ‘episodes’ of my Travel Adventures.

The very act of traveling forces you to think about the demarcations of time, of journeys, of chapters, seasons and new beginnings. The several hours spent on the bus from Frankfurt to Prague afforded a time of ‘enforced rest’, and yet that brought with it its own sense of waiting and anticipation.

Eventually, as early evening approached, so too did the first glimpses of Prague, or at least a small part near to the Hotel Diplomat where we would be staying.

In my mind, I had imagined a city of spires, and old ornate buildings, history and bridges at every turn. These views would come the following day, however, my first glimpse of Prague outside of the main city was of long clean streets, trams, people strolling through the town and pretty houses.

As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words (whether or not that is true is a matter of perspective), so I hope you enjoy these pictures, and my first glimpse of Prague with me.

Travel Snaps ~ On the Road Again ~ Frankfurt to Prague

See my ‘Travel’ section on my main menu to catch up on previous ‘episodes’ of this travel adventure! 🙂

Wednesday 16th August 2017. 

An early morning continental buffet breakfast followed the overnight at the NH Hotel, Frankfurt, Germany. This meant getting packed, cases down ready to be loaded onto the bus and I only had time to grab a quick and light breakfast before making my way to the bus. However, from what I could see there was a huge spread of both hot and cold breakfast foods, and I personally enjoyed tasting new flavours of herbal tea – there was quite a range!

We were back on the bus by 8.15am, and the temperature in Frankfurt was 19 degrees C, comfortable but not too bright. By 11.35am it was 24 degrees C and the sun was shining brightly.

And so it was another few hours on the bus, anticipating our next destination of the capital city of the Czech Republic: Prague – the city of 100 spires.

Here are a couple of the travel snaps that I took en route while on the bus, and in case you’re wondering what I look like, there’s also a picture of me that I took in the NH Hotel. 😉

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Travel Snaps ~ Frankfurt ~ NH Hotel & New Friends…

Welcome!

If you would like to follow along with my travel series charting my adventures from last month’s journey across Europe, particularly Prague, Budapest & Vienna, then please click on the ‘Travel’ tab on my main menu, and you will find all of my travel related posts there! However, as these are ‘Travel Snaps’, you should be able to enjoy them as stand-alone entries too.

So to summarise, we were previously on the road by coach from Rotterdam to Frankfurt, with a brief stop at Moselle overlooking the Moselle River & Valley (en route to Prague), after which I stayed overnight on Tuesday 15th August 2017 at the NH Hotel in Frankfurt, Germany.

For anyone considering staying at this hotel, and  for anyone else who is simply interested, here are a few facts:

  • There appears to be 5 NH Hotels in Frankfurt, including one located at Frankfurt Airport, however there may be more that I am not aware of. I am not entirely sure which branch of the hotel I stayed at, however I would imagine that they are all fairly similar in style.
  • The Hotels rate themselves as between 4 and 4 and a half stars out of a 5 star ranking.
  • They are modern, clean, neat, ‘unfussy’, and offer guests the use of free Wi-Fi, and have all of the usual facilities that you would expect from a modern chain-hotel.
  • With regards to price, as my overnight at the NH Hotel was included in the price of a coach tour, I am not able to provide an exact amount, however, prices on the internet seem to range from between £53.00 to £100.00 (GBP) depending on location, with the average cost being around £68.00 (GBP).

My impressions of the hotel were that it was modern, neat, minimalist. I found the staff to be friendly and helpful, and at the evening meal had to request vegetarian food as the driver / tour guide for our coach hadn’t been notified by the travel company of my dietary requirements for some reason. However the staff obliged, and I had a nice healthy and tasty vegetarian option. I found the lobby to be a nice relaxing area, and there was a bar as well which was also quite modern and neat. The breakfast was buffet style with plenty of choice.  For one evening and morning in the hotel I didn’t have a lot of time to explore things that one might make use of during a longer stay such as the gym and other facilities, but for an overnight stop it was quite pleasant and very functional.

On a more personal note, at this stage of the coach tour with spending most of the time on the road with brief stops at service stations along the way, I still hadn’t had the opportunity to engage in more than just ‘small talk’ with the other people on the tour. I don’t mind this too much as I am just as happy to be in my own company most of the time as I am to be in good company with others.

So on arrival in the hotel, I unpacked the essentials, showered, got changed into some nice but not too formal evening clothes, and settled in during the hour or so before the evening meal. Being on my own, I was seated at one of the smaller tables for four guests, as opposed to the larger round tables that were there where most others in the group were directed to. I was met by a lovely couple who were semi-retired, but still quite young in their ways. They asked to sit with me, and I was quite happy to have their company. We talked and laughed about our many and varied travel adventures, shared stories about our families and our lives at home, and also chatted about our future travel goals, the films we liked (including a shared love of the Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson film, ‘The Bucket List’ that I watched on my Kindle Fire while on the bus) and other such things. We were joined by the bus driver shortly afterwards, who later turned out to be quite a character and a nice chap to have around, however my first impression of his company was not very pleasant due to the fact that he talked a lot about his friends’ experiences of getting the cane (being beaten) in school to the tune of a classical piece that he was playing to us on the bus. As some of you may know, I have Post Traumatic Stress from being bullied as a child, and the conversation got to the point where I had to mention it, however he continued, and with tears in my eyes I actually had to leave and take some time in the lobby. The couple I had been chatting to urged me to come back after I had a break, and I promised that I would.

I’m writing this, as well as anecdotally, to encourage anyone who suffers from Post Traumatic Stress, anxiety, panic attacks or other such conditions, who may fear traveling whether that be alone or with others. My advice is to just go ahead and do it. You will always find a way to manage, and sometimes you will be surprised at your own resilience and at the kindness of strangers who then become friends. Some of you may also know that I have a relationship with God, so while in the lobby drying my eyes and trying to calm my breathing and settle the ‘flashbacks’ (and at this point I noticed that the lobby was quite tastefully decorated in style with long couches and a black marble counter at reception, as an aside 😉 ) I prayed for God to comfort me, and a few seconds later a lady arrived and sat on the sofa opposite me with her tiny granddaughter, a beautiful baby who was at the stage where she was still too young to speak. Her grandmother spoke to her in German, but despite the language barrier, I was able to smile and wave to her and we made eye contact. It was a lovely moment, and a blessing. I did eventually rejoin the group, and as mentioned previously had a lovely vegetarian meal, with some kind of raspberry cream sorbet for desert.

I chatted with the couple I had met over a drink (a hot chocolate for me) after dinner at the bar, and the husband was inspired by some black and white prints of the Golden Gate Bridge on the walls to tell me about their road trips as a large family through the United States, including to San Fransisco. And so concluded my first night of the holiday on land (as opposed to the overnight on the ferry), and the beginning of some new friendships…

Here are a few pictures that I took of my hotel room while I was there: