Today, on my 43rd birthday, I would like to tell you about two amazing experiences I had when I recently traveled through India. Both of them were extremely physical. One of them made me aware of cultural differences in our attitude towards death. The other one gave me insights about the poorest of the poor – and how the other half dies.
I want everything under the sun but skin cancer. Summer has always been my favorite time of the year. I have never worried whether a sun tan is fashionable or not, I just loved being under the sun, at the beach, close to the sea. Skin cancer has become an issue for me now, as CLL makes me vulnerable to other types of cancer as well.
Last year I went to see my doctor, because I wanted to plan my future with him. I had decided to make the best use of the good times I still had, but I needed him to endorse my visions. He didn’t. I thought: “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade” – and I actively looked for alternatives. Sounds easy. Isn`t easy though.
I am still so new to blogging and I am just loving it. But something that really annoys me is looking for the right pictures that go with my entries. I do not want to focus on white women, yet I find significantly fewer photos of men. If I explicitly search for African or Asian people, I obtain images which often reflect cultural stereotypes.
One of the first decisions I had taken after having been confronted with my diagnosis of chronic lymphocytic leukemia was not to cancel the trip to Southern Caucasus we had planned. But, I have to admit that during our trip to Turkey, Georgia and Armenia (a backpacking trip by the way), I was still under shock.
I have just come back from the “Camino de Santiago”. The idea is that you walk to the cathedral where the remains of the apostle James are buried. No car, no motorbike, no taxi…just walk – like the medieval pilgrims used to do. The normal way from France to Santiago de Compostela is about 800 kilometers or 500 miles long. What is so special about the city and those old bones? Why don’t people go to Paris or New York? Why would anyone walk at all in modern times? I can answer these questions now.