Sometimes it seems life offers you great gifts which are disguised in crappy wrapping paper. Such was my experience on my first night in Portugal. Our entire group (350 people) was scheduled to board buses to visit an old winery for a dinner to celebrate our first night in Sintra ...."yeah, I love wine".
No one told us the drive was up a mountain with no sections of the road that were straight. It was like being on a roller coaster that didn't end for 40 minutes. It was all I could do to not, well, no polite way of putting it......throw up.
After what seemed like three hours (of course it wasn't), we arrived. There were Portugese singers, lots of munchies and my head, feeling like the game show "Wheel of Misfountune". My doctor told me that motion sickness can become more exaggerated as you get older.......thanks, just what I wanted to hear.
When we finally sat down, John chose a table for us near the door just in case I had to....you know... Needless to say, we ended up sitting with a group of people neither of us knew. It just happened that Jamie and Nick were seated at our table also. John started up a conversation with Nick while I continued trying to drink water and stuff bread into my mouth (the tour guide said it would help settle my stomach). After some time I did feel slightly better. At least well enough to join in the conversation and talk to Jamie. I found out we had a lot in common, we are both around the same age, teenage kids (she must have had them at 15, because she looks fabulous), etc. etc. But those things were just similarities....I just liked her right from the start...you know that connection you make with someone else???? That spark that leads you to believe that a good friendship is possible. I felt such kindness in her and that always resonates with me.
At this point the tour guide informs me that another woman also has really bad motion sickness and they are arranging a car back to the hotel for her....would I also like a ride?? I was so happy I didn't have to get on that bus again. I was also lecturing myself on the virtues of Gravol.
So dinner is over, the car is waiting and I am comforted in knowing that I am not the only one who fell ill on this "ride up the Magic Mountain". Waiting by the car was the "amazing Liz". The minute she sees me I get a huge hug, she grabs my hand and tells me how happy she is that she was not the "only one". I connect with her immediately....there is a warmth about her that is inescapable. It feels like we are in some sort of "sisterhood".... bound together by both not having any gravol... but it was much more than that. No doubt about it, I felt a bond with her on the spot. The ride back was uneventful...no, you know what...for either of us. The hotel staff had gravol for us when we arrived...how kind.
So I guess the moral of my story is this, just because something terrible may happen to you passing through the front door, doesn't mean you won't be leaving through the back door with two unexpected gifts.....new friendships
Thanks Liz and Jamie