More Than Diabetes

It’s the last day of D-Blog week! Its been amazing to meet some new writers and really enlightening to read perspectives from around the world.

Today’s topic is: More Than Diabetes. Lets wrap up the week by sharing a little more about ourselves, beyond the chronic illness we or our loved ones live with.

It will also be my shortest post of the week because I’ve got a flight to catch.

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Hobbies Pictured: Reading, writing, visiting new places with no plan. Also: emergency juice and gummies.

Hobbies not pictured: RuPaul’s Drag Race, dancing to Cher’s “Believe,” people-watching on the metro, discovering old man bars, wishing I could sing, going to concerts, annoying my neighbors by constantly blasting Van Morrison, laughing out loud whenever possible, and trying to write in Spanish.

I’ll be catching up and commenting on posts next week but right now I’m off to… Poland! If any of you have any must-see Warsaw sites or know where the must-eat pierogis are, feel free to let me know below.

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Move More, Ruminate Less

The last time I referred to myself as “a runner” I lived in an almost-arctic Steel City and I was angry at everybody. I ran in the cold and in the rain and after snowpocalypse when the streets were empty and the snow still white. My legs were firm. I was always surprised when I saw them in the shower. They looked like they belonged to someone else.

Quite a few years have gone by since then. I live under the sun in the center of Spain now. The most intense training I do on a regular basis is carry groceries up to my apartment (which, to be fair, is a fifth-floor walk-up, aka: no joke).

My winter vacation was strange. It rolled along without melancholy until one day I woke up ruminating on all the things I don’t have enough of: money, time, close friends to call for coffee. I lost my appetite, dreaded the mornings, wrote mostly of dreams, felt useless, and wished I was working. People call this “the winter blues.” I called it if I see one more bulging bag of gifts, I’m going to lose it. The only thing that might possibly have satisfied my homesickness (aside from going home) would  have been a dance with a Philadelphia Mummer. Any Mummer would have done. Wishing a Dunkin Donuts barista Happy Holidays! may also have have sufficed.

Those feelings spilled over into the new year and finally into a work week that dragged on and on, into mornings I greeted begrudgingly and nights I wondered why the hell it was I’d decided to move again? Eat your fruit & veggies, drink watertry to go to sleep earlycall somebody, go outside. Those things help. This morning I woke up late, fed and dressed myself, put on red lips and headphones and headed to Dunkin Donuts. To-go coffee has always been my remedy for homesickness in Spain. It feels wasteful and silly–and it is. But drinking from a cardboard cup once a year is worth the relief, however momentary it may be, that mediocre coffee and its memories of home provides. Cup in hand, walking through my new city, my favorite neighborhoods, I thought of running. Of solitude. Of those days when I didn’t mind the weather, when I ran to release, when I learned that my body existed for reasons other than being hated.

I have to train againI have to remember what that’s like.

This time around I’ll learn different lessons but run for the same reason: to remember how much exists outside of me, to live in words other than should, could, and would.

When It All Goes Wrong: A Horror Story

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Halloween is upon us, so why not break the blog silence with an awful story? Like the one about my recent return to Spain?

I’ve traveled plenty and I’ve managed to do so with problems no greater than my seat-mate falling asleep on me, drooling on myself, or missing an occasional bus, but this year was different.

Continue reading “When It All Goes Wrong: A Horror Story”

Oliver Sacks and Spanish Social Security

Para leer este post en Español, haga clic aqui.

A bald man wearing a lanyard slaps a “Donate Blood!” sticker onto my right breast. Headphones in, hands sweaty, and my music turned up, I flash him the “A-OK!” symbol and scurry into the health center. His mouth is moving but all I hear are electric guitars.

I am twenty-five and I have lived with Type 1 Diabetes for seventeen years. Today I am using the national health system in Spain, where I live and work, for the first time. I am more terrified than any human adult should be. I’m afraid that the woman at the front desk will kick me and my American accent out. I’m afraid that, if I am allowed to see a doctor, she will tell me that I must sell my soul in exchange for insulin and test strips.

Continue reading “Oliver Sacks and Spanish Social Security”

A Really Formal (Re)Introduction.

Para leer este post en Espanol, haga clic aquí.

Seven (!) years have gone by since I last wrote in what was at the time known as The Diabetes Blogosphere (do they still call it that? I don’t know anything).

So who am I? Here’s the short story: I’m half-American, half-Irish and, after living in Spain for quite some time, 100% confused. So although I’ve titled this corner of the internet A Diabetic Abroad, this particular abroad—Spain—is now more like a second home for me than anything else. It’s the place where my twenties are happening, after all. But anyway let’s not get too technical about it; I will never flip a tortilla de patatas with the ease of a true Spaniard.

So, why am I back on the bandwagon? I have many reasons, but let’s discuss 3 of them.

Continue reading “A Really Formal (Re)Introduction.”