Tuesday, July 10, 2007

pills, pals and the introvert challenge

All the little things I had to do last week sucked every last bit of energy out of me and I spent the weekend recharging my batteries. That's what happens when you're an introvert. More about that later.

Last Monday saw me getting up at 5:45 a.m. to get myself and everyone else ready and out the door so I could be on time for my annual thyroid check in downtown Hannover. I really like my doctor, well, as much as you can like someone you only see for 15 minutes once a year. I've been going to her since I moved to Germany and she takes her time and seems to listen to what I have to say, most of the time anyway.

First came the blood test and then a bit of a wait to see the doctor because she is always Very Very Busy. About 5 minutes into my appointment her cell phone rang. She excused herself to answer it and started giving instructions to some unidentified person about where to find the frozen cakes (top shelf of the downstairs freezer if she recalled correctly) and how to set the table for the afternoon (definitely something flowery) and so on and so forth and no, no, she'd hop off the train on the way home from work and attend to that herself. When she finally hung up, I raised my eybrows and give her a bit of a look and she said "Heh. So sorry. It's my birthday today." Wow, doctors are human too! Let's get on with my appointment, shall we?

Doc: Sooooo, how have you been feeling? Your thyroid numbers are fabulous. Every patient's dream, in fact.

Me: Eh, not that great, actually. I recently got diagnosed with iron deficiency anemia and it's going to take many months of supplements to get that back on track. I'm dead on my feet.

Doc: Oh yes, not nice at all, and I'm sure you've read that anemia symptoms can mimic those of hypothyroidism. But I'm pretty positive it's just the anemia that's bothering you right now.

Me: I don't know about that. There are a couple of other things...

Doc: [does ultrasound while I whimper quietly to myself] Hmm, OK, things are looking fine here. [I whine a bit more] Oh, all right! I'll let you increase your medication just a teeeeensy bit. You'll need to get another blood test in 6 weeks at your regular doctor's and we'll see each other next year, OK? And hey, did I mention that it's my birthday? Heeee!

So except for the tiny prick of the needle (I'm one of those people who actually doesn't mind having blood taken - I like to watch!) it was fairly painless and I was out of there in under an hour.

But I had a much more pleasurable reason to be in Hannover that day.

About a month ago I got an e mail from an old friend of mine in Vancouver who I went through high school with. We don't really keep in touch but see each other every two years at the "girls' lunch" my very best friend in West Van always hosts when I'm in town. Then it's just like old times and we catch up on the news. M told me she was coming to Hannover for a few days because her partner has relatives there and she asked if we could possibly get together.

She got into Hannover on the previous Saturday and after a bit of telephone tag which involved a hotel register mix-up and talking to three different people none of whose mother tongue was German or English, we got things all sorted out and arranged to meet downtown around lunchtime on Monday. I talked to her on Sunday and asked her how her first night in her hotel room was.

Her: Well, I HAD planned on sleeping in but got woken up by a marching band going past my window at 4:30 a.m.

Me: Welcome to Germany!

Because she and her partner were coming to Europe anyway, they decided to see a bit more than just Hannover and had spent the first three weeks of their trip touring Italy. Unfortunately they ran into some pretty rude hotel staff and a couple of rip-off artist taxi drivers who made their stay less than enjoyable.

Her: Wow! I LOVE Germany! It's so clean and the people are so friendly. Compared to Italy this is paradise!!

Me: Heh. Well if you say so, but remember, you've only seen about 5 square blocks of the place so far.

M said that after eating Wienerschnitzel at the hotel for a couple of days she was kind of sick of stodgy German food already so we trotted off to Henry's, the old standby which turned out to be exactly the right choice. She took one look at the menu and said "Oh yeah, after all that Italian food a cheeseburger and fries will do me JUST fine!" Nope, nothin' stodgy 'bout that! We Canadians are simple folk.

We filled each other in on what was new and reminisced a bit about the good old days in high school - navy blue crested blazers, knee socks, tartan skirts and all that went along with that. "We are NOT a beach!" our Scottish headmistress used to say when we hitched up those skirts a little too high trying to catch a few rays during lunch break. Ahh, those were the days!

After the required four hours of non-stop gabbing we parted ways and I went home to conk out on the sofa. She still had trips to Hamburg and Amsterdam planned for the week and was eager to absorb as much European culture as possible. I sure hope the Dutch treated her well.

Tuesday I had a hair appointment (small talk and chit chat) and my final class for the year with the little monkeys at the school library (yelling and shushing).

Wednesday was a day of rest for me, thank goodness, although I did have to clean the damn house. My boys all headed off to the Schützenfest in the afternoon and brought back this photo of themselves having just tons of fun. Mr. M has repeatedly told me that he doesn't want his picture plastered all over the internet so I must respect his wishes.

Thursday morning the elementary school principal hosted a two hour "thank you" breakfast for the library volunteers. 15 people, lots of small talk and chit chat.

Thursday evening we attended a birthday dinner for Mr. M's 17 yr old goddaughter. 20 people, even more small talk and chit chat.

Friday afternoon was a three hour end-of-year potluck buffet for Boy11's class. Students, parents and teacher included. Masses of people, small talk and chit chat like you wouldn't believe. Gahhhhhh.

So here comes the introverted part - by Friday evening I was sooooo tired of small talking and chit chatting that all I wanted to do was take to my bed and sleep for three days.

It's not that I don't like people, I really do. They just exhaust me, that's all. Even if I think you're the cat's pyjamas, you STILL might exhaust me. Don't take it personally. It's not you, it's me. I'm an introvert.

Here's an informative article entitled Caring for Your Introvert. Read it and you'll understand where I'm coming from.

This week I have nothing going on. Nix. Null. Nada. And that suits me JUST FINE, thank you very much.

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At July 10, 2007 1:36 p.m., Blogger C N Heidelberg said...

People make me tired too. I always come up right on the introvert/extrovert line on those tests, though.

Your friend is making me fear Italy!!! Especially since I will be going there with my in-laws, who take no pains to not come off as rude Americans....ay yi yi....

At July 10, 2007 2:26 p.m., Blogger christina said...

cn - I guess there are all sorts of different introvert/extrovert combinations. I seem to be right at the far edge of extrovert and it's pretty rough sometimes. I wouldn't worry about Italy too much. I think my friend just ran into a bit of bad luck and she's not used to travelling abroad.

At July 10, 2007 3:28 p.m., Blogger Alison said...

Oh man... I sooo relate to that article.

At July 10, 2007 3:44 p.m., Anonymous gerdaomi said...

Yes,yes,yes me too.

At July 10, 2007 4:19 p.m., Blogger Ginnie said...

Yup, Christina. People either drain us or energize us...or something in between. But the way you tell it all is so much better! :)

Donica is in Hannover today for a few hours, flying back to A'dam tonight after we both arrived here at 7:30 this morning. I sure hope the trip is/was worth it for her. And needless to say, I've been thinking of you all day. Wish I could have gone with her!

At July 10, 2007 5:26 p.m., Blogger Trac said...

Oh I love that picture of Mr M!

Hahaha - Brilliant!

Oh and I love Italy!! Fab food and fab people. Not so sure about their driving...

At July 10, 2007 5:43 p.m., Anonymous Maribeth said...

People exhaust me too. In fact I just got rid of my last visitor (much loved) and I am finally starting to catch up on my rest. I just need quiet and down time.

At July 10, 2007 6:16 p.m., Blogger CanadianSwiss said...

Is this the year of needing relaxation for so many of us? I'm looking forward to this weekend, too. NOTHING planned. Just couldn't do it. And it's not my work... It's just me, so I can absolutely sympathize :)

At July 10, 2007 9:49 p.m., Blogger swenglishexpat said...

You had a tiring week! I read the article re introverts, and decided I am definitely one. Some people are afraid of the silence in a conversation, why? It's not necessary to fill the air with continuous sound waves, is it. Ever heard of a pregnant pause? It reminds me of a book (by Henrich Böll?) where Dr Mabuse collects bits of audio tape with silence!

At July 10, 2007 11:25 p.m., Blogger Expat Traveler said...

ok - that sounds like fun, yet just like me. After all of the visiting and chit chat, I'd love to just sleep! And yes I get tired from visiting friends, but it's just me..

But I can follow with the posting pics of mr m, P's the same way. Great idea actually!

So... Glad you are out and about and your health is right on track at least...


At July 11, 2007 7:42 a.m., Anonymous Karen said...

Interesting article....recognised a bit of myself there.

Get some rest - sounds like an exhausting couple of days :-)

At July 11, 2007 1:51 p.m., Blogger Betsy said...

Hope you are enjoying the silence this week!

At July 11, 2007 6:04 p.m., Blogger Angie said...

Mr. M is so handsome! :)

I know what you mean, fellow introvert. I had a bridal shower last weekend thrown by my best friend and her mother. Presents, ice cream, what could be better? But it left me exhausted. This weekend, Shane's aunts are throwing me another, bigger one, with a lot of family friends and family I don't know. I'm tired already. (But, still excited and grateful, of course!) I can't help it -- I like people in small quantities.

Hope you get those batteries recharged!

At July 11, 2007 6:52 p.m., Blogger Poppy Fields said...

Me too, I get tired of people. My husband has forbidden use of his image on my blog. I have been bad in the past and snuck his photo on for a couple of hours during the day when he's not here, you know, when he irks me..like that really is going to solve the latest spiff. But hey, I get my thrill where I can.

At July 11, 2007 9:58 p.m., Anonymous King da Cat said...

Hey...I take thyroid medicine too. I t'ink you're OK!

At July 11, 2007 11:09 p.m., Blogger christina said...

Alison - Never would have thought it! ;-) The internet is just full of intoverts, I guess.

gerdaomi - Thanks for visiting! You too, huh?

Ginnie - I sure hope Donica's trip went without a hitch and that you're enjoying your time in Amsterdam again.

trac - He's afraid someone might recognize him and then the gig would be up, wouldn't it? Can you believe I've never been to Italy except for 5 minutes at a petrol station on the way to somewhere else?

maribeth - Oh yes, even people you adore can make you SO tired out.

CanSwiss - Yep, we all need to crawl back into our caves this summer and hibernate for a while.

swenglishexpat - I've always had a low noise threshold so silence is one of my favourite sounds. :-)

expat - Yep, too much all at once makes me a little nervous, but it's not all that bad.

karen - No more partying for a while but Sunday is father-in-laws b'day - that should be fun.

Betsy - Just me and the hum of my computer! :-)

Angie - I know! It was his unwavering expression that first attracted me to him. :-) Oh yeah, all those bridal showers and parties will kill ya! I remember going through that. It's worth it though.

poppy - LOL! I should try that some time when I'm mad at him. He's kind of afraid the people he works with will figure out what kind of crazy woman he married.

King! - Wow, I wonder what else we have in common! Do you like tuna sandwiches?

At July 12, 2007 7:41 a.m., Blogger Martina said...

I think Mr. Mausi's afraid that the people at work would start specifically requesting "one of those cakes that Mausi had on the blog last Thursday", LOL.

At July 12, 2007 8:21 a.m., Blogger christina said...

martina - Hmm, you may be right about that! :-)

At July 13, 2007 8:41 a.m., Blogger ColourMeCrazy said...

Phew - you had a super busy week! As for the introvert/extrovert thing - with me...it usually depends how many beers I've had ;-)
Not enough and I'm an introvert.
Too many and I'm ready to go to bed - hence still an introvert ;-)

At July 16, 2007 5:48 a.m., Blogger susan d said...

Is there a test for introvert/extrovert? I read the article. Very interesting. I think I am an introvert (borderline) as well.


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