Well, it’s been more than a week, and I’m surviving so far!
My in-flight meals were a WLS post-op’s nightmare: giant heaps of carbs. We always sign up to get the vegetarian option, which is great on some airlines and not so great on others. KLM and Delta seem to have a carnivore with a chip on his shoulder designing the veg menu. We were actually served a hamburger bun with some kind of gloopy rice thing as the filling for one meal. Seriously? Everyone else gets eggs and cheese? Which is vegetarian (but not vegan, but we didn’t specify vegan, just veg)? But we get bread with rice? And was that any better than the previous meal, which was pasta with bread? OK, finished complaining. Luckily I had bars, bars, and more bars with me. That’s about all I ate for two days.
Warning: non-WLS-related details ahead! Skip ahead if you are only here for the WLS stuff.
Our new place is an apartment in a building with another new person (that’s a plus). It’s only about a 15 minute drive from the university, if traffic isn’t bad, and about a 10 minute drive to the sea, which is nice. It’s in an area with big fancy houses, and is the only apartment building, which means it’s quiet - and the local mosque is even fairly quiet, which is not a given in this part of the world. The apartment itself is big, but not very nice - three bedrooms and four bathrooms all to ourselves (I guess our cat gets her own room). It’s sparsely furnished, which makes me long for all of my nice stuff that is, sadly, sitting in a storage unit in the US for the year. The walls are freshly painted an ungodly shade of pepto bismal pink.
The university seems nice so far - the campus is big enough that in the hot months you pretty much have to drive to class, but the grounds are pretty. Our department seems full of friendly, well-organized people. The classrooms and offices are nicer and better set up than I had imagined. All seems good so far. We spent the first week just doing paperwork: visas, driver’s licenses, utilities, phones, internet, bank account, etc, etc, etc. That stuff is a pain whenever you move, but at least there were people here to help with it.
The weather has been pretty hot, but not as bad as we were expecting. It’s been in the 90s (low 30s C), but not in the 110s (44+C), like Dubai is getting at this time of year. Humid, though.
Back to the WLS stuff.
My food intake is going to be different here. Some of my staples are not easy to find or cheap here. Examples: cottage cheese is available, but it’s the British kind - it is not at all the same thing. Greek yogurt is available at a grocery store a fair drive from my house, but it’s Fage, so it’s imported, so it’s like $10 for a small tub, $4 for an individual pot - this means I will be hanging my yogurt to make my own Greek yogurt (hanging it in a cloth and letting the whey drip out turns it into Greek yogurt). Fake vegetarian meat is available! Quorn chik’n roast! Morningstar patties! Hooray! I was not expecting this here! Protein shake mixes are readily available. On the more positive side concerning food, I’m back to where I can get great Middle Eastern and Indian food, which I really enjoy. The spicy flavors appeal to my messed up post-WLS palate: if it’s really spicy, I can’t taste that it tastes weird.
Some food challenges: lunch at school will probably have to be brought from home, even though I think most people eat in the dining room, so it’s a social thing. I will have to be that weird one with a Tupperware full of strange stuff instead of having what everyone else is having. I’ll deal. Another challenge: other faculty bringing nice things to eat. This is a very food-as-social-gesture culture, so saying no is hard. I’ve already had to say no to several lovely looking cakes. I hope I’m doing it gracefully. I worry about that.
I managed to go out with a big group and not make a big deal of not drinking at a pub quiz - I kept getting soda water and limes, and I think it looked enough like a G&T to not be suspicious. I also managed to kick @$$ at the pub quiz, which I’m sure helped people overlook my suspicious not-drinking behavior.
As a new hire, I have to undergo a health screening, the first part of which is over - it was just taking all the vitals plus getting a chest x-ray (for TB). It is a HUGE RELIEF to go to the doctor and not be afraid (I mean petrified!) of getting weighed and measured and stuff. I was like, lah-di-dah, sure you can weigh me with another person in the room. Whatevs. My pee test came back with ketones in it (I posted about that and others were kind enough to assure me that the doctor probably won’t suspect I’m dying or anything once I explain how I’m eating), and also I came up slightly hypoglycemic, but that was after hours and hours and hours of no food. It was a tough day. I get the real exam in a week or so, during which I’m sure I’ll be asked about my pee and also the giant nest of titanium staples that are very apparent, I’m sure, in my x-ray.
So, it’s time to join a gym. Fortunately, there is a faculty club on campus that has all the gym sort of stuff (weights, cardio machines, pool, tennis, etc.) and is very reasonably priced. How convenient is that? We looked around today, and it looks like a pretty good setup, so we’re going to hit the gym tomorrow! We’ve really just been mall walking since we’ve been here - it’s pretty hot out, and muggy besides, so a gym will be just the thing. I’m actually looking forward to it.
So far, my favorite part about this move is that I feel way more confident in meeting new people. It feels so great to just not have that 30% of my mind busy running myself down, and second guessing everything, and worrying about what I look like, and stressing about things like getting winded walking up stairs or feeling really hot and sweaty if I have to walk out in the hot weather, or trying to figure out what my next (punishment) diet is going to consist of. It’s just very freeing to not have all of those worries in my head. I can think about other things. I can focus on being more positive (I tend to be a teensy bit negative, or perhaps cynical).
My weight loss doesn’t look like it’s slowing down much - in the past 30 days I’ve lost about 13 pounds. I’m still eating around 700 calories per day, I’m getting just shy of 10,000 steps per day, but I’m not really “exercising” at the moment, just walking when I can during the day. That all changes tomorrow: Gym Day. So, we’ll see how things go in the first few weeks here, but it looks as if all is well on the WL front. I currently have about 35 pounds to lose to get to goal, which sounds pretty good to me. I feel like I’m in a very good place at the moment, so I’m not in a huge rush to lose those 35 pounds. Getting closer…