I know it has been a while. A lot has happened since the wedding. Speaking of which, if you haven’t had the chance to watch our wedding trailer, check it out here: https://vimeo.com/79535224
And, if you’re up for the full length wedding film, you can check that one out here: https://vimeo.com/87093341 (password is Gallaugher0219)
Since the honeymoon (all the way back in October), Alastair and I have been working in Sierra Leone, with time off over Christmas/ New Year’s where we had a fantastic time in Boston, even amidst multiple blizzards and polar vortexes. We returned to Sierra Leone for a couple months of hard work…
So, in March, Alastair and I had a magnificent holiday planned for our two week break from Sierra Leone. We would fly up to London to regroup, and have the chance to say farewell to Al’s sister, Ruth, who was moving to Argentina, then we would fly down to South Africa for a fun-filled adventure in Cape Town and the Kruger National Park. I know it doesn’t sound like it would make sense to fly from Sierra Leone north to London, then from London all the way down to South Africa, essentially passing over Sierra Leone again, but, trust me, it does.
The day after we returned to the U.K., I started to feel ill, and by that evening I was convinced that I had contracted malaria. Though many people have said that malaria, in the first few days, can be mistaken for a flu or another illness, but my body aches, fever, chills and sweats were was so distinctly similar to the last time I had malaria, I was almost certain. We travel with malaria kits, and Alastair had to stab my fingers a whole bunch of times to do rapid blood tests on me, but it wasn’t until the next morning, after a fitful night full of fevers and chills that the tests showed a positive result. Our travel kits also contain treatment, so I took the first dose right away. We were instructed to go to the emergency hospital, and, after a full day spent there, I discharged myself because I was certain that the treatment I had would suffice and I wasn’t in danger. I knew I would heal so much faster at home with Alastair’s family. Alastair did a stellar job taking care of me.
The worst part of this whole ordeal was not that I had to suffer through malaria again, I think that I fought it like a champ this time around, but that we had to cancel our meticulously planned vacation to South Africa. The next few days were a rough mixture of disappointment and feverish exhaustion.
At the same time, Ruth was preparing for her big move to Argentina. It came time to say our farewells, but we are so excited for the adventure that lay ahead of her!
After a week, I knew I was going to be fine. I rebounded much more quickly than anyone expected and as my strength returned so did the desire to find a way to enjoy what was left of our break. We tossed around ideas for where we could travel to, somewhere that wouldn’t be more than a few hours’ drive away, but would be both relaxing and adventurous. We decided on the Peak District, which is a national park area in central England with lots of hills, moorland, small historic villages, and a number of caves.
We rented a car and set out on the open road.
We were graced with idyllic weather, spoiling us with perfectly warm, sunny, dry days and cool, clear, crisp evenings. During the day we walked and walked and walked, through villages, over hills, exploring the moorlands and the caves, and in the evenings we tucked ourselves in by a fire at one of the local pubs, enjoying a pint of brew while resting our tired legs.
The Peak District is more of a summer destination, so our March visit left us with the place to ourselves, yet with the bonus of unexpected near summer-like weather as we explored the many towns and traversed the wide-open spaces. We had four fantastic days.
When we returned from our mini-vacation, I needed clearance from a doctor stating I was fit to travel back to Sierra Leone. At a clinic in London, I had to give even more blood, but at least I was cleared for travel, and we enjoyed wandering around the city a bit.
Someone got a fresh new haircut!
So our break definitely had a slower pace than we had originally expected, but the turn of events still left us feeling very grateful.
Now, we are back in the sweltering heat of Sierra Leone and have re-booked our South African adventure for the next time we break in May… from there who knows what adventures may be on the horizon!