Saturday, March 20, 2010

"it's alwasy darkest before it goes pitch black"

I am back in Calgary after my amazing adventure. I don't think that i have ever worked as hard for a race before, sure they are difficult races but the stress never left even after crossing the finish line. Every single time something else kept coming up i simply tried to breath and told myself that I don't have to do what I am doing, even if I am doing it for my son Karl, I want to. As soon as i made it clear that I have fought hard for the right to tell the world that my son Karl deserves a cure then obstacles seem a lot smaller.
Sure they where times when I though, you have to be kidding me! overall, the experience was amazing. I had a camera following me around this time and many people asked me if that made it easier or harder. the truth is that after a while, it didn't matter, the camera was there to record the truth and that's what i intended on doing, pretend it wasn't there. Mario and i got along well, that was great since he got to see me crying,he was very respectful, but i knew he needed to do his job and they are after all doing me a favour.

Here is a list of the things that made my trip challenging and how it unfolded

Fri Feb 26th, my childcare person canceled, 6days before my scheduled flight
Sat 27th, the earthquake hits Chile and my flights get canceled
direct flights prices went from $700 to $3,000 in a matter of hrs
Sun 28th- direct flights raise to $6,000 ( no, you don't get to keep the plane for a week, I asked)
Mon Mar 1st- the search for cheaper alternative results begin (the coffee brew non stop that day)
Tue Mar 2nd 1:50pm- booked a flight to Salta Argentina
4pm My sister, Muneca, my best friend Nadia and friend Susan volunteer to look after my kids
11pm Pack my gear and go to bed
Wed Mar 3rd 4pm start my 41hrs trip to Salta, Argentina
Fri Mar 5th arrive in Argentina with no luggage, my only possession, my laptop,my school books, and the clothes i was wearing
Sat 7am leave by car to San Pedro de Atacama, 13 1/2 hrs drive. two flat tires, endless checkpoints later we arrive in San Pedro at 9:30pm
Sat 6th 9:30pm the hunt for gear begin, Miguel a Kunza hotel porter goes home to lend me his sleeping bag
Sun 7th 1pm, gear is complete, just in time for gear check, i get my bib and I am allowed to run the race
2pm. we leave to camp one
Mon 8th to Sat 13th Atacama race
Sat 13th 4pm my luggage arrives to hotel
6pm the hunt for a ride home begins after confirming buses are full
10:30pm a private car agrees to take me if I find one more passenger with both of us paying 2 1/2 times the price
11pm i convince Keven my Australian tentmate that Salta is a great city to tour, I carefully avoid telling him the ride is 13hrs with no restaurants in between so yet again we will be surviving on chips, and he has to lend me some money since I can't afford the trip back now, a great offer if you ask me.
Sun 14th 9m, Keven and I wait at the lobby for the car to take us to Argentina
10:30am after calling several times to confirm and they telling me they are just running late the office secretary tells me they are not coming, mis communications she tells me, did i tell you Spanish is my fist language?
2pm after hrs of trying to convinced them the company agrees to take us to Argentina
Mon 15th 1:15am arrive in Salta Argentina
1:30am to 4am chat with Charlie on Skype he lends me money to pay Keven back, he arranges to have money at a Western Union in Salta
8:30am, go to Western Union close to the hotel to pick up money, they refuse to give me the money since the transfer is not addressed by my full name, my middle name is missing, I run around in Salta for the next hr trying to find an other branch that will overlook this
9:45am Charlie runs to his local branch to add Angelica to the transfer
10am get the funds!
10:30am arrive at the hotel, pick up my luggage, leave an envelope in the front desk for Keven who is still sleeping and go o the Airport
10:45am check in and begin my 35hr trip home
Tues 16th at 12:35pm arrive in Calgary

I would be lying if I told you that i wasn't expecting things to go wrong, everything told me that maybe this was the not the best time to go to a race. I realized that I while I have been so busy fighting for my son, i have created a sort of image that I can do anything, the trust on my ability that people around me showed was unbelievable. There where times when I didn't want to go, i get tired sometimes of working so hard all the time. I am human, i had an opportunity to bow gracefully of a race, on the pretense that i had tried everything but while I could lie to everybody and make excuses i couldn't lie to Karl, had I really?

That's how I found myself in Atacama running 150 miles across the desert on borrowed gear, I didn't always have fun, and more than once I cried but it is a reality, two weeks out of my life is nothing if it means than my son might have an opportunity for a better life. Two weeks of my life vs the rest of my sons life, no contest.

I am schedule to speak at the cnib luncheon May 7th, it's a time for me to reflect on the time when i found myself alone with my two kids after the diagnosis made anybody close to me very difficult to cope with and they had to pull away. 4 years later I am surrounded by amazing people that are offering their support, to let me know my kids and I are not alone. I am doing these for my kids, but i think is also a wonderful opportunity to offer hope to anybody that is going through a hard time, that if we stay positive, things will get better.

If until now, the love of a mother has been an incredible source of strength that has brought fantastic things, now that I have the support and love of amazing people around me like my best friend Nadia, my amazing boyfriend Charlie, my family, I can only imagine what kind of change we can create in the world.


Anonymous said...

Norma, I've only just met you (Dash for Cash), when Hans and my children Vladimir & Marta raced together in the same team - what a great day! Now I've just read your blog - you are not only an amazing person, but an unbelievable mother and human being!
I really hope to get to know you better - I know my life will be better for it...
Here's to you Norma - what strength, what determination, what focus you show us - I thank you for that!
I've just sent you a few pics from the Dash for Cash event - hopefully see you again soon,
Love, Morag x

Anonymous said...

Norma, sounds like the 250 km across the desert was the EASY part. You're inspiring. Thank you for sharing your experiences.

Anonymous said...

You are strong and brave !!!
Admirable !!

Norma Bastidas said...

awww. thanks to you all!!! i am very humbled by your comments.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...