Off a ledge

International travel is one of my favorite parts of my job.  It gives me the opportunity to learn about other cultures; try really good (and sometimes really bad…) food; make new friends with awesome backgrounds that make me feel very, very un-worldly; and finally, gives me the opportunity to have countless embarrassing experiences.  Countless.


This week I’m in Brazil, and my coworker and I couldn’t be happier to be here because it’s been around 90 degrees, and WE LOVE IT.


If you want to see more awesome and artsy pictures that I take, you can follow me on Instagram – sarajromenesko.  Except sometimes I forget that I have it, so I go through phases when I upload a lot of pics, and then won’t have any action for weeks.

I decided to bring my exercise clothes and tennis shoes on this trip in an effort to be healthier, since the food and drinks in Brazil are delicious and I am sitting in meetings and seminars all day.  The second morning I was here, I didn’t have meetings until around 10, so I woke up at 7 and decided that it was an exercise day.  I got ready and went out in search of the fitness center that the website advertised.

It was on the top floor along with the pool, so you walk up the stairs to the 4th level of the hotel, walk outside by the pool, and then walk back into a convection oven of a fitness room that is not air conditioned; has black walls, a black floor, and windows that the sun shines through very, very strongly; and fans that were not turned on and that I couldn’t find the switch for.  Sounds kind of like hell, doesn’t it?  Also, half of the machines were broken.

I set up shop on a treadmill, was disappointed that there wasn’t a little ledge to put my Kindle on, and started walking.  About 5 steps later I was sweating profusely, because as I mentioned, it is summertime in Brazil – essentially Wisconsin’s July – and I was on the top floor in a black room with no AC.

To give you a visual, the treadmills were all set up on a platform, kind of like a stage, along one wall of this hellish fitness center.  The platform was about a foot high.  It was higher than a usual step.  

An accident waiting to happen, if you ask me….

I used a pen for reference so that you can see that this is a tall ledge.  (A pen was the only thing I could find.)
Can you predict where this story is going?

20 minutes later I was ready to die, my shirt was grossly soaked through with sweat, and I had downed my 12 oz. water bottle 5 minutes prior.  I was done.  

And 1 minute later, I almost died.

I got off the machine and was walking behind the treadmills to return the teeny tiny weights that I was walking with, and as I was walking, all of a sudden my foot plunged to what surely would be my death, and my life flashed before my eyes.  Actually, it wasn’t my life, but it was the time that B and I drove off a cliff only months before, when I thought that Peter was going to be really, really mad because I ruined my car we were going to die.

Let me just say: there is a reason that my name isn’t Grace.

I went down with a thud,  and didn’t have time to yelp…  It was more like a “HU-ah” noise that escaped my lips.  I scraped my knee and elbow and hurt my wrist.  It was especially exciting because there was a twelve year old boy there that witnessed the whole thing.  

The red spots on my knee and elbow are the scrapes.  The darker orange on my shirt signifies sweat.  And the pool of water I’m in is all of the sweat that came out of my hair when I fell to the ground.

Obviously I got up REALLY FAST and pretended like nothing happened, although in my head I was like “OH MY GOD my knee effing HURTS.”  I did my best to walk without a limp as I exited that horrible, horrible place.

When I got back to my hotel room, I cranked the AC and collapsed onto my bed.  I examined my knee and saw that it was injured – a big ol’ rug-burn-esque injury on my knee, and it was throbbing.  I then went to the bathroom to look at my elbow – also scraped, but more like a small cut than a burn.  I did some circular rotations with my wrist to make sure that I wouldn’t be needing a cast; thank heavens that pain went away almost immediately.

When I showered, my injuries STUNG.  BAD.  And I couldn’t find any band-aids in my suitcase.  I wore jeans for the day which was a BIG mistake because they rubbed against my scrape aaaaaaaall day.  By then end of the night I was genuinely concerned that I may not be able to walk well the next day because my knee hurt so dang bad not only only from the scrape, but also from the impact of the floor…

I texted Jenna and told her that I was very nervous that I would have a slight limp the next day and would have to explain to my coworker what happened.  Luckily, I found 2 band-aids in the depths of my suitcase, so with a little Vaseline application and some coverage, my scrape has been looking pretty nasty, but not getting all tight and dry as scabs the size of quarters tend to do.  Still a lot of throbbing going on, and there’s a pretty gross bruise forming around the scrape.

Needless to say, I never returned to the exercise room.
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