Tuesday, January 31, 2006

On Being Sick

I often times feel more alive in the third world. Without the comforts of the U.S., life is more raw and rugged. My body and mind are challenged to deal with the daily necessities of being human. These challenges force me to do and think things that are founded on new lengths of myself. Perhaps I am constructing the path as I go; or, more likely, I am using extensions of myself that existed but before were never reached. This latter idea—that we have undiscovered foundations, multiple strengths and traits—is why the challenge is such a thrill. The ruggedness of the third world is bursting with life, forcing you to confront your every emotion, from ecstasy to fear. Somehow it is bewilderingly romantic.

This past weekend I had the pleasure of facing a challenge: being sick in the third world. Saturday morning after our hike up the mountain I started feeling queasy, but it wasn’t until after our three-hour trip to the village of Majadas, an hour presentation about myself and my work, a greasy meal of beans and eggs eaten with our hands, and the three-hour trip back to San Pablo that I started vomiting. My body was sick of going up and down while still trying to adapt to a new climate, new food, and a new schedule.

All I wanted was a clean tiled bathroom floor and a plush bathroom mat. Well, that, along with a clean toilet, ginger ale, indoor heating, saltines, Jell-O, television, comfortable pillows, a bath, and English. I didn’t think I was going to survive the comfort food of Guatemala, but I did. I didn’t think I was going to survive walking down the stairs and outside into the cold and dark every time I needed to use the toilet, but I did. I didn’t think I would last through the eyes peering down at me, whispering their advice and comments in Spanish, but I did.

I realize, though, that I brought to Guatemala an invaluable tool to help with these challenges. It is not something I have created myself or something that previously existed in my personality, but it is the best possible thing in my life. Ian. Perhaps it is he that builds these new planks for me to walk on, and perhaps it is he who long ago created these foundations of strength where he knew I would need the support.


At 4:14 PM, Blogger Tunnel310 said...

I love your blog. You remind me of all the reason why I love Guatemala and why it is so captivating to the senses. And, to top is off, you write beautifully.

You're missed in NYC.......but
I will see you in July!

(your former ACT-er)

At 7:00 PM, Blogger bostezo said...

Hola chica, it is such a pleasure to read you and to find you so strong and brave. I'll sure come back to follow your adventures. Besos para ti y para Ian.

At 8:15 AM, Blogger gtoz said...

Well, glad to hear that you are discovering hidden talents.

On the sickness, maybe it was your fingers and not the food at all. Recommendation - wash them often and certainly before every meal.


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