September is a BIG month in Nicaragua...INDEPENDENCE DAY! Parades, dancing, music, bands, floats and too much sun is what one can expect on September 14 and 15. This is my second Independence day celebration I've been a part of in Nicaragua and it only got better, particularly because I knew most of the people participating so I felt like a proud mama bird seeing her chicks (students) parade through the streets of my site. And all though we all got soaked and covered in mud by the end of the day, everyone seemed to be having a blast. People were in the middle of the streets, on rooftops and cars, all to get a good view of the parade!!
Going home is always interesting. All of a sudden, you are not the interesting "gringa" in your site. I blend right back into the states, as if I had never left. And you never know what life will throw at you, even the most unexpected things can happen...like a bacterial infection.Before dwelling into that story, here is a pic of me in a long skirt and shirt and still "freezing" in Texas after getting used to the smoldering heat that is Nicaragua
Since starting PC, I have had my fair share of "sicknesses", mostly bacterial infections that happen whenever THEY FREAKING WANT! Trust me, all my bacterial infections keep showing up at the WORST TIMES EVER! During it, you always feel like you are going to die, both physically and emotionally. I've learned from other PCVs and personally, that the best way to get over it is to just let it all out...hey that's not what I meant. I mean, talking about it to others makes being sick more lighthearted, because who doesn't enjoy a good poop story. So...STORY TIME. I have been asked by many prospective PCVs what it is like to be sick in the Peace Corps, and I am nothing but honest when it comes to sharing the worst of the worst. Again, readers be warned, these next paragraphs will be both hilarious and exceptionally embarrassing, so stop reading at any time.
Bacterial infection #1: It was late April and I was busy preparing all of my paperwork for my "site visit" the next day. This is when one of the bosses come to a PCVs' site to see their work in action. It was the night before my site visit and my boss had arrived a day early and kindly invited me to dinner. That day I had been feeling a little odd, and not all that hungry. My boss took me to the best pizza shop in my town (where I can usually consume an entire pizza and the owners know me very well by now), but I forcefully eat two slices and knew something was up. She offered me the leftover pizza to take home which I denied because the last thing I wanted at that moment was more pizza (I regret giving up that pizza to today). We said our good nights and decided on a time to meet tomorrow for my site visit, that's when it all went south. All I remember from that night is weakly lying on the tile floor of my bathroom thinking, this is it. This is how it all ends. Oh, did I forget to mention that my host family was on vacation so of course I was all alone in my house. Somehow I made it back to bed and by the next morning was good as new :D My boss had no idea I had thought I was going to die in my Nicaraguan bathroom the night before.
Bacterial infection #2: It was mid June, and I was in one of my sixth grade classrooms with a pretty bad tummy ache, waiting for the last hour of class (which is when I give my science class). When it was finally time, I stood up to give my class and I knew what was happening within seconds. I am standing in the front of the room staring at my students sway back and forth. The room gets blurry and my stomach begins to make horrible somersaults. I gripped the whiteboard to prevent front falling over when one of my students ask "Profe do you need to use the restroom". I remember thinking there is no way I'm going to make it but all I said was that I did not feel to well and that I had to go home, RIGHT NOW! My profe understood and said I could leave, the only thing was I knew I'd never make it all the way home. And so I went to a friend who live in front of the school and asked to use her restroom,this is where it gets really funny. When I got there, her husband was taking a shower to which I always started crying. Could this day get ANY WORSE!!? I told her I had to throw up (that was a lie) thinking it would speed her husband up. To which my friend kindly said, well Michelle if you can't hold it in just throw up on the bushes, I will clean it up...O_O Ummmm I will wait. And I am proud to say that I made it though yet another bacterial infection, the next day I was back to normal.
Bacterial infection #3: Early October of this year...in the USA (who would have ever guessed). I do not remember eating or drinking anything that could have made me sick before leaving Nicaragua, but once I got to the states my body went crazy. Add on top having no medicine (I left it all in Nicaragua thinking I'd be safe in Texas) and WAY too much cheese at the wedding...not good combination. I was able to dance the pain away for most f the day, but the second I got back to bed, I knew exactly what I had. And this time it got be hard, no longer a baby 24 hour bacterial infection. And at this point all I could do was laugh. If I am not even safe in my own country from these, who knows where it will get me next!
So, for current PCVs, I know how you feel. For prospective PCVs, yes, you will get sick and at times feel like it is the end. But boy do they make great stories :D The first time I ever met my site mate they asked me, "So have you pooped your pants yet?" To which I thought was the most ridiculous thing ever. How could an adult just poop their pants...but it happens. I have not gotten to that point (yet), but hey I got one year left. Who know what and where life will throw at me. To my friends and family who are reading this....yep this is my life (but only a tiny part of it). I love every part of being a Peace Corps Volunteer, and wouldn't change any part of it. I am going to love the remaining 13 months, bacterial infections and all. BRING IT ON NICARAGUA!!!