Sunday, February 12, 2006

my first bad week

before i start talking about my shitty week, i just want to say a big ¨gracias¨ to EVERYONE who has sent me cards and letters and packages. it is awesome to get mail from back home...first because i do miss everyone (even if i don´t miss life in the states) and second because it´s in english.....having to speak and think in spanish all the time is seriously mentally tiring, so getting to read a nice long letter or card in english is muy tranquilo! some of you - i can´t believe i´ve gotten so many letters from (becky). and mark, becky and steve..that card with the squirrel was just friggin´ hilarious. i tried to explain it to antonio, but he thinks i´m officially a crazy person now. hahahaha. the pictures of your kids are awesome, and i show them to everyone here. i know it´s hard to take a couple of minutes to write a letter or whatever, but believe me, it´s totally appreciated and i can´t wait to get more!!! so muchas, muchas gracias!!!

well, things have been kind of crappy lately. i’ve been sick, which really kicked my ass, and let’s just say it’s a good thing this didn’t happen my first week here because i’d probably have left and gone back to the states. being sick sucks, and granted, this was just the flu, not one of the other crazy illnesses we gringos are prone to get here – ghirardia, dengue, parasites, worms..... but i haven’t had the actual flu in a super long time.....i get colds sometimes, but not that whole thing where you can’t believe how cold you are, yet your face is nearly in flames you are so hot. my temperature the saturday night (last week) hit 103 and i honest to god thought i was going to die in the fetal position in my bed, wearing three fleeces, two pairs of pants, two pairs of socks, underneath my three blankets and my sleeping bag. yes...i was THAT cold. i couldn’t figure out what the hell happened? thursday i started getting a cold...i was sneezing a ton and mirna was joking with me that i wasn’t going to come to school on friday because i was getting sick. in all honesty, it wasn’t that bad on thursday. i told her “no, i’ll be’s just the sniffles.” it felt like i was having some kind of allergic reaction, which isn’t that bad. but by the time i went to bed on thursday, my head was slowly filling with snot (nice visual, eh?) and i could barely breathe.

the next a.m. i realized there was no way i could go down to the school, so i basically laid in bed all day. i took tons of meds and felt somewhat better and even thought i had kicked it. by saturday, i was feeling pretty good and other than having to blow my nose every 15 seconds, i didn’t actually feel that bad. i even went into ataco with antonio to eat, but somewhere between getting off the bus and having a plate of food put in front of me, i went from feeling ok to feeling really bad. i could barely eat (which is the first sign there is something wrong....i loooove to eat here!) and when we were walking to one of his friend’s houses, i started to get that achy-oh-no-you-have-the-flu feeling. his friend wasn’t home so we walked over to the pupuseria to get chocolate/coffee and i suddenly was dying of thirst. don gerardo, the owner of the pupuseria was stunned when i didn’t want cafe (which i get EVERY time), but instead wanted a strawberry tropical - this amazing strawberry soda. i managed to drink that and then antonio and i left. the bus ride was absolute torture! antonio got off the bus in san jorge and i had another 5 minutes to apaneca where i thought that they were gonna have to greet me at the bus stop with a stretcher. i stumbled to the hostal and barely made it to my room i was shivering so bad. i took my temperature with one of these lame disposable thermometers the peace corps gave us and the first reading was 104 and i’m like “that can’t be! i’m freezing!” so i used another one and this one read 103. i don’t even remember the last time i had a 103 temperature? age 5? high school? hell if i know. i took a hot shower (thank GOD i am still in this cuarto with hot water......later, when i was feeling better, i thought about this for a minute....if i wouldn’t have had hot water that night, i think i might have dropped dead i was so cold. do i really want a house????), took some tylenol, layered on the fleece and other clothing and crawled into bed and wondered what the hell was happening. i mean, it was as if someone that i had wronged in the past had a voodoo doll and was sticking pins in it everywhere. everytime i moved, it was like the worst pain ever. you’re probably reading this thinking – jesus, she had the damn flu, it’s not that big of a deal!!! but seriously, i’m not kidding you, i’ve not had the fo’ real flu in such a long time....i can’t even remember the last time i felt this awful! it’s never been a yearly thing with me like it is with some people. i’ve never felt the need to get a flu shot or anything like that.

the next morning i woke up and felt a little better and my muscles were sore, i’m convinced from all the shivering i did the night before. i basically stayed in bed all day and tried to sleep. antonio came to the hostal and told me that when he went home the night before, he told his mom that i was sick and she was upset with him because he didn’t stay at the hostal that night because i was so sick. ????? i don’t even know how that would have worked, or what in god’s name antonio could have done to make me not have a 103 degree temperature or feel like i was dying a slow death, but i’m sure his mom thinks he’s some kind of miracle worker or something. i swear, moms here are in such adoration of their sons here, it´s borderline crazy. guys could be cold-blooded killers here, membes of the mara salvatrucha, and their moms are like ¨my son is so nice.¨ ugh. anyway, monday i didn’t go to the school either because instead of fever and chills, it was time for the wonderful “dolor de mi cabeza” (headache) that took up residence in my skull sunday night. this lasted until tuesday. yay for me. but i’m happy to report that by tuesday night, i was able to think (no headache), i was able to breathe (no more snot), i was able to wear just one fleece (no more chills) and most importantly, i was able to EAT!! i think this is the first time i would have been able to take nyquil for all the reasons it lists you should take it. now i can say that i really did get gripe (which in the dictionary is the definition for “flu”.......people here call everything from a sniffle to throwing your guts up on the street “gripe”). and gripe sucks!!!!!!!

the political scene here right now is absolutely nuts! there are constantly pickup trucks with gigantic speakers on the top blasting political messages from the political parties. the messages i heard today in apaneca were this: ARENA says that the FMLN is bad and that ARENA is gonna fix the roads. FMLN says that women should have more rights, schafik lives and to vote ¨positively.¨ i haven´t seen any trucks for the PDC. i did see one for the PCN today, but the pickup was just blasting music with a bunch of people sitting in the back. there was some kind of ARENA rally in apaneca today which was kind of annoying....not so much because there was a rally, but because they kept playing the same thing over again....and they kept playing this stupid ARENA commercial that ends with this kind of jingle that is a bunch of people saying ¨AAAAAAAARENA!¨ i get annoyed with the FMLN pickups because their speakers are always muffled and so it´s just really loud noise, kind of like if you´ve ever ridden a subway - especially the T in boston - i can barely make out the what the people are trying to say. anyway - it´s sure to get even more loco day after day.

i know it´s late, but knowing how channels like to replay programs.....the national geographic channel is airing an episode of it´s ¨explorer¨ series that takes a look at the salvadoran gangs. it was on tonight, but i´m sure they´ll replay it if you´re interested. i´m sure it´ll make el salvador look like a happy, wonderful place......not. but it might show a little of what el salvador looks like - so you can get a look at some of the neighborhoods or something. or if you just want to keep looking at my pictures, which i can assure you will never include photos of a barrio where gang members hang out, then don´t watch the program!