The Healing Sickness

By Linnea Otto

Ever since graduation this spring, I have been struggling to accept that my childhood is over now. I am so lucky to have had such a positive life growing up, that I have been having a tough time letting it go. Diving headfirst into another country seemed like the most abrupt path into adulthood that I could imagine. I have to work like an adult, take care of myself, walk around the city by myself, go shopping by myself, etc. That really terrified me. However, as like most expectations, this has been (pleasantly) shot down. I’m not reliving my childhood, but I haven’t had to completely fend for myself in a forest of vicious adults by any means. 

Just when I was feeling lonely earlier this week, reassurance of the presence of helpful people in my life unexpectedly came in the form of a fever and a cold. I was feeling absolutely miserable because I didn’t know what to do and I just wanted my mom to sit by my bed and take care of me. Unfortunately, I’m a little too old for that kind of service, but I was surprised that everyone around me took care of me in their own ways. Our in-country staff member called and texted me to check up on me and took me to the clinic. She offered for me to sit down when there was only one chair and held my purse while the nurse did tests. After the clinic visit, we could have walked two blocks to get to a bigger street, but since I looked a little bit like I might crumble if the wind picked up, she hailed the taxi from right outside the clinic. When I got home, my host mom made me hot soup and made sure I took my medicine. The other fellows texted me to see how I was doing. My host sister (age 6) made sure that the fan was always pointed directly at me and even gave me a princess sticker. A few days later I felt better so I stopped by Brenna and Nadia’s houses, and both of their host families asked if I was feeling better. When I returned to Spanish class, the teacher gave me a recipe for a healing tea. Those gestures were nothing grand, but they were exactly what I needed. Nobody offered me a flippant “feel better!”- instead they did whatever they could to reassure me that I am not alone. Much to my pleasure, I wasn’t a solitary inhabitant of an island. Being sick wasn’t the most fun way to feel the strength of love around me, but it definitely was effective.

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