This is going to be pretty brief post, but I wanted to write a very honest piece for you all. It’s common that when people are studying abroad, we, the audience, the outsiders, only get to see the beautiful, intellectual, cultural moments. However, as someone currently studying abroad I can tell you study abroad is not a one dimensional entity. Therefore, I am going to share a very real experience with you all- getting sick.
I’ve been battling a sickness for about a month now, originally I thought it was food poisoning, then when I got sick a few weeks later, I thought it was due to the higher elevation in Cusco, Peru. But, when I got sick again for a third time, and my normal medicines weren’t working I realized something really wasn’t right. Turns out I had a parasite, it’s kind of comical (not really, truly an awful experience). Luckily, you can pretty much buy anything, without a prescription at an Ecuadorian pharmacy and I was able to pick the appropriate medicine, after asking a friend who had also suffered the same fate.
I blame those dang chocolate covered strawberries I bought from a vendor in Baños, which made me sick. I’m usually really good about not eating street food, but ya girl was stuck on the bus and chocolate is my weakness, plus they were only $1. Do you know the kind of terror you encounter, when you have to take a a 3.5 hour bus ride home, and you are praying that the anti-diarrheal pills work (they did thankfully)!? I can say I have experienced it all now, and sorry this post is a little TMI, but the people need to know it isn’t always butterflies and rainbows.
The point of this post is to remind you 1) listen to your body, especially when you aren’t in your typical environment and 2) just because you don’t see a picture of my dying because I’m suffering from my illness doesn’t mean it isn’t happening. Studying abroad is magical experience, but even magic can have its dark side, so don’t disregard the real-life, sometimes uncomfortable aspects, that can come with the experience.
A finally recovered and reflective Jenna
P.S. Still had a really great time in Baños, in spite of what occurred.