little sarah Big World

Tag: sickness

Home Stay

~OR~

I Could Not Have Danced All Night

As I mentioned, I was sick and bummed out on Amantani, during our home-stay. But it wasn’t all a bust, Friends! It was also very peaceful and relaxing at times.

Moreover, it was really cool to get to meet this family that I wouldn’t otherwise have met–Catalina and her 4-year-old son, Anderson (her older daughter and husband were away on errands for the weekend)–stay in their home and eat meals with them.

That was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and for that I’m grateful to have braved extreme exhaustion, lung tremors, and cultural commodification.

Oh, and did I mention…the food?!

This was honestly the best I ate the entire time in South America. Lunch was a brothy quinoa soup (with quinoa they’d grown in their own yard–I’d never seen that!) followed by roasted corn and root vegetables (including a variety of potato that was sweet yet hard, like a carrot) with fried goat cheese. We washed it all down with fresh lemon-balm tea made with whole, recently harvested herbs.

It was just what the doctor ordered. Dinner was a similar soup, followed by starch-on-starch crime–pasta and potatoes with a side of white rice. Still, though, it was home-cooked meal, and very satisfying.

I spent most of the time trying to get to know our hosts, though Anderson was shy and Catalina was having none of it. She seemed very used to having guests in her home (she’s been doing it nearly 10 years) but kept interaction to a minimum. I wanted to know, more than anything, how she felt about this experience, as to me it was such a unique clash of cultures.

But to Catalina (as I finally managed to ascertain), it’s just an easy second job, which means that she doesn’t have to work outside of the home. They host two guests, once a week, and the ends meet. Simple as that.

Then the rest of the time she can knit, talk with friends or family, and farm.

And I suppose she likes it like that? I don’t know. I spent less than 24 hours with her, and I’m reluctant to generalize (though I’m sure I already have). I guess what I mean to say is that I hope she’s happy with the arrangement. And I think it will be interesting to see the impact the constant influx of foreigners has on Anderson. For now, he seems pleased. And shy.

Sick Day

Home from work today. You know the drill–headache, sore throat, runny nose, overall crummy feeling. I’ve been spending the day reading, napping, drinking miso soup, eating popsicles, and watching bad rom-coms about people who think they can just be fuck buddies but inevitably find out that love always prevails.

So…yeah. I feel pretty worthless. This is what happens when I get sick, every time: I’m too sick to really do anything, so I don’t really do anything, but then I feel like shit for having just sat around all day not doing a god-damned thing. I mean, what am I doing with my life, anyways, if I can just waste a day like this? Is watching TV really conducive to healing? Where is my motivation?

It’s pretty much an existential crisis every time.

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In other news…I’m about to prep-n-post a shit-ton of photos from South America. You know, to feel useful. So what if I have to be constantly productive in order to affirm my self-worth? It could totally be worse. I could value my self-worth in terms of physical appearance and do crazy shit like not eat for ten days.

Oh. Wait.

San Pedro de Atacama

~OR~

Back to South America

Not literally, of course. Who knows when I’ll go back? Maybe never. I’ve fully submitted myself to the whims of chance. Mostly out of laziness, but still.

The point is, I will now be writing about my adventures in the past tense (and damn glad of it, but more on that later).

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When we last left off, I was on top of Macchu F***ing Pichu! What?! YES. And before that I was in La Serena. But we’ve skipped a part, Friends! Lots of parts, actually, so don’t get too set on more Macchu Pichu photos right this instant. You’ll have to wait for those. Patience, Friends.

Anyways, in addition to sunbathing and reading, Brett and I enjoyed other activities in La Serena. Namely, getting sick. Brett spent most of the time in La Serena sleeping and grumbling, while I went for runs and read outside and took photos. Then I woke up with a sore throat, the day that we left, and followed that with the most miserable overnight bus-ride of my life. Only to arrive in San Pedro de Atacama (pictured above), with aches and chills.

Let me tell you, the Chilean desert is not a great place to nurse a sore throat.

But there were kitties!

And there was an overpriced barbecue which I signed up for mainly for the 3 glasses of wine. Because drinking when I’m sick eases my symptoms, although Brett’s friend Josh unkindly informed me that it’s “really bad for you.” Whatever. He also said that your lymph nodes under your neck are tonsils, so…

The hostel we stayed at (pictured above) was actually not too bad a place to be sick–plenty of sunshine, hammocks, hot water for up to 3 minutes, etc. They organized all sorts of excursions and events, like the barbecue, and we met friendly and interesting people from all over the world–a Chilean astrophysicist/musician, an English couple who’d saved up for years and then quit their jobs to travel together for a year, some pleasant girls from Iceland…lots of stories there.

The astrophysicist was named Sebastian, and he gave me my first charango lesson then cancelled plans with his friends to have dinner with me. I wrote in my journal that I was pretty sure he was into me, but that I just wanted a change of company and a solid, vegan meal.

You see, it was in San Pedro that I began to seriously reconsider traveling with Brett and Josh. But that’s another story…

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To be continued!