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Letters from Abroad: If you don’t have health

Today I finally went to the post office and figured out how to send letters to the U.S., took my first salsa lesson at El Bar, had my first session of Reading and Writing the Revolution, and got my hair cut. Or, at least, that’s what would have happened if I weren’t stuck in bed with a sore throat. There is nothing worse than being sick in a foreign country, and this is my second time.

The first time was a stomach infection. Despite acting like a paranoid tourist—brushing my teeth with bottled water and avoiding all street food and tacos—I threw up seven times in eleven hours less than a week after arriving here. Oh, those were some good times—going to the hospital, getting an IV for the first time in my life while squeezing the director of my program’s hand in a death grip, wearing a lavender hospital gown, getting X-rayed, peeing into a cup. But at least I had a comfy hospital bed, the kind that you can adjust with a button, and lots of Friends reruns with Spanish subtitles to keep me company.

Being sick yet again has made me think about taking better care of myself and, concomitantly, what I want to do with my time in Guanajuato, México.

Nothing is stopping me from going out every night—not my host family, not the program, not my age, and not my class schedule, for the most part. It was great to let loose that last week and bond with my new friends, but I don’t want to treat being here like one big semester-long vacation. I came here to learn, I came here to reflect, and I came here to make meaningful connections with other people (which, I suppose, could happen between the hours of 10 pm and 2 am on occasion).

There is so much to do and see here.  As one very wise friend reminded me recently, “Terra, you’re in MEXICO!”  She’s right. And I can’t live out that fact from a bed, rewatching Doctor Who and drinking chamomile tea. Well…maybe for just a little longer.