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I’m sick.

Today is better, but yesterday was hell. I stayed in bed all day, I watched Netflix, I drank a ton of water and ate a total of 10 measly crackers. And I slept a lot. It was almost like I was at home.

Almost.

The bed I stayed in all day? My tiny twin Superdorm bed, complete with scratchy sheets too thin to keep me warm when I had the chills. To connect to Netflix, I had to go through the St. Olaf VPN, which basically just means that the internet thinks you’re at St. Olaf and not in Istanbul – Netflix doesn’t work over here otherwise. The water I drank was from a bottle, not from the tap. And the crackers I ate weren’t saltines – they’re called “Gizi” and come in an acid green foil packet with neon lettering. The subheader says “Peynirli Kraker”, and while “peynir” is “cheese” I couldn’t figure out if the crackers actually have cheese in them or are meant to be eaten with cheese.

It might seem like this post is just me complaining, but hear me out.

I wanted to complain yesterday, I really did. If I hadn’t been alone most of the day, my suitemates would have gotten an earful. Being sick is no fun, but being sick 5521 miles (found this number on the internet, so it’s probably not right) away from home? I was ready to throw in the towel. I wanted my own bed in my own house with my mom there to comfort me, or at least my dorm room at Olaf. I was feeling very, very sorry for myself. And while feeling sorry for yourself is okay every once and a while, if you don’t quickly extermination that feeling it becomes a full-on pity party. And as I watched 30 Rock by myself in between my scratchy sheets, I could feel the pity party starting. Being sick abroad is the worst, I kept thinking. Not only am I missing out on seeing Istanbul for a day, I’m a zillion miles from home.

But as the day wore on, these feelings began to recede. My suitemates checked on me to make sure I wasn’t dead and that I had enough water. Our field supervisor checked on me to make sure I was okay and to ask if I needed anything. When I went to class today, everyone was concerned as to how I was feeling.

Which lead me to this realization – the reason I was feeling so sorry for myself was
1. because I felt like death and
2. because being sick in a foreign country made me feel utterly helpless.

But was I helpless? No! Absolutely not. After my initial pity party, I realized what a great support system TIME is. Most of us have only known each other for 2 weeks, yet we  realize that we’re in the same boat. We all know we’re going to see each other at our worst and will experience some of the same lows, so we support each other through each person’s respective struggles. We’re all in this together! (not a High School Musical reference).

And that notion helped ease the thought of being helpless until it completely disappeared. Well, almost completely disappeared – I still can’t figure out if these Gizi crackers actually have cheese in them or not.

More posts forthcoming!

-Katie

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