Apr 192015

Another middling week in the second-tier city of Córdoba. Writing to you from my favorite café where it’s clear, both to me and everyone else in here, that I’ve ordered the wrong thing. The bloused ladies next to me are eating squash and Roquefort crepes while I’m trying to twirl the strings of American cheese, lying lifeless on my salad, around the tines of my unenthused fork. Those blousies could walk in from the Dust Bowl and look just as salon-fresh as they do now. I know it.

Late Monday afternoon, after learning the word for figs, forgetting it instantly, learning it again only to ultimately forget it forever, I became sick with who the hell knows what (and who really cares?). My symptoms are about as exciting as someone trying to describe their dream from last night that you weren’t even in. So I’ll spare you. Needless to say, I donned a pair of cropped sweats and a ratty tank top like a uniform for the next four days. By the second one, I stopped tying the drawstrings altogether. With the time I saved, I put together a sort of survival guide for you all. Just a system to put in place during a time of chaos, where our current structural models are crumbling into a powder of mayhem, the kind that only spreads as you sweep. I can’t corral that batch of spilled glitter, but I can offer you this glimmer of an organized outline on what to do when sick, in your native country or not even close.


Sick, Sad About It and In A Country That Doesn’t Have Soup?  Try This.

* If it’s the day after your symptoms have started, make sure to take 4 naps. Spread them out or take them one right after another! However fits best with your completely open schedule for that day. Just meet the quota.

*Take some time to look up Appendicitis on WebMD. Text seven of your friends all your thoughts and feelings about your appendix potentially bursting. Don’t really acknowledge their responses.

*Pause to wonder why kids are given ice cream when they get an appendectomy. (Trail off from that thought and remember back to two nights ago when you ate ice cream and immediately felt as though you had downed a smoothie of ipecac, razors and chastisement.)

*Hang head.

*Catch your mistake. Tonsillitis and Appendicitis don’t even sound alike.

*Look around in embarrassment.

*Get straight to work on Nap #3.

*You’ll probably be a little hungry when you wake up. You’ll also probably be too weak to leave the house. Head downstairs (slowly!), clutching the railing with both hands and both arms. You’ll surely be out of breath and teetering on the edge of a baby black-out, so feel free to brace yourself; lean against that wall for a spell. I promise it’ll be cooler than your greasy fever forehead.

*Check the fridge. Notice that there’s nothing but a wilted carrot, mayonnaise in a bag and a plate of scrambled eggs that was scrambled four days ago. Fear not. Pull out that bag of white rice you bought when you first moved in. (Skipping any decks, these grains are going straight from dugout to batting stance!)

A Recipe To Reach Both The Down And Out and The Up and Coming:


– some rice (just fill that I heart NY mug about halfway)

– some water (just fill the same mug to the brim. It won’t pour so well, so definitely get it to the brim.)

– a broken off piece of a vegetable broth cube

*Uh oh! Don’t think you have that? Trust me. You do. Just check the door of the fridge next to that expired bottle of fish oil capsules and your other fleeting good intentions. Find it? Good.


Just put everything in a pot on high heat. Watch the water turn really cloudy since you never rinsed the rice (that’s dust, you know.). Then watch it some more as it boils over.

Should take about 10 minutes.

Look for something to eat while waiting.

Open up that box of empanadas that’s bwen sitting sad and alone on the bottom of the fridge.

Get nauseous.

Put the box back, but be sure to repeat this step 2-3 times a day for the rest of the week.

Your rice is done.

Scoop it into anything, salt it (because it’s white rice for Christ’s sake) and eat it with little to no satisfaction.

After this, and after getting through Nap #4, we’ve just about made it through the day.

Proceed to stay awake until 4:30 or 5am because you think someone might climb up your third story balcony, because you haven’t really known sleep since you arrived or because you want to dwell on how terrible it is that you didn’t pack that backless sundress.

After that, just repeat all steps for a few days until your body gets so bored, it has no choice but to slowly get better.

Correction from last week: My description of the manners of men on the street here wasn’t accurate. I’m now aware that all visiting women are given a one week grace period before all bets are off the table.


First Name

Last Name

Your Email

Join the GVN newsletter

© 2011 Volunteer Journals Suffusion theme by Sayontan Sinha