A Little Ill

Montevideo Travel Blog

 › entry 9 of 38 › view all entries
At 4 am Wednesday morning I was awakened by a loud clash. At first I thought someone was climbing the stairs to my room but I soon realised that it was a thunderstorm. I closed my shutters and went to sleep. When I groggily awoke at 8:45 (class starts at 9) it was still thundering. In class, I felt horrible. At first I thought that I was not fully awake yet but when the words on the page became meaningless shapes and the uncontrollable sneezing started I realised that I had contracted something. My teacher, Luis, took pity on me and even bought me an Alfajore, a regional treat consisting of two cookies glomped together with dulce de leche (a local sweet reminiscent of caramel) and covered in chocolate, at coffee break.
I am not surprised that I got a cold. In fact, it was more a matter of when than if. Despite my continuous consumption of multi-vitamins and religious hand-washing, it is cold season here in South America. I have been flying in planes, travelling on buses, walking in the streets, living with a boy complaining that he felt ill for several days, drinking maté, and cheek kissing (the polite way to greet people). It is always a struggle to balance cultural experience and germ control. While sharing maté it is obviously not polite to wipe the communal straw before drinking. 
After class, I went home and lay in bed all day with a hot cup of tea and Harry Potter y La Piedra Filosofal. Harry Potter is a great book to read while learning Spanish. It contains a limited vocabulary that is repeated constantly and because I had read it before, I could read to understand each sentence rather than worry about the plot.
Today, I feel much better but Matt, the son of Maria, is still sick. Yesterday, he had an extremely high fever and Maria had to take him to the hospital. She was very grateful that he didn´t need surgery because she was not sure how she could pay for it. She spent the night by his side and this morning looked very tired as she headed out the door armed against the day with her thermos and maté gourd.
Tomorrow, is my last day of classes here in Montevideo. This afternoon, Luis, is going to coach me through the purchase of my bus ticket to my next destination, Rosario, Argentina. I am confident that I could purchase the ticket on my own but Luis is extremely kind and patient and offered to help me because buying tickets will be extremely important on my trip.
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photo by: aliciaaa