Our life here lately could be characterized by one simple adjective–ill. Illness has swept through our family for the past couple of weeks. First our son fell ill with a stomach flu he probably picked up at his "school," a child care center co-located with my training facility. He was sick for about a week and out of school for three days, and he’s still coughing a bit. Next, he gave it to my wife, who has had a sore throat and nasal congestion for about four days. I got sick yesterday, and I am home today. Other than a sore throat and chest congestion, I feel fine. However, my Spanish instructor was so concerned about possible contagions that I decided to stay home ("concerned" is a polite term). I suppose that I am, but I’m in a state of limbo where I feel guilty staying home because I feel sick but I’m not too ill. I don’t mind taking the day off–I don’t really appreciate her attitude and patronizing, drill-sargeant teaching style, so I’m more than happy to stay home today and self-study Spanish. I will be more productive staying home instead hearing every five minutes not-so-subtly in a practice question that I need to go home. I don’t need that.
It’s a shame that none of us are feeling well, because lately the weather has been better. Today it’s cold and overcast, but the weather since last Saturday has been spectacular. The forecast says that sunny weather will return on Sunday. I hope we all feel better by then so we can enjoy it. Sunny weather has a habit of mocking you when you feel miserable, taunting you by daring you to enjoy it, which then makes you feel even worse.
When we lived in Korea, we hardly experienced illness. Back in the states, however, we seem to be getting sick quite often. I’ve heard that that is common. When you mingle with other former expats who just returned from exotic locations worldwide, you find yourself prone to succumbing to whatever nasties they brought home from overseas. I would venture to guess that we will feel healthier in Paraguay, because we won’t be exposed to so many new contagions. The same was true in Korea. Many people who live here in the Washington, D.C. seem to face a higher risk of illness. After all, people live here from all over the world. It is perhaps the most diverse city in America, and with it comes most of the pathogens one can contract overseas. In this respect, I can’t wait to get back overseas. We often say that being in Washington is more of a hardship than being overseas. In terms of illness, so far that has been true.
My daughter is headed to Thailand and environs for a month of adventure. She is taking a suitcase of antibacterial, waterless, hand wash. It helps a lot if used fanatically every time you touch something. Her girlfriend has been in Thai for a couple of months on a college semester and hasn’t gotten sick yet.