There’s nothing quite like getting sick in a foreign country to make you crave your mum’s Yorkshire puddings and the NHS. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Mexico is going to kill me. After two weeks of successive illness and injury, I’m now convinced this is going to happen sooner rather than later.
I don’t think illness número uno can even be considered an illness, more of a ‘Lauren classic’. A horrific full body sunburn, the likes of which even a ginger like myself has never seen before, that severely limited my ability to walk, sleep and move for one pretty fucking painful week. Hey kids, if you plan on going on a boat for the entire day in Mexico, wear suncream! Yeah, I’m bien yolo. And bien fucking estúpida, too.
Although this particular sunburn was significantly worse than any I’ve had before, not least because I had no one here to rub moisturiser into my back. It even led me to thinking that wearing pyjamas for the journey back to Guadalajara would be a good idea. Especially the part of the journey that necessitated the use of the Guadalajaran buses at 10pm. Luckily Jake was particularly obliging and carried my bag for me though. Just another favour in a weekend full of sacrifices on his part. (Soz, Jakey). And so began my week of limited movement. Ordinarily, for me, this would be anything other than a problem. However, I had a job to get to. (See, I do do things besides go on boats and get drunk and sunburnt, I promise!) I had responsibilities to attend to.
A full blown, full body sunburn really does teach you some unexpected lessons though. Nothing, for example, hurts more than your shins and your love handles when sunburnt. An unexpected life lesson that I will endeavour to learn from. However, this causes problems when all you brought with you were high-waisted skinny jeans. Which leads me to my next lesson. Nothing hurts more than having to wear skinny jeans over third degree burns. Finally, when you’ve stopped walking like the tin man because you can’t bend your knees, you’ll peel more than you ever thought possible, and pulling it all off will be the most disgustingly, secretly satisfying part of the whole experience.
Downsides: Pretty much everything that involved things touching my skin. Yes, including the hair from my right leg touching the skin on my left leg.
Unexpected upsides: A week of bralessness was liberating AF. Teaching without a bra on the other hand caused me slightly more concern and led to some interesting layering tactics to avoid, ya know…nipples.
Illness número dos was much less my fault. It started with intense lethargy, which I just assumed was my natural personality really shining through on the day in question. But it pretty rapidly graduated into my entire mouth being in pain. Oh, I have a throat infection? Perfect.
So after my week of limited movement, came my week of limited food. In a land full of delicious food, this is a particularly special kind of torture. However it was a much more passive kind of torture than that which the Chinese teacher inflicted upon me on discovering that I was unwell. At first he measured my pulse and then, with surprising aggression, manhandled my pressure points. I’ll give credit where credit is due, it took away the pain of the mouth. But only because I thought he’d broken my fucking hand. The Indian English teacher prescribed chewing on cloves (you know those weird things that are always in microwave curries and every now and again infiltrate your forkful of bhuna and make you want to kill everyone when you accidentally bite them?) Yeah, I ate them willingly. Apparently they numb the area. My professional opinion would be that they just get stuck in your teeth. So after some less than successful attempts to cure me in the staff room, I took myself off to the on campus medic like any self-respecting white girl to get me some antibiotics up in here. I was given two options: pills or DAILY ASS INJECTIONS. I chose the pills, naturally and preceded to ignore the no drinking advice. Never has taking pills in a club toilet being more necessary.
Downsides: Not being able to eat anything in this wondrous land of delicious food.
Upsides: I lost 8 pounds.
Unexpected secondary downside: It all went off my tits.
So what have I learnt from my two weeks in purgatory? Well, I must have done something wrong in a past life, for a start. Secondly, nothing good ever comes from kissing boys. Either their beard gives you a scabby, as well as a sunburnt, face, or they’ll catch your throat infection. (Fuck you and soz, in that order.) Yet most importantly, being ill abroad isn’t the worst thing. Doctors exist. Medications exist. People willing to look after you exist – it’s at this point I need to say thanks to Jake for effectively being my personal carer out here.
But they do say things come in threes, so who knows what’s coming next; maybe malaria? Fingers crossed!