So, it’s not a surprise to many but I am gluten intolerant (meaning I can’t eat wheat, barley and rye). While I was in Morocco, I had a difficult time finding foods to eat because the staples of the Moroccan diet are bread and couscous, both of which I cannot have. And while I wasn’t starving, I sure felt close at times (I’m not trying to be too dramatic, either). I became so hungry for something besides lukewarm rice and cut-up potatoes that when my host mom brought out some iffy-looking meatballs one afternoon, I devoured six of them in about two minutes flat. Can you imagine where the story might be going?
The next day, when my roommate and I both got sick, we attributed it to the meat. Don’t worry, I’ll leave out the not-so-pleasant details. My roommate got better over the following week, but my health continued to decline.This resulted in two trips to the hospital within two weeks in Morocco, and, let me tell you, it’s not a place you want to be while in a foreign country. Not unhelpful, but certainly different than what I’ve been used to in healthcare in the past.
It has now been five weeks since the meat incidence and I still am not always feeling well. Just a couple days ago, I took a trip to a clinic in Luxor, Egypt, to get some testing done once again. This time we identified the culprit. Folks, it turns out I have a PARASITE…eek! The group has affectionately named it Sammy, but I hope he won’t be with me too long now that the antibiotics have started to kick in.
While Sammy has made me not feel myself over the past couple weeks, has forced me to miss out on some group activities, and not allowed me to exercise and eat normally, this is just part of the adventure we are all on. Our blog highlights all the amazing things we have been getting to do and showcasing all our high-points but it doesn’t always give the whole picture. I’m not saying we should always be posting about how much Immodium we have gone through, how homesick we get at times, how vulnerable we feel while being in uncomfortable situations. But I do think it’s important to remember that with each adventure we embark on, there are always going to be low points. Traveling isn’t always glamorous. If we didn’t have moments of frustration, sadness and vulnerability, we would learn so much less about ourselves and others.
While I’m not at the point where I can exactly be thankful for my parasites yet, they represent a bigger concept that I can at least understand.This trip has taught me many things that I can’t put into words yet. But something I’ve learned is that no one is ever going to have a flawless adventure. What’s the point of calling it an adventure then?! While the 16 of us are on the trip of our lives, we’ve battled through some tough things but in the end they make our experience that much more colorful. And for that, I am grateful.