You Will Be Thrown Off Guard…And That’s Okay
I wrote a post a month ago, talking about how traveling is what you make of it, where I briefly discussed that it’s not always as glamorous as how it’s portrayed on social media. There are a lot of the negative and ugly sides to traveling and living abroad that are often unsaid by influencers in the travel space because that wouldn’t inspire people to explore the world.
I’ve been living in Taiwan for almost four months now, and things have been very positive so far. There wasn’t much to complain about; however, this weekend, I experienced one of the negative sides to being alone while living far, far away from home.
I was hungry. I didn’t eat dinner, but I was craving something sweet. Instead of buying candy, I opted for fruit. Since it was late, my go-to produce market was closed, but luckily there was a grocery store around the corner from me. I went to the grocery store and looked at the containers of sliced fruit. The guy in charge of weighing the fruit told me (in Mandarin) that I could get two containers for 65NT$ (~2.15USD). So, I decided to buy two since it was a great deal. The containers contained pink dragon fruit, some kiwi, wax apple slices, a few sliced oranges, and I separately bought some dried mango. I paid for my food and walked back to my room. I love fruit meals, I couldn’t wait to chow down. While I was eating, I was writing up my list of things to do before I leave for my trip to Kaohsiung on Saturday for a two-day workshop. I was really looking forward to this event.
Friday ~ 2:00AM
I wake up in the middle of the night because I had to use the bathroom. I do my business then go back to bed. There was a strange feeling in my body, but I was too drowsy to pinpoint exactly what it was. A few minutes later, I jump out of bed in record time and started running towards the bathroom. As I started to open the toilet seat, BLEHHHHHHH. Vomit everywhere. Based on what came out of my mouth, I knew exactly what caused this to happen, and then, BLEHHHH. I did it again (and two more times after that).
Since I was now drowsy and weak, I pushed my chair in front of the bathroom and grabbed a plastic shopping bag to put myself in position to create less of a mess if my body decides to purge more bad fruit.
It was the middle of the night in Taiwan, I had no one to call. It was the middle of the day in America. Everyone was at work. I don’t remember the last time I was this sick, but this was my first time where I was (really) sick and truly all alone.
Nothing came up. I was sitting in the chair half asleep. I looked at the mess in the bathroom and thought to myself “Of course the walls, tiles, and toilet had to be conveniently white.” I grudingly decided to clean up the bathroom. Then I went back to bed with a plastic next to me face in case I threw up again.
The alarm on my phone went off. I opened my eyes. Everything that happened felt like a dream, but the after effects on my body brought me back to reality. My stomach felt uncomfortably full, I had a headache, my body was hot and cold at the same time, my throat was really sore, and my breath smelled like puke. Overall, my body was exhausted beyond limits. I got some warm water, took a few sips, then sat on my bed. Walking around for that short period of time tired me out. I went to lay down on my stomach with my head to the side since this was the only [semi] comfortable position, and I tried to close my eyes.
It happened again. Luckily there was bag next to my bed because there was absolutely no way I would’ve made it to the bathroom. This went on for another five minutes.
It wasn’t even 8 o’clock and my body had been through more than enough. I called out sick from work and asked for hospital recommendations in case things continued to get worse. Going to Kaohsiung was definitely out of the question. My only concern was getting my health back to normal. About an hour later, I finally found my Pepto-Bismal tablets (don’t you just love when things mysteriously go missing when they’re needed?). I took two, went to bed, and slept on and off for majority of the day. I was pretty much quarantined (for the most part) for the next 24 hours.
Why Am I Telling You All Of This?
Reading a story about me getting a stomach bug may not be your list of appealing things to read, but there’s a point to all of this. When things are going well, sometimes, you will get caught slipping. My plan to go to that workshop was not meant to happen. I’ve eaten fruit from this place multiple times. Never once, did I ever feel queasy. I guess this time, it was a bad batch.
When you’re abroad all by yourself, you will have to figure out how to handle a lot of things on your own. Your mom, dad, siblings, significant other, best friend, etc. cannot do much to help you. They’re home, not with you. It’s already hard enough to communicate with them when you’re in a completely different time zone. My mom was worried that I would pass out and no one would know because I don’t live with anyone, but I ensured her that I will do my part and do what I need to do to get properly treated (and I did).
Curveballs are inevitable. You will never be immuned to them. It doesn’t matter what you do in life; it will happen. You will get thrown off guard and sometimes it will hurt like hell. When you get hit, accept that it happened, recollect yourself, stand back up and get back on the path. You’re not finished.