Benefits of (being) a pain

|Author: Hannah|

Waking up multiple times during the night due to cough attack is such a pleasant experience. Yes, I’m talking about 6 nights straight. Shivering cold, having to put on 3 layers of clothes and a puffy jacket, and it was still not enough. I had to request for another blanket to comfort myself, and still struggled to sleep through the night with a high body temperature. These were the most memorable and happiest moment of my life.

Am I being sarcastic?

Yes, I’m talking about this past whole week experience that happened in the heat of Bangalore.

Do you think I’m trying to whine about how horrible my sickness experience was?

Yes, that’s exactly right. Having an already twisted mind from exhaustion and asking myself why the heck I came to India despite all of my circumstances back home in the first place, getting sick and not being able to do anything other than coughing and struggling with sore throat, congestion, headache, and joint pain all over my body, were not very helpful for staying motivated and positive. I finally hit rock-bottom.

I'm only here for less than three months. But looking back at this time frame, I’ve somehow managed to get sick at least once a week from the first week I got here. Normal cold, stomachache, diarrhea, nausea, a potential worm issue, heatstroke, possible flu-like symptoms... Don’t get me wrong. I’m not the type of person who gets sick all the time. Actually, it's usually hard for me to catch a cold. Honestly, the last time I caught a cold in Seattle was...I can’t even remember...probably more than a year ago.

That’s why this is so frustrating and depressing to me. Because I only have a limited time here and would like to be active and experience many things, and, most importantly, I want to contribute to my team and projects, yet I can’t even get out of my bed!

I moved to the USA 11 years ago by myself, and never really experienced homesickness. I never really craved or missed Japanese food. But this time in India, for the first time in my life, I'm missing all of these things. I’m feeling homesick!!

Three days ago, during the afternoon, I finally got out of bed and went to the canteen to find food since I hadn’t eaten for past 2 days. Barely sitting on a chair in the corner of the room, I couldn’t even find the energy to go make my favorite peanut butter toast. I was just closing my eyes to rest. Suddenly someone started asking me “How are you?” I opened my eyes. It was the guy from the front desk during the normal business hours. The guy who never smiles and doesn’t say much. And, behind him, another guy showed up. He was probably the manager/director of this place, and he usually has a stern face on. Again, I never seen him smile.

Those two guys were in front of me. The front desk guy goes, “How are you? You always ask me "How are you"? But today, you don’t look good...So I ask, how are you?”

And the director guy also continued," Do you need any medicine? I can go get something. If you are not feeling well, I can give you a hot water.” They were even smiling at me!

That night, after putting a big mask on, I went to the canteen to get water while holding a “Thumbs Up” (a Coca Cola & Dr. Pepper flavored drink here) bottle in my hand. The guy who usually works the night shift at front desk, who also never smiles, came to talk to me. “If you are sick, you need to drink hot water. And don’t drink those.” He pointed at my Thumbs Up bottle.

Then we sat down and talked for a bit. I don’t know why but my broken heart felt warmed a bit with these unexpected encounters. These three people still ask me if I’m feeling better today. I don’t know what was there before, but I think I broke some ice between us. Because they somehow cared about me, so I developed the feeling to care about them too.

Now I can clearly imagine someone’s face in my head when I plan to model some solutions to make a positive impact here. Also, I now truly feel lots of affection towards my home, my bed, my cat, my mom, and a food from Japan-unlike before. Being a pain, having a pain, somehow made my eyes open. Without these pains, I was blind. I’ve been postponing many things on my to do list due to being sick too much. I really don’t know how much I can do, having only a month left. But all I can say is that I will use these pains as a booster shot, and will do my best to create something that I can in order to make my people smile.

The front desk at UTC

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