A week of fun proved to be far too much to handle. The next week was a very important week because we had site-placement interview and mid-LPI (language test). What happened me?? I got sick—deathly ill.

It was just a cold but not a usual one for me. It started out with sneezing and a few sniffles then transformed into incessant post-nasal drip and coughing without a running or congested nose. I took the medicine the Peace Corps gave us, but none of it seemed to help. My coughing was getting worse even to the point where I would lose my voice periodically. Being sick was stressing me out because I had the all-important language test on Saturday that I had to do well on. Adding to the stress was my host family because of culture differences about sickness.

My host mom’s reasons why I got sick included:
1. Because I went out with wet hair 1 time, 2 weeks prior (going outside with wet hair is a HUGE no)
2. Because I take showers in the mornings which makes my heart cold (taking a shower at night is better because I stay home after showering and sleep which somehow makes me warmer)
3. Because I got sick in Mingachevir

Well, being the very concerned, caring host mom that I have, she decided to help me get better. I was forbidden from taking showers in the morning ever again. I could only drink hot water (drinking cold water would make me cold). I had to keep my head and neck covered. My host mom would even give me short little massages sometimes. During this time I also found out that everything is good for my health. Butter, cheese, yogurt, onions, meretbe (which is a super sugary jam), hotdogs, soup, jam in water (it becomes like a juice), and hot water are good for sick people. Butter apparently gives people strength and makes them hardy. It’s also a major part of their belief that when someone is sick they need cheese, yogurt, and milk. Exactly the things I don’t want to eat.

Monday rolled around, and I wasn’t feeling any better. I finally decided to stay home and rest. My host mom was happy because she thinks that leaving the house and going outside into the cold was making me sicker. I woke up late, and went out for breakfast at about 10 or 11 am. I guess I looked worse than ever and probably broke down crying at some point because I didn’t want to eat butter or yogurt. I was just frustrated that I couldn’t explain why I didn’t want to eat these things. I went to my room to blow my nose and my host mom comes in. She has brought my tea with her and wants me to lie in bed. Then she asks to do a remedy that includes jars. I say yes not really understanding what she wants to do. I take off my shirt and I lay in bed face down. She spreads some oil on my back and gives me a short massage. Then she takes these little jars, lights a match, puts it in the jar, and places it on my back. The match made the jar suction cup itself to my back (the fire had gone out when finally attached to my back). She puts less than 10 jars on my back and leaves it for 5 or 10 min. These jars made purple circles on my back—like bruises—but they don’t hurt.

These remedy was suppose to clear up my chest and help me get better. I don’t believe it did since I’m still coughing every 5 minutes. Maybe it’s the butter, cheese, and hotdogs that don’t help. Maybe it’s just a bad cough. Either way, I’m still sick.