I suppose, then, that this is the beginning of the beginning of becoming an adult. A break out of the chrysalis from solid support networks that leaves you deliciously free, actualized, uninhibited, yet solitary and vulnerable and uncertain–it would SEEM that that break is a step toward being an adult. Being an adult means ruling your own kingdom, it means following your gut rather than someone else’s edicts; it means making your own choices and sticking by them, even when they turn out to be far from perfect and slightly less than “right.” I suppose it also means that when you’re alone, when you’re sad and tired and sick and confused, you don’t have anybody but yourself. I’m realizing that now.

This is the first time I’ve ever been this sick without my friends nearby to bring me comestibles from the dining hall or without Greg showing up, bag of ice cream and cough drops in tow, to happily subject himself to my germs for the sake of comforting me. This is the first time I’ve been this ill without the madre calling and checking up or clucking around me, adjusting covers, bringing cups of tea, insisting on visits to the doctor which I (of course) petulantly resist. I am alone here, and I don’t know how to get help, really, or what the protocol for getting help might be. Considering that it’s Spain, I’m reasonably sure it will involve at least three bureaucratic branches, no fewer than two coffee breaks, and approximately five intensely smoked cigarettes (she said fondly).

During orientation it was suggested by the Fulbright Commission that Fulbrighters’ health insurance doesn’t extend to walk-in clinics or emergency room visits, so we ought to go only to private physicians. I’m not sure why–isn’t Spain a country with socialized healthcare?–but I’m not up to taking that chance tonight after dropping 800 euros worth of a security deposit for my new apartment (more on that later). I can’t pay a boatload for medicine or medical treatment because I simply don’t have it. I’ll have to see how it goes.

I just called in sick to work for tomorrow, told MariGrego there was no way I could be there. I feel lame and disappointed in myself and ashamed–only three days in and I’m already sick as a dog and missing work. I don’t want to think about the kind of impression that’s likely to make on my bosses.

It is hard here, not understand how things work, nor knowing who to ask for help. It’s times like these that I realize how young I am, no matter how mature I act or feel. It’s times like these when I, Caitlin T. Schiller, bad to the bone, former NCAA athlete, sharp-tongued, quick-witted, fast-learning, six-foot, Teflon-coated, indefatigable, forceful, cheery Caitlin T. Schiller, really kind of want my mommy.


3 thoughts on “Yuck.

  1. My dearest spaniard~

    I really wish I could be there for you. Remember though, that maturity is a great medicine, but that it’s not a prescription. Maybe it’s asking for too much, but would it be possible for your coordinator to, er…coordinate something for you, say an appointment? with a doctor. Maybe you could get her to navigate the deadweight bureacracy of this public healthcare system.

    Also know that cancelling class tomorrow was really for the best. You might feel like you’re letting them down, but hey, those lil succker probably got you sick in the first place. Don’t be so hard on yourself. After orientation, exploring, and working so hard to avert your homelessness, you’ve really earned a break.

    let me know how you’re doing. SOON.

    Luvya, missya



  2. I don’t know what it was like in years past, but I understand your situation. Going from a wonderful supporting family which by its very nature never taught you how to survive on your own, to surviving by yourself can hit you like a brick wall these days.

    Hell, years after I hit that wall, I’m still sliding off it like a cartoon.

    Just remember that even if you live in a box on the street and have to go to class smelling like moldy cheese, you’re not going to die and the situation is only temporary. I really doubt you’ll end up in that situation, but my point is that even if you crash all the way to the bottom, you’ll always have a chance to try again. Bad situations aren’t the end of the world, and they usually make for good stories.

    When my brother got kicked out of St. John’s College in NM, he lived on top of the dorm on a couch for 3 months. He’s fine now, and he didn’t think it was such a bad time.

    This whole diatribe seems a bit backwards-inspirational, but I hope you see what I’m getting at. I still want my mommy sometimes too.

  3. Haha. Thanks for that, both of you. I like the idea of going to class smelling like moldy cheese–my kids would probably enjoy it and call me Mrs. Manchego.

    I know it isn’t the end of the world–I was just especially angsty last night and feeling like a bucket of yuck…which I still do, actually. Now I just need to figure out how to get me to a doctor…

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