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.