How do you like your brains? Scrambled?

It’s only day two and I’ve already found myself crying in the bathroom. No scratch that, I ran from the room crying. Is it really that bad? No. I just have a trifecta of crap going on, in addition to the learning a new language. I was sick last week and somehow the soothing tones of Arabic made my cold come back for round two. Add on top of that being calorie restricted – I want those damn boots! Then let’s throw on top of this pile an upset stomach from something I ate either this morning or yesterday. Cold, diet, and stomach problems. Oh, and because of my cold I can barely hear anything out of my left ear.

Three hours of Arabic into the morning and it’s still barely 10:00am. My brain felt like mush, my stomach was rumbling and gurgling, my nose was not having it, and suddenly I felt light-headed. I looked at my page of unfamiliar vocabulary words and all these new letters and it all looked like gobbledegook.

And that’s when the tears started. Everything was spinning and the only thing I could think of was to announce my sudden and running departure to the bathroom. What I really wanted was my couch at home with a giant bowl of soup and my blanket. After a few minutes of trying to stop everything from spinning, my female teacher came into the bathroom to check on me. She told me it’s okay to be overwhelmed. And I thought to myself “oh good, I’m not abnormal, but here have some tears.” She assured me that I’m doing a great job for day two, and it is only day two. I don’t have to know everything yet. She must be a fantastic mom, because it was definitely a mom pep talk. I called mine quickly after class for another round of mom talk.


I think back to my first moments in Ghana when I plopped down my bags at my training host family’s house. The door closed behind me with a screech and a bang and I was all alone. It all sank in that this was the start of my next two years, in a developing country. I sat on the edge of my beat up foam mattress and cried. I just cried. I did the same when I moved to my first site. When reality sinks in and the pretty patina wears off, that’s when I break down. It’s only for a bit, but I just need to get it out of my system.

Now if only this cold would get out of my system, maybe I could be a fully functional adult. Here’s to 8 months of brain mush and seeing the world from right to left.


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