Saturday, October 29, 2005

Thank God for parents!

Mom and Dad couldn't have arrived at a better time. They have helped me through what have definitely been my hardest days here, and I will be very sad to see them go on Monday. In fact, I might try to convince them to take me with them!

Wednesday night I started to feel quite sick... aching muscles, sore throat, and general exhaustion. By Thursday morning, I was in hell. I couldn't swallow, my ears were blocked, and I knew I must have strep throat. Not having a doctor here yet, I ended up going to the hospital urgent care center. A doctor saw me within 10 minutes (amazing!) and confirmed my suspicions. He gave me two options. 1, take a 10-day course of penicillin orally. 2, get a penicillin injection immediately. I asked him for whatever would work faster, since I'm missing classes and feeling like death, and he said the injection. So that was that, and he left. 20 minutes later, a male nurse came in with a syringe and asked if I was ready. Of course I said yes, and just continued to sit there. Then he said, "No, en el culo." Hmmm okay. I was down to my last clean underwear that day because I had just started a load of laundry. They're very cute... yellow... but there's not not much TO them, if you know what I mean. Had I realized I'd be dropping trou that day, I'd probably have made an alternate selection. So I plopped onto the bed and pulled down my pants a little, then heard the guy giggle oh so slightly. Awesome. He gave me the shot, asked if I was okay, and I was out of there. There's a first time for everything, and October 27, 2005 was my first time getting an injection in the butt by a Spanish male nurse. Anyway, it hasn't seemed to do me much good so far, so now my heart hurts, my throat still hurts, and my left butt cheek hurts.

On the way home, I decided to try to get part of my paperwork in order to get my NIE number (which will give me temporary resident status here, I guess). My US student visa expires this weekend, and all week I had planned to take care of everything on Friday. So I stopped at the police station to get the "empadronamiento" which is I guess some sort of proof of residency. They said I was in the wrong place and gave me two alternate locations. So we stopped for lunch and afterward the kind restaurant manager told me the addresses I was given couldn't possibly be right. She called government information for me and found out where I should really be going, which was only 2 blocks away (rather than across town, like the police station told me). She spent at least 20 minutes helping me out, and I really appreciated it. My savior.

So we went to the Empadronamiento place, but I didn't know I needed to have the lease with me. Back to the house, where I fortunately found Marco, who had the lease, and then I had to go back up the hill to the office again. All this while feeling sick as hell, but I had to get it done. I finally had the darn thing in hand and I was able to go home and rest. That night I slept horribly. I woke up every hour, had terrible nightmares, and my throat just got worse and worse. By the morning I was extremely naseous. I had already told my professors I wouldn't be in that day because I was so ill, and I had planned to try to get the last part of my NIE paperwork done. Unfortunately, I woke up sicker than ever and could barely get out of bed. When I did, I had to run to the bathroom because I had to puke. Must be the penicillin.

Mom and Dad arrived at 8:15 and the plan was for mom and me to go to this NIE office and dad to stay and wait for Ikea, because they had ordered me some shelves the night before. It took me a little while to get going and by the time we arrived at the office, it was 8:45 and there were already enormous lines. There were two separate lines - one for people renewing their NIE stuff and one for first-timers. We had a 50% chance of picking the right line, and we chose wrong. I saw two friends from school, Roberto and Edgar and they told me to get in their line. Mom held a place for me while I chatted to them and sat on a bench. I could barely stand and I was feverish and chilled at the same time. Then this angry guy behind us said, "Maybe you should ask everyone in line behind you if they mind if you cut the line. Because I mind." I told him I'm really sick, and he said he was too. And so I told him not to worry about, that my place in line was behind him and that I would just stay chatting with my friends.

But then two lines suddenly became one as the renewal office closed without explanation. And then one of the two ladies from the new visa office left, and there was only one lady (with purple hair) taking care of everyone. There were hundreds of people in line! So at or around that time, I made the decision that I would take Edgar up on his offer to jump in front of him, because I simply couldn't wait four more hours in that state. So when he finally got to the front, I snuck into the office in front of him. I had to sit on a chair because I felt so ill, and apologized to the woman in the office and explained how sick I was feeling. Roberto and Edgar blocked the door. Finally, the girl she was helping was finished and I went to the desk. Right then the angry guy burst into the room and yelled in Spanish that I had cut the line and I shouldn't be there. The old lady yelled something along the lines of, "Calm down and get out of my office! This girl is very sick, and anyway she has all her paperwork ready so she won't take long!" Hee hee!

Unfortunately, she decided that the white background of my photos wasn't white enough. So she took care of everything else and sent me across the street to have new pictures taken. Never, ever, under any circumstances, have pictures taken for anything you'll be carrying around for a while when you're sick, with a bad haircut, and no makeup. In the picture I look very pale, pasty, and shiny, and my hair is sticking out in a weird way. Nevermind. I went back up to the office and gave the woman my photos and she told me to stop at the bank to pay something and then I could pick up my ID card in 5 weeks. After nearly 3 hours, I was outta there. Anyway, many thanks to Edgar and Roberto, my Mexican connection... they saved my life yesterday.

After the visa place I went to the bank, because it's also only open 8:30 to 2:30 (just like the visa place) and I didn't know when I'd have the chance to go there again once I'm back in school. I paid for my NIE form, whatever that was, and then told them that I still hadn't been able to access my bank account because the ATM always said my PIN was invalid. The woman reactivated my card and told me to try again. I went back to to the ATM, and it again told me my PIN was wrong. So I went back to the woman and she had to issue me a new PIN. Finally, after 2 months, I was able to withdraw money from my La Caixa account!

Then I went back home, where mom and dad were assembling the shelves they'd bought me. We cleaned my room all up and put everything away. Then I had to rest for a while, though I was feeling much better than I had in the morning. Mom and Dad went off to do some shopping and my roommates left to play soccer (George and Alex are on my team). I would've loved to have played yesterday, but there was just no way. Oh and I heard I was nominated for "Comment of the Week" for something I said in Accounting, but I didn't win. Really, it's an honor just to be nominated. Ha.

Last night, Mom and Dad took George, Marco, Alex, Huy and me to dinner down in Port Vell. We sat outside - the weather was beautiful yesterday - and had a really nice everning. The guys all went to the IESE Halloween party afterward, and I went home to bed. Now it's 11am. My throat is killing me and my heart is heavy today. Mom and Dad will be here soon and I may go back to the hospital because my whole mouth is hurting, along with my throat. I have some funky swollen glands I didn't even know existed. I can't wait until I feel better again, both emotionally and physically. Being heartbroken sucks.
Sorry for the uber-long post, but I was too sick to write the last few days.

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