Thursday, February 02, 2012

Chicken Soup For The Sick Foreigner's Soul

Darling Desideria (photo courtesy of
the wonderful Miss. Shayna Dwor)
Tonight, the little one surprised me with a drawing she made at school just for me. It was a coloured picture of us together holding hands with lopsided smiles and French speech bubbles of us talking about swimming. The simple gesture of her drawing a picture of us together reminded me completely of why I became an au pair. Of course I knew that this would be a cheap way to live in the heart of Rome while earning some money, but I don't think that anyone should go into this job without actually liking children. It sounds obvious, right? That would be like someone becoming a veterinarian while hating animals. It just doesn't make sense. But there's a handful of au pairs here who have freaked out over the responsibility of taking care of children. Some of these people are several years older than me, which makes me wonder if the only reason they decided to work as an au pair was so that they could live in a rich 
A nun walking through St. Peter's
Square covered in snow. Beautiful.
family's house in Italy for free. In my opinion, there is nothing more fulfilling in my life right now than knowing that I'm making an impact on these kids lives who will remember me far longer than the day I go home to Canada.
According to the little weather update in the right hand corner of my computer screen, its going to rain in Rome for the next several days. Actually, by the end of the week, its supposed to snow. The Italians seem to be freaking out about it and are hoping that those sweet white snowflakes don't actually fall from the heavens. At least, that's how my family feels. As a Canadian, I want nothing more than a blizzard to sweep through Rome, at least for one weekend. Although I did get a white
Christmas in Austria, it would definitely be an experience to see the Colosseum and Spanish Steps dusted with fresh snow. I'll keep you updated about that.
Besides everything good in life, there is one itsy bitsy little problem that I'm experiencing right now. When I woke up yesterday morning, there was a pain in my stomach so sharp that I thought someone had actually shot me square in the intestines during my pleasant dream of being best friends with Rihanna. I curled up in a ball and lay in my cozy Italian bed for an extra 10 minutes, hoping it would go away on its own. It didn't. I eventually got up because I had to get the kids ready for school, but the whole time I felt like I was going to pass out from the pain. I didn't want the kids to worry so I didn't say anything to them, but obviously Desi noticed something was wrong because I was holding my stomach and practically rocking myself in pain. Poor Desi! She was so worried about me and put her hand on my forehead and told me to stay home. I don't know what's wrong though, and I have to admit that I'm panicking a little. To get the worst out of the way, no, I am definitely not pregnant. Its also not my time of the month. But my entire life I have always been one of the healthiest people I know. I'm an athlete. I take vitamins. I drink plenty of
water. I practice yoga. I've been a vegetarian for almost six years. I drink tea every night before bed. And lately, I've been getting the standard eight hours of sleep per night. So what gives?
If I were at home in Canada right now, I would be relaxing on my couch falling into a deep, seasick-like sleep and occasionally waking up to drink ginger ale and watch the Oprah Winfrey Show while my mom makes me vegetable soup. And if things got worse, I would probably be on my way to the hospital where a kind doctor would immediately figure out what's wrong while giving me a warm smile and a cherry sucker. But I'm not in Canada. I'm in Rome, where all I want to do is venture around, learn more Italian, and eat. But this is where I really start to worry - if I feel worse,
what do I do? The most obvious answer is to go to the hospital or visit a doctor. But this isn't Canada. Health care isn't free, damn it. This is even worse than that time I was hungover at the train station in Vienna.
I hope to God that this sky high fever and pain goes away fast so that I don't have to drop a fortune on crappy Italian health care only to be told I have gull stones or a hemorrhoid. To those reading from Canada, please do me a favour and take a minute to thank God Almighty and even that rat bastard Stephen Harper to reflect on how lucky we are to have free health care. What I would give to be home right now.

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