Moths and Other Frustrations

Written December 30, 2015 

It's 11:55 PM. We have just finished
sitting down to a family meal of undercooked tilapia. I had no interest in
eating so late, but it seems as if my host family follows the same meal routine
regardless of what time we arrive home. Tomorrow we're bound for our New Year's
Eve celebration destination at 5AM (read: 5 to 8) so I was keen on going to bed
early and had thus, thankfully, packed in the morning. Predictably, my host
family again hailed a different schedule: not a single person had packed,
despite each one’s decision to watch television all day rather than prepare for
our upcoming trip. So here I find myself half dressed after a shower climbing
into bed, trying to ignore the incessant nagging from my host mom, demanding
that my siblings show her exactly what they are packing. I sighed as I rested
my head on the pillow, free to sleep at last…


My mom calls me.




Reluctantly, I drag myself out of my
bed and wrap a towel around me. As I approach the door and flick on the lamp, a
large moth swarms the light that now floods the room. I open the door
strategically as it nears the crevice, hoping it will flutter towards the
illuminated living room, and I'll be able to seal it out. Hardly. On the other
side of the door stands my host mom. She notices the moth immediately and swats
at it clumsily, prompting it to take refuge in the lamp. Before I could say a
word, she smacks the lamp, sending the books I had meticulously placed
with affectionate tenderness (they were gifts from my biological mom)
sprawling. A cloud of dust descends on the bedside table, lands in my mug, and
on the floor that I had just spent three hours scrubbing free of the crumbs,
chewing gum, and I'd-rather-not-know-what-residue that cousins had left behind
when they cordially took over my room for the holidays. Un-phased, my host mom
persists in her moth hunt, not just catching it, but now smashing it to
crumbles beside my mug, all the while loudly spewing half-comprehensible
remarks about the trip.


I want to choke from the dust and
clench my fists. Instead, I do nothing-just politely entertain her obvious
reminders to bring toothpaste and shampoo, before bidding her goodnight, gently
removing the moth-powder from my bedside table, and wishing myself the best of
luck on our approaching family "vacation."