The Many Definitions of Sick

Christobal Urquiaga


January 26, 2015

The longest time I have ever been away from my house and my family has been a week. As it has been five months of me away from my friends and family, I’ve begun to feel a bit sick. However, not just one definition of sick, but many different definitions of sick.
Sick: Infected with a virus
Starting at the most basic of definition and the one our minds goes straight to, I am proud to say that in my time away from home and apart of the program, I have only had one minor cold while away. It was when I first arrived in Quito and it created a great moment. Because I was sick, I was a bit tired and my family had decided to take me to Expo Con 2014, which was more or less the Ecuadorian Version of Comic Con. As many of the Role Players were going on stage for their presentations, I began to fall asleep. After my family noticed my eyes closing and my head bobbing, they said we should go. I told them that I was only tired because I was sick and my mother was even more concerned. She said that after all of this we must goto a pharmacy and purchase cold medicine for me. After the show ended, we went to a pharmacy and looked at what cold medicine they had. Not knowing how strong the medicine was and how it would affect me, they bought me cold medicine for toddlers. I didn’t realize this until we had gotten home and it created a funny moment for all of us to remember.
Sick: Tired or done with something
Personally, I can say I’ve felt this one the least. I am NOT sick of Ecuador, I am NOT sick of my family or the delicious simple meals we have everyday. I am content with my placement and what I’m doing right now. The only thing I have become “sick” of is the amount of mud I get onto my boots and accidentally drag into the house or room I enter. I feel awful and spend a some time trying to remove the mud from my shoe, whether it be by kicking it off or jumping or anything really, no matter how sure I am of my shoes having no more mud, there is still in there. A minor complaint really but still something that I am sick of.
Sick: Radical, Tubular
While of the more goofier definitions, I can honestly say Ecuador has been sick. With how beautiful the cities look and how wonderful and caring the people are, it’s truly something else to see. And if that if that isn’t enough, the diverse and amazing types of animals that exist here are just another reason as to why this is a beautiful and truly magnificent land. But what makes Ecuador the “sickest” is how many different types of fruit there are. Back in the States, my family would occasionally buy platanos because my father was Cuban, but it would always be a hassle to buy any other because fruit in the States cost a lot. Here in Ecuador, you can buy so many different fruits for very little, and my very little I mean you can go buy grenadias (a type of fruit that is wonderful) for $1.25 at a market. That is a small example of just how sick Ecuador is. The wonderful fruits, the beautiful cities, the amazing people, and the sick country of Ecuador.
(Home) Sick: Missing one’s Home, family, and/or friends
Of all the other “Sicknesses”, this one has been the biggest problem for me. While yes, I do have internet and can easily message who ever I want, it isn’t the same. As I said, I’ve never been away from home or friends for more than a week, and while it has only been two months of my eight month journey, it has already been one of the hardest things for me to deal with. I have tons and tons of letters, messages, and various items I got before I left for Ecuador, but to me, it isn’t the same. I’m use to being able to simply just call my friends, tell them we’re hanging out, and then within the hour, we would be hanging out. Here, I can message people and hope they reply because it’s atwohour difference back home. It’s the little things that I came to love about my friends and family I’m missing the most. My sister finally got a role in a show and it saddens me to not be able to support her after four years of her supporting me. I don’t get to be there for my friends as often as I would like to help them with whatever life throws at them. However, my sister’s performance will be recorded and uploaded, I can message my friends and still help them even with the little time that I get with them, and it’s not like I’m not going back. I’ll be home at some point. And as Abby Falik told us back at Stanford, “The days will seem like the longest times of our lives, but the weeks and the months will fly by and before we know it, we will be heading home”. So when I get homesick, I stop and I remember that everything I’m missing, it’ll be there when I get home.
And that is the greatest cure to any sickness.

Christobal Urquiaga