Hello beautiful people! How are you? Happy New Year! What are your resolutions this year? I usually don't have any in January because I feel my new page usually starts in September.
For me, January doesn't bring anything new other than the number on the calendar. It's always the beginning of September that gives me the feels. Ever since I was 4 years old, it's always that first week of back2school that makes me all excited and anxious. Who's going to be in my class this year? Who am I going to sit next to? Do I have all my books covered with brown paper and cling film? In all seriousness, I am always sleepless on the night before the first day of school (even after being in school for 17+ years).
Anyways, let me back up for a bit. What happened this past year? Where was I? Why was I not blogging and what am I doing now?
Well, after graduating McGill and interning in India, I took a year off and found myself doing some pretty life-changing things. I worked in a refugee camp as an Arabic and Farsi cultural-mediator with Doctors Without Borders and I got to see the refugee crisis first-hand. Do I want to talk about it? Not really. At least not right now. Many people have asked me to blog about it and for some reason I've been hesitant. Perhaps in time, I will.
I then moved to this city called London. Not the London with the fancy ferris-wheel and the big clock that's on all the fridge-magnets. This London is in Southern Ontario— a 3 hour sandwich between Toronto and Detroit.
How did I end up here? To be honest, I don't know. I just remember clicking on some links that made me apply to graduate school and getting an acceptance letter in my inbox a little later.
Now obviously I had a very very hard time transitioning into a small suburban town. I came home everyday hating everything about the city: the public transit, the emptiness, the lack of diversity, you name it.
Keep in mind, I had just moved here from a very different environment. I was in a medical-clinic every single day in a poorly-kept refugee camp in the outskirts of Athens. Flash forward to London, I was on a sidewalk, trying to make my way to class while pushing through a crowd of drunk froshies. I hated it!
Within the first 2-weeks, I dropped out of my program and asked for a refund. I wanted out. I struggled every day. After kicking and screaming like a little child afraid of an injection, I gave in and decided to stay. A special thank you to all those who endured my misery during that time period. Y'all know you are.
I pulled through the semester and said to myself: "Mina, you got this! Christmas break is right around the corner. In no time you'll get the hell out of here and you'll be enjoying the time-off"
Therefore, In order to give myself more incentive, I booked my Greyhound ticket to New York for the day right after school ended and promised myself some "adventure awaits" BS.
I bus from London to Toronto (3 hours) and then I bus from Toronto to New York (12 hours). How I did that? Let's just say that a few melatonin pills get me a long way.
I finally get to Port Authority, calling my friend non-stop to wake her up so she can come get me. But of course, just my luck, she slept through her alarm and all my calls. I find myself dragging my luggage through New York's dirty and overly complicated subway system.
By the time I got to her place in the Upper West Side, I was exhausted, had pulled a few muscles, and was sweating and cold at the same time — but this is nothing to the real calamity that awaited me in New York City.
My friend lived in a tiny shoebox of a room, poor girl was paying $700 USD per month just for a single-bed-space. Since her bed could only sleep one person at a time, we took shifts in sleeping (true story people).
Although I was physically not in school, I still had a paper to finish before I was done the semester. This was the perfect opportunity to write all night while my friend slept, and when she woke up in the morning, I drew the curtains, took her bed, and slept all day. Our strategy and scheduling worked great! Except that, there was one problem. . .
That morning I woke up scratching my arm, and noticed a tiny little creeper run away into the shadows. What was that? A cockroach? A centipede? Maybe it's Superman!
Two days later, I notice big red bumps all over my neck, my chest and my arms. I couldn't stop itching. I itched and itched until I bled. Have you guys guessed already? New York left me with the best of Souvenirs... the mighty and highly reproductive bed-bug!!
Bed bugs aren't just a small thing you ignore as part of your domestic habitat. No, they infest your soul, live in your books, your clothes, your bedding, everywhere. They are satan's very own soldiers sent down to drink your blood. They will make you go mad. Believe me when I tell you.
I obviously left my friend's place, put all my clothes in a bag and managed to wash everything away. My friend however, till this day, struggles with them. Even after having moved and bought new furniture. Bed bugs are a story every real New Yorker can tell. After this incident, I really thought twice about moving there!
Problem solved. 4 days into my bed-bug-free "vacation," I'm having fun, spending time with loved ones and thinking ahhh "finally, a well deserved restful holiday."
The next day, I have a high fever, horrible whooping and wheezing dry coughs, zero energy and zero appetite. Wait 3 days to "let the cold pass" but oh no, it's not a cold, it's a throat infection. Rush to the doctor, get two penicillin shots, and be given 10 days of antibiotics.
You would think that a full round of strong antibiotics would cure any infection or bacteria. However, not in my case. I cut my trip short and rushed back to London, Ontario. In a way I missed it, I missed the quiet, my own room, my own clean bed, my own space where I can rest and recover.
Exactly 1 month later, today, January 25th, I am STILL sick. Haven't been to university in a week and have been put on my third round of antibiotics. They make the inside of my mouth taste like a toilet-bowl. Doctors guess maybe it's mono maybe it's pneumonia, or maybe I'm just turning into Superman.
Until later, folks!
à tout à l'heure
Mina is a multimedia journalist currently based in London, U.K.
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