Forced downtime

I had been teaching on borrowed time.

Since I arrived in China in September, I had only gotten sick once and it was over relatively quickly, thanks in no small part to the small pharmacy of familiar medications that I packed for us. Wearing a mask on any AQI days above 150 seemed to alleviate my symptoms. Onward with the semester, getting acculturated, and figuring out life as an expat…

After three Christmas parties last week and two dinners with my students, I had met my social obligations for the holiday. With classes and marking complete, I was free to come and go as I pleased from work. I worked most of the day Monday, then went to the gym. Tuesday I did a few things at home. Then I had a weird sore throat… I still tutored on Tuesday night, but once I got home things unraveled.

I was sick.

I suppose as a teacher I should expect to get sick twice each year, at the conclusion of each semester. It’s happened like clockwork so far. This is my body forcing me to stop. And I hate it every single time.

Picking up a job mere days after arriving in a foreign country is hard, but I did it. Managing the various tasks involved with getting settled in said foreign country is hard, but we got those things worked out too, piece by piece. But being ill far from home? This never gets easier…

I was sick in Hiroshima, Japan around this time last year. I got sick in Beijing when I led the study abroad trip earlier this year. And now? Having a fever, chills, aches, and sweats alongside a sore throat and sinuses that are plugged one minute and dripping the next is hard. But having those things in a foreign country? Still harder. And now that I live here and coming home isn’t an option on the list of remedies, it stings a bit more.

I am so glad I had the work week to “come and go” as I pleased because I went home on Monday and stayed here. I haven’t left the apartment since Tuesday night and I’m writing this on Friday night. I have slept fitful nights and punctuated my daytime sleep with a long novel by Wally Lamb. Also, I’m happy I didn’t miss teaching any lessons because I haven’t quite wrapped my head around the call-off policy and make-up class expectations at the university.

Tomorrow I should be almost back to normal. I’ve planned to get out of bed at a normal time, go to the gym, and see how I feel after that. It’s Christmas Eve, so I cancelled my tutoring lessons. It’ll be good to relax. I was going to get to relax, but my body never seems to want to wait until the appointed time…


3 thoughts on “Forced downtime

  1. So sorry to hear you’re not feeling well. I wish I could teleport some soup. The Universe gave us two cases of red-headed strep throat for Christmas! LOL! We keep things interesting around here. We’re making the best of it with Christmas movie marathons and unlimited popsicles! Merry Christmas to you from Us!


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