Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Such a Fuss

Lately I've been getting a lot of comments from friends and family back home about my weight. Whenever I upload some pictures, there's always a smart guy comment about how much weight I've lost and the question of am I OK? The bottom line is, yes, I've lost a lot of weight in Ecuador. Is that a problem? No.

There's nothing wrong with losing a little weight, and since I wasn't exactly thin to begin with when I got here, I don't see how it's a reason for concern. But if it's not one thing to be worried about, it's another. If you're not too heavy, you're too thin. I walk all over the city every day, and since February I've been running 4 or 5 days a week as well. In addition with the different diet here, which is definitely less fatty than the diet most people maintain in the United States, I'm bound to lose weight. I have no problem with this, and other people really shouldn't either.

It's actually pretty aggravating to think that you're looking better, and definitely feeling better after losing some weight, only to have everyone back home tell you that you look sick. I hear people telling me to eat a sandwich. The funny thing is, I eat plenty here. I have a breakfast every morning (which I didn't always have back home) a big lunch only an hour and a half or so later, usually a snack in the middle of the day, and a dinner. Sometimes I'll have another dinner later on if I get hungry again. So I find it a little odd when people tell me to eat more. If anything, I'm probably eating more than I did back home.

If anything should be a reason for worry, it's the fact that I keep getting attacked by bed bugs at night. For the last few weeks I've been waking up with bites and been scratching all day long. From my feet to my legs and finally up to my arms now, the bugs are unrelenting. For a while I thought it might just be in my head, but I've seen tiny little spots of blood on the sheets, which is a sign of bed bugs, and the tell tale 3 bites in a row are associated with bed bugs or fleas.

I told my host mom just before I went to Quito because I didn't want her to think that I got the bites when I was in the capital, and though she changed the sheets and "fumigated" while I was gone, I continue to get bites. Last night I woke up at 4:30 am scratching and saw that my middle finger was swollen to almost double its normal size from a bite. After that I sprayed my whole body in bug spray and tried to go back to sleep, though it wasn't easy.

And the worst part is telling someone that their house has bed bugs. Of course, like many Ecuadorians, they don't want to take responsibility and say that it's from something else. But my host mom sprayed the bed again, yet I get the feeling that tonight I'll have the same problem. One of the biggest side effects from bed bugs is insomnia because of the fear of being bitten and the false sensations of what you think are bites.

The best way to get rid of them might be to get a new mattress, but I don't see that happening anytime soon. Just about everything in this house is from the year of the flood, and I can't see a new mattress arriving just for me. In the meantime, I need to find other things to keep myself occupied.

For example, today Ecuador is playing Argentina for a qualifying match in the World Cup. On Sunday Ecuador beat Peru 2-1, and they really need to beat Argentina to keep their hopes alive. Of course, Argentina is a much better team, and it's unlikely that they'll win. Still, it's going to be an exciting game, and if they somehow did win, there probably wouldn't be classes. It's going to be hard to pick a team to win, but since it's already assumed that Argentina will make the World Cup, it'd be cool for Ecuador to win and try to get in as well.

And this weekend might be long. There are elections on Sunday, and apparently there are no classes on Friday and possibly Monday. But like every time there's a rumor, I won't find out the truth until the day before. So for now, I'll just keep thinking about the places that I might be able to go to.

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