Being in Another Country…with a cold! by Sarah Barclay

You know those times where everything is great and you feel healthier than a fresh apple when BAM! Out of nowhere, you can barely move?

Yea, that kinda bites.

Even though it’s been rainy and gray here in Scotland for most of my time here, I have been able to stay away from ‘sick days.’ Well, that changed Tuesday when, after a wonderful (and sunny!) Monday of photographing the Highland Games and attending a carnival in Burntisland, I woke up to a completely raw throat and a voice that couldn’t go higher than a whisper.

Now, I’m a gal who tries to avoid medications and drugs as much as possible. Besides, as a major sports-buff, I’m used to having no voice. I could still breath, still walk, and still function normally, sans talking much, so I went on with my day. Luckily, some of my fellow travellers stayed with me to translate at restaurants.

But it always seems to happen, doesn’t it? Something pretty cool happens at the worst/weirdest times. Tuesday, I met two of the coolest people ever, one being a sword maker on the Royal Mile, the other being an organist in the church where the Queen comes. (The organist even played the Doctor Who theme for my friend and I, after the tourists were all out of the sanctuary. It was amazing!)

And of course, I couldn’t really speak to either of them! I was a bit embarassed, but attempted to make due. I probably sounded like a mouse, and both the sword maker and organist thought it was pretty funny.

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My ‘talking-napkin’. If you didn’t know the context, you’d probably think it was nonsense!

Also, Tuesday was one of my classmates’ birthday so we went out to a delicious sushi restaurant. But it was terribly loud in there, so the only way I could be heard was by writing out whatever I was thinking on a napkin! (The waitress thought it was pretty funny, so whenever she came to take my orders, she’d whisper at me.)

Towards the end of the evening, I could attempt small phrases at a louder volume, and we all hoped I would be back to normal by the next morning, but oh no. The next day, I couldn’t even whisper. My voice was entirely kaput!

So, when traveling, do what you can to stay healthy, because sometimes you don’t even know when it’ll hit you! If you’re lucky, you won’t have to deal with it, but if you do, don’t panic! While you don’t need to stop whatever you’re doing completely, maybe just slow down a little. Drink plenty of fluids (tea is always pretty nice), and if you need meds, find a pharmacy! But be especially careful if you bring your own drugs, as some that are legal in the US are illegal in other places.

In my group, we all share practically everything when it comes to food and drinks. So, if you’re sick, or feel like you might be, try to avoid sharing as much or at all. You already feel miserable, no need to pass that feeling along. Unless you really don’t like someone and want them to be miserable, then you can do what you want! (Though, that’d be a little mean!)

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