This is not Moldova

I’m home.

Reverse culture shock

I feel like I’m carrying a screaming, squirming infant in my arms and no one is noticing. Most people just ignore it. Some let their eyes pause briefly on it, ask a quick question and turn back to their smartphones. Very few take the time to find out what I’m holding, and then I find I have no words to explain what has happened to me.

I only feel this way in big groups. I haven’t broken down crying in grocery stores or malls, the way I thought I might. I didn’t pull my blankets to the floor, prefering to sleep on the hard familiar floor rather than my pillow-top mattress. Nor did I bathe my face in the water fountain at the airport, glorying at the first clean water source I’d seen.

The outside world hasn’t changed for me. I changed. But my changes are invisible, and most people don’t have the capacity to relate.


Yesterday, I was so sick that my mom and I laid out an emergency plan: If I began vomiting or my temperature climbed higher than it already was, we’d go to the urgent care clinic.

Luckily, it didn’t come to that. I taught my mom how to make oral rehydration solution, and I drifted in and out of the Today Show. (Did you know you can make portable pies on sticks? And it’s fun for the kids!)

So now I’m desperately waiting for my medical files to come in from Peace Corps so I can see a doctor. Mom says a doctor won’t tell us anything we don’t already know, so she’s put me on a diet — nothing but chicken, rice, pasta and french bread — until we slowly introduce new foods to find out what my “triggers” are.

But I guess I’m secretly hoping for a new diagnosis. Or at least a treatable companion-diagnosis: worms, parasites, ulcer…something to explain the unbearable pain I’ve felt since coming home. Something I can DO something about without completely changing my life.

I am happy to be home in Texas. Even if I can’t eat them, being around all this salsa, queso and quacemole just makes me happy. And I love 100+ degree heat — especially when air conditioning is never far away.

4 responses to “This is not Moldova

  1. “Like” isn’t quite right. I hope you get this under control soon. Better still would be a diagnosis that gave you a clear chance at ending it soon! Good luck.

  2. Hey Lindsay…I wish I could really send you strength or send you comfort. Although I know this isn’t possible…know that we are thinking about you and wishing the best for you.


  3. george rodrigue

    Wow. Talked to your very proud father the other day, so thought I would check your site. Very sorry to hear of your health problems. Hang in there. It has to get better.

  4. Hey Lindsay-have you thought of doing an elimination diet? It would not allow for any gluten as that is often a trigger for multiple auti-immune complications. Also, both potatoes and chicken contain phytochemicals that could cause inflammation in the wrong body (mostly B blood types). Usual foods on an elimination diet? Quiona, rice, millet, all fruits except citrus, best meats=lamb and wild game, all beans and legumes (no soy or peanut), all vegetables (except tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, potatoes, and corn), only sweeteners=maple syrup and brown rice syrup…and of course lots of (clean) glorious water! I wish you much healing!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s