Some of you that know my brothers and me know that we are convinced of our invincibility.  (I know that sounds terribly arrogant, but those of you who know me know that I am joking… kind of.)  Well, I think it is more just Matt and I that are convinced of this fact.  Kyle is a bit smarter that us.  Anyway, I had an experience during my first week here in our village that made me question my invincibility, if only for a moment.

Let me start with Friday, August 6th. I got to our village late in the afternoon.  That night our host family invited me to a wedding and I of course accepted, wanting to have as many cultural experiences as possible.  Please note that Susan had not yet arrived in the village; she had 10 weeks of training as opposed to my 8.  Saturday at 4 PM we left for a wedding that lasted until about 7 AM on Sunday morning.  I left that party early, 5 AM.  Unfortunately I did not take my camera to the wedding, but Moldovan weddings contain more food, drink (not water) and dancing than I could have imagined.  It is also customary to give rather large sums of money to the happy couple.  I took the cheap route and played the ignorant foreigner card; they received 300 lei (~25 USD) from me while the normal minimum is 500 lei (~41 USD).

On Sunday it was more wedding festivities.  There was a masa (dinner party) at the brides home that lasted well into Monday morning.  I left that one at about 11:30 in the PM.

Monday I was invited, by my host family, to a birthday party in the capital city Chișinau.  Thanks to my inability to speak and understand Romanian, or my cultural ignorance, I missed that fact the “birthday party” was to be an all day event.  We left the village at 10 AM and did not return until 10 PM.  Two hours of that time were actually spent at the birthday party; the remainder of the time was spent waiting in my host family’s car while they did “stuff.”  I will spare you all a rant, and simply understate the fact that I was frustrated with a wasted day.

Now the good stuff…  At about 7 PM on Monday, August 9th, while I was sitting in the car waiting, I began to feel an itch on my right leg.  I thought it was a mosquito bite or some other bug bite.  By 8:30 PM my entire right leg was itching like crazy and I developed an even worse temperament than I already had from wasting a day in the car.  By 10 PM when we got home this itch had spread to both legs, my arms, my chest and my back.  Upon arriving home I ran in the house to see what could possibly be causing me this much pain.  In the bathroom, I was quite surprised to see that I may actually have a problem, and thus may not be invincible.  I snapped a few photos and have included those below for your viewing pleasure or displeasure as the case may be.

After surveying the damage I took a cold shower and followed that up with a call to Susan.  I am sure she loved hearing me complain. Susan encouraged me to call the Peace Corps Medical Officer, but I insisted that hope was not yet lost for my invincibility. Given the heat and my new friend, Mr. Itch, I wasn’t sure that I would be able to sleep, but I managed to.

Before going to bed I told myself that if I was worse in the morning, I would call the PC Medical Officer.  I woke up with the “rash” having spread all over my body including my lower arms, face and head.  Finally at noon I decided I should cry for help.  I did and was on an afternoon bus to Chisinau to see the doctor.  The gist of that conversation was, …blah, blah, blah – its good you came when you did …blah, blah, blah – close to anaphylactic shock …blah, blah, blah you’re not invincible.  She also gave me some drugs, which I did not do a very good job of taking (because I don’t do drugs), but after a good talking to by the doctor, I conceded and took them. I ended up staying in the capital until the following Monday when my skin was back to normal.  Mrs. Doctor insisted that I stay and see her each day as things improved.