The celebration of the new year in Guatemala includes such a massive amount of unregulated fireworks that it is frankly frightening. As I looked across the valley at midnight, all I could see was smoke covering what was probably beautiful fireworks underneath. We have observed lots of fireworks before from our balcony, but these weren't the same. It was surreal and within a couple minutes my asthmatic lungs began to burn.
That was the beginning of a few nerve wracking days of not being sure I could take care of myself. I contemplated going the Spanish-speaking internist the church recommends and my body's dislike of pharmaceuticals and my inability to communicate with him made me decide to hunker in. I had a priesthood blessing, had my name put on the temple prayer roll and did a lot of essential oil research. Knowing bronchitis could become chronic for me prompted me to dig deep. I found something that turned it around and by Saturday I was nearly repaired. Unfortunately, I had something contagious, and now Mike is sick. Hopefully it will not be so serious for him.
Sometimes it's frustrating in the U.S. to feel over regulated by laws and statutes, but seeing the other side of it is often not a pretty picture. My new "normal" is seeing harsh things and figuring out how to process them in my psyche. This is difficulty in survival at an entirely new level than that to which I have been accustomed. I've worked with struggling people in developing countries for a few days at a time, but never lived it day-to-day. I had resources at hand to help myself with this illness, but many people here are of necessity living so close to the edge that an illness like that might bring about a family tragedy. I have a fresh, humble perspective as I begin this new year and the countdown to October 15.