You know what’s worse than homesickness? Actual sickness.

Before I embarked on this mission, I really wish I had someone tell me how to plan for the unexpected.

I had no clue I would get sick here. But I did, and I have spent the past four days learning how to cure myself.

So, how exactly did I get sick? Two words: Cold rain.

One day, as I went for a class excursion, the temperature dropped very low and it began to rain. The bus I was supposed to take was running a tad late. When I say a tad, I mean a whole 30 minutes.

I was highly unprepared for the weather that day. So, I stood waiting for the bus under the cold rain.

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I was supposed to take bus 147 to the Checkpoint Charlie Museum, which shows the history of the Berlin Wall. This bus was extremely late. So, I stood under the cold rain for 30 minutes.

When I woke up the next day my throat was killing me. I instantly knew I had to go buy some medicine, but I was scared. How was I supposed to go to the pharmacy to order some medicine with the little German I know?

Just as with all the other obstacles I’ve faced throughout my trip, I knew this was just another learning opportunity.

I sat in my room and studied the body parts vocabulary. I practiced phrases, questions and gestures in front of a mirror.

All I needed to do was walk up to the counter, tell the pharmacist my symptoms, pay for whatever medicine they hand me and hope what they hand me works.

After a good 30 minutes of practice, I looked up the nearest Apotheke, the German pharmacy, and made my way there.

When I arrived it seemed like I was the first customer they had the entire day. It was quiet, small, and the only other person in the room was the pharmacist, who looked like a typical serious German woman. I instantly feared forgetting a phrase I had recently learned, or blanking out.

With all the fear in my mind, I spoke. I lead with the usual, “Excuse me my German is not so good but-.”

I expressed what I was feeling and asked for a medicine recommendation. She quickly handed me some DayQuil and NyQuil and some lemon flavored cough drops. After I paid, she handed me a free pack of face tissue. I think she really appreciated my effort to use the German language.

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I came back from the Apotheke with MediNait (German for NyQuil), DayMed Kombi (German for DayQuil), and this brand of cough drops I had never heard of before called Lemocin. They are very effective.

In a way, I guess you can say that’s what studying abroad is all about. Encountering difficulties and figuring out a way to solve the issue.

I am still sick, but I feel 10 times better than I did before. I will continue to take my medicine and make the most of every day I am in this country.

‘Till next time,

Marangeli Lopez

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