So I had my first big sickness about a month ago, just shy of four months on my exchange. It was the sickness that my family said I should have gotten in the first week of my exchange. I won't go into too many details about it, but I'll account you on the before and after.
Saturday was the whole PIGFEST 2009, and then on Sunday, my brother Juan José and cousin Alejandro asked if I wanted to go to Guayaquil. I drove up with Alejandro, and we cruised the malls. We picked up some pizza and churros (with chocolate and caramel) and ate them with Juan José. Then I went with Alejandro and another cousin Juan Sebastian to downtown Guayaquil. We walked along the Malecón 2000 (boardwalk) and went to a really cool independent art exhibit in a hostel facing the boardwalk. After we briefly checked out Las Peñas, the oldest part of Guayaquil set on and around a hill, we stopped at a little place to eat shawarmas (like a chicken gyro).
Monday morning, I was feeling fine. I ate some remains of the churros (which I placed in the fridge the night before). I then went with Juan José to Café de Tere, where we ate tigrillo (mainly egg and cheese) and meat with rice. He took me to the post office to send off a package to the US. We had to go make copies of my ID so the second time we went to the post office, we didn't pull in to the lot. Because of this I had to cross maybe six lanes of busy traffic (there was a median in the middle) and it took five minutes. I really felt like Frogger (I was fulfilling Rachel's nickname for me). Alejandro picked me up and we went to T.G.I. Friday's. I was full so I didn't order anything; I just picked at the desserts that they got at the end of the meal. I went back to the apartment and slept. When I got up I felt queasy and sick. My body purged the food. I told my host-father and brothers (Andrés and Juan José) who were joking about the whole thing. My father ordered my brothers to pick up medicine; they brought like five. I took them, then lost them.
The next morning I ate fruit and then tossed that in the afternoon. I made it back to Machala with my uncle in the transportation van. For the next day I ate lightly and recovered.
Diagnosis: Each person in my family thinks it was caused by something different.
My mother thinks it's because I just ate too much over the past couple days (with the pig and then the eating in Guayaquil).
My father thinks it was the shawarma that he had never heard of before (when he talks about it he always calls it "shawarbamba" in a derisive way).
My brother Fernando thinks it was just chance that I got hit with it, like maybe it was the lettuce or tomato on the shawarma.
My brother Juan José thinks it was because I crossed six lanes of busy traffic and was in shock.
Alejandro thinks it was the tigrillo I ate with Juan José (especially after I told him that I had eaten shawarma again and nothing happened).
I don't even know what to think with all their opinions. My family still laughs about that night when I came into the room where Juan José, Andrés, and my father were watching TV, pale-faced, and said "Acabo de vomitar." Whenever my father does the reenactment, he always gives me a super-exaggerated United States accent.