trouble in tuscany

Florence, Italy

Florence, Italy

This past summer, my family and I traveled to Tuscany, a region in the north of Italy. Upon our arrival, I noticed there was a zit-like bump forming on my knee. You may think, Ew, gross why would there be a zit on her knee? Well, imagine what I was thinking. The first thought that came to mind was, Should I be putting my Clean&Clear on this?  Idiotically, I decided to pop it with my finger nails instead of my fabulous zit cream idea. And oh yes, puss came out.

A few days later I’d already visited the statue of David, seen the Duomo, and been on the Ponte Vecchio in Florence. However, as time passed, the size of my knee doubled, and by the following week,  it tripled. My mom and I ventured out to the pharmacies everyday for more antibiotics. They didn’t seem to be working.

On the second-to-last day of our vacation, we were going on a bus tour to Lucca, San Gimignano, Pisa, and Siena . Unfortunately, by then it hurt for my to even walk and my knee was the size of a coconut. The last stop of our tour was Siena, and instead of seeing the beautiful sights, my mom and I sat in the town square, eating gelato. I was in excruciating pain and of course someone was late getting on our bus ride so we had to wait for a whole hour to get back.

Once we finally got back my mom and I caught a cab and headed to the local hospital. This is where the real party began. I hobbled in the triage where my mom tried to speak to a manager who didn’t speak any English. As we waited, a man came in on a wheelchair with a nasty wound on his calve. The man-nurse called me in. Ha. Some triage.

Since none of the doctors, nurses, or managers spoke English, my mom tried to explain with gestures what happened to me. Our male nurse looked mangy to begin with. His shirt was unbuttoned to the middle, exposing his chest hair and a gold cross around his neck. In the midst of my mom’s explanation, his phone rang. He put his pointer finger in the air as if saying, Hang on, just a minute.

While on the phone, the nurse started laughing. I could tell that it was a friend and not a patient. While he was on his friendly phone call, the pain just seemed getting worse. His call finally ended with, “Si si! Ciao ciao ciao!” I’m glad he had a nice catch up.

The same nurse called in a few of his colleagues whose attire consisted of blood-splattered coats. It’s not that I’m a clean freak, but I think that you’d agree that’s unsanitary.

They laid me down on a the table – at least it had cushions – which made me a little uncomfortable noting that I was wearing a short dress, and examined my inflated knee. They put some alcohol on it to make sure that it didn’t get infected, and took out this giant spoon-like needle. Feeling childish, I grasped my mom’s hand and said a quick prayer.

They murdered my knee. Looking back, I can only think of it in slow motion. I screamed so loud, I’m pretty sure the whole neighborhood heard me. There was no doubt about it, that was the most painful experience I have ever persevered through. It was like having a stab wound, no joke. Oh gee! Did I forget to mention they didn’t even numb my knee. THEY DIDN’T EVEN NUMB MY KNEE!

Oh, but the story goes on! After they prescribed my medication, they didn’t even have a pharmacy anywhere near the hospital! We attempted to ask a nurse where the pharmacy was. Luckily pharmacy in Italian is farmacia, so she understood. Casually, she took out a map and pointed us to the direction of the pharmacy with her surgical scissors. It was all good though because there wasn’t any blood on them at least. Yeah, and the pharmacy ended up being inside the train station.

Update: It has been over six months since and my scar is still purple.

*True story

i hope

I hope people like me.

I hope I look good today.

I hope people say good things about me.

I hope I’m not seen as an outcast.

I hope people won’t judge me for being myself.

I hope people don’t spread nasty rumors about me.

I hope that I can stop being someone else for a chance.

I hope I fit in.

I hope I’m good enough.

I hope life will treat me right in the end.

an unavoidable habit

Image

The stereotypical bad habit for people is obviously biting fingernails. Some people play with their hair, others bite their skin, or even pick their at their cuticles. Even though many people in fact do crack their knuckles, sometimes I think they don’t realize when and why they do it.

While scouring the web for writing prompts, and progressively obtaining writers block, I cracked my fingers, neck, and back. I came to the conclusion that I was becoming stressed. Wow. Thirteen and already stressed. I quickly checked my mirror for frown lines. At least I don’t have those yet, I thought as I crunched my toes on the floor. As I heard the crackle of my toes, I came to realize that cracking my knuckles is like squeezing a stress ball. It relieves all the tension in my tightly packed days, and I thought of three different reasons for cracking my knuckles:

1. Fatigue

After seven-hour school days full of test-taking, quizzes, and extremely irritating teachers, I resort to the apparently “bad habit”.

Following my collapse into bed after long days consisting of student council, show choir, school, math team, science team, theatrics practice, homework, and volleyball, I find myself cracking every single knuckle down to my nose. The popping sound calms me down and even gives me comfort.

2. Agitation

When teens are annoyed by their parent or any other irritable situation, they come off as indignant to the people who surround them. In some occasions, they’ll scream into a pillow, give everyone the silent treatment, or space out on their smart phones. As for my parents, they’ll make me listen to their annoyance, take away my phone, and tell me that if I don’t talk they’ll detract any social network that I have.

In these situations, I grit my braces-clad teeth and go back to The Habit. It helps me think about other things without wrecking my nail beds or yanking out my hair. This allegedly arthritis-causing habit calms me down when I am most worked up.

3. Anxiety

This past October, I took the entrance exam for my local public high school which I will be attending next year. My local high school is an exceptionally broad school, and over 1000 kids were testing that day. In the same field house. While finding my seat, I spotted some last-minute crammers. I was nervous. My mom had told me not to worry, that I was a smart girl. she said even though there will always be smarter people than you no matter where you are, and to be content and know that you did your best.

Getting out my Number 2 pencils, I started The Habit. During the test (particularly during the science section), my brain was starting to hurt, and my hands ached from my tight grip to the wooden pencil. POP POP POP. My knuckles were loud in the silent room. Heads turned and I shhepishly cowered my head back to my exam.

__________

I’ve tried many times to stop my habit, but so far none have worked. Sometimes when adults warn me that I’ll get arthritis, I just tell them that I’m popping air between my joints.

A few weeks ago, I tried researching tactics of how to stop. So, I tested this website’s theory. I stopped cracking my knuckles for a minute, than fifteen minutes, thirty, an hour. Yet, I noticed the more I counted the minutes of how long I could go without cracking, the more I wanted to crack them. Typically, I’m not he quitter type. Except his time.

New Year’s Resolutions:

–spend more time with friends

–expand vocabulary

stop cracking knuckles

–find my hidden culinary gift