By Rotten Tacos
When I visited home last summer the family was planning on participating in a 5k fun run at our local small town festival that celebrates the 80th year of getting drunk in a beer tent in name of an obscure root vegetable.
Heading to bed the night before my mother asked me “So what time are you getting up tomorrow before the run?” And I responded casually, coolly, comfortably, “Meh, like 6…enough time to eat breakfast and take a shit.” My entire family stopped what they were doing, turned, and looked at me with “WHAT did you just say?!” faces.
Apparently nonchalantly mentioning your bowels in any context has not become the vogue trend in the rural U.S. of A. I put the blame on living in Xela. “Why weren’t you in class?” “Why weren’t you out Friday?” “Why did you leave in the middle of a sentence when we were talking at lunch?” And the answer is nearly always “I’m not feeling well”, an accepted statement that immediately symbolizes understanding by all of the ailment and side effect of this locale.
A true way to really participate in the local culture, the stomach bug is worn somewhat as a badge of accidental pride among those visiting and residing in Xela. And with so many options, you could spend years testing the resilience of your colon and immune system.
Parasites? Levadura? Hongos? Infeccion viral? Amoebas? Sulfur burps? Diarrhea so liquid-y you’re not sure which hole it’s coming out of? (Yeah, grossed you out there eh?).
I had a friend when I first got to Xela that worked at a clinic and every time I saw her when I was drunk I would bother her asking “Hey! How do I know if I have a parasite?!” And she would always say “You asked me this last time you saw me when you were drunk.” Then I’d ask her to explain again, swearing I would remember the answer this time.
“You’ll get a pain in your stomach and have to poop.” “But that can happen like every day” “This is different, you’ll know”. But “pain in stomach” can be that brick of cheese you had for breakfast because you’re too lazy to go shopping, those 7 litros you accidentally drank Thursday, that lunch you had that really only consisted of brownies and skittles….a vague generalization at best.
But then when you get it, she was right….you know. It’s like being stabbed from the inside in the middle of your abdominals. And then you need to shit within 30 seconds. Then repeat that every 1-2 hours. You quickly realise this is not cheese gas or beer shits. This is something much, much more sinister.
According to multiple Guatemalans asked, the rainy season is when “the things in your stomach ‘wake-up’ and try to ‘get out’”….like they’ve just been hibernating your entire visit here during dry season.
I’m gonna give my medical advice as qualified by backcountry hippies whose expertise extends to “wash your hands. Don’t eat Cipro like candy”: If you spend more than 36 hours feeling like that dancing alien in a top hat in Spaceballs is trying to make his debut, go shit in a cup. Q20 and you get the whole list of friends you didn’t know you were symbiotically hosting.
Your Xela family hosts you, but you host lord knows what. Xela is about symbiotic community, si? About learning, making new friends, exploring new parts of yourself, even if those make you swear to stay off the street tacos for life and gross out your parents. But mostly, living in Xela means you never have to worry about being constipated.