Well, it's been a while. And lots has happened--- hospital visits, a trip home to Pittsburgh, my first set of finals at a german university--and the beginnings of my first "container vegetable garden"
But now i'm back on my feet and ready to write again. I'll start with the story of my companion from Azerbaijan in the hospital. During my stay in the intensive care unit, I had a neighbor, a bed neighbor, that is. In between IV changes and doctors visits, I noticed that she was having trouble communicating with the doctors. Strained attempts at English were made by the surgeons, but the nuns who did much of the care work just kept on speaking in their native Bavarian dialect. One day, when sister Fransiska was doing her "get up out of bed and move around" motivation rounds, I decided to pitch in. I translated the enthisuastic sister's instructions, relaying commands to breath deeply, stand up, cmon, you can do it!! Zoora, I learned was her name, looked and my with grateful eyes.
During our time "upstairs" in Intensive care, I became her translator. I thought a lot about how scary it must be to not understand anything the doctors say to you.. the whole thing was scary enough, as it was! In turn, Zooras sister, who was almost always by her side, would often fetch me water and pick things up that I dropped--the kind of little favors I was more than thankful for at the time.
The day before I was set to leave the hospital, I took a walk down to Zooras room (both of us had been relocated to the "stationary" (and more humane) portion of the hospital and gave her a christmas card and said goodbye. A few hours later there was a knock on my door and there she stood... she very quickly slipped a silver armband off her wrist and onto mine this is the eye, for protection and good luck" she said, and disappeared back down the hallway.
The bracelet depicts a round, blue eye, surrounded by half moon engravings and a wavy silver band. Now, I wear it everyday.