Today was filled with blood, awkward X-rays and accompaniment.
In the morning, two other teachers and myself met our translator and friend Peter, and he took us to the doctor’s office to get our blood drawn. All new teachers have to go through this, so the government knows we aren’t bringing over any diseases.
If you know me, you know how anxious I was before the whole needle-in-vein thing.
The feelings of when they put the rubber band around your arm to get your veins out, when they poke around looking for veins, and then when they do the cotton ball swab, all make me want to pass out.
When it was time for the blood tests, I wanted to go first to get it over with. However, because I was so nervous and about to pass out from the adrenaline and nerves, the nurses made me leave the room to drink coffee and warm up a bit. So, after the other two teachers went, I tried it a second time.
My friend Rachel was nice and came in the room with me to distract me with conversation. When we walked in, the nurses had arranged an area for me to lie down while they took my blood. Smart thinking.
Rachel talked to me about a map that was in the room and asked about different places I had been. It also helped that the nurses spoke in Slovak the entire time while taking my blood, so I didn’t have a clue what was happening anyway. Before I knew it, it was over, and I could begin breathing again.
After the blood part, the four of us walked to a different building so the three of us could get our chests X-rayed.
The first building looked a bit sketchy from the outside and very nice on the inside. This X-ray building, however, was a bit of both.
After waiting for my turn, I was instructed to enter a small room off of the waiting area, and take off my top. Then, I awkwardly walked out into a larger room, where a doctor/assistant man instructed me to walk up to the X-ray machine. What followed next was more awkwardness with the machine and a lot of uncomfortable laughing from me.
And alas, that, too, was finally over.
Peter rewarded us all with what he called “suffering candies,” which were delicious pieces of dried pineapple.
Then we all went out for a nice, big breakfast. Mine included bacon bits.
After the doctor part of the morning, we got our bus passes. Now we won’t have to buy a separate ticket for every bus trip we make.
At school, we went straight to a staff meeting, where the Slovak teachers introduced themselves in English, and we then introduced ourselves, too. It was a long meeting and mostly in Slovak, so it was hard to concentrate at times, but it was a preview of meetings to come.
This evening, I went for a long run through the city, not really knowing where I was headed most of the time. I have found that this is a great way to explore, and I often find new things. Tonight, I ran by Comenius University, and then through an outdoor film festival in the Main Square. I think at one point I may have even gotten on the news because I ran through a TV interview. Oops?
After my run, I then went on a walk with one of my roommates along the Danube. It was a beautiful night for a walk along the water, and it was nice to talk about the day’s stresses with someone who has done it all before.
And so, although I have felt a sense of accompaniment the entire time I’ve been on this journey so far, today there was a particularly strong sense of it. Without all the people who went through these events with me today, it certainly would have been a lot harder. And a lot less humorous.
I am grateful.