Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Second Day at the Embassy: I’m Already on a Medical Treatment

Sunday night was one for the books. I seriously felt like I was dying. Yes, after walking for 20 minutes outside I was having an asthma attack and no, I am not sure how I made it until Monday morning. I seriously think my roommate Daniel saved my life. I thought I was going to faint and if it weren’t for his stoic nature and encouraging words I don’t know what would have happened. The pollution here really IS that bad. Hell, the sky is a constant grey! I am glad that if I was going to be here it was with the government. As soon as it was Monday morning I made my way to the health unit and was given an emergency inhaler and a steroids treatment along with some allergy meds. Today, I am still recovering and wearing a face mask whenever I go outside but definitely doing A LOT better.  To those reading this, if you have EVER suffered from asthma, think twice before you come to Jakarta, especially if you aren’t here with the government. You may not have access to adequate health facilities if you get sick. While in Jakarta the only walking I’ll be doing from now on is in the malls. Next time I bid on a post, I will consider the air quality as my top priority. I can deal with not having clean or running water or a possible political uprising but having trouble breathing is not one of them.
On a brighter note, the Embassy is fantastic. I am actually taking over someone’s JOB. Can’t go into the details of why, but while we wait on the replacement, who isn’t coming until the end of the summer, I am taking over. I work with a team of three Indonesians and they see me as their boss. This is really weird for me but kind of cool. They are also super sweet. They ordered me an air filter for our office and it’s coming tomorrow, yay! I also start language classes at the embassy next week so that I can be a better ninja (aka Indonesian look alike) since people talking to me in Indonesian and me not being able to respond is starting to get to me. The work that I am doing may seem boring to some people but I am enjoying it. It’s a lot of internal and logistical work – that’s all I can say. I am glad that I am hitting the ground running – in my case, jogging, because otherwise I’d be focusing on my sensitive but stable health condition and it would definitely not help my morale while here. I’m actually looking forward to going to Viet Nam at the end of my stay here - being able to get fresh air in Can Tho and to ride a bicycle sounds nice right now. Actually, there is a long weekend coming up and I am thinking of taking a train to anywhere outside Jakarta. I am desperate to be as far away from the smog as possible!
Lastly, I was supposed to have people install internet in our apt today and I was notified that they “overbooked us” and couldn’t come today. I don’t know when they are coming, so I will do my best to go to the internet café to update when I can. I also don’t have a working cell phone yet.  Hopefully, things will be settled by Friday and I’ll be more accessible then.
Well, “Welcome to Jakarta!”

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