Not Even a Week In and I’m Positive…


Last Friday, I woke up with a slightly itchy throat. For a few seconds, I thought it was COVID-19, but I also thought it could have been allergies, the constant A/C might have dried out my throat, or a cold. I didn’t think much about it and took some Claritin thinking it would go away in a few hours as long as I just hydrate a bit more to moisten my throat. However, this wasn’t the case as the itch in my throat persisted. Sometime in the evening as we were on our way back from visiting the Green School, I started to feel pretty fatigued and sleepy, but like earlier, I didn’t think much about it. I’ve been busy everyday, so I figured it was another of those exhausting days. After I took an hour nap in my hotel room, I woke up to a bunch of messages on Slack where some classmates were feeling similar symptoms. Because one classmate took a rapid test and tested positive, it prompted the rest of us to test as well. I took the test which confirmed my hunch that I was positive, so I told my roommate to test as well before coming back to the room. Unfortunately, she also tested positive as well as about 7-8 others out of 28 participants in the program. Over the next few days, a few more classmates tested positive as well.

At first I was isolating with my roommate, but after some differences in beliefs in how to best recover from the virus and increasing tension, I ended up moving to another single room. The next few days I started to develop a fever, sore throat, cough, and diarrhea. During this time period when I wasn’t sleeping, I spent my hours watching anime, attending Zoom lectures, and talking to my friends and family for social interaction. Once I got sick of hotel food, I started to order food off of two popular delivery apps in Indonesia which were Grab and Gojek. At first I was really bummed out because I was going to miss all the activities that I was mostly looking forward to in this program. I missed out on being able to participate in the three day homestay component in Tabanan where we each stay with a Balinese family, learn how to make coconut oil from scratch, make our own coconut bowl, collect herbs and plants to make traditional Balinese medicine, visit a subak, listen to Gamelan music, participate in a flirtation dance with a Balinese dancer, and work in the rice paddies. I was also unable to visit Pemuteran and snorkel there. However, fortunately, I was grateful that even though I got COVID, the SIT staff, my professor, and classmates were always there to make sure that I was doing fine and had what I needed. It would have been a lot more scary if I was alone in Indonesia, and I was sick. At some point, I started to forget that I was in Bali because I was stuck in my hotel room for a solid week. The only thing that helped me remember was the view of the rice paddy outside of my window! Recently, I also learned from my professor that we would be able to participate in a mini homestay and snorkeling since we were unable to make it which I’m super excited and grateful for!