Getting food poisoning is like actually visiting hell, so I’m told. I’ve never had food poisoning before, like real food poisoning where you spend the whole day silently praying to die. However, this story does begin with food poisoning.
My parents, and food poisoning, actually.
My parents and my older brother and I were in China at the time. Specifically, we were in the city of Guangzhou staying at a hotel that only had outdoor pools, which was a colossal disappointment for an 11-year-old in March. We had adopted my baby sister a few days earlier, so life was pretty chaotic.
We decided to order Pizza Hut, since no one had enough energy to leave the hotel room, what with a new baby and all. (She was 16 months old, but still). I don’t really remember what my brother and I were doing for most of the trip, but I was 11 and he was 13 so my parents probably definitely had their hands full dealing with us and my sister. Hence, pizza. It’s easy, it delivers, and it’s a slam dunk if you have super picky children like us to feed.
Unfortunately, it also gives people food poisoning sometimes, which is a super bummer when you’re in a foreign country with a new baby and two clueless kids.
Both of my parents were down for the count for the whole night and all of the next day, which I’m sure was absolute hell for them. However, I had no idea because I was a blissfully ignorant 11 year old sleeping in the next room. To this day, I still don’t know how they managed to still take care of my sister while simultaneously wanting to lie down and die, but they did. Parents are cool like that.
Anyway, what I do remember (because it directly affected my ego-centric self) is waking up in the morning to both of my parents flat on the floor of their hotel room. My parents informed my brother and I that if we wanted breakfast, we were in charge of finding it. Keep in mind he was 13, I was 11 and we were in a large city in China at a hotel that did not have complimentary breakfast. We were also the most finicky kids ever at that point in our lives. Like, “if it’s not a hamburger I’m not eating it” sort of thing. (How we managed to eat at all during that trip I’ll never know.)
Luckily, my parents were still being parents and said “maybe try that bakery place we went to yesterday”, which was helpful. Actually, whenever I tell this story my mom rolls her eyes at me and tries to pretend it wasn’t terrifying.
Mom. I was 11. It was terrifying.
With our hearts in our throats, my brother and I made our way down the zillion floors in the hotel to get to the ground floor, took a hard right and walked half a block. At least, I think it was half a block. It could easily have been 10 yards, who knows. I was 11, my estimation skills were definitely awful. At this point, we prayed that the store we were going into was the bakery-ish place that we’d gone to the day before, when all members of the family were still able to remain upright.
I’m pretty sure I let my brother do the talking because I literally have no idea what happened next. All I know is we eventually walked out of the store with a loaf of banana bread and two bottles of apple juice (good job big brother, I definitely didn’t help make that happen).
Not being too eager to return to our misery-filled hotel room, we planted ourselves on the curb outside the shop. My brother split the loaf in half, and breakfast was served. We were pretty proud of ourselves, having proven we could rough it in the wild. Who needs parents when you can magically manage to procure banana bread and apple juice all by yourself despite the language barrier?
And, I’m proud to say, it didn’t give us food poisoning. And my parents did eventually recover of course. That was also nice. And we did make it home, though that’s a story for another time.