Wednesday, 20 March 2013

My sickness and people's phobia, or I am sick and people are worried (about themselves)

People in Norway seem to have HIV or something. 
I mean, having been sick for over a month I've noticed a tendency in Norwegian people to turn back and stare at me with irritation whenever I cough in public. Yes I do cover my mouth. But whenever I cough, every single time, at a station, in a café, on the bus, etc. there's at least 1 person who turns back and stares at me and seems to reproach me. Some people react even more strongly. The other day I was on the bus next to my mom on the way home, and I coughed, and the woman sitting right in front of my mom almost jumped off her feet- almost, she just turned around very quickly, eyes and mouth opened wide, obviously panicking, and she covered her mouth with her hand as though seeing something deadly, shocking and unacceptably outrageous. Seeing that I laughed like a hyena. I literally did. The poor woman did turn around 1 more time later when I coughed, then my coughing subsided for a while and when it came back again I could see her hand move up to her mouth to cover it. Each time seeing a reaction I shrieked into laughter, very provocatively. But she said nothing.
Yesterday at my Norwegian school I almost got into a fight with a guy, who asked me about my sickness. He asked me if I had seen a doctor, I said twice. Taken the medicine, too. Various kinds. He asked a few more questions, which I don't remember now, but the guy later said I should have stayed home and taken a rest or whatever. I could see in his eyes and hear in his voice that he was not worried about my health- I'd never seen him in my life- his only concern was his own health, he obviously was afraid of getting infected. So I said I'd been sick for over a month already and had to go to school, to university, etc. He asked if I had influenza and when I said yeah, he still insisted I should have stayed home because I was sick. I was sick. So I just looked at him, "Ja, så?" It didn't stop there. And I mean, you should have seen my eyes and my stance then- looked as though I were very ready for a fight, even though he's a man and bigger than me and apparently stronger. After saying a few more things he walked away. 
Very amusing. 
The only thing is, I don't understand. It's a phobia or something. I never experienced such a thing in Vietnam.  Of course, my coughing sounds quite bad, my mom thinks it has reached my lungs. But so what? If you're so afraid of it, get some vaccine. What's the problem anyway? Do people think I enjoy sickness and deliberately make myself sick and thus should be condemned? Do they think I should be isolated completely or at least be masked like Bane or Hannibal Lecter? And it's just a flu, not tuberculosis. 
Somehow I have the crazy idea of buying somewhere some fake blood and make it look as though I cough up blood. That'll be a show. 


Concerning my health, no, I don't get better. I don't get any better, and don't seem to recover any time soon. Paradoxically I feel that since I moved to Norway my health was best in the 1st year and till now it has worsened. My body isn't built for this climate. Neither is my mentality and personality. To put it straight, I have SAD, have depression and feel the need to see a psychologist or a psychiatrist. But what am I gonna say to them? "I hate Norway"? Of course, moving to Oslo has done me good somehow, the idea of still living in Kristiansand scares the hell out of me- if I hadn't fleed I might have turned into Jack Torrance already. 
Paradise my ass. Best place in the world my ass. 

Updated on 22/3: 
A friend of mine commented "You know... about that sickness thing.... I think.... many Westerners do behave that way if you cough too much... Because in VN, we're used to see and hear people coughing... and we still go to work or school even when we're sick... it's a cultural thing I guess? But in international schools, teachers always suggest that if I'm sick, I should've stayed home... it gives me the impression that in western countries, kids shouldn't and don't go to school when they r sick so that they won't pass it on to other ppl.... I guess Westerners always care a lot about that.... It's funny to me when some teachers said... when ur sick, u should stay home, not goin' to school.... but going to school while ur sick is like.... a very normal thing in VN..." 
I replied "I know that on principle people are afraid of getting infected, but if they get sick, so what? It's just a flu. A flu doesn't kill anybody. In my life I've never had any problem sitting next to and talking to somebody who was coughing hard. And then, suppose I don't go to school at all, even if I've been sick for the whole month, I still have to go out because there's always something to do, then what? Stay home and postpone everything? Such reaction I don't see among my classmates at university right now or my classmates in the IB, but most of the time, when I'm outside, at a station, in an office, in a café, on the bus... They can't possibly expect me to cancel everything altogether just because of a trivial flu as though I get something very contagious and dangerous and should be totally isolated from society. 
Your argument about cultural differences just isn't valid."

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