My biggest concern in traveling this year wasn’t getting hopelessly lost, getting mugged or having war break out—although all of these possibilities have been on my mind.

I worried that I would get Covi and be far from home without any help while I quarantined in my hotel room.

Though I teach young children and have an active social life, I’ve remained Covid free. Up until now.

This morning I sat with another volunteer and ate breakfast. We talked about life before volunteering, about life while volunteering and about life after volunteering—which is the timeline I’m on right now.

On the elevator back to my room, I had a little tickle in my throat.

We volunteers were traveling to a different location today. I decided to test, just to be sure I was healthy. I fully expected another negative result as all test results have been for the past few years.

Nope, not negative.


It’s my first bout with the virus. How lucky for me that I get to live out my worst fear. Think how much lighter I'll be after.

I cancelled out of volunteering and wanted to let the hotel know so the cleaners wouldn’t come in. But they have a rule here: they check every room every day to ensure everyone is safe.

I waited for the knock, put on a mask and then opened the door a bit. I told the cleaner that I am sick. I fake coughed into my arm.

She backed up as far as she could, nearly pressing herself onto the wall on the opposite side of the hall.

Sigh. I am Kryptonite.

The good news is that I’m not alone. There are other volunteers here in the hotel to help me out. One is a nurse; he traveled with a collection of medical gadgets including a finger pulse odometer to check oxygen levels.

He checked mine. 98. No 99. Yes, 99. Perfect.

I contacted the owner of the new apartment I’m moving to on Thursday. She said my apartment will be ready; I can come even if I’m infected. They will cook for me.

What a relief.

Not only will I have a better view from inside the room, but the windows open.

Fresh air! I wonder how hotels deal with this. How will they clear out the air in my room after I’m gone?

Note to self: no more hotels with windows that don’t open.

Good thing I bought that vitamin C with zinc yesterday. There’s no way I could walk all over the city to figure this out today. I followed my former nutritionist’s advice: Drink as much water as you can, then every time you pee, take another C.

On it.

No fever. O2 levels are fine. A stuffy nose and raspy cough just started. I feel cold, even though it’s warm out, but that is typical for me. I bundled up in everything I had: scarf, vest, raincoat. Not fashionable, but it worked—without getting into bed.

Everyone says it’s worse to lay down.

I sat at the computer for the day, trying my darndest to accept that the Universe is gifting me with a free antibody booster and without a needle. Think of how much safer I’ll be!

It’s tough to not be in the shop helping – which I really want to do, or walking around the city – which I really want to do. For now I lay low.

And today is my birthday. I spent the day video chatting with friends around the world.

My friend Amy called and said that I get a birthday do-over when I am well.

I accept this statement.

She went on to suggest that maybe the Universe punished me by giving me COVID on my BIRTHDAY because I joked about wanting to open another thrift shop for volunteers where we could buy the cool European designer brand clothing that have been donated to the refugees.

Amy thought that was doubly-bad-karma for wanting to take from refugees.

Just kidding, Amy.

Just kidding, Universe.





Thanks for reading.



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Holly Winter Huppert stands with a woman in the Mountains of Turkey.

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Holly Winter Huppert Kington, NY


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