March is only halfway over, but it’s already proven to be a month full of the oddest happenings. First, my hall was overtaken by an outbreak of scabies. I know what you’re thinking right now: What on earth is scabies — some kind of seventeenth-century disease that was eradicated with the help of modern medicine? Luckily, it’s not as bad as it sounds.
Scabies, which is spread by skin-to-skin contact or by sharing clothes, towels and bed sheets, is a highly contagious skin disease caused by tiny mites burrowing under one’s skin. (Okay, so it is kind of bad.) Victims must deal with itching and red spots all over their bodies, and in order to cure themselves, they have to smear medicine over everything from the undersides of their fingernails to their backs.
I’m a humongous germaphobe, so when my roommate walked into our room, warned me not to panic, and said that she had scabies, I started panicking. Thankfully, I’m 99 percent (98 percent?) sure that I didn’t catch it from her, but I still made sure to follow several preventative measures. My roommate and I washed our entire room, hogging the laundry room for a day as we furiously washed sheets, towels, clothes and anything else that could’ve been infected. Items we couldn’t wash, like winter coats and duvets, were placed in plastic bags and deposited in a corner of the room, as scabies mites die once left alone for several days. My roommate bought scabies treatment cream during a mad rush to the hospital, since our local drugstore was out of cream and the hospital only had two tubes left.
After all of this, I’m cautiously hopeful that scabies has been eradicated from our room. It’s worth remembering, however, that scabies has an incubation period of four to six weeks, and it could show up when we least expect it.
In addition to being a prime time for scabies outbreaks, March has been a key period for the American presidential primaries. Even though I’ve never been a highly political individual, it’s been interesting to watch the insanity that is our nomination race from thousands of miles away.
Lunchtime discussions in hall have been overtaken by politics, with discussions ranging from the latest primary results to debates over the Democratic Party’s allocation of superdelegates and the extent of Bernie Sanders’ idealism. The most common topic, however, is the man who has defined the 2016 presidential race with his mix of racism, sexism, spectacle and complete inability to feel shame: Donald Trump.
In my friend group, opinions on Trump vary a surprising amount. One American friend acknowledges Trump’s insanity but says he’ll still vote for Trump over Hillary and offers rationale for why so many people are flocking to the likely Republican Party nominee (he appeals to blue-collar workers, who ignore his obvious flaws in favor of his hardline policies).
Others, especially my non-American friends, find the whole situation mildly entertaining and wonder how Americans could ever place someone so obviously inept in a position of power; they ask me if I’ll move to Scotland permanently when “President Trump” takes office. Another friend from India assures me that Trump is a good businessman and won’t run America into total disarray.
I’m guessing that mealtime conversations at the Commons and Sadler Center Dining Halls have been operating in a similar vein this school year. I sometimes wish that I could witness this historic race back in the country where it’s happening, but at the same time, I appreciate the international perspectives my friends here offer.
Two last notes before I sign off: You might be wondering why I mentioned Sour Patch Kids in my blog title. I’m here to tell you that Sour Patch Kids in the U.K. are a complete farce and in no way resemble true American Sour Patch Kids. I came to this very disappointing realization when I bought a pack last week, hoping for a taste of home after a bout of homesickness. Like most things here in Scotland, British Sour Patch Kids are just the slightest bit different — not bad, perhaps, but decidedly different.
After a tumultuous first half of March, I’m ready for a break. Thankfully, St Andrews’ two-week spring break has just begun, and three friends and I leave for Budapest in less than a week. In my next post I’ll fill you in on everything Budapest has to offer, from its incredible thermal baths to Hungarian nightlife. In the meantime, I suggest that you indulge in some delicious Sour Patch Kids on my behalf.