Day 4 and 5

Day 4: Glory of Certainty. I’m sure now that it’s mold.

Knee deep into the study, I spend hours reading all the websites. Toxic black mold. It was all over our bedroom walls. There was a constant puddle of water under our fridge. The bathroom had a leak that was finally repaired the week we left.

So much moisture, that our kids made a game of drawing with Papa on the sliding glass doors every morning. Condensation art. I thought it was delightful, and we even took videos of the family fun!

Oh how different things look, in the rear view mirror…

But we feel pretty good. We take a bus to a huge park with a killer playground, and the kids have a fantastic time.

We come home, I take a long nap, and wake up to a home-cooked dinner and we all watch the first half of Lord of the Rings.

I fail the VCS vision test. My love, he passes it. Easily. Does that mean I’m just as toxified, and just not showing it?

Day 5: Ughh… Reality. I wake up, feeling terrible. Too much sleep? The late-night dinner?

My morning symptoms: -feeling puffy in the face -tightened jaw, hard to unclench -breathing is shallow -lymph nodes are sore -awareness is floaty and scattered -woozy balance -eyes are gluey

I suspect: -the pillows, since I slept on the other side of the bed as usual -the wheat-based noodles I ate -the just-unpacked belongings and clothing are carrying spores -it’s part of the detoxing process?

I smell an unusual, unpleasant scent that might be the mold, what they talk about online. Wet sock smell.

All I want is to go sit in the sunshine. I can’t think, I can’t plan, I can’t do. Only go, and exist in the sun.

Reality is setting in. We’re in this for the long haul. A complete transformation in how we live. Not just him, but all of us.

How far are we willing to go, to heal?

How much life change can a family of 5 undergo in a year? What more will life ask of us now?

Day 0, and the First 3 Days

As remembered, from the 4th day…

Day 0: Not Again. My partner, my love, returned from Uruguay a mess. Again. He loves it there, he feels so good in the small town environment. In nature.

But man is he sick. Just like last time.

He texted me while he was there, something like “Why does the energy always feel so heavy here, like I’m doing something terrible, when I’m trying my best to do right, and spread love?

He’s there to gather our belongings. And pay bills. Two weeks ago, he went to close up our café. One of the worst life experiences we’ve survived together - a story that I sense will unfold here as the healing continues.

All that matters to me, is that he gets better. Flu AGAIN, for about the 7th time in one winter, just doesn’t make sense. Not for someone who eats maracuya as a snack, amaranth oatmeal for breakfast and never once misses a morning yoga routine.

And my little girl. She doesn’t look right. Cytokines, a word I started associating with her under-eye circles. She had this look when we were in Uruguay, especially at her worst. Too many bananas, and bronchitis. But her spirits are high, she has no cough. Just grabbier and needier than usual.

Day 1: Holy. Shit. He’s so sick, I decided to look up allergies. A good friend, a vegan mama, told us it was the sycamore trees. Is that what’s wreaking havoc on his system? He’s had allergies most of his life, but since we met they’ve been really mild every early spring. He barely even took a Claritin the past few years.

I decide that sycamore, while certainly possible, hardly sounds like the lump of devastation that is currently laid out on the futon, unable to move. I look up mold again, because that’s the only other allergy I’m aware of.

The first 30 minutes, I’m reading page after page of how it’s really harmless. How to clean it up with vinegar.

And then… a different hit. The word “biotoxin” catches my attention. Not usually one for conspiracy theories, but this page looks legit. Could this be real?!

It takes me about 3 minutes to realize that his symptoms align perfectly with the description on this site. The entire path of it. How he’s gotten progressively worse, with each exposure to the moldy apartment we lived in for 4 months.

He insists it’s the flu. I tell him, maybe… but we should know in another day or so because if it’s flu, one of us is guaranteed to get it.

Day 2: Feeling Better! My love is feeling better this morning, and I am relieved. Taking care of 3 kids on your own is pretty much impossible, for someone like me. We decide to walk to Belgrano with the babies, and buy some basic Chinese groceries so we can start cooking more at home. Soy sauce, tofu, hot chili oil… just the essentials. And pick up a fresh juice on the way back.

We make it there, and totally crash on the way back. Should have taken a cab.

Day 3: Bed and TV. Totally useless day. He overdid it. Kids watch tv. Netflix, to be more specific. All food is take out!

Mold Chose Me

This is not a life path I would ever have imagined. Or one I would wish upon anyone else. But it seems somehow, bizarrely, fitting. And it seems to complete a full circle.

I am writing today from Buenos Aires, in a state of shock.

It has been 8 months since we officially started our journey of slow traveling and world schooling. We started in Uruguay, from an intuitive hit that opened up the possibility of slow travel.

Our family had just survived a tough Colorado winter, my little girl and I sick with swollen, chronically dry lips that took all the pleasure out of eating and speaking. I was longing for a tropical, warm climate. On a whim, I went to the Earthship Global site and discovered they were launching their next training in Uruguay, which was one of our top 5 selections of places to study.

We talked it over for a week or so, before deciding to just jump in. Our next few months of life would be filled with twists and turns, beyond any curveballs I could ever have imagined. I hope to slowly share some of the misadventures over the course of the next month.

But coming back to the topic at hand… today, September 22, 2019, we are 3 days into the realization that we have been living in toxic mold for the past 4 months. And woozy from what that means for our lives now, and the radical life-180, the single-minded dedication it will require to heal ourselves now.

Last month, before any of this, I happened to sign up for a 40 day workshop to write a book. I thought I’d be writing a collection of world travel tips for teens & college students. (I’ve been traveling internationally by myself since I was 5.)

But falling right in line with the theme of hidden surprises, that book will have to wait. All the ideas, all the projects, have taken a back seat. This one topic is suddenly the only priority in my life.

HEALING TOXIC MOLD. As John Cusack would say, straight to the top. With a bullet.

The health of my family. Nothing else matters.