Worst Week Ever

Posted on January 8th, 2012 by

As my brother said when she was born, "Big Samaraweera nose, black hair, lady parts."

Now you may be wondering, what kind of title is that for a blog about returning to Europe? Really, it’s quite a simple explanation. Diarrhea. No, not just going to the bathroom slightly too often, but rather it’s so bad that a 30 minute reprieve from the toilet feels like a gift from God. I basically lived in the bathroom this week, but before we get to that, there are a few other things to cover. One big one being AMERICA. I got to go home for about two weeks at the end of December which was wonderful. It was too short, too hectic, and really not relaxing at all, but I did get to see many of the people I love even if only for a short while. I spent time with my family and friends in Fargo, friends that feel like family in the Cities, some of Gustavus’ finest in St. Peter, and finally my brother’s family in Cincinnati. My brother’s family. Now that’s crazy to say. My sister-in-law Chrissie had their first child on December 23rd. Little Miss Brynn Marie Samaraweera. She’s incredible. I was lucky enough to go there after Christmas and see her for a couple of days. She doesn’t do much other than sleep, but I never realized how content you can be simple holding a baby. I sat there for over an hour doing nothing but waiting for her to make random, cute noises as she slept. Anyway, my time back home was great although it is odd to realize how much life does keep moving when you’re gone. We certainly aren’t in college anymore. Everyone has jobs or is furthering their education. It’s such a far cry from our Senior Week exploits and those times keep seeming farther and farther away… but what can you do? Life moves on. But no matter what, Gustavus gave me an education and friends that’ll last a lifetime.

The real reason for all of Berlin's bombed out buildings

Wow, that got a little more real and introspective than I was expecting. Let’s move on to New Year’s. I arrived in Berlin the afternoon of December 31st. This city is a pretty crazy place on a typical night (be it weekend or weekday) but these people go all out on New Year’s. That night a group of eight of us gathered at my place to ring in the New Year. Seeing as I live on the 15th floor, we had a great view from which to watch the fireworks. What I didn’t realize was that in Berlin everyone and their mom purchases fireworks and they then shoot them off EVERYWHERE. Literally, there are no rules about where you can and cannot shoot fireworks when it’s this time of the year. Standing on the balcony, these things were going off in absolutely every direction. It was like a Katy Perry music video. Once we were almost struck by an errant one (it nearly took the head off of one of my guests). This is what happens when Germans abandon their rules. From there, we went out for a night on the town. Getting off at Warschauer Straße (one of the big going out streets), I felt like a salmon teaming up a stream as we followed the crowd over a bridge to the various bars and clubs that lay ahead. With so many people out and about, it wasn’t the easiest to get into any of these places, but we eventually found a bar to our liking. By the time I made it home and was laying down for some shuteye, the sun was up.

When I wake up, I am extremely confused. It’s dark out and nearly 5 in the evening. I get out of bed extremely disoriented and proceed to do nothing more than go through the motions of life for the next few hours. By 10:30pm I’m already back in bed calling it a day. I then sleep for the next ten hours straight. Jet lag and New Year’s: 1- Hasanga: 0.

Now begins the week from hell. You’d think with so much sleep I’d be rejuvenated. Not true. I felt like death. My bowels were going crazy and my body seemed to be under the impression that retaining food and water is a bad thing.

On Tuesday we began school again. I went and made the mistake of sitting in the front. In this position, people just might start to notice that that you’re leaving the classroom a little too often to visit the water closet. I quickly learned from my mistake and started sitting in the back.

This next story warrants a stern warning to any of those with a low tolerance for poop related material. Seriously, just skip this paragraph. Anyway, at this point I’m averaging about 30 minutes between bathroom visits. In order for me to get home from school, my train ride will take about 40 or so. Using my math skills, I know this could prove to be a slight problem, but I tell myself that I’ll be fine. Also, there’s a drugstore in the Ostbahnhof (the train station near my house), so I decide to test fate even more by going there as well. Fate doesn’t like being put to the challenge. The train ride seems to go alright, and I head down to the drugstore. There, I am encountered by a wall of medications. I start scrolling through all of these, and they seem to have everything from Midol to magnesium but nothing for diarrhea. Realizing that this may be due to an insufficiency in my German, I ask a random lady who isn’t even employed at the store if she can help me. That’s was an awkward conversation. “Excuse me Miss. I’m not from around here. I have diarrhea and need some meds. Could you help me locate those? Please.” Luckily, the random lady was super nice and started going through the medications with me. But alas, even she couldn’t find anything. She tells me to head upstairs where there’s an actual pharmacy. I thank her and then start heading for the entrance. All of a sudden, my world starts crashing down around me. Things down below don’t feel as… dry (?) as they did before. It dawns on me, I may have just crapped my pants. I’m not sure how though, because I’m smart enough not be bet wrong on a fart in this situation. It’s just that my sphincters don’t seem to be working like they should, and now things in my pants seem a bit more… moist (?) than they should be (I warned you). I start to freak out a bit at this point and take the escalator upstairs (I’m not doing anything that will make those cheeks move more than they have to). I get to the pharmacy desk and say the great German line, “Ich habe Durchfall” (durch means through and fall in this scenario means, well, fall; Germans don’t leave too much up to the imagination). She then goes and gets some Imodium from behind her and starts lecturing me on how to use the medication. I grab it from her saying, “Seriously lady. I need to leave.” From there, I waddle my way home (the only way to walk with tightened cheeks). I get to my apartment and jump into an elevator with a dad and his kid. As we get in the tightly enclosed elevator I realize that I must spell like crap. Literally. I was so thankful when they got off at the third floor. I rode that baby up to the 15th, ran into my apartment, and immediately collapsed onto the toilet. After I had taken care of the business end of the matter, I had to assess my undies. By some miracle, everything was clean. I’m not sure if the waddle technique is just that effective or it was a total false alarm to begin with. Either way, it’s an unparalleled feeling to find out that you didn’t actually crap your pants.

Damn you, Galdalf. Don't look at me like you're confused.

For one who wants to be a doctor, I really do my best to avoid them. I finally decide that if I don’t feel better by Thursday morning, I’ll go in. I now just have to get through my epidemiology test first. With my current “ailment,” I haven’t found as much time to study as I’d like to. But then Thursday morning I wake up, and I, all of a sudden, feel better. I go take my test and don’t have to leave to the bathroom once during the whole thing. It’s like the gods were trying to say sorry for the hell they put me through. With this being the case, I headed home instead of going to the doctor’s office. A few hours later though, the gods must have realized that my karma wasn’t actually that deserving, because my body went from not being able to retain anything to holding onto that stuff with an iron grip. Good ol’ fashioned constipation. It was like Gandalf was in my large intestine saying, “You shall not pass.” From there started another miserable night (I should probably throw in the fact that jet lag is still ravaging me; I’m not sleeping more than two hours at a time and can’t seem to sleep past 4 or 5 in the morning). Again, I vow to go into the doctor the next morning. I wake up though and feel great (great at this point just means it doesn’t feel like there is a war raging on in my stomach; everything’s relative). Now as I write this on Sunday, I’d say that I feel pretty normal. It’s good to be back.

The one final thing I’d like to say is congrats to the NDSU Bison. National Champions. You make me proud to say I’m from North Dakota (although no German has any idea about football let alone division I-AA).

Anyway, hope my trials have brightened your day a little bit. Take care everybody.

Hugs and hand pounds,




  1. Frau Doktor Cieslak :) says:

    Hassie…congratulations on becoming an uncle. That is going to be ONE SPOILED baby.

    I am impressed you are able to use your German skills for such great use. Durchfall is actually one of my favorites…such a predictable word.

    I am so glad you had a great time with family and friends. I think of you often and pray for you too.


    • Hasanga Samaraweera says:

      Why thank you Frau Doktor Cieslak (gotta love German formality). I hope you and Rich are doing well.