Monday, June 8, 2009

Should you drink the water?

Warning: this post might not be suitable for people who are not yet parents, as they may be too easily grossed out.

Check out this cool playground! This is near my brother Nate's house and right behind the building where they held the party for Bryce's confirmation. So, we were up there a LOT, while adults were up preparing for the party, then during the party, then cleaning up from the party. (I'm talking DAYS. Set up & clean up is not just a couple hours for a party this huge.)

So, Nathan & I were impressed with how natural it is. Just plain wood. Not all plastic-y like most American playgrounds. We liked it.

But actually, this blog post is not about the playground itself. It's about the day that Merani had diarrhea on the playground. In the pic on the left, do you see there where Katy is peeking out? Merani was up one level from that (and thankfully, Katy was not down there below her at the time). I wasn't nearby when it happened, but I was summoned to come down and help. Poor thing; the diarrhea had gone all the way down her pant leg and into her shoe. I was stressed out since we hadn't brought a change of clothes with us. We weren't far from Nate's home, so we did our best: cleaned her up in a big bowl of water, wrapped her up in a towel, and walked her home to take a bath.

Of course, when something like this happens, you try to figure out what went wrong. Was Merani sick? Was she going to be infecting all of the other kids at the party in just a couple of days? Or was it just something she consumed that disagreed with her? Which leads us to the title of this post. There are some who would choose to blame the water in Spain. But that makes me laugh. Let me tell the whole story.

Before leaving for Europe, one beloved member of my family warned us to make sure to bring money for bottled water, as we should not drink the tap water in Germany. What?!? I know I've heard the warning for Mexico before, but not for Europe. Especially because I don't recall having specifically avoided the tap water on previous trips to Germany. I'm aware that you aren't usually OFFERED the tap water. They mostly drink the sparkling kind, so if you don't want that, you have to ask for "still water", and then you'll receive bottled water. But I didn't have any reason to think that I couldn't drink the tap water if I didn't want to.

When I arrived in Germany, I confirmed with Nate & Adrienne that the water was fine to drink. In fact, I was assured that it was excellent water because of the well in town. However, I was warned about the water in Spain. Well, skeptical me... when we arrived in Lleida, I asked our host Xavier, and he assured me that the water was perfectly fine to drink. In their household, they put water from the tap through a filter (like a Brita pitcher) to drink. (Side note: most Europeans don't drink their water cold either. There's never ice cubes, and even the water pitcher in Lleida was left in the cabinet, not the fridge. It's better for your digestion that way.)

So... we drank the water. In Spain, definitely. And in Germany occasionally too (although bottled water was usually provided.) So, did that cause our dilemma? I'm inclined to think no. We had been drinking the water in Spain since we arrived on Friday May 15. The diarrhea incident didn't occur until Thursday May 21, the day after we arrived back into Germany.

On the other hand, even if Merani did get diarrhea from unfamiliar bacteria or whatever in the food or water from Europe, I prefer to think of that as a good experience for her body. A strengthening experience. I'm just sad that her shoes never completely recovered. :(

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