"Matsuri! (festival!)" said Erica the other day when she spotted a Cherry tree blooming. She had got the name wrong, but I still liked the implication - Cherry blossom parties are coming up soon!! If I can survive the great outdoors that is (more on that later).
I taught her the words for cherry blossom/sakura and then:
"Spring has sprung!" she said, making me laugh and forget about parties. I haven't been saying this, so she must have picked it up at kindy. It's cute when they come out with unexpected stuff from kindy. It's cute when they come out with exact copies of your own words too, but it's actually quite rare for us if the kids come up with something from school - when you're raising a bilingual kid in a foreign land, often you're the only source of their language. You can't say 'they learned that at school!' for cute, OR naughty words!
But spring has not so much sprung as launched an all-out assault on my face.
Sunday was the worst it's been yet. Itchy and runny nose, check, that's almost normal now. Sneezing so much I get dizzy, check (and having to wear a panty shield because of the sneezing six times in a row: I can do one-three sneezes, but more than that, no go. If you have no idea what I am talking about, good for you!!). Itchy throat, check. Itchy eyes, check. And the headache that results from all of this put together, check.
It was the eyes that did me in. I've aged ten years overnight with swollen red bags under my eyes. It itches, I endure, I can't endure, I rub, the irritant goes from my skin into my eyes and it gets worse, I attack my eyes, carefully scratch the rims, bath my eyes in a damp towel, and cry. Rinse and repeat. Lena asked if I was okay, and I said no! She asked what it was like and I said it was like having shampoo in your eyes. All. Day. Long.
It's a bad year for it. Everyone is suffering. People who have hayfever are in agony. People like me who usually sneeze a bit and get over it, no meds, are caving and begging for drugs. People confidently announce they 'don't have hayfever' but wonder about this strange cold they have that won't go away. I wonder if it's actually worse because of the dust storms from China, and the killer pollution they have over there, a little bit of which wafts its way over here. I don't check the weather forecast - I monitor the pollen forecast, track the dust storm and check the daily air quality levels. And, despite this perfect, glorious weather, stay resolutely indoors.
I suppose it didn't help at the weekend that the kids were home and had friends over both days, so they were in and out all day, bringing it all in. On Saturday I walked twice to the supermarket. All weekend, I was pottering around, shifting piles of stuff from one part of the house to another, in the vague hope of settling on a more logical arrangement, an activity I call spring cleaning, though it rarely involves actual cleaning. It is an activity that involves a lot of dust though.
All of it together had me in a shivering heap of misery by the end of Sunday, and I practically leaped on Kanji when he arrived home, to steal his meds. I was at the doctor's office by 8:30am the next morning, and now with my eye drops, nasal spray and two types of allergy meds, I hope to spend this week feeling, if not perfect, then at least back to the more tolerable version of hayfever I'm used to!