It’s the very first night of our school trip to Altai. The Altai winds are a stinging, icy slap in the face. Paulina and I rush to our cabin after a long day of me feeling sick and throwing up as the crisp, cold air of Siberia is encompassing us, making me shiver. Once we reach our cabin, I feel a wave of heat enter my body - finally. I sigh from relief. Too exhausted to take a shower, I put on my pajamas, and flop back into the big, comfortable bed. We try to get some sleep for the big, tiring week ahead of us. As exhausted as I am, it is almost impossible for me to fall into a cozy slumber with my headache and my nose stuffed with reservoirs of snot. Feeling sorry for Paulina because of how loud I am, I blow my nose every 3 seconds and stuff my used tissues into the space between the wall and the bed.
After an immensely long night of coughing and blowing my nose, Paulina and I wake up and start the first day. I feel a lot better after I’ve slept, yet my nose is still running, dripping like rain from a soaked umbrella. “Do you have a tissue pack I can borrow?” is the only question I have.
That night, deja vu takes place and the same thing happens. Exhausted, we flop into our bed after a long day, and try to sleep, meanwhile I just keep blowing and blowing my nose and stuffing my tissues in the space between our bed and the wall. By now, I’ve almost used all three toilet rolls that the camp provided us including the two soft tissue packs that my mom gave me for the trip. Luckily there was still some toilet paper left for its actual use: number one and two. More and more snot is entering my nose as the days go by; my cold is finding its way to Paulina, we could both tell because she is also starting to blow her nose a lot, also stuffing her tissues in the space between the bed and the wall. Tomorrow we are going rafting and I am crazy worried. I am confident that when I come back from the fresh water, I will be sicker than before.
Right before rafting, I’m extremely afraid. With the stinging, low-temperature, I don’t want to become even more nauseous than I already am. The frigid, ice-cold weather is causing me to worry more and more about my sickness every second. On the raft, my body is frozen. I cannot feel my toes and my fingers, they are about to fall off as my ears, cheeks, and nose are becoming tomato red. I am trying to regain circulation by continuously squeezing the paddle. I feel like more and more snot is entering my nose every second. By the time we finish rafting and reach the bus, I feel more than relieved. All the muscles in my body, tense from the freezing water and the cold weather, have loosened. I feel calm, but my nose is stuffed to the point where I can hardly breath and all I smell is the snot stuck up in my nose, meanwhile everyone is talking about the fresh smell of the green grass.
That night, I lose my phone. Paulina and I search for it everywhere. I have no clue where it is. My heart drops as my face goes white with fear. There is no way I’m going back to Moscow without my phone. What will my parents say? I am petrified — terrified — I’m a shivering wreck. As we are looking around the room, we see tissues everywhere; we find tissues in places which we have no idea how they got to. We check behind the curtains — no phone — but plenty of snot-filled tissues. We look under the sink, no phone, just more tissues. We also check under the shelf, and in the drawers. We can’t seem to find my phone anywhere, all we see is our tissues, mostly mine, thrown around the messy room. Paulina looks under one bed “it’s not there” she tells me. My face gets one shade lighter — one shade paler. I check under the other bed and see a flashing light. I reach my hand for it... it’s my phone! Tons of weight has just fallen off my shoulders and I take a deep breath and relax. I check to see what else Paulina and I have lost under the bed. I find something… something big. I start laughing my head off. “Check under the bed!” I try to tell Paulina while laughing. She looks under the bed and see’s it too.
“How are we gonna get rid of all of it?” she asks me.
“I have noooo idea! We will need a stick to reach that far!”
We go outside our cabin and ask our friend, Jacob, to find us a long stick. He hands us a stick freshly ripped off from a tree. I crawl under the bed, surprised I fit under there, and use the stick to wipe everything clean. I manage to come out from under the bed alive successfully. “The bed is finally clean!” I tell Paulina. She doesn’t believe that I’ve managed to get under there and clean everything, so she comes and checks if it’s actually clean. She hesitantly strolls into our room and see’s the tissue stack as tall as Mount Everest -- even bigger than what it looked like from under the bed. Guilty of making a tissue stack, yet proud of managing to collect each and everyone one of the millions of tissues under the bed. “How have you managed to cram that many tissues under the bed?” Paulina asks me. I explained to her that every night, I was worried about disturbing her. This makes us both laugh. Everything was very disturbing and gross, but it was worth it. We laughed about it for 10 minutes nonstop and now we’ve got a great, unforgettable story to tell.