The next day, I bought Raid.

I’ve been quite lucky on the pest front since I moved to the Philippines. Sure, there was a three month period where I was rinsing tiny ants off of my toothbrush every morning, but I’ve never had to deal with rats chewing on my clothes or cockroaches crawling up the drain during my showers like some of my friends here.

Last week, though, we had an Incident.

It was nearly 10 pm, so getting on towards bedtime for those of us living in the tropics who are expected to get up with the sun. I was casually surfing the web, as is my MO, when I was roused by hysterical shrieks from Roommate. I went to investigate.

Friends, an enormous cockroach had found its way into her bedroom. I mean it was freaking huge.

Now, I like to think of myself as pretty tough. I’m from Colorado, pioneer spirit and all that. Just earlier that night I’d made a joke about saving Roommate–who is sort of a sensitive, feminine type–from bugs. How I ate my words!

It wouldn’t come down to a reasonable height for crushing, that was the problem. It sat up there, seven feet in the air. You guys, cockroaches in the Philippines fly. And they also bite. So neither of us wanted to risk the terrible angle for crushing and suddenly find ourselves with a face full of pure biting buzzing EVIL.

The worst thing was, while it sat, it groomed itself. It would take one of its long, long antennae and run it slowly through its mouth, and then the other. No insect should be capable of such articulated movement.

I did not shriek, but that is about the most I can say about the way I acquitted myself.

Anyway, we stalked it for over an hour, and finally it landed on the floor and Roommate crushed it with a large casserole pan. Well, she half-crushed it. She crushed its back half into a mealy pulp. Its front half remained intact.

To save my sense of self-worth and salvage my pride at not really helping, I swooped in with a broom to clean up. I scraped the back half of the cockroach outside and washed the pan, and then I swept up the front half into a box I had lying around.

It was past our bedtimes at that point. We went to bed, and Roommate slept much sounder for having disposed of the cockroach.

In the morning I woke up with some unrelated–uh, we’ll call it intestinal difficulties and leave it at that–and hauled my ass miserably into the kitchen.

The counter was covered in ants. COVERED.

You know what I forgot to throw away? What I left on the counter overnight?

Did you further know that ants are attracted to protein as well as sugar? And that cockroaches are pretty much composed of protein?

This is me, standing in the middle of the kitchen, pre-coffee, one hand holding a box filled with ants swarming the front half of a cockroach, the other grasping my stomach, wondering what the hell to do with any of this.

PEACE CORPS.

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