If you know me, you know there is a lot that I can deal with, but there is one thing in this world that terrifies me like nothing else.
I’m not sure when I developed this insane phobia for cockroaches, but when I see one, even from far away, my knees seriously go weak and I start to feel lightheaded. I remember once many years ago, I visited my sister Mimi in Hong Kong, a place known for its big, flying cockroaches during the hot, humid months. After being out with my friends one night, I was going up the stairs leading up to my sister’s apartment, and there, smack in the middle of one step, was a giant cockroach just sitting there waiting for me.
Okay, so maybe it wasn’t exactly waiting for me, but it didn’t budge, and I stopped dead in my track, heart thumping so fast I thought I would have a heart attack. It was well past midnight by then, and I knew my sis was sleeping already, but I had no choice. I called her to come save me.
If there was ever a time that I felt most grateful for having a sister, it was that very moment when she came out in her pajamas to help me kill that cockroach so I could get past it to go home and sleep. 🤗
Little did we know then, that fast forward almost 20 years later, my sis would save me a second time.
On our most recent trip to Hong Kong, Bridgette and I stayed at a church dormitory very close to my sister’s home. We’ve stayed there previously, and its quiet, humbling environment had suited our needs just fine. We had our own small room with a private bathroom, and at USD $20/night, we honestly couldn’t complain.
One fateful night, however, Bridge and I got back to our dorm room around 10pm, and as we got ready to shower, we saw a mosquito in the room. Because mosquitos absolutely love us, we knew we’d be eaten alive if we left it in our room, so we began our quest to kill it. I chased after it with a bottle of repellant while Bridge opened our dorm room door to let it out. Once we succeeded, we sat down on the bed to catch our breath for a minute, and it was that very moment when I saw, from the corner of my eye, a big, black cockroach at the edge of the desk.
I immediately jumped onto the bed in immense fear and yelled “OMG cockroach!!!!” Bridge, seeing my fear, jumped up as well and tried to hid behind me, while I kept pushing her forward so I could hide behind her. (I know, I’m such a great, protective mom, aren’t I? LOL)
I tried begging and bribing Bridge to kill it, but she refused. Desperate times call for desperate measures. I then did what I did 20 years ago. I called my sis even though it was already 11pm, and I begged her to come over to help us kill the cockroach. She asked exasperatedly if I was serious, but my desperate, crying voice made it clear that I was absolutely not joking.
After I hung up, I instructed Bridge to help me keep a close eye on the cockroach so that we would not lose its whereabout while we waited for Mimi to come save us. Together, paralyzed with fear, we stared at it, barely blinking. That was when the most horrific thing happened. The cockroach launched into the air and began FLYING!!!
At that very moment, I completely, utterly lost it. I was like in one of those cartoons, screaming and flailing my arms wildly and just going totally berserk. I mean, I was in a tiny, enclosed space with a flying insect that I feared most!! I flung open our dorm room door and ran outside, not caring that I was in my nightgown and slippers. Bridge was right behind me, probably more scared about how I was reacting than the cockroach itself. We ran down the hall, also not caring that people were now opening their doors and peering out in fear and concern at my screaming. We waited by the elevators for Mimi, and as soon as she arrived, I told her there would be no possible way for us to stay in the dorm room anymore. She tried to calm me down, and reassured me she would kill it for us. But I was too traumatized to calm down at that point. It was like I was possessed; I couldn’t stop shaking and I literally felt dizzy with fear. I told Mimi firmly that we were going to move to a hotel that very night. I went onto Expedia and immediately booked one of the hotels closest to us, the Hyatt Regency in Shatin for the next few nights. Mimi knew there would be no talking me out of the craziness, so she went into our room (by herself ofcourse; we weren’t going near the room again!) to grab our backpacks and shoes, plus one change of clothes for the next day, and then drove us to the Hyatt.
The moment we left the building, I felt soooooooo relieved! Being in an open space made me feel much safer. We all began laughing, because we knew the absurdity of the situation (grown adult running away from a cockroach) and yet, even with a more clear state of mind, I still wouldn’t have chosen to stay. That’s how serious my cockroach phobia is.
By the time we arrived to the Hyatt, it was well past midnight. The staff looked at us with raised eyebrows, and Mimi jokingly asked them if they had ever encountered other guests that were there to escape cockroaches. 😆 The minute we entered our hotel room, we flopped onto the beds and began reflecting on what just happened. My reaction to that flying cockroach even surprised myself, but the fear and the emotions were definitely very real. I asked Bridge why she was so scared, because she’s camped outside before, and we’ve stayed in places around the world that were much dirtier and insect ridden. Her answer?
“I was scared because you were so scared.”
Total #momfail moment! Our kids really do see the world through our eyes, and that night, Bridgette saw cockroaches in a much more terrifying way as she normally would, because she was seeing it through my eyes…
My wonderful, loving sister went back to the dorm room the next day to pack all our things up, and brought it to the Hyatt for us because she knew I’d never step foot in the dorm room again. While doing that, she found the cockroach in a corner of the room, dead.
“I think you scared it to its death,” Mimi said to me matter of factly. “And…just so you know, it wasn’t a flying cockroach. It was a flying beetle.”
There’s always a silver lining to every situation though, and for this one, it was the wonderful week we spent at the Hyatt Regency Shatin where we got to enjoy the fabulous pool, gym, and all its amenities. 🙂
I cannot end this post without acknowledging again what an amazing sister I have, who has come to my rescue time after time, cockroaches and all. 🙂 I hope that in another 20 years, I will not have to drag her out of bed again to save me from another cockroach.