Rutgers - Science Summer Abroad 2010
Nine Science Undergraduate Students Around the World

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

An example of a patient chart I fill out

Medicines, vitamins, and minerals for children

Life in Mexico is beginning to feel normal. Today I realized I didn’t feel the same emotions or have the same perceptions/thoughts that I had when I first arrived. Waving a bus down and jumping on to it felt normal, sitting on it being the only gringa (besides Lisa) felt normal, asking the bus driver to let us off at La Experimental felt normal, catching a little mototaxi with Virgin Mary stickers all over it felt normal, sitting down at my usual desk with my usual nurse felt normal, filing out information about patients and their vaccine history felt normal, walking to the bus stop from the clinic and encountering four stray dogs as they walked out of an abandoned building didn’t phase me at all, and coming home to my wonderful host family felt wonderfully routine as well. It almost feels as if this is my permanent life, that I have put my old American life on hold and I’m in another dimension living in Mexico. Though these days can be hectic because they’re so filled with class, work, and activities, I’m really enjoying my time here. It’s been going by so quickly that I’ve hardly had time to let everything sink in; when did I get so used to being here? Today it just hit me that my average day consisted of so many amazing things; helping give vaccines to eradicate epidemics, eating a Oaxaqueno comida with an amazing host family, meeting new people at various places all the time (everyone seems to be fascinated with the Americans walking around town), going to a language school with my newly made friends, and at times, simply just walking around Oaxaca and discovering its hidden treasures.

Today consisted of the normal routine, of course. But I'm having so much fun doing it. Today, two newborns came in (one was 3 days old, one was only 1 day old!) who needed to get blood work done as well as vaccinations. I didn't participate because it involved needles and blood, but it was really interesting to watch what the normal protocol of handling newborns was. I also felt more at ease while working at my nurses' desk, knowing what I was expected to and observing her every move. I'm really enjoying my clinic and feel in place regardless of obvious language barriers. It certainly helps that there are young, english-speaking nurses that we can talk to, too, because sometimes we really just need the help or have questions to ask we're not capable of asking in Spanish.

I'm surprised by the fact that it only two weeks for me to begin feeling home here. I do still get homesick but I feel like my culture shock phase is over and I have embraced Oaxaca as my new home 100%. It's very cool that life here has become normal already, and that we're completely part of the regular daily Oaxacan life (commuting on public buses, working in clinics, going to school, interacting with people all the time).

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