Thursday, May 23, 2013

Día libre y una cena en nuestra casa

For the first week in Mexico, despite the heat in my room, I fell asleep quickly and slept soundly throughout the night for at least 8 hours. However, as the heat has built up and the rain has brought mosquitos, my sleep quality and quantity has greatly diminished to about 5-6 hours per night. For the past three nights, as I've started to fall asleep, a mosquito or two has buzzed in my ear and woken me up in a hot second. Each time I've quickly turned on the light with hopes of seeing them with intention to kill, but sadly I always miss it. I've taken to burrowing underneath the sheet in spite of how much it makes me sweat because I refuse to offer up my body as a blood buffet for the evil insects. You see, I'm slightly traumatized by a past experience from high school when I woke up with bites on my face for a whole week. I went on a weeklong bike trip with my church's youth group from our town all the way up north to Mackinaw City. We slept in tents on campgrounds each night and I ended up with a tent that had more than few holes. Each night, mosquitos would find their way in and feast on our bodies, particularly our faces. My tentmates and I would awaken to unconscious scratching that refused to subside as the day progressed. Imagine trying to scratch your face while attempting to ride a bike for 60-80 miles each day - not fun. Thus, I despise mosquitos when I'm sleeping and slightly freak out when I hear their buzzing as I fall asleep.

**Update at midnight: I've been trying to fall asleep for the past half hour and so far I've killed two mosquitos. Despite dousing myself and my entire bed in bug spray, one managed to land right on my neck and another followed on my arm. Needless to say I fought all instinct to immediately swat them away and rather let the buzzing continue until they landed on me before violently smooshing them to their death. Let's hope the rest learn from their counterparts and stay the heck away from me for the remainder of the night.**

Luckily today I was able to get a little more sleep since it's our day off. Though I sweated throughout the night underneath the sheet because mosquitos woke me up three separate times as I tried to sleep over the span of two hours, I was able to sleep in this morning. Mary and I headed out to meet one of the former UAQ host students, Nayelli, for breakfast. We met at El Arcangel downtown, where Mary and I went once before during the first week. Nayelli, now graduated and working as a nurse in a facility for older adults, updated Mary on her life. We also talked about the different hospitals and clinics our group has been to and the differences between them and those in the U.S. About two years ago, Nayelli and Montse were chosen by UAQ to visit our school and local hospitals, just like what the U.S. students from our group are doing now in Querétaro. They were able to see the similarities and differences between the health care facilities - technology, responsibilities of the nurse, medical resources, etc. It was interesting to hear her perspective and thoughts on these topics. 

After heading back to the house to let Galdina, our chef for tonight, in the house and to greet Brenda, the girl who comes to clean weekly, Mary and I headed to the university computer lab (for her to get some actual work done and for me to catch up on Facebook, blogging...the essentials, you know). It was so funny to sit and eavesdrop on some of the nursing students' conversations because it is obvious that whether in Michigan or Mexico, nursing students work hard and sometimes just need to laugh about how ridiculous school is sometimes. Their professor was late for class in the lab so they ALL took the opportunity to jump on the computers and take a break. The girls behind me giggled over Facebook photos and posts and I could see the guys in front of me on YouTube and having at least five different Facebook conversation chats going on. Some worked on PowerPoint presentations, but the vast majority chose to engage in some social networking instead. Save for the Spanish, it felt like I was sitting in our nursing resource room or in class with my fellow nursing classmates. I liked being able to just be like a bug on the wall observing the surroundings and interactions and relate them to experiences back home at school. I love how being a nursing student transcends languages and locations :) 

We headed back home to find Galdina working hard in the kitchen. Mary and I set up seating and plates and utensils in preparation for the evening's activities. I enjoyed a conversation completely in Spanish with Galdina, learning about her family (she has six grown children) and how she came to learn to cook so well (she worked in a factory cafeteria where she cooked for a thousand employees every day). I was so excited to see her making tamales and rajas con crema, the latter of which is what Ryan's host mom made for me when I went there for lunch. Galdina even made me a chicken tamale to try before the group arrived and I was in heaven! 

Quite a crowd showed up for dinner and it was so much fun to have everyone over. Along with Mary and me, there was Galdina, Heather, Katie, Elli M., Ellie B., Sarah, Hannah, Ryan, Eduardo, Mini, Alex, Sindy, Montse and Keta (who also brought Cailen and Bastián for a while) and Hugo, Esme, and their two daughters (Ellie and Sarah's host family). It was a full crowd! Galdina made a feast of steamed vegetables, guacamole, tortilla chips, quesadillas, fruit salad, tamales (vegetable AND chicken), rajas con crema, and a sweetened pineapple water to drink. For dessert, Mary and I had bought a large fruit tart and tres leches chocolate cake from the mercado the night before and both were nearly gone by the end of the night. Before we dug in, Elli M. suggested we say grace so we all joined hands in a big circle and Mary said a wonderful prayer (in English), giving thanks to God for the delicious food and for the opportunity to gather together. I loved being able to speak both in English and Spanish and help with some interpretation for those who couldn't speak one or the other very well. Despite some of these language barriers and challenges, everyone made efforts to communicate with and among each other. 

Sadly, the night had to come to an end, as we all have to be up tomorrow early for our first day at our last hospital here in Querétaro. Tomorrow we head to Hospital General, the public hospital where those who cannot pay (and the majority of which are from surrounding rural areas and of lower socioeconomic status) go for medical care. Many of the UAQ students have talked about how much more hectic this hospital is in comparison to the clinics and other facilities we've visited thus far so it will be very interesting to observe and  work there for the next two days. I just cannot believe we're in the final days of this May term! Time has definitely flown by and I'm still not ready to head back to the U.S. just yet. While I'm looking forward to going back to Husband, flushing toilet paper instead of throwing it in a trash can, getting my drinking water from the faucet instead of hauling large garrafones from stores and putting them on the dispenser, and having air conditioning in hot weather, I've truly enjoyed and am so grateful to have had the opportunity to experience all that has happened over the past two weeks. I know that I will look back on these posts with so much fondness and reminiscence and I'm really glad I've been able to stick to writing nearly daily. Let's hope that doesn't falter during this last week! 

Adiós :)  

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