Week of July 9th 2018- First Week in Puerto Rican Apartment!

Monday, July 9th- Ummm… Sorry Guys… I Don’t Remember

I thought I’d written this day. I wrote consistently all week, but I forgot Monday. Of all days! I’m not sure what I did today, but don’t worry. I wrote enough detail the rest of the week to make up for it.

Tuesday, July 10th- We Have a Home!

I’d been having amazing days. I downloaded an app that tracks your mood. Three times a day, it asks you questions like “are you hopeful for the future” and other criteria for depression and gives you options for your current mood between very bad, bad, moderate, good, and very good. Since I’ve been in San Juan (Puerto Rico) I’ve felt great everyday! All my feeling words have been green, like active and cheerful instead of the sea of gray that it had been at home. Once, at home, I chose all but one of the gray options. That was a bad day.. Now it’s been the complete opposite. I don’t think I’ve chosen more than one gray word since I’ve been here. I began to think that being busy, having a goal (internship requirements in this case), and being around people was the solution. I thought that’s what I needed to be happy. Until today.

Today was a busy day. We started by going to the bank. That was a fiasco! Since the other interns and I who went are from the U.S., our banks were freaking out about us taking out a large sum of money. Why did we need such a large sum of money? The fastest way to convince the realtor we had been talking to to lease us our ideal apartment so we could move in asap was to pay her several months in advance. Plus, I needed to get money to pay my tuition. After the bank, we went to the dietetic director’s office to turn in papers and get questions answered, before going to the grocery store to get a money order for my tuition payment. After this, we met up with the realtor to get the contract signed.

She met us at the grocery store, but we ended up going to the Burger King next door. There we read and signed the contract, annnnddd. Made the drug deal. Just kidding! But it sure seemed like it!! Since we are unemployed students, the realtor wanted us to pay four months in advance. Since we are foreigners, she wanted us to pay in cash. It ended up being several thousand dollars. In cash. At a Burger King. Yeah, sounds like a drug deal to me. But instead of cocaine or marijuana, we got the keys to our apartment and information on how to set up water and electricity. WE HAVE A HOME!!! *Phew! That feels good.

What doesn’t feel good is how I’m starting to feel worn out by all this socialization. People are starting to grate me and I’m starting to feel bad about my personality after being around so many different ones. I have been with four other people for the last 48 hours. We go everywhere together. Four of us slept in the same room last night. All day, all night, people. I began to think I wasn’t an introvert. I began to think I liked- prefered even!- being around people. Why do I let myself believe things I know not to be true? Humans and their stupid hope. But, what’s life without hope? I look forward to moving into our apartment tomorrow. 🙂

Wednesday, July 11th- Getting Utilities Set Up and Getting Tired of People

Another long day. Today the gang of four other interns and I woke up around 6am to get water and electricity set up in our new apartment. It’s great to have a place to live, but there’s so much to do to make it livable. So, Karen, Gia, and I hopped on a train to get the water set up while Axyl and Robin stayed behind in the Airbnb to move the luggage to our new apartment. After getting the water set up, Karen and I parted ways with Gia as she joined up with her roommates to set up her own utility accounts. This gave Karen and I the opportunity to eat at a little local hole in the wall by the train station. I had a refreshing papaya smoothie, plus some Puerto Rican fried favorites like a sorullo (corn and cheese stick) and fried ball….uhh… thing. (mashed potato, ground meat, and potato ball). I don’t remember the name.

After our impromptu breakfast, Karen and I traveled to our (finally our!) apartment where the guys were taking a break from hauling all of the luggage up. We decided to go ahead and get the electricity account done today, so the four of us jumped on the train, then a bus, then a bus again because we ended up going to the wrong place. Eventually we got it right, and after waiting two or so hours, we set up electricity for our apartment. Taking advantage of the location, we stopped by Marshall’s to buy some home goods and a dress for me, since we have to go to this year’s intern’s graduation tomorrow morning and I only brought one suitcase with me, so I didn’t have any fancy dresses in my repertoire. Once finished there, we tried finding a restaurant to eat at in vain. So, we ubered home and went to a local Fresh Mart instead. It’s like the Whole Foods of Puerto Rico.

We bought bread, water, and assorted snacks/ breakfast items there. At the apartment we made sandwiches and had a school-like lunch, complete with chips as a side. Since we don’t have electricity running yet, we sat out in the balcony to cool off in the breeze and chatted with some music in the background. I’m not the only one craving personal space, it seems. The four of us roommates (Karen, Axyl, Robin, and I) have been essentially attached at the hip since we started sharing an Airbnb on Sunday. Us, and for the past couple of days, Gia too (a fellow intern who will be living in the same complex as us [though a different apartment]) have gone everywhere together and come back to the same room to all sleep together. I like people, but I need a break!

Thursday, July 12th- Previous Interns’ Graduation and Getting a Bed!

Four people. One bathroom. And a 10am graduation to attend. There were a few time issues, but when we finally made it to the location it ended up being a sweet ceremony. The dietetic director and her interns showed genuine gratitude and appreciation for their time in Puerto Rico. There were speeches, tears, and live singing. Everything that makes a nice ceremony. In addition to that, us incoming interns were included too. We were presented to the preceptors (dietitians the previous interns shadowed), professionals, and graduating interns families, and we were given a gift bag filled with little things like water bottles, a mug, and a lunch box. After taking a group photo with all the interns for this year, my roommates (Karen, Axyl, Robin) and I headed back home via the train.

We took a little break to get out of our party clothes before heading to Ikea to see if we could find some cheap furniture. We took the train about six stops out before arriving at a big bus transfer center where we waited about thirty minutes for the bus that would take us to Ikea to arrive. A thirty minute bus ride later, we made it to Home Depot where we took advantage of the bus route to get some extra keys made, since we only had two sets. Once finished there, we walked to Ikea where we quickly found out it was simply a show room. Everything at that location had to be ordered online. I couldn’t even buy a candle there!

Moving on, we ventured to Walmart to see if we could find cheap mattress solutions. Since our apartment didn’t come with furniture, we slept on the floor last night. But, in the end, we went to Costco and half of us bought mattresses there while the other two bought thinner (read: cheaper) foam pads. I bought a twin size mattress. Finally! A bed! It’s great how things are coming together. Slowly, but surely. Now, if only the light people could hurry up! It gets dark around 7pm here!

Friday, July 13th- First Nutrition Workshop and Scary Movies

Happy Friday the 13th, guys! My fellow interns and I started the day bright and early at 6am to go to our first workshop of the year. It didn’t start until 8am, but since we don’t have a car… Yeah, the walk to the train station, plus the ride took around 45 minutes. It’s a beautiful walk though. We pass the Coliseo of Puerto Rico to get there. I took a picture of it for my Instagram. It’s the photo on this featured on this week’s blog post above. (Check it out at my social media links below for more pictures and blog updates.) The workshop itself wasn’t anything super exciting. Just calculations and meal planning for clinical nutrition work. It’s super weird, but cool to be in a room with nine other people just doing nutrition work. All throughout university I studied several subjects. At first it was because of basics like English and history classes the state requires. Then it was because I kept adding on minors. (More on that here.) We’ll see how this internship goes. The first part of the internship is more book work and classes. Which are more like reviews of what we learned in university.

Either way, after the workshop one of the guys who works with the realtor who we worked with to get our current apartment came by to drop off a sofa they had. For free! They must have had the sofa from some other apartment they were trying to rent out, but for free? That’s awesome! Slowly, but surely our apartment is coming together into a quaint little home. By this time it was about 4pm, so Gia, Robin, and I took a rest then walked the twenty or so minutes to the mall. There we got something at Starbucks (Chai tea, my favorite!) and sat there as I worked on yesterday’s blog.

Several errands later, like getting passport pictures taken and visiting a grocery store for milk, tuna, and -my recent craving- fruit, we swung by a little asian store/restaurant for some dinner before returning to our apartment. There we caught up with Karen and Axyl. As the group chatted I excused myself to the balcony where I called my mom. My great grandmother recently passed away, so I wanted to make sure my mom was doing okay. I wish I could be there for her, but I’m (literally) on an island. It’s not that easy.. *sigh It’s just one year. This time next year, I’ll be counting down the days to my next adventure. After some genuine parting words of “take care” we hung up the phone. I got to chat on the phone a bit with Mariah (my roommate from my last year of university this past year).

Once I returned to our empty-except-one-solitary-couch living room, Robin and Gia left to go get a drink, while Axyl, Karen, and I started watching “It” in honor of Friday the 13th. Karen does not like scary movies. But, she stayed with us (with a lantern on, since we still don’t have electricity… hence Starbucks earlier). She must like us at least a little bit, hee hee. Lucky for her, the movie froze and the movie we put on after that (Annabelle Creation) froze as well, so no scary movie tonight! Next Friday the 13th, for sure!

Saturday, July 14th- Starbucks Again and Buying Home Essentials

I promised Robin I’d go to Stabucks with him this morning, but before that we stopped at the Best Buy across the street from our local Starbucks. There I wandered around the audio and TV sections and asked two different employees where to find a cd player until Robin took me to where they were. -__- They had two types. I’m just glad they had any to begin with. The employees I asked seemed kind of confused when I asked them. They must have thought they’d misheard me. One of them sent me to where they sold vinyls. Really?! Anyway, with a wonderful personal cd player/radio in hand, we headed to the Starbucks. There I typed up yesterday’s blog and tried a strawberries and creme frappuccino (delicious!).

Robin and I came back to an empty home. Wondering where Axyl and Karen went, Robin and I took a couple hour’s break before attempting a trip to Walmart. The closest one is about 1.3 miles away. We could have walked it. But….no. We’ve done so much walking these past few days already. So, we took a train, waited about 30 minutes for a bus, took a five minute bus ride (all that waiting for that!) and got lost for a minute (my bad!) before making it to Walmart. Robin and I walked around picking up items without a basket or cart to put them in because we mistakenly thought that would impede us from accumulating too many items. Not the case. I got a lot of cheap shirts and tanks plus a little plastic dresser! Woo! Hopefully by tomorrow I’ll have all of my stuff out of my suitcase! Then I’ll feel at home.

We took an Uber back once we’d gotten some food at Panda Express. At home it was already dark, so I grabbed Karen’s lantern and washed the new dishes Robin and I had bought. Plastic cups and bowls for everyone and a nice little ceramic plate and bowl for me plus all of the freebies I got at the graduation on Thursday. It feels nice to have dishes. There are so many little things I’d take for granted at home with my parents or even in university after years of buying home essentials. Soon after I finished washing the dishes, Axyl and Karen arrived. They’d done a bit of shopping themselves. Luckily nothing we’d already gotten (like a broom). It was only about 9pm, but I was falling asleep on the couch, so I called it a night and fell asleep to my roommate’s phone playing the sounds of a tennis match.

Sunday, July 15th- Lazy Day Plus Pizza

I woke up to a rooster. My rooster alarm, specifically. I don’t know when or why I set that alarm for 8:30am since I fell asleep around 9pm. I woke my roommate with it. Oops! Axyl just looked over at me disapprovingly and said something along the lines of “that better not be your usual alarm!”. Ha! I ran off as soon as I woke to the living room where I had a nice bowl of cereal. Then I lounged on the couch listening to the radio on my new cd player. Axyl and Karen went off to buy produce and turn in job applications while Robin and I relaxed in the apartment. After a while, Robin left for Starbucks while I remained in my room organizing things in my half closet space and cheap little dresser I bought yesterday.

If Gia and Robin hadn’t come by and invited me to go to the mall, I would have stayed home all day. But, they’re nice people and I was getting hungry, so I stuffed the rest of my mess around my room in a drawer and went with them. At the mall we went to Walgreen’s where I bought a patriotic wallet with Puerto Rico written all over it. They teased me for it of course. Not that I mind. It’s nice to get to a point with someone where both parties are confident enough with each other to joke like that. From there we stopped by Pizza Hut for dinner and then walked home. Not a bad end to the week.

Notes:
1) Update on living situation: I now have an apartment with Karen, Robin, and Axyl. We have bought a few basic things like a broom and bed, and now have running water, but still no internet or electricity. I hope we get both of those soon. Otherwise, I’ll have spent more money at Starbucks this month than in my whole life up to now!

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