And I’m back! Both to Puerto Rico and to my blog. Recap, I’m doing a nutrition internship in Puerto Rico until the end of June and we just got two weeks of winter break. I’ll be uploading weekly blog posts every Monday from now on and posts about old rotations and weeks that I missed last year on Fridays. Included in the Friday posts will be a post on what I did over winter break. Don’t hold your breath, as it mainly consisted of lounging around my parent’s house watching movies. I returned to Puerto Rico on Saturday, January 4th. From then till Monday, I stayed at my apartment here and didn’t do anything exciting. Now here’s the rest of the week:
Monday, January 7th- Seeing Axyl for the First Time Since Winter Break
Axyl came home! He’d told me he’d be arriving around 7am. Since today was a federal holiday I was still sleeping when he arrived. As our beds are three feet apart, I woke up when I heard him rustling something in his luggage. Now, I hadn’t seen him since before the break. Two weeks doesn’t sound like much, but I re-emphasize that we live in a 13 x 9 room and have been sharing this space for the last five and a half months. It was nice at first to have some time apart, but it was also very strange. It felt like what I imagine it feels to have a noticeable birthmark suddenly removed from your face. Something you are so used to suddenly gone!
Understandably, when I heard him in the room, I got awkward. Understandably for me at least… So, what did I do? I pretended to be asleep. Ha! It was so cringey! Tell me one person who is actually believable when they fake wake up. X) It was all in my head though. We started chatting about the break just like old times. I’m so grateful he’s the roommate I ended up with.
Tuesday, January 8th- First Day at Hospice and Home Care and Preceptor Insults Mexican Food. I Should Have Kept My Mouth Shut…
Early day today. I woke up at 6am to go to my Hospice and Home Care rotation. This one is about 30 minutes out. Not too bad, and since I try to avoid driving at all costs, Gia and I took an Uber. I should have gotten a car when Amanda offered to hook me up with someone who was selling a car for cheap. Ugh. Life choices. Fact remains that it was either renting a car or taking an Uber and renting a car was not worth it for the three days we would be at this rotation.
It was a basic boring orientation day where the preceptor was explaining how her company works and how documentation is done until (!) she insulted Mexican food. Look, even though I was born in Mexico, I was raised in Texas, so I can’t say I’m an expert on authentic Mexican food, but I grew up with my parents who were born and raised there and I can tell you the food is not boring, humdrum, or “all the same” as the preceptor said when she declared she didn’t like it! *Huff!*
It was lunch time and she, out of the blue, said, “I don’t like Mexican food. It’s all the same.” Gia was born and raised in Mexico. I’m second generation Mexican. It’s fine if you don’t like another culture’s cuisine, but I can think of a lot of different ways to say it more respectfully! So… I got upset. I told myself not to react, but… I let her word’s hang in the air for a second before I said, “Yeah, that’s what I think about the food here.” She didn’t like that! X) I’m going to fail this rotation, aren’t I?
Wednesday, January 9th- First Home Visit and Preceptor Brought Up the Food Thing Again…
The most interesting thing we did at the rotation today was go to a patient’s house to give them a nutrition evaluation. We hopped in the preceptor’s car and as we drove over there, I realized I’d never been inside a Puerto Rican home. Sure, I’ve lived here for six months and had visited numerous apartments when my fellow interns and I were searching for a place to live, but I’d never stepped inside a home. It looked like a poor Mexican home. That’s the only thing I could compare it to. Concrete walls, humid, and small.
On the way back to the Hospice and Home Care office, the preceptor brought up the food thing again. She asked us where we’d been eating because there is sooooo much variety in Puerto Rico. -_____- And since I was sitting in the front seat, I had to oblige her. I ended up asking her where she recommends we go out to eat to experience that variety she claims.
Now, real talk. Puerto Rican food isn’t terrible. I would not pick it if I had other choices, but some of it is very good. More than anything, I was annoyed at her commentary about Mexican food. (Also, reminder, I never said the food wasn’t good or that I didn’t like it like she had said about Mexican food. I said it was all the same. Which, I’m sure there is variety, but I’m not Puerto Rican and I don’t go out much, how would I know?)
Thursday, January 10th- Finding Peace on a Mountain Road During Another Home Visit
No more petty talk about food, fortunately. Today we went to visit two patients. One was in a city and had a very nice house similar to some middle class houses I’ve seen in Mexico City, Mexico. The second, though. It was up in a mountain. The featured picture is of a window at a restaurant near the house. I was at peace. For some time, traffic was stopped since workers were clearing a strip of highway where a small avalanche had thrown rocks and dirt onto the road. For about twenty minutes I looked at the weeds growing on the side of the highway and observed bees flitting from bright yellow flower to flower and ladybugs tiptoeing up a green stalk. At one point I spotted a graceful butterfly dancing with the wind.
I began to imagine a life for myself up on a mountain like that one. In my own little house. Just me and my keyboard clacking away. I’d be a writer in this fantasy, only making the trip down to the neighboring village when absolutely necessary. I’d have to learn how to plant my own food, but it would be worth it to fall asleep to the sounds of life and nature surrounding me instead of car horns and borderline noise violations from the apartment next door blaring reggaeton.
Friday, January 11th- Meeting with the Internship Director and Karen and Robin Accusing Axyl of Fraud
Group meeting today. Four presentations in total. For one of my peer’s presentations, I made a super improvised chicken noodle soup and strawberry pudding. Somehow it turned out okay. Even the director smiled at me and said it’d be good as she picked up a plate saying, “I’ve heard about your cooking skills”. Ahh! That was cool! But also… where did she hear about them from? Eep! Spies everywhere.
The eventful part of today, however was the second meeting. I didn’t know this was going to happen, but when the director went to dismiss us, she instructed me, Axyl, Karen, and Robin to stay. She said, she had a meeting at 3 o’ clock though, so what was this? The director started off by saying, that she didn’t really have a meeting at three. Or that she did, but that this was it. Basically, she was giving us an intervention. Remember that I’d mentioned an oppressive, everyone-hates-someone-else-in-this-apartment air since about October or September? Yeah, it’s worse than I thought.
In this meeting, Robin and Karen accused Axyl of fraud. They claimed he was overcharging for the electricity bill and that he had altered the bills. I was shocked. These are some strong accusations. I didn’t know what to think and I said as much. As Robin played recordings of phone calls with the electric company and Karen asked me sweetly if I’d paid Axyl then told me in a cold matter of fact voice, “Then, he stole from you too.”, I was disgusted. I told them, I was in utter shock, but that this was speculation. In order to settle this, I suggested we go down to the electric company, the four of us, and find out what was really going on. The director supported this idea and set a day next week for us to all go together.
Another thing that was brought up in this meeting was the fact that I haven’t been doing my share of the cleaning for the past few months. Because of this, Robin hadn’t talked to me for that many months. However, in this safe space, we were able to talk it out and come to an agreement. I apologized, he apologized. Yay! Forgiveness! But, to bring the point home (literally) I cleaned the entire apartment when I got home. Kitchen, floors, little bathroom, big bathroom. I cleaned it. It felt like penance. And after that when I was resting on the couch, Robin came up to me and, for the first time in months, spoke to me. It felt amazing. I don’t like people being mad at me. I suppose few people do..
Saturday, January 12th- Improvised Seafood Soup and Uncertainty with Gia
NOTHING. I did nothing! 🙂 Well, I made soup. I hadn’t called my dad since I got here, so I did that. But I was getting kind of hungry, so I rummaged around the freezer and pulled out this $3 seafood mix I’d recently bought. It was cheap, so I didn’t expect much. I grabbed some stuff from the pantry and began to experiment. My dad is an assistant at a cooking school, so I sent him some photos of the finished product. He was proud. 🙂
After my successful experiment, Gia invited me to go to the store with her to get some chips. We walked and chatted, but I just don’t feel the same way as I used to. I’m on edge when I talk to her and most of the things she says rub me the wrong way. It’s a combination of not having seen her over the whole winter break and some drama that happened between her and I last semester. You guys will get to read about that on January 25th when I write about the week of Thanksgiving from last semester.
Sunday, January 13th- Happy to be Working on this Blog Again
Woot! I survived until Sunday! Both the first time around and reliving this by writing it. I woke up around 7am, aware that I’d fallen asleep sometime before 8pm. Man, I am exhausted. Emotionally mostly, I’m sure. Today, I plan to pick up my side of the room a bit and work on internship assignments. There’s always something to do. I’m excited to be working on this blog again. I’ve drawn up a schedule of the weeks I need to catch you guys up on from last semester, the last of which would be what I did over winter break which will be posted on February 15th.
I am going to go back to posting on my usual days of Mondays for weekly blog posts like this one and Fridays for assorted material. Until February 15th, those Friday posts will each be about a week I didn’t write about last semester. Meaning you guys will be up to date (at last!), by February 15th. Yay! I’m excited and glad you are along for the ride!
Come back on Friday, January 18th for a post on my Telemedicine rotation from last semester where Gia and I made guacamole for a company of telephone health service providers and I made a balloon sculpture to go with it. 🙂