Week of July 30th 2018- First Week of Dietetic Internship and I Have a Shopping Problem…

Monday, July 30th- Another Shopping Day

First news of the day: we have to be in Ponce (an hour and a half car trip away from where we live) at 7am on Wednesday, the first day of our dietetic internship. My apartment mates and I do not have a car. However, we figured something out with the three Puerto Rican girls in our program who do have cars.

After this news we (Robin, Gia and I) went for some retail therapy. I got a calendar from Walgreens, The Fault in Our Stars at the bookstore next door, Robin got some shoes at Journeys, I got shoes at the Croc’s store, a fruit basket, professional backpack, and spoon rest at Marshall’s, and we all splurged on cheesecake from Cheesecake Factory.

The best part of this trip was probably getting a nail cutter from Walgreens. I’ve learned to appreciate a lot of things since I moved. I went to the gym with Robin then, at home, called my mom and read The Fault in Our Stars to her.

Tuesday, July 31st- Lazy Day and Grocery Shopping with Karen

I lazed around all morning. Axyl talked about going to Costco when Gia came by. We talked about the meal plan homework. Then she left, so I lazed around more. Really spent the morning doing nothing until Karen asked if I’d go to the local grocery store with her. Uhhhh more money, but I went and found a ton of stuff to buy. I bought the ingredients I need to make orange chicken. Too tired though, I made Quesadillas for dinner. Yum. Then I read to my mom. Still so hungry. Strange.  Must get up early tomorrow….  *cry cry*

Wednesday, August 1st- Mandatory Hospital Trainings

Woke up early at 4:59am. Well, Axyl woke me. One minute before my alarm. That’s why I remember. Two of the Puerto Rican girls came to pick us up. Robin, Axyl, and Gia went with Gean. Karen and I went with Sue and found Amanda (another fellow intern) already in the car. She had returned to her hometown and last we’d heard she was finding her way back to Puerto Rico. Interesting.

What was not interesting was the mandatory hospital training we had to attend. It was so cold in that room that it was all I could think about. They started late and ended late, so we were an hour late to the next hospital meeting like this one at our local hospital (an hour and a half away). We just caught the tail end of it. They may count it. I mean, I think it’s common sense not to stick your hands with needles or touch other people’s blood, don’t you?

At home, I was so tired, I didn’t even make it to my bed. I crashed on the couch and fell asleep. When I woke up, I was so hungry, but still so tired, that I made quesadillas. I was still hungry. Why have I been so hungry lately? Then I read to my mom over the phone and ate moldy grapes. It’s the second time I’m eating grapes and suddenly notice a couple of moldy ones in the container. Ugh. Still so tired. Early time tomorrow too.

Thursday, August 2nd- I Held Karen’s Toothpaste Captive

Got up. Robin was in the shower. Then Axyl showered. So I had breakfast because I forgot we would get breakfast at the event. Then I went to take a shower. Twenty minutes later, Karen knocked. I thought she wanted to shower and hadn’t realized it’d already been 20 minutes, so I hurried- she barged in the second I opened the door. To get her stupid toothpaste. Now mad, she rushed out the door and the guys followed her. My hip tried to jiggle out of place. That happens to me periodically. So, I hobbled down the stairs as fast as I could. Which wasn’t that fast. Luckily my femur got back into place by the time I reached the bottom of the stairs.

We got to the infant nutrition and lactation conference super early. We listened to several presentations that advocated lactation. Karen sat apart from us, obviously still upset. At the end of the conference she stormed off and so did everyone else. I was by myself, when Amanda found me and offered to share an Uber with me. I accepted, thinking they’d all left me. They hadn’t. They were downstairs. Everyone expect Karen and the girls with cars. Amanda had already gotten the Uber, so I left with her anyway.

Once home, I walked to Starbucks and read there with a coffee for a long time. At home, I read to my mom. Then I chatted with Robin who gave me a slice of his pizza and some chicharrones. After this, I wrote for this blog, listened to music, and chatted with Axyl until my dad called. I’m contemplating moving out. Amanda said she was going to live with Gia as the third roommate, but she bailed and now Gia needs another person. I’m the fourth person in my small three bedroom apartment. It’d work out logistically.

Friday, August 3rd- Ladies Are Required to Wear Makeup. Why?!

Another day on the job. We (when I type we and don’t specify who, it means all of us ten dietetic interns) went to the health department and got a lot of references and books we will need throughout the year. We also got the order that us ladies must wear makeup everyday that we come to work. WHAT?! I don’t wear makeup. Any makeup. So, I asked what the bare minimum would be. Foundation and lipstick. …I don’t own foundation. No idea how that works. I respect that others wear makeup. I am not familiar with it, and would rather not put stuff I don’t know much about on my face. Ugh.

Anyway, we also heard from some of the preceptors (dietitians we will shadow throughout the year). That was interesting. Today it was someone from elderly centers in the next town over who also research Alzheimer’s. That’s fascinating. Then someone who does retail dietetics at a grocery store. That’s a relatively new field. Seeing as I’ve worked (and not loved) my cashier job of the last three years, I’m a bit more excited about the first rotation. After the talks, we went back to the local hospital from Wednesday to do more trainings and to make up the one we’d missed.

After our unpaid work, I attempted to make orange chicken. Succeeded, but Axyl and Karen were a bit scared about the oil I had to use to fry the chicken. Karen quizzed me on what to do in case of an oil fire. I, to mess with her, told her, “put water on it DUH!” She was scared. HA! Never throw water on an oil fire! Smother it. Water will make the fire worse. Depriving it of oxygen, by covering it with a lid will smother it and thus stop the fire. Her reaction was hilarious! I did burn the rice, but not the apartment, so I think that’s a success.

Saturday, August 4th- And More Grocery Shopping… What Do I Even Buy?!

I wanted it to be a lazy day, but Axyl invited me to Marshalls and Gia invited me to the grocery store. I have a problem. Even though I’ve gone to the grocery store about five times in the past week and a half, I still spent lots of money. I found a few items that reminded me of home, like Mexican candy and Tajin (fruit chili), and iced tea that reminds me of my college town in west Texas.

After that, I didn’t want to leave the house anymore, so I spent a while singing in a corner of my room while Robin and Axyl went to the mall to get suits. I’m still struggling with the make up requirement thing. Ugh. So I put some lipstick on to see what it’d be like. I felt like a clown. Ugh. I’ll probably write a post dedicated to why I am so uncomfortable with the issue of makeup.

After my singing session, I went to make more orange sauce for all the left over chicken I had from Friday. Then I read to my mom. I feel like Axyl listens in when I read out loud. He came into our shared room just as I’d started reading and would comment periodically. After reading, I went to bed a bit worried because I hadn’t taken off the lipstick and some foundation Gia donated to me. It started raining, so I got up to close the window and take off the makeup.

Sunday, August 5th- Homesick and Mopey

I’m homesick. I don’t think I’ve ever felt this way. Maybe it’s the iced tea and Mazapan talking. They remind me of my past. Which at the moment seems better than the present. Everything here is new and unknown. Memories are old and familiar. No wonder people get homesick.

I spent the day lounging around, as I tend to do when I’m not feeling super peppy. I read ahead from the book that I’m reading to my mom (The Fault in Our Stars). It may seem redundant, but it really helps so I know what tone to read things in and how to pronounce tough words. Plus, I didn’t feel like going out or socializing. I posted something about being homesick and all of the support (especially when my best friend, Lyza, texted me to check up on me) made me cry. I tell you: if you want to make me cry, be nice to me.

I watched a movie (The Big Sick) and then, finally, convinced myself to shower. My mom called so I could read to her, so I did, before reheating my leftover orange chicken and white rice and beginning my laundry. I swept and mopped my side of the room and cleared up my desk where I currently sit typing this. I also organized my make up bag, seeing as I’ll have to use it tomorrow. Ugh.

 

Notes:

  1. Back to two or three paragraphs per day. I’m not going to describe my whole day anymore. Just one or two instances within it that were interesting. Or I will describe my whole day, but a very condensed version. Not sure yet.
  2. Views on my blog are down and so am I. I miss home. I wish we had a solid internship schedule already, so I’d have something else to focus on.
  3. I decided not to move in to Gia’s extra room. I will stay here in my tiny shared room with Axyl. I don’t know why. It sounds better to have my own room, be on the first floor, with people that cook less than I do so I can use the kitchen more, etc. But… I don’t know. I have a feeling that I should stay put. I hope I’m right about it. Whatever it is.

Week of July 16th 2018- Getting Frustrated with Puerto Rico then Loving the Ocean

Hello again, wonderful readers. I must admit I’ve gotten into some bad habits. It is Sunday night as I write this. I am getting better at my laziness though. I wrote an outline of each day’s events so I wouldn’t leave out a day like that one time last week…

Monday, July 16th-Getting Lost at a Puerto Rican Hospital

It’s almost better writing at the end of the week versus the same day. It lets me know what details are important and which aren’t. For example, I can tell you guys that we went to Office Max to make copies and that it took a long time because my birth certificate is bigger than a regular sheet of paper, so one of the employees there made a copy of it himself (versus the self service printers). But that’s not important to the rest of the day or week. Looking at it now on Sunday, this day wasn’t super productive.

After going to Office Max, Gia, Robin, and I went to the police station to get some more documents we need for the internship. They got something called Ley 300, while I got the step before that called “Antecedentes Penales”. I don’t know exactly what they are for, but I assume they are something like a background check. From there we went to speak to our dietetic director who told us the mandatory drug test would be on Tuesday. Then we got lost in a Puerto Rican hospital. Seriously, how can a hospital function and be so disorganized?! All the people we asked for directions sent us to different floors! One clinic can’t be on floor 1, 2, and 3 at the same time! Oh well.

For our misery we tried out a little Puerto Rican restaurant close to our apartment complex called Mandy’s BBQ. It was good. The chicken soup was delicious! We went home afterwards to lounge a bit before heading to Starbucks to charge our devices and use their internet. We must have had a lot of things to do online, because we stayed till 8:30 or so almost till close.

Tuesday, July 17th-Frustrated with Puerto Rico and Going out to a Bar

Drug test today! My roommates (plus Gia) and I all had to be there, but I left the apartment before any of them to go find out about a package that was supposed to be delivered the previous day. The post office didn’t open till a few minutes after 8 am and there was already a line of like 7 people, so I left and ran into Gia and Robin who were walking to the train station. After meeting up with the other interns in the dietetic director’s office, we got instructions on where to go and what cup to pee in. Once that was over, we returned home via the train.

Well, Gia and Robin did. I went back to the post office where it was emptied out for noon lunch. The guy at the front reminded me of a sloth. His manner was slow and lazy. Not in an intentional way. More like that was just his nature. It was infuriating. Turns out my package had been returned the previous day and the address was written wrong. Couldn’t have been that wrong if it ended up in my neighborhood post office! That was the last straw. Everything is different here. The work ethic is completely distinct from the United States. One week tomorrow since we’d made an electricity account and still nothing! Plus the whole mess at the hospital the previous day. I was over Puerto Rico! Wanted to go home to my family and forget everything about this island.

But no. I was here and would remain here for the next year. In too deep. So, I went to Starbucks with Gia and Robin. Robin was tentative around me as my irritation radiated off of me. I just got an expensive drink and a cake pop and tried to convince myself to adapt to the changes. This isn’t Texas and I shouldn’t expect it to be. I’m in Puerto Rico. There’s good and bad. I just have to learn, accept, and adapt. From here, we went to Econo (a big grocery store chain here in Puerto Rico). We went to the big one seven or so stops down on the train where we met Lilly, a college friend of Gia’s and an intern from the previous year. As she bought groceries for her last few days in Puerto Rico, I bought the ingredients for my mom’s lime pie.

After the grocery store, Lilly invited us (Gia, Robin, and me) to go to an eclectic place called 24 Hour Market. It’s a little grocery mart by day and a bar by night. I felt very under dressed with them since I was dressed in all black (pants and t-shirt) while they were in casual club blouses. You know, where you show a little something, but are still somewhat classy about it. We found a little table and sat there listening to live music for an hour or so. It felt like more to me as I forced myself to drink beer and tried to listen to the conversation over the bar and music noise. Some time later, we moved to a table outside. While Lilly and Gia went to buy some fried mashed potato and meat things, I was left with Robin to proclaim how nothing mattered. …Yes, I became a philosophical drunk. That’s all I’ll say about that night.

Wednesday, July 18th- Going to a Clinic

I woke up in Robin’s hammock. That’s not a euphemism. I actually woke up in the hammock Robin had set up in the balcony of our apartment. I remember saying goodnight to him as we returned to our apartment and heading to the hammock to lay down for a bit before entering my room and possibly waking my roommate, but… I guess I never made it to that second step. I couldn’t let that stop me though. It was going to be a busy day. I dozed a bit on the couch, too embarrassed to go to my shared room at like 6 am, before meeting up with Gia and Robin to go to Rio Piedras. There Gia got her water utilities set up while Robin and I went to a laundromat a few streets away.

Once Gia finished at the utility office, she met up with us so we could head to a clinic. We still needed to get a certificate of health for our internship but we weren’t about to go back to that maze of a hospital we’d gone to on Monday. We waited thirty minutes for a bus that never arrived before taking a train and walking twenty minutes (still lugging around our now clean clothes) to the clinic. After the clinic we stopped by our apartment to drop off the clothes before going to the bank. We asked about making an account, but were unable to get approved for a student account which would waive the monthly maintenance fee. Since we were already at the mall, we grabbed a bite to eat at the food court. Chinese food for me, yum!

Then came our, now routine, Starbucks visit before heading home and falling asleep. It was early, but it was dark without electricity so what else was there to do?

Thursday, July 19th- Shopping Day and Gym Embarrassment

Today was unplanned. Gia was busy and it seems like Karen and Axyl usually have their own thing going on, so Robin and I decided to go visit some shops. We started with Ikea where we found a bunk bed I hope to get for my room. Then we found a CVS y más. Y más?! What’s the “and more” part?? We went in and it was like the little shopping aisle of CVS was magnified across the whole store! It was great! There was even a little book section where I bought a coffee cook book. When in Rome, right? (Coffee is a huge thing here.)

Then Robin and I went to the dollar store of which there only seems to be one store in Puerto Rico called Always 99. It wasn’t as large and extensive as back home in Texas, but it did the job. I got shampoo and rubber bands. A ton of essentials for cheap. From here, we walked to what looked like a fancy restaurant which turned out to be a decently priced sandwich shop called Sobao. Once we were fed, we walked back to the train. Crossing the street, I almost got run over by a car. The light was red when we began crossing but all of a sudden he was there a few feet away from me without a sound to be heard. It’s okay though, because I lived to hear a guitarist play and sing on the train then pass around his hat. That was a first here. In Mexico, sure, but Puerto Rico? That was cool.

Somehow, I got suckered into not going straight home. Robin wanted to check out a gym close to the train station. I was lugging around a bag full of stuff from the dollar store plus my back pack, as one of the managers at the gym gave us a tour of the facilities. He asked for our experience and goals as he began his spiel on the prices per month and whatnot. I really wasn’t interested. Especially not after saying I’ve never gone to the gym regularly and I would like to lose weight if possible. Ugh. It’s always worse to say things out loud. I know I’m overweight. I know I don’t exercise regularly. But to say it… *sigh. That’s a different thing. I got Robin to agree to think about it before signing a year long contract and on the way home I reminded him of a Planet Fitness not even five minutes walk from one of the train stations. Sure, there’s some travel time included there, but we commute so much since we don’t have a car here that we have 90 day unlimited passes. Might as well use them. Plus, $20 per month versus $50. Yeah, I’d rather commute. You know… if I did the whole gym thing.

Back at home Robin and I picked up a desk and table from Gia that past interns had left behind. Thank goodness for hand me downs!

Friday, July 20th- Breaking Into Gia’s Apartment and Celebrating Gia’s Birthday

No motivation today. I lounged around all morning just rolling from one side of the bed to the other. I don’t think I actually left my bed till an hour after I woke up. In that time, Robin invited me to Starbucks, which I declined. Gia met up with him at Starbucks and they both tried to convince me to hang out with them, but I just didn’t want to leave my apartment. So I stayed as Gia headed to her own apartment and Robin went to the airport to pick up his girlfriend who came into town for his birthday on Saturday. Today was Gia’s birthday and I’d promised to make her a lime pie since I don’t have cake pans or electricity to bake her a cake. So, with all the laziness in the world, I got up and headed out to her apartment. That’s when she texted me that she’d gone out to the mall, but that I could just come in. That she’d left the door open for me.

That’s great, but someone had left the door closed at my apartment. Robin. The copy of the key that I’d gotten at Home Depot doesn’t work. The gate to my apartment was locked and can only be unlocked with a key from the inside or outside. *sigh. I had to call Robin who had to walk back to unlock the door for me then dash off again on his trip to the airport. Then, when I got to Gia’s apartment, the door was locked. *sigh. I thought about calling her, but I looked around and found another way in. I texted her that I’d gotten in like a robber, but that I was in. There I made a simple lime pie that I put in her refrigerator (hence why I had to make the pie at Gia’s [still no electricity at my apartment]).

I stayed a bit expecting Gia to come back, but every car that passed I was afraid would be her roommates (whom I haven’t met). I didn’t want to look like an intruder in their apartment, so I returned to my own apartment. Locked again. I definitely hadn’t locked it. Karen was home though, so I knocked until she let me in. Some time later Karen and I met up with Gia and Lilly and Ubered to the restaurant where we would celebrate her birthday. There we met with Robin and his girlfriend, Kathy. No sign of Axyl. It was a little Puerto Rican restaurant called Casa Blanca. It was okay. They gave us a round of shots called Chichaito (made of rum, but that tasted like cough syrup) for free. That was awesome!

After the restaurant we said goodbye to Robin and Kathy and got in an Uber. Barely. The driver was already driving away when I had just gotten one foot in the car! My instincts kicked in and I kind of hopped along with the car as Lilly, Gia, and Karen yelled at the driver to stop. One day my quiet nature will kill me. I don’t think I said a single word. Thank goodness for friends. The driver apologized profusely and I told her it was okay. I wasn’t hurt and I know she didn’t mean to. That’s enough reason to not be upset for me. We got off at a bar called Triple B and got some refreshing Lime Coladas (like Piña Coladas, but with lime instead of pineapple). We didn’t stay too long though. Once home we packed a beach bag and then began an hour long ride in a car that Lilly had rented to where the ferry would take us to one of the most beautiful islands of Puerto Rico- Culebra.

Saturday, July 21st- Trip to Culebra (Puerto Rican Island)

We made it to the line for the ferry at 1 am. As Lilly and Gia hunted for a parking spot, Karen and I waited in line. At around 4:15 we finally got our tickets and boarded the ferry. I’d never been on a boat and it was a bit nerve wracking when big waves hit, but it mostly reminded me of riding a horse. Steady and rhythmic. Calming. Once we were on the island, (around 6 am) we caught a little van that takes people to different beaches on the island. None of us had ever been to Culebra, so none of us knew which spot would be the best. We asked a police officer nearby and he suggested Flamenco beach, so that’s where we went. The sun was just rising as we stepped onto the breathtaking, fine white sand. I was ready. As the girls headed to a little palm tree to set down their blankets and sleep, I took a quick dip in the ocean. It was quiet and devoid of people so early in the morning. I felt at peace.

I didn’t stay too long though, since I was the only person on the entire beach in the ocean. I tried to read a little bit (Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde), but soon fell asleep using the book as my pillow. I awoke to a hot back. Don’t fall asleep on the beach! I got under the palm tree and put on some sunscreen before everyone else woke up. Then the four of us (Lilly, Gia, Karen, and I) got into the ocean. Karen got a bit worried about leaving our stuff unattended, so she headed back after a few minutes, but Gia, Lilly and I walked over to one side of the beach where Lilly had found a little pool of water where the waves didn’t hit earlier in the morning. We stayed a while there before going back. I, adventurous as always, began swimming back. Gia walked, but Lilly followed me. She joked that I should give her swimming lessons as I kept having to stop to wait for her. Ahh! It just felt so good to swim! I can’t even describe the feeling of complete peace that washed over me as I swam. It felt natural. Like I belonged there. *sigh It was devine.

When we arrived back with Karen we went to a little area where there were little food stands. I got a shrimp empanada (and a guava and cheese one for dessert) while some of the other girls got chicken shish kabobs (called pinchos here). Delicious, as always. From there we returned to our little palm tree where we all took a two hour or so nap. We’d stayed up all night to get those ferry tickets and were clearly still exhausted. I just stared at the ocean when I woke up. Longing to go back to it. Gia woke up then and joined me. Lilly came by soon after. I daringly swam out further into the ocean then let the waves take me back to our little group. It’s an unbelievable feeling. To just let yourself trust the ocean and flow with it. Ah! I want to go back!

I’ll spare you the details after this. Here’s the facts: we wandered into seaweed territory then got some last minute snacks like a super charged piña colada and some ice cream (coconut and nutella for me). Then we returned to the ferry via that same van service we’d gotten to the beach on. Back in the rental car, we drove to McDonald’s for a quick bite to eat. Once back at the apartment complex we (finally!) ate a slice of that lime pie I’d made for Gia’s birthday. It tasted just like my mom used to make when I was little. I said goodnight and headed to my apartment while Karen stayed to charge her phone at Gia’s apartment.

But wait. My key still doesn’t work. And Axyl still wasn’t home. So, Karen came to open the door and told me I had to get a copy that works. She told me we’d go tomorrow to get it done and I snapped at her. I’m not proud of it, but I don’t like it when people tell me what I have to do. It pushed my buttons and I snapped. *sigh. She didn’t say anything. Just left back to Gia’s apartment. When she came back she announced we have electricity. Yay! I just charged my phone and fell asleep.

Sunday, July 22nd- Axyl’s Return and Real Talk with Gia

I woke up to Axyl banging around. Axyl?! He’s alive!! None of us had seen him since Friday morning! Granted we weren’t in town all day Saturday, but still! I didn’t give him a big welcome home inquisition though. I just reverted to my antisocial ways and sat in the living room by myself singing and planning what I would cook for the following week now that we have electricity to use the fridge and stove. Gia came by and chatted with Karen and Axyl as I continued doing my antisocial thing.

They eventually came to the living room, so I picked up my papers and stayed there with them. I gathered from the conversation that Axyl had met a friend from Puerto Rico that took him on a trip to the national forest here (called El Yunque). A few minutes later, Axyl, Gia, and I took off to the nearby grocery store. There I bought all of the dry items on my list for the week. Why just dry? We don’t have a car. And it’s about a mile away (.9 miles or 1.5km). All the household staples like oil, flour and such were so heavy!

But the three of us made it home to chat in the living room again. Soon Axyl went to his room while I continued to chat with Gia. We got past the small talk and began talking about some of our life changing experiences. Stuff about our old friends and experiences with psychologists. I love getting past small talk. I understand small talk has a purpose, but I prefer substance. Realness. Rawness. It was refreshing, since everyone I’ve met recently (at least since I moved to Puerto Rico) have been new acquaintances. I look forward to more conversations like this with Gia and my other fellow interns.

Notes:

1) Sorry about the length. I know this weekly blog is longer than usual. Especially that Saturday one. I was fascinated by the ocean and got carried away…

2) So we finally have electricity, but still no internet. I’m here at Starbucks again as I write this so I can publish it. I’m going to set up the internet for our apartment tomorrow and hope to have it by the first week of August. It’s all coming together guys!

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!