Friday, January 10, 2014

Sick Day

I woke up this morning with more unpleasant symptoms, so I realized I had to tell my family that I wasn’t well.  In the welcome packet I remember reading that they don’t like it when their students get sick because it could reflect on them as bad hosts.  I think I am sick from the food in some form, but that could fully be just because the food is different here than at home.  My family responded very well though.  They made meals for me that they use specifically for when someone is sick to help digestion.  I couldn’t eat very much of what they gave me for lunch, but they understood because I was sick.  Soup was the best thing for me, so they provided me with that.  They also recommended some pills, which I would have used if Pepto didn’t help.  Pepto worked great though.  I also needed more minutes for my phone so I could let the clinic know I wasn’t coming, and they helped me with that.  It really wasn’t a very exciting day.  I sat around and read, taking intermittent breaks to either sleep or play “Zombie Highway,” a classic iPod game that I just rediscovered. 

By the afternoon I was feeling well-enough to go the ProWorld office.  I was very glad, because I had a Skype date with Meghan and I would have had no way to tell her I wasn’t coming.  It was great to talk with her, even if it’s only been a few days since we saw each other in the states.  I also think our hour-long conversation is the most English I’ve spoken since I arrived.  Immersion is great, but it is nice to not have to struggle to communicate for one hour of the day. 

The Spanish class today was good, we’re getting into some worksheets.  I wish I could keep track of the number of words I add to my vocabulary every day.  I’m sure it’s unreal, since so many words or phrases are sticking in my brain that I couldn’t even imagine counting them.  I’m finding that I really have to care about the little bit of homework my teacher gives me, since I know we’ll go over every word together.  That’s much different than in the university where at the very most I will be called on twice to share my responses or the professor will go around to check each person has some writing down. 

Because I have less to report today, I’d like to discuss other random observations I’ve had or things I’ve forgotten in previous posts.

First, I know you’ve been losing sleep at night about whether or not I should be doing the cheek-kiss greeting at work. I think I figured it out!  Betty was just returning from somewhere as I was leaving work yesterday, and she seemed to be in close enough proximity that the greeting would be natural and not awkward.  I think it went well, so it looks like that will be my new protocol.  We did become closer yesterday I’d say, since I was able to make a little contribution and I talked to her about medical school and my broken arm as a 4 year old. 

Second, traffic.  Oh my goodness.  “Relaxed traffic laws” is really just a synonym for “Absolute chaos.”  I’ve become convinced that the number of lanes in a road isn’t actually dependent on the lines painted on the pavement, but how many cars can physically fit side by side.  3 inches away?  No problem.  Also, there are many intersections that have no indication for what traffic should do.  No light, no stop-sign, no nothing.  I believe the technical term for this is “Free for all!!”  Fortunately, what these intersections lack in signage is made up for in honks, shouts, and gestures. 

One more side-note is that things here are basically designed for the height of the average Peruvian.  I’m significantly above that, so I notice when something wasn’t designed in my favor.  For example, tree branches over sidewalks.  In the US, these are always cut so that we aren’t forced to duck when passing under them.  Here, branches consistently reach down to about my forehead.  But very few of the Peruvians that I’ve seen have had any problem walking upright underneath them.  Makes sense, but still a funny little observation.

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