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Archive for the ‘medical escapades’ Category

As I write this, I’m sitting in bed drinking rehydration salts. They don’t taste very good. After about a week of feeling great, I’m now back to being sick. Not sure with what this time – it started yesterday after lunch, a general discomfort in my stomach. It later turned to stomach pain and uncontrollable heart burn, until I eventually threw up and spent the night tossing and turning from stomach pain. Today, I’m feeling a little better but decided it would be best to take it easy – perfect opportunity for a blog update.

It’s funny how the doctor/medicine works here – very different from home. Here, it seems like no matter what you’re sick with, they throw some anitbiotics at it first to see if that will solve the problem. They hand out antibiotics like candy here – all you have to do is go to the pharmacy and ask for it. Sometimes they will ask for a doctor’s name, but that’s about it.

Over the past week it feels like so little and yet so much has happened. I haven’t had much class yet – we figured out new class schedules on Friday, only to have them changed 2 more times. We had our society and history class on Friday, and it was a little more interesting than the other classes I’ve had so far. That class is just for us, so it can be tailored more to help us understand.

This weekend, my roommates and I headed out to see the South City mall. We walked there and ended up walking through a great market of clothes and bags and other crafts! It was great – we are definitely going to have to go back to do some clothes shopping. The mall is nice – just like being in America, but with some different stores. I didn’t get anything but enjoyed looking around, and some of the other girls got some henna done. We went to Kia and Kathryn’s house afterward to hang out for a while and have dinner. Their place is so different from ours – it’s much smaller, a little apartment. It was cozy and cute though, and it was fun hanging out with everyone playing cards. We actually ordered pizza for dinner – Pizza Hut! It’s weird sometimes the collision between East and West here and how much American influence there is. (The Pizza Hut wasn’t very good though).

We had an awful experience trying to get home though. It’s hard to deal with being such an obvious foreigner and not being able to blend in, and cab drivers are the most at-ready to take advantage of this. It’s difficult not knowing the city so well. It’s not easy to navigate, and the streets have 2 names and change directions at certain times of the day. Our host dad usually gives us a route and a map each time, which is very helpful, but if the driver starts to take a different route, we don’t know how to get back on the right route. So, from Kia and Kathryn’s house we hailed a cab and were happy enough to get a driver that would start the meter. All we had to do was drive straight and take a left, but the driver immediately gave a little detour. We finally got him back on the right road, but he was driving very slowly. After we had been driving for a while, we realized we had overshot the turn onto our road, so we had him pull over and called our host parents to talk to him. He talked on the phone for a while and kept repeating the same things. He pulled a U-turn and then stopped the car and got out. We had had enough by then, so we got out as well and started to walk away (not the best idea). He came after us and we drew a bit of a crowd – we couldn’t argue with him because he didn’t speak English, so we paid him a little money and left. We later found out from Arundhati that when she was speaking to him on the phone, he was pretending to not know where he was and that he didn’t speak Hindi and was instead using a dialect from a small region far away – luckily a dialect that Arundhati understands. I’m so frustrated with getting scammed by cab drivers! We also found out a new scam the other day – while we were waiting in traffic, our driver pulled out a wire and starting moving it to increase the meter! Luckily we noticed it right away.

We spent the rest of the weekend relaxing and doing homework. This week, we went to class on Monday as per our new schedule we arranged on Friday – only to find out we weren’t supposed to follow that new schedule yet. We’ve been sitting in on random classes in the meantime – not so interesting, and kind of a waste of time. The only good thing about that is that I met a few Indian students! They are really nice and welcoming. I spent a class period writing notes with the girl next to me (reminds me of high school!), but she was really nice and took my phone number and offered to take me around the city.

Other than that, I’ve just been trying to settle in more here. Turns out we won’t really be having class until February – next week, we won’t have class Monday Tuesday or Wednesday because of festivals and holidays, then one day of class on Thursday, and Friday we’ll leave for our trip to North Bengal. When we’re in North Bengal, we’ll be in the foothills of the Himalayas! And by then, I’ll have been in India for a month then….bizarre!

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What a busy week! I’ve found little time this week inbetween classes and tutoring and theater. Classes have been busy – in grammar class we’ve been working on the conditionnel – I would do this, if I had known I would have done this, etc. The teacher keeps it more entertaining by playing games, like we have to write down all the new vocabulary we’ve learned on the board, and we each have to make a sentence using a vocab word. But, you have to build off of the sentence the person before you – and the stories have been very bizarre! We had a new teacher for Cinema class the week, and we are going to start learning about the history of cinema. We started off by learning about the history of the Cannes Film Festival, the 2nd most prestigious film festival in the world (there is one in Venice that is more prestigious). I’m not sure how many films we will be watching, but in any case, I have a list of all the Palme d’Or winners since the 1940s, so that will make for some good watching!

Thursday, our whole group had to go to Nice to be tested for TB. I’m not sure why exactly it’s TB that they test for…apparently they’ve only required testing in the past 2 or 3 years. We had to go to the Consulat General in Nice for the chest Xray – we were told it would take a really long time, it took about 2 hours for 11 of us. The actual Xray and exam would probably add up to about 10 minutes, but they call you in for the Xray, which lasts about 2 minutes, then you sit in the hallway until they call you in again, where they check your height and weight and vision, and then you sit in the hallway again until they call you in again to check your blood pressure and breathing. It was my first experience with the French government and the medical system…it’s just a lot of bureaucracy, and the doctor-patient relationship is different here. Doctors do not really accomodate you as much here as they would at home – and here you just have to strip down without a nightgown or anything. You do not have a preference of male or female doctors, in France, a doctor is a doctor, not male or female. For our chest Xray we had to be topless…it didn’t bother me, but it unfortunately upset someone in the group. The doctors were not sympathetic that she felt uncomfortable…I guess there’s a small dose of culture shock. Luckily, no one in the group has TB! We can stay in France until the end of our stay, whereas if we had TB, they would send us home. And now I just have an Xray of my chest to keep as a souvenir! They don’t have a file for us or anything to keep the Xray, so now I just have an Xray to keep. Beth said we should make a collage or something with our Xrays :P

Tutoring has been going well – the family is really nice and the girls’ and my personalities match well. They actually do most of the work, I’m just there to help clarify any questions they might have.

Yesterday, I took a trip to Monaco with Mickey and Shawn! It was a lot of fun and a really good day trip. We started out at the Palace – they have guards and everything! Monaco is a principality – technically they are independent, but everything is run as a part of the French government.

The views were amazing. Another thing that really impressed me about Monaco is that everything is very clean and tidy – not one piece of litter, not even dirt on the pavement! We also went to the famous casino, Monte Carlo, and saw ridiculously expensive cars – Bentley, Lamborghini, Porsche, Aston Martin, Ferrari, and Rolls Royce. There is so much money in that area – designer stores like Prada, Gucci, Louis Vitton, Valentino, and more. The most ridiculous thing I saw was a street full of Ferraris in front of a hotel and a Prada store. There were too many Ferraris to fit into one picture!

We had a great dinner at a little cafe down the street from a Ferrari dealership. I had a galette italienne – a thin pancake (more like a pancake than a crepe) filled with ham, cheese, and tomato. It was really nice to eat outside of the College and have a nice day out. I’ll remember this day in Monaco when I’m in the villages of India…what opposite ends of the spectrum.

Another exciting note – I’ve booked my tickets for Paris and London! And, I’m hoping that I’ll be headed to Cinque Terre in Italy next weekend!

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