Tuesday, May 29, 2012

2 Nights in an Indian Hospital

Let me first say that NO, I did not get sick out here in India, but one of the short term volunteers got ill on the plane ride over and has not been feeling well ever since.  I don't want you all to be scared to come to India so wanted to make sure you know she was sick before she even came here.  Last week since she had been pretty sick for 4 days straight, we decided it was best to take her to the hospital.  She was pretty nervous about going to the hospital in a foreign country, and even more so since she is a nursing student and knows some things run differently in other countries.  She was a total TROOPER though!  We bonded since we were stuck in the same room together for nearly 3 days, and despite the fact that she felt like crap most of the time, we had some fun, or at least I did. 

In the ER

This sign was in the ER. Anyone that used to work with me at Sodexo will get a kick out of this.  Don't forget your PPE's!!!  It's followed me all the way to India!!

Communication with the hospital was a bit of a struggle because of language barriers, but we were able to get through it with some translating from the Rising Star Indian staffs help.  The doctor thought it would be best to admit her, so they put us on an International level of the hospital.  The room was really not bad!  Actually, we kept saying how it would be ridiculously expensive in America for the room we got here.   

View from our room

We had a TV that played "Arab TV", but were able to find one station that played older 80's and 90's American movies.  This literally SAVED US from being bored to death.  We watched, "Independence Day", "The Last Mimzy", "Notting Hill", "Blue Crush", and "Honey I Shrunk the Kids".  Not a bad selection Eh?!

I even got a nice little bed to sleep on 

And room service, offering such delicacies at "Chineese food" and "Egg Omblet"

I was happy the food was pretty good. Indian Chapati with curry to dip it in.  Yummy!

I tried their version of Chinese food a few times, not great but not bad either.  Their Indian food was better though. 

Being at the hospital, helping be there for one of our volunteers was not at all how I pictured my first week back in India, but everything that is thrown at us builds us as people.  Maybe having the challenge of taking someone to the hospital within the first week prepared me in case there is another emergency like that in the future.  But lets hope not!!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Ants in My Pants

Today was a great day!  It started off, well, a little "off".  I had my whole day planned out to go pick up the new group of Nursing students from BYU at the Marriott at 8:00am in Chennai (about 2 hour drive each way), but 8:00am came and went.  Sadly one of the nursing students fell ill so they didn't want to leave the Marriott until she felt better.  I waited as hours went by, trying my best to be patient, but as it got later in the day, the more antsy I got.  I was just ready to have them here and get to work, but just felt so useless doing the waiting game.  To keep busy we organized the Chuddidar closet (clothes women here wear) and got some other odds and ends done.  At around 2pm we finally got the go ahead to set out and pick everyone up.  Finally getting to the Marriott and meeting all the girls and their professors was one of the highlights of my day!  I gave each of them Jasmine flowers to put in their hair for the drive back. I love the smell of Jasmine!

The drive home was really fun, I just did some people watching and got to know some of the nurses in this volunteer session.  Our driver, Anandan, is adorable too, and explained lots of things to us, like how they get the stuff out of the sugar cane (they sometimes press it), and he promised me he would take me to try some.

Once we got to Rising Star we had to cram A LOT into our evening, stuff we normally start at 3:00pm we were starting during dinner at 7:30pm.  Even with things being off this session, and the girls being tired from all the travel and jet lag, I was really happy with how smooth things went when the volunteers finally arrived under the crazy circumstances.  Also, I am soooo glad the long term volunteers here this summer are way cool and extremely helpful.  We are already all buddies and it's only been a few days (seriously though, it feels like we've been here way longer). When we arrived at the school the other long term volunteers had dinner ready and waiting for us.  So nice!  

Anyway, I really wanted this blog post to be amazing and knock all your socks off, but truth is, it's been a long day and I am tired, so here are some pictures from today before I go to sleep!

Working on the way to pick up my first session of Nursing students, with a bag of Jasmine flowers ready for them to wear and smell pretty!

 Our driver Anandan.  He is one of my favorite people here. He's darling and likes to show people pictures of his cute little 5 year old daughter

View from my seat!

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Chennai India, brand new building!  This is new as of this year.  Last year they met for church in a basement of some building.  

This little girl and her mom were waiving to us while we were stopped next to each other.  So cute!

This is a bus driver, on the same bus as the mother and children above.  He kept looking down at me like he wanted to pose for me, so I took a picture.  People here are so friendly 

Thursday, May 17, 2012

So Many Pockets!!

Is there something incredibly wrong with this picture?  Indeed, my back has a growth AND is pregnant.  When I purchased this gem of a backpack, I was in love with how many pockets it had!  And that my ginormous laptop would fit in it.  I am soooo glad I could fit the world in my backpack, and a family of gnomes, but it is not ergonomically sound, and my back hates it and me.  This picture is from Thailand, but after my 2 day journey just trying to get to Chennai this time around, this pic shows exactly how I feel right now after walking the length of many airports, specifically Dubai where I spent the last 5 hours going back and forth from the gate to the ticket counter to figure this crap out. 

Some more pics from Thailand.  Sailor Moon?!

One last thing, as much as it stinks that my flights to Chennai the 2nd time around got all messed up, I am glad most of it happened in the Dubai Airport which is by far the best one I've been in, and really, this just adds to the adventure I am embarking on!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

See ya in November!

Today was my last full day in California for the next 6 months.  I made a surprise visit back home for the past 3 weeks during my break from India, and can I just say I am so happy I came home, even if it was for a short time.  Tomorrow I fly back to Chennai, and am super pumped about my 20+ hour flight! Woo hoo! But seriously, I am not looking forward to the flight, but I AM looking forward to getting back to India and working with Rising Star Outreach all summer.  I can't wait to finally be there and get started with everything.

Things I've learned the last few weeks at home:
-I love my family and friends more and more each day
-I love the bay area, and find it to be not only the place I call home, but the place on this earth that makes me feel most a peace (other than the temple of course) and I think everyone should love this place just as much as I do
-In & Out burger is a MUST for the first meal back to the USA from India
-Jet lag is rough and I get really annoyed when I can't sleep when everyone else is sleeping
-Eating like crap for 3 weeks because you wont be eating rich foods for the next 6 months in India actually doesn't feel great after week 3
-When you aren't working, every day feels like a Saturday, and you never know or care what time it is
-I can live out of a backpack and not do my hair every day and still survive

Tonight Andrea and I went to the beach so I could spend my last evening in the USA for 6 months watching the beautiful Northern California sunset.  Not only did I see the sunset and the bridge, but I got to see a FULL MOON!  Yep, this apparently was a "clothing optional" beach and some guy decided to take the "option" of not wearing any clothes.  This was definitely not what I intended to see on my last night here, but it was pretty funny at the time and Andrea and I had a good laugh. And if you really know me well you know that we didn't just chuckle for a few seconds, but made plenty of jokes related to that incident the rest of the evening.

Here's a taste of some of the fun things from my visit home:.

 Meeting the new baby Luke Groch!

Playing in the city with friends 


And this backdrop

As much as I love home, I can't begin to describe my excitement for what is in store the next six months. I hope India is ready for some Julie again, cause I am ready for India!!