A Final Hoorah

It was our last full day in Querétaro today! I can’t believe we are almost on our way home, I feel like I just arrived here yesterday. Looking back, I realized we’ve done a lot in the past three weeks- I’ve made new friends from around the world, spoken a different language, worked in all types of hospitals, and explored an amazing city. I sweat in a mud temazcal hut, climbed a giant rock in Bernal, and tried to eat every different type of helado in Mexico (I still have a long way to go).

I learned a lot about God and how beautiful He has made the world, full of so many different people. I saw Him in the giant fields of cacti in the desert, heard Him in the voices of a church congregation singing in Spanish, and felt  Him in the affection of my host sister Isa. Even on my morning walks to the bus stop every day, I would pass by this building decorated with bold Spanish writing. It translates, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and today, and forever.”

 

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While we are sad to be leaving tomorrow, we still made the most of our day off. Starting out in the morning, Katie and I began to pack up our bags. Then meeting up in El Centro, our group could not pass up another 2 for 1 crepe Tuesday!!! The 5 of use scarfed down a total of 9 crepes…and they were all delicious. We walked through the streets once again, doing some last minute shopping and exploring. From antique shops to streets vendors to sunglasses stores, we saw it all. Kyrian and I might have found our new calling as sunglasses models.

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Before dinner tonight, I spent the evening hanging out on a roof, looking at the clouds, and watching TV with my friends. Becky, Brittany, Katie, and Kyrian. I couldn’t ask for a better group of girls to be by my side through so many adventures, and it was great to just relax together.

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Tonight we went out to dinner with our host sisters as a final hoorah. We went to “Comic X,” a modern restaurant with a superhero theme. It was really cool! There were all sorts of life-size figures of characters like Iron Man, Batman, and even the Hulk. It was not exactly a traditional Mexican restaurant, but it was special just to be together and enjoy food in such a fun place. And of course, as in every restaurant in Mexico, we were served a plate of limes. As you can see, Kyrian and I were pretty happy.

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After our dinner together, we had to prepare ourselves to leave. Since Isa is gone early for school in the morning, Katie and I said goodbye to her tonight. It was definitely hard and full of tears, because we have become so close over this time. Despite our language barrier, we have still laughed and shared quality time together. I now have a new older sister, and I know we will keep in touch.

Next time you hear from us, we will be in the US! Please pray for safe and smooth travels. I’m very sad to leave this wonderful place, but also feel hopeful to be home and see my family and friends. I will definitely have a lot of stories to tell!

Thanks for listening to all of my musings, it’s been a blast. See you soon!

-Blair

 

 

It’s not a Pun, it’s a “Pan”

*Just to clarify, “pan” means “bread” in Spanish. To hear about our adventures with pan, please read a little further*

Today we went to “El Hospital General,” a public hospital filled with a lot of activity. Since it can provide care for the uninsured and poor, the relatively small hospital is always packed with people. Funding for the medical care is limited: patients must endure stuffy rooms with no air conditioning, supplies such as gauze and gloves dwindle, and even some patients have to bring their own medication because it is not supplied within the building. It was sad to see the poorest of the poor come to this place, but also comforting to know that they were receiving care. As the nurses told us when we arrived, each patient is treated as a human being, not just a number next to a bed or a hopeless case.

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After a tour, the group split up to work in different areas: Katie got to experience the busy emergency department, Becky went to the surgical unit, Brittany helped in the trauma wing, and I went to the internal medicine floor. I saw many medications prepared and administered, and heard stories from the other girls about catheters, IVs, and bed baths.

After our work today we relaxed at Mary’s beautiful house in El Centro. When Katie and I saw dark clouds coming in, we decided we should probably begin our trek back home. Even with lightening ahead and the urgent feeling of a storm, we couldn’t help but stop at the local “Panadería,” a local store selling fresh sweet bread! I’d say it was worth it. At only 6 pesos (about 35 cents), I’d say my “pan dulce” even beat Good Time Donuts.

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As for the rain…I have always liked rain. And with the incredible heat lately, I was ready for a rain shower. So when I finally heard the droplets hit the roof of our bus traveling home, you could say I was pretty excited. After getting off the bus, Katie and I had to span creeks of rushing water down the road, soaking our feet as we still felt the downpour. Eventually we made it back home and after that refreshment, I am quite content and dry.

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It’s a night to relax inside, so Katie and I might watch a movie with our host sister Isa. She tells us her favorite movie is “Diario de una Pasión,” which we know as “The Notebook.” This made me giggle; Nicholas Sparks still captures the hearts of girls all the way here in Mexico.

That’s all for now, thanks for listening and God Bless!

-Blair

A Trip on a Trip

Hi everyone!

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Guanajuato. It is a beautiful city about three hours outside of Querétaro, surrounded by hills and covered by a rainbow of brightly-colored buildings. This morning we packed our bags to hop on a bus for three hours, but little did we know this place would be so incredible!

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The group arrived this afternoon to start a walking tour, and we caught a cool view of the entire city from an outlook. Since Guanajuato originally was a mining town (in fact, the mine still operates today), we could see the huge silver mine from miles away. There’s also a university here, and while I do not know much about the school itself, I know there are a lot of steps to the entrance. And we climbed every single one of them.

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Because of the hilly terrain, there are several long tunnels throughout the city running underneath the roads. The tunnels were originally created (using dynamite) to prevent flooding of the “Rio Guanajuato,” but now they are used as roads as well. They are old, dark, and kind of creepy. Even still, it’s amazing to think of their age and history.

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Our group also had a neat experience in the house of Diego Rivera, the famous Mexican painter and husband of Frida Khalo. Although much of his life was spent outside of that house, it now serves as a museum for some of his work. I am definitely not an art buff, but I have learned about Diego Rivera. Seeing his work was exciting for me!

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We spent the rest of our afternoon shopping at the city market, a huge building packed with vendors selling souvenirs and food. Tomorrow we plan to tour the mines, and apparently there are some mummies here to see? More to tell you about that tomorrow!

Thanks for all your thoughts and prayers for us on this trip. It has been amazing so far and I know I have been learning so much. God is at work in the hearts of people here, just like He is at home. I’m so thankful for this trip and the all of the people we have gotten to interact with (shout out to Becky Butler).

Halfway done, see you soon!

-Blair

We “ER” in a hospital!

I apologize for my terrible pun. Hopefully you understand where I’m coming from after reading this blog!

Today was our first day of practicals! We visited “La Hospital Médica TEC 100,” which is one of the private hospitals of Querétaro. Katie and I woke up early this morning, put on all of our white gear (scrubs, socks, shoes), slicked our hair back, and started walking towards our bus stop. Wearing our new uniforms, carrying our backpacks, and riding on the city bus, we felt a little like we were getting ready for our first day of school. Instead, we were really excited for our first day of work!

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The Med Tec Hospital was very modernized and slick, and in some ways was nicer than the hospitals we have in the US. We toured the building for most of the morning, seeing areas like the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), Emergency Room, Cardiac Unit, Pediatric Floor, and Surgical Floor. While at the surgical floor our group “scrubbed in” to watch two different surgeries! We watched as surgeons inserted a probe into a laparoscopic incision in the patients’ belly buttons. This was to check on the patients’ internal organs in a minimally invasive way. We eventually had to leave and discard our surgical gear, but I have to say, we looked pretty intimidating.

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In the afternoon, we split up and were able to work in different units. Some went to the ICU, others went to the Neonatal ICU (NICU), and I went to the Emergency Room. Unfortunately, it was not the lively and buzzing room I typically envision. In fact, there was only one patient and it was very quiet! Even though it was not quite as I imagined, I enjoyed some quality time talking with the nurse on the unit. It was a great time to practice Spanish and also learn more about the nursing school here. Even though I didn’t get the chance to work very much in the hospital, I ended up enjoying just interacting with this nurse.

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I have had such an incredible time enjoying this beautiful place and the beautiful hearts of the people here. Yesterday I got the chance to talk to a friend of my host family about our churches and the importance of community. He encouraged and inspired me to keep pursuing a friend group that inspires me to love Jesus more. As I think about the family and friends God has given me, I am even more excited to realize that I now have family here all the way in Mexico. This is a really big world we live in, but God is not limited to a single place. He is working in the hearts of people everywhere, and his family extends beyond borders and oceans. Being in Mexico has given me a greater picture of the community of God, of all people and languages and places. I hope you are encouraged by this picture too!

Thanks for listening, that’s all for now 🙂

-Blair

 

A Free Day

Hi everyone 🙂

After a long day of traveling yesterday, it felt good to stretch out our legs and explore the beautiful city of Querétaro! We spent our day today getting accustomed to the University and the historical part of the city.

In the morning our group reunited at the “Universidad Autónoma de Querétaro,” the partner school of Hope College that allows us to have this experience in Mexico. With an orientation led by some of the staff members, we learned about the university. It has an excellent health sciences program (including nursing, physical therapy, and athletic training), and our group was able to tour their many different labs and facilities. One of my pictures shows the nursing lab with a practice mannequin, which actually reminded me a lot of the nursing lab at Hope.IMG_20160511_105656875_HDR

After our tour at the University, our group walked towards “El Centro,” the historic part of Querétaro. The vibrant cobblestone streets are tiny and packed with stores and cafes. Suddenly they open up to beautiful plazas with statues and fountains, and there are many cathedrals too. We also saw a really neat view of some 200 year-old aqueducts. I really enjoyed exploring this part of the city because it held so much character.

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Our group split up and we spent the rest of our evening with our host families. I went to a taco restaurant owned by a friend of the family, and also spent some time hanging out with my host mom and her baby niece. Family is very important here and you can see how close-knit the members are to each other. My family has been so welcoming and kind; I’m surprised at how well-adjusted I already feel after only two days.

That’s all for now! It’s been quite an adventure already and I’m excited to see what the rest of this week holds!

-Blair