Me and the ladies up at the historical amphitheater dancing in May!

So this post is a bit spur of the moment after I came to a realization in the shower this morning, but I promise it will be the best, mostly because of the awesome German word I’m going to teach you all in this one

das Tohuwabohu – pronounced tow-who-va-bo-who (as fast as you can to make it all the better) das Tohuwabohu is German word for hullabaloo!  As awesome as hullabaloo is Tohuwabohu definitely needs to be adopted by the English language.

Anyways, as awesome as Tohuwabohu is (can you tell how much I love this word yet???), there is another reason for this post besides wanting to say Tohuwabohu as many times as I can without making you want to rip your hair out!

While in the shower this morning I was thinking about stuff back in America and imagining the conversation I would have with a professor about a class or MVA employee about renewing my license.  This sparked the rather obvious but cool epiphany that I was imagining talking to these everyday Americans in German.

Sunset outside my apartment! The weather is finally getting nice!

So midway through my conversation (in my head) with the guy at the checkout register in the grocery store I realized I was speaking in German and that’s why the man had a confused WTF expression on his face as I babbled along.

As obvious as it might seem, I had never really thought about how I’m thinking in German even when I’m in America in my mind (and it turns out it’s been happening for a long time).  Some of you might say, well duhhhhh you’re thinking in German, but it really isn’t that simple.  Thinking in a foreign language is a whole new ballgame, and if you can do it it’s a real sign of how much you know of another country’s language.

One of the beautiful views I get on sunny days while riding my bike around Heidelberg while thinking in German!

So coming to the realization that I think in German most of the time (I say as I write and think in English for this blog post) gave me a great ego boost on a Mosey Monday, and I thought it warranted a good ol’ blog post!

We’ll see whether the epiphanies keep on coming because the past two have been pretty big ones.  Besides the two recent realization making me feel über German, some other stuff has been going on too!

Most recently I celebrated my 21st birthday a couple Saturdays ago!  Why am I reminding you about my already celebrated birthday you ask?  Well because there are a few interesting differences regarding a 21st birthday in Germany as you might expect.  If you’ve been reading my posts from the beginning, you know that Germans can drink alcohol legally from age 16 on, and if you haven’t been reading my posts now you do!

Celebrating the big 2-1 with my Amis!

This difference in the legal drinking age means that my 21st birthday really means absolutely nothing to the Germans because they can already do everything anyways.  Their final legal limitations are removed when they turn 18, and so what was I to do for the all-important 21st birthday in a country where it doesn’t really matter to anyone?  That’s why I keep my fellow Americans close at hand of course, and so it was the Americans in my program (who know what a 21st birthday means) who made me feel so special!  They made me breakfast (pancakes with Vermont Maple Syrup!), baked me a cake, and, of course, bought me a few drinks later!

That was amazing, but what I really thought was amazing was what my German friend, Ozzy, did for me.  I’ve known Ozzy for 6 years now and he is studying English at the Uni here in Heidelberg, so he does know how much a 21st birthday means to us Americans.  So, being the great friend that he is, he took me out to dinner for traditional German food, house-brewed beer, and good conversation at a local restaurant.  It’s a well-known fact that when you have a German friend you have a friend for life, and my birthday was just more proof of that fact.  And everything combined made for an awesome Tohuwabohu!

Just wanted you all to see my fantastic bike with all it’s awesome colors!

For even more Tohuwabohu fun, last Wednesday was the 1st of May, and for Europeans this is a big deal because it means the weather is actually starting to get nice again!  So of course we need to have a celebration to go along with this exciting beginning to a new season, so in Germany we tanz in den Mai!  This means we dance into May, so naturally we build a big bonfire up at the historic Nazi era amphitheater and dance around into May!  So basically this just adds to the list of awesome celebrations and things that should come to America in my opinion.  So that was another awesome Tohuwabohu, and that’s the last time I’ll say that…in this blog post.

Me and the ladies up at the historical amphitheater dancing in May!

So that’s the (relatively) quick update on life here in Deutschland, and I didn’t even get around to talking about my new classes! O well!  More to come soon, so stay tuned for more tales of fantastic Tohuwabohus!  Ok I lied…one more was necessary!

 
DSCN9704

Hey, faithful readers, (I learn about more of you every day)!  First off I’d like to say thanks for following my adventures over the course of the past semester!  It means a lot to know people are keeping up with all the stuff I’ve been doing!  A new semester is about to begin for me in less than a week, so I would love to start with a German lesson!

 Vielen Dank (feel-uhn dahnk)!  This means, when literally translated, many thanks, but it is used in a more casual tone for the Germans as a generic thanks!  So, dear readers, vielen Dank, for your continued interest in my European adventures!

Me standing in front of the Millennium Bridge across the River Thames from St. Paul’s Cathedral

As many of you know I’ve been pretty much constantly traveling for the past two months while between semesters in Germany.  I’ve made the grand European circuit (only Poland and the Netherlands are left in Western Europe really), and through the process of moving around constantly I have come to a great realization.

The Heidelberg Schloß (castle)

I now consider Heidelberg to be home.

Might seem obvious I guess, but it is something that hasn’t come particularly easily to me.  What brought this on was, in fact, all the traveling that I’ve been doing!  As I’ve zigzagged across Europe I have met a ridiculous amount of people, and with pretty much all of them the topic of home has come up.  When it inevitably does, I inevitably need to make the important distinction between home in the USA and home in Germany because more often than not I’m talking about Heidelberg!

And now that I’m leaving London (and family), I have found that I’m ready to go home to Heidelberg.  I miss the city.  I miss speaking German.  I miss my apartment and friends!  I have been so unsettled for the past two months that I’m sooooooo ready for the routine and normalcy of my life back in Heidelberg.  The things I’ve seen from Barcelona to Copenhagen and London to Rome have amazed me, but none of it really is home despite the friends and family I’ve found along the way.  So as I head home, I’m so very much looking forward to it!

Me and Chipotle caught up a couple of times while I was in London!

As I said this epiphany took a while, and that is a testament to how great home across the pond is!  I hung on to my family and friends from Maryland, Pennsylvania, and the rest of the U.S., and that for a time prevented me from really putting down roots in Germany.  In the end Germany has changed me and affected me in ways I don’t even understand yet, and I know that my multiple homes can coexist peacefully.  There’s no reason that Germany and America have to be mutually exclusive, and I’m so happy that I’ve come to that realization!  So here’s to the beginning of another amazing semester at home in Germany!

 

Now that I’ve been Down Under for a grand total of 36 days, I feel as if a have a bit of a grasp of life here, so I thought I would devote a blog post to what life is like here.

Language: Australians have a lot of slang words and different ways of saying things. Reckon- Suppose/think Eg. D’you reckon you’re gonna watch the game tonight?

Heaps- A lot/very Eg. I have heaps of work to do tonight, that party was heaps good

Keen- Interested Eg. Text me if you’re keen to play pool tonight, I’m keen as mustard! (I really want to do that/I’m very interested)

How you going?- How are you doing? What’s up?

Mate- Friend Eg. I stayed with my mate when I went to Adelaide

Gridiron- American football

Footy- Rugby, rugby league (apparently not the same as rugby), soccer, and God knows what else haha

Maccas- McDonald’s

Arvo- Afternoon

Jell-O – Jelly

Food: Australians eat a lot of meat, which makes me very happy. Food items such as chicken, pork, beef, sausages, fish, kangaroo (haven’t had the opportunity to try that…yet), rice, potatoes, and bread are common here.

In my college, breakfast is usually eggs, baked beans, sausages, and a variety of cereals. There is also Milo (pronounced My-lo, as opposed to Me-lo in my home country Ghana), and Weetbix, which are brands I’m familiar with.

Lunch can be steak, fried chicken, sausage rolls, baked fish, or noodles, with rice, potatoes or pasta. There is also a salad bar and fresh bread.

Dinner is not similar to lunch with the exception of dessert. So far, we’ve had fruit, custard, ice cream, tiramisu, and sponge cake.

The portion sizes here are much smaller than in the US, and people generally eat much healthier than in the States. This is definitely one of the reasons why Australians are so fit!

My roommates and new friends and I have gone out to eat on a few occasions. The best street in the world (King’s Street) is one of our favorite places to go, because it has a wide variety of stores, and a wide variety of restaurants. From noodles to pizza to chocolate to frozen yoghurt to burgers to khebab to sandwiches to burritos. I reckon (see what I did there?) you could go to one new restaurant on King’s Street every day of the week for at least a month!

The thing is, Sydney is really expensive. I read in a lifestyle article that it is one of the top 20 most expensive cities in the world (I think it was no. 14). A chicken burger, small fries, and a can of Coke costs AU$10 (1 Australian dollar is a US $1.04) at a cheap Turkish food stop down the road, and that’s the cheapest meal! The Subway restaurants here also have a AU$6 for a 6-inch sub deal, whereas the franchise’s American restaurants have a US$5 for a 12 inch sub deal. So yeah, Sydney definitely has a high cost of living. I did some exploring on Monday in a bid to locate a place where I could do my hair, and I came across a Ghanaian restaurant on King’s Street. I will definitely be paying them a visit soon!

Music: I haven’t heard an Australian song yet…although I have heard the yiriki (didgeridoo) being played multiple times. American songs (country, hip hop) and techno music is what’s usually played at parties and clubs.

Movies: Someone said that Australia’s movie industry releases 3 films a year. I’m not sure if that’s true, but the kids here grew up watching American movies, and choose American movies for movie nights. Their exposure to American media makes it easier to imitate American accents, than for my 2 American roommates to imitate Australian accents.

Locals: Australians are very relaxed and friendly. They are very active (sports, jogging, hiking) and love to party A LOT. Australian teens are not much different from American teens, which is amazing considering how far America is.

That’s all for now! If you want to know more, just ask in the comments section.

Peace and love,

Anita.

 

 

 

 
Me in Madrid in the Retiro! It took me long enough to get there!

As promised on Facebook, here is the story of my night on the streets of Barcelona!

So as most of you who will read this know, I am on vacation between semesters for a two-month period! Crazy right???  Anyways, if there’s one thing that I’ve learned in my life that is critical to fun vacations it is the phrase Semper Gumby, a.k.a. always be flexible.  My youth pastor at home taught me this wonderful phrase, and it always comes up whenever I’m traveling.

My first stop on the journey in Karlsruhe, Germany

So, you might ask, why am I talking about Semper Gumby now? Well, if you’re patient and read on I’ll tell you!  This time around I really needed to refer to this saying while attempting to get to Madrid to visit a friend there.  I was supposed to travel on Tuesday, the 12th of February, in a travel time of about 15 hours.  Instead the journey took an extra 33 hours, and didn’t begin until the 13th.

So clearly there’s a decent story here!  Turns out that on Mardi Gras my train that was supposed to take me to Paris was cancelled. I have no idea why and neither does Deutsche Bahn, but I definitely wasn’t going to make my connections in Paris and Figueres Vilafant (northern Spain).

I hurriedly ran to the information center, and asked what was going on and could it be fixed.  Well the long answer made short is yes, but, unfortunately, not until tomorrow.  Apparently there was no similar connection on Wednesday, so instead of 2 simple connections I had to make 5, and I would be in transit for 27 hours.

The central train station in Strasbourg, France (stop number 2)

So after waking up at an ungodly hour I hopped my first train at 5:45 am and after traveling through Karlsruhe (Germany), Strasbourg (France), Montpellier (France), and Port Bou (Spain) I arrived at the Barcelona Sants train station at 10:30 pm.  After that I was stuck.  No more trains were traveling to Madrid Wednesday, so I would have to wait until 6:05 am Thursday to finish the journey.

 

The view out in front of stop number 3, Montpellier, France

I figured that a stay overnight at the station wouldn’t be too bad.  There was a McDonald’s (which I am sitting outside of now writing this) that provided free wifi and some surprisingly comfortable seats!  But that was before I found out that the station closes at 12. Womp womp…I was in trouble now.

The view from the train between Montpellier and Port Bou, Spain

Next to me I saw 2 (also confused) young guys and decided it was worth a shot to ask what they had in mind.  They were French and in the same situation as me with an early train and nowhere to stay overnight, while trying to get back to Paris.  After a few minutes of deliberation in broken English we decided to go looking for a nearby hostel that wouldn’t break our meager banks.

Me being lonely in the Port Bou train station…I was catching the last train of the day!

And, staying true to my horrible luck in trying to get to Madrid, there was absolutely nothing we could do, so it looked like it was going to be a night on the streets, my first ever!  I found a few benches and they found some coca-cola and we settled in.  I turned on a movie on my IPod and they tried to find some way to get home, which they did around 2 am.  They found a cheap bus, and so I was faced with what I figured would be about another 2 hours alone on the streets.  I found another bench closer to the station and bundled up because it was getting down into the 40’s.  Finally two hours later I nearly ran into the station and got warm and some wifi back in front of McDonald’s.

The Barcelona Sants station circa 4 in the morning!

2 hours after that I was on my train and almost immediately asleep, and 3 hours after that I finally arrived in Madrid!  Without keeping my motto in mind every leg of the journey I probably would have had a mental breakdown, due to all the stress and craziness involved.  Luckily, I kept my cool (literally I felt like I was freezing), and I got to Madrid in one, tired piece!  So to all you other travelers out there stay flexible, and in the end you’ll have a great time like me!

Me in Madrid in the Retiro! It took me long enough to get there!

 

Hello once again faithful readers!  Your German word to take to heart this time around is…

die Ferien- which means vacation or break, like in the sentence in den Semesterferien reise ich um ganz Europa!

So that vacation I mentioned is beginning as I write this post, but before we get to that exciting stuff I want to take a look at what my first semester in Germany was really like.  This post will focus on the school bit and the next one I’ll be looking at how I’ve adjusted to life in Germany outside of the classroom!

Uni here in Germany is very, very different from uni in America.  It’s going to be hard to just remember all of the differences (so there will probably be a few that are forgotten).  So I guess I should just be honest about it, so this semester was a lot easier than a semester back at dear old F&M.  The first thing that made it easier was the fact that I was taking fewer classes during the actual semester.  I took one of my classes before the semester started and then only took 2.5 F&M credits, a.k.a. 2.5 classes (after dropping Arabic).  This is, however, not the norm for German students.  My German friends take 6 classes or so a semester and do that for 5 years rather than the 4 of American students.  I will however be making up my lack of work next semester, so have no fear that I’m wasting all your money Mom and Dad!

Another huge difference is what many of the classes are actually like.  Compared to F&M (and the American system in general) the German system is heavily based around lecture as opposed to seminar style teaching, and grading is much more concentrated on a few assignments.  This turns out to be both a blessing and a curse!  Being lectured at has never been my style, so luckily I found classes that were seminar based, but the grading system still put me on edge.  In both of the classes where I received a grade I had only 1 or two grades the whole semester, which means of course if I bombed anything my grade was bombed. I only had tests, but there are classes that also grade based on lengthy presentations (I had a short one) and term papers due after the semester ends.  Luckily everything turned out fine and my grades didn’t suffer due to the lack of assignments.

The final major difference that separates the German unis from the American ones is the lack of homework.  In uni here in Germany there is hardly any homework.  Nearly all of the work is focused on class and papers at the end of the semester. Where us Americans are forced to slave away for hours with homework every night the Germans are left to their own devices to study, obtain extra information regarding class materials, and do the little amounts of homework they are assigned (and it’s rarely graded).  In the end it comes out to a system that is more relaxed, more self reliant, and more fun (in my humble opinion).  So from that description I would say I’m enjoying school here in Germany very much so far, and I will have a difficult time readjusting to life when I get back to F&M in the fall.

 

So here’s the non-academic side of the past 5 and a half months!

I guess we can give the German words a break since I’m on a train in France going to Spain while writing this!

The view from the train in France headed for Port Bou, Spain

As you might expect life in Germany is quite a bit different from life in the United States, and it has taken quite a while to adjust, but I would say that now I’m leaving to travel around Europe for a couple months I feel pretty well adjusted to life over here.

The lifestyle of the college student here in Germany is what I think was one of the hardest things to adjust to besides leaving my family and friends.  Being a uni student here is actually like being a young adult.  Students are expected to find their own housing, register themselves completely for uni, cook most of their own food, and be independent in almost every way.  It is a real change from the almost pampered atmosphere that F&M provides its own students in Lancaster.  And it really was a change to have a period in my life as a young adult.  Our parents and elders at home in America talk about us as young adults, but in reality we’re still treated largely as children!  Many of us go back to living at home between semesters where everything is given to us, and while at F&M we have a dining hall at our disposal for food, simple course registration, and housing provided for us.

Cooking and shopping for myself pretty much the whole time!

We hardly get any training in how to live life on our own, as so many of us do once we graduate from college.  I can’t help but feel that if I hadn’t come here to Germany I would have felt wholly unprepared once I graduated from F&M.  Luckily I chose to come here to Germany, and while still pampered some by my study abroad program, I have largely been left to my own devices, and finally I am coming to enjoy it and have learned so much!

I have of course had ups and downs over the past 5 and a half months, but I haven’t set my apartment on fire yet and I haven’t been arrested or anything terrible.  As a result of having this time to explore myself I know that when I come back to America I will be a changed person (how could I not be after 11 months abroad), but definitely changed for the better.  The only problem I worry about at this point (and it’s a stretch to even call it a worry with it being so far off) is how will I adjust to going back to the pampered life of home and F&M?  Will my new experiences just add to the fun and incredible experience I’ve had at F&M so far, or will the reverse culture shock hit like a ton of bricks?  In either case it’s still 5 months away, so it’s not really a problem and won’t be for quite a while!  For now I’m just focused on enjoying my life here!

On that note I’ll stop and get on with enjoying my train ride to Port Bou, Spain on the way to my final destination of Madrid!  You’ll be hearing about this wild experience soon I can assure you!

 

So I promised lots of blog posts this week so here’s another!  It’s my photo blog that is a rough outline of everything I’ve done this semester!

You faithful followers still get a German lesson though!

Bild – picture (plural Bilder), like in the sentence, es gibt viele Bilder in diesem Blog!  Ok so enjoy the Bilder everybody!

So we begin all the way back in September…there’s me with all my stuff that I brought along!

And a day later I was in Heidelberg gazing up at the castle at sunset! It was a beautiful way to start my stay!

For the first month that our whole group was in Heidelberg we toured the city and other places during our preparation class! Here’s a view of Heidelberg from up at the castle.

An important part of preparing for life in Germany was getting all the basic supplies we would need! I got myself a bike pretty early on…too bad it’s stolen now! If anyone sees it let me know! haha

We toured many nearby cities to get some of the local history as part of our preparations…one of the first places we visited was Rothenburg ob der Tauber…a tourist magnet is Germany and right on the Romantic Road!

Of course there were personal expeditions too like this one to Oktoberfest! Lots of fun and lots of Americans!

One of the other fun planned expeditions was a trip to the Mercedes-Benz museum in Stuttgart…just an hour or so by bus! What would Germany be without its cars?!

Of courseeeee all the while I was following my beloved Orioles as they struggled for and made the playoffs! Keeping in touch with America in such a weird way was really fun!

Not all of the fun was outside Heidelberg! There was a huge fall festival in town at the end of September that was lots of fun! So many people came to the city, so people watching was fun too!

Our last planned expedition of the first month was to Speyer with its beautiful cathedral, which was blocked by a crane…this was one of the longest days of the fall and we had many stories afterwards!

It’s Grandma! After our month of preparations we got a week and a half to ourselves, so some went off to Paris or Rome or London like me! I spent the week and a half visiting family and friends with my grandparents!

This one got featured by F&M study abroad! Pretty cool picture of the houses of Parliament and Big Ben! London is an incredible city…there is history oozing out of every alleyway!

After London the landscape changed a little because we headed to Sweden! A beautiful country with beautiful people!

Two Swedish kids I met…Timothy and Elena! They have made me promise multiple times to come back and continue to this day to pester me as to when I’ll be back! Looking forward to it in March!

After our fall break we actually started classes, and so it took another month for me to get out and explore some more of Europe! Berlin was the next stop to see Germany’s capital city, meet up with Emily and Hannah from high school, and hang out with my German friend Ozzy!

Life is good! Not too much beats the Reichstag building as far a governmental buildings go! This trip was a lot of fun!

The iconic Brandenburg Gate…need I say more?

After Berlin Thanksgiving sped up on us Americans and right after that the Christmas season got underway with the opening of the Christmas markets…couldn’t miss capturing my first Glühwein (hot mulled wine) on camera!

No matter where I went to see a Christmas market (you’re about to wade through a flood of pictures from them) the city always put on a beautiful display! This was the first night of Heidelberg’s Christmas market!

The next sop on our Christmas market tour was Nürnberg (Nuremberg for you Americans), which is one of the most famous markets in Germany

And right after that trip we got our first snow in Heidelberg! Snow makes the country even prettier than it already is!

My third stop around the Christmas markets of Europe was Basel, Switzerland! A cool market in an otherwise kinda uninteresting town!

The next day (one of the first Saturdays in December) I headed off to Munich and was blown away once again by how beautiful the city is! It’s one of my favorite cities in Germany!

The Christmas market wasn’t too bad either!

Something that opened a little later than all the other markets in Germany was the market up at the castle in Heidelberg! It was by far one of the most beautiful markets I got to see!

Another fun one to visit for the novelty of it was Strasbourg, France! Got to see Maddie (another F&M student) there!

And in Strasbourg I found one of the most impressive tree I saw in Europe!

after that it seemed like Christmas was basically there, which meant family!!! With them we went to Vienna, which is where this beautiful market was!

This is another European city where history oozes out of every alleyway! Behind the family is the Kunsthistorischesmuseum! The big important art gallery!

The city also has one of the most impressive cathedrals I have seen so far! The St. Stephen’s Cathedral is incredible even when hidden by fog!

And we saved the extremely impressive Schönbrunn Palace for Christmas Day! Definitely one of the more impressive places I’ve visited!

The 26th meant the family headed to our next stop on our Christmas vacation…Prague!

They gave Vienna a run for their money in terms of Cathedrals and sightseeing!

The Charles Bridge was always an exciting crossing whether by day or by night, like in this picture!

And even though Christmas was over the Christmas spirit continued to linger around the continent!

And most importantly I got to spend it together with my family!

But eventually we had to leave Prague and visited Dresden for a day! And what a day it was!

It definitely offered some of the best views of the trip, and made for a great end to the year!

So that is my experience so far in terms of pictures! Note the ridiculous lack of schoolwork pictures haha!  Hope you all enjoy it!

 

“You want to study abroad? Aren’t you already studying abroad?!” This is usually followed by an incredulous “you want to go to Australia? Why?” You see, friends and family alike continue to question my decision to study abroad in Australia even though I am already studying abroad in the US instead of my home country Ghana. Not long ago, I also questioned why I should go abroad. I felt that I had already experienced everything study abroad had to offer – maturation, a more developed sense of independence, and total immersion in a foreign culture – so there was nothing for me to gain. However, when I became more knowledgeable about the exciting countries that some of my fellow F&M students had studied abroad in – New Zealand, Ecuador, Senegal, among others – I realized that studying abroad would give me the opportunity to live in any country in the world that I wanted. That is when I decided to study abroad in Sydney, Australia. Go big or go home, right?

Even though I recently got accepted into IFSA-Butler’s Spring 2013 Sydney, Australia program, it still has not sunk in that I will be spending half of 2013 on the other side of the world. When it does sink in, I think I will be nervous about making friends and becoming accustomed to Australian culture. I am sure, however, that my lifelong desire for an Australian accent will ensure that I put myself out there and interact with the locals. The fact that I will be living in a dorm close to campus will definitely be helpful in that regard.

I hope my experience in Sydney will complement my experience studying in the US. I look forward to making new friends and learning about Australian culture. I also hope to try new food (I’m very conservative when it comes to food). The fact that I will have to at least experiment with food or risk starvation means I will probably be more daring when it comes to food. I also hope to be more open to adventure. On the academic front, I hope to learn more about Australia’s history and indigenous population through my classes. I also hope for a satisfying internship experience where I can put everything I’ve learned from classes here at F&M into practice.

I am grateful to F&M and IFSA-Butler for this wonderful opportunity, and I greatly look forward to a fulfilling experience down under!

 

¡Estoy trabajando en Móvil Dental!

With all SIT programs, students finish classes earlier in the semester and have an entire month to select an independent study project (ISP). My ISP period began this past week and I’ve decided to study the differences in oral health between rural and urban regions. After looking over ISPs from previous years, I was shocked to learn that no one has ever studies oral health (salud bucal) through this program. I’m really looking forward to the next month because a big component of my project is studying the preventative health programs offered by public health centers and going with dentists to schools to give free care and teach about oral health. The dentists drive around this truck called “Móvil Dental” which has one operating seat in it and put fluoride on children’s teeth (those who don’t have cavities). Those who do have cavities take a form home to their parents to sign and the following day, the dentist drills out the cavity the and seals the hole. Currently in Chile, all citizens have a right to free dental care at ages 2, 4, 6, 12, and 60. But what happens to everyone else? Dental health is one of the most expensive medical services in Chile and combined with the poor nutrition of most Chileans has lead to almost 100% of the adult population having cavities. I am interested in seeing what I discover about the differencesbetween rural and urban locations over the next month.

¡Mis compañeras de cuarto!

In addition to having the entire month to only focus on research, I also decided to move out of my host family’s house and into a new apartment with 3 of my girlfriends from the program. I’m excited to be living more independently because I now have the opportunity to eat healthier and don’t have to feel like a guest all the time. I did enjoy my time with my host family and found that it was a better way of improving my spanish than courses, but I definitely prefer my independence. A $1 taxi ride away from our apartment is the AGRO or huge farmers market of Arica. I cannot believe how many different types of fresh vegetables and fruits they have available (and for SUPER CHEAP). Definitely the best mangos, kiwis and chirimoya I’ve eaten in my life.

 

Hello Cameroon!

After more than twenty hours in the plane, not including the time spent to change flights, I arrived in Douala, Cameroon, and have stayed here for a week already. So many things have happened both on the flights and in Cameroon, and I apologize that I did not post any new postcards because I was busy getting used to the time and weather here.

I want to mention one thing that happened on the flight from Addis Ababa to Malabo. (You are right; I had a really long flight: Chicago – Washington; Washington – Addis Ababa; Addis Ababa – Malabo; Malabo – Douala.) When I stepped into the flight in Addis Ababa in an overly warm afternoon, I was kind of shocked to see that nearly one half of the passengers were Chinese. (Though I was prepared to see some Chinese on the flight, since a lot of us work in African countries, one half was still a large number.)

When the airline hostesses were serving meals, I was standing in the front of the cabin trying to relax my legs. Then I saw a Chinese worker who could not speak English came to one of the hostesses to ask if he could smoke in the toilet. I was a little bit surprised since there was actually a no-smoking sign in Chinese on the door of the toilet. After getting rejected, the guy went back to his seat. Later on, I saw that the guy’s passport was taken by an air hostess who insisted that he was trying to smoke. She told this to the captain and there was a possibility that the police would come when the flight arrived in Malabo.

Though I am pretty sure that the guy would not get into much trouble since he did not actually smoke but was only caught showing his cigarettes to his friends during the flight, which technically did not break the laws or the rules, it is important for us to know that we should follow the rules when go to other places. Even if sometimes we do not understand the language well or we are not aware of the local rules, we should observe first and then take action.