Carina

Upon walking back from the festival, some of the AP fellows found a kitten in the field next to the cookie factory near to our residence.  As expected, we decided to take her in.  One of our colleagues has family on the island who will actually care for the cat.  Until they arrived I housed/hid the kitten in my room after sneaking her past the security guard in my jacket.  We bought her food, water and some milk.  She was a very sweet and kind kitten who liked to cuddle.  We named her Carina.  She is already off to her new home, but she definitely brightened our day.

Kitty Carina

“Mommy, can we keep her?”

Carina and me

-“Is she clean? She could have ticks or fleas or rabies.” -“I have had cats before and I am premed, let me take a look” -… -“yeah she is fine, pretty clean” We tried and check her out to see she was clean, and we didn’t find anything, but we are no experts. But who are we kidding, we were going to snuggle her anyway. She was so loving!

Sweet bread and wine: The Holy Spirit Festival

Today was the festival of the Holy Spirit, which traditionally had more of a religious significance, but today in Ponta Delgada it manifests itself as a giant parade and gathering where people give out free soup in the morning and in the afternoon sweet bread, wine, and even beer.  Each town in São Miguel has a representative float of a craft or product and goes down the main street by the marina.  We had an amazing time exploring this parade.  This is something that was so genuine to São Miguel and I know could never happen in the United States.  Giving out free wine poured from barrels from the back of the float? Even with a permit, people would need wrist bands and tight security.  Here the people just come together, celebrate, dress traditionally, drink wine and eat bread.  Here are some of my favorite pictures from the festivities.  Honestly the bulls were my favorite.

Bull wagon

Crown of Divino Espirito

Arches

House of Soup

Throw a stitch

Fishing off the truck

 

“Flow”

Today I experienced something that psychologists call “flow.” It is the sensation of feeling time fly by because you are doing something that you enjoy, that interests you, where the clock hardly has your attention and my time is well spent.  Today in the psychiatric department I was able to observe and participate, which in the nature of my internship was unexpected.  I started out the morning with several other doctors and residents checking up on one of our more special cases with a treatment, which should work.  We were eager to show this infant’s mother how to use the treatment and the baby handled it very well.  Just seeing the joy on their faces was rewarding enough.  The girl is a very happy baby and didn’t cry or flinch to receiving an inhalation treatment for 20 minutes.  Even though I was not a part of the diagnostic or treatment team (obviously I am only premed), observing the case start to finish was very satisfying.  

Before attending the daily consults with Dr. Juan, Dr. Teresa asked me to build a template for her in word and powerpoint.  Although this is secretarial work and is something that most would prefer delegated to someone else, I loved being able to actually help the pediatric department.  I built a template for her that she can use for posters, presentations and documents.  Since I can not help or touch patients I felt like this is the best way I can help the pediatric department and made me feel a part of the team even though I am just an Atlantis Fellow, premed observing intern.

The afternoon was filled with cystic fibrosis patients, which is Dr. Juan’s speciality.  He and Dr. Alessandra (I think that is how you spell her name) a pneumologist partnered up to see patients which they see routinely every month.  Cystic fibrosis is a very peculiar genetic disease that needs to be watched very carefully.  They are susceptible to infections due to mucus build up from improper cilial function and chloride transport.  Most people with cystic fibrosis have an expected lifespan no greater than 40.  Dr. Alessandra said she would be happy to have me shadow her Friday to meet some adult CF patients.

I finished the work day with two English classes.  I taught intermediate English and introductory English.  We had a great time in the intermediate class describing people’s physique and personality as well as nationalities.  In the basic class we went over pronunciation of vowels while reviewing months, days of the week and numbers.  I will see my basic class again on Friday, and Mary Kate, another AP Fellow will teach the intermediate class on Thursday (out of convenience for the two of us). 

I look forward to dinner very soon and then hopefully USA will beat Belgium tonight and move on, but we will see! 

Good Luck USA!

Weekend 1

During the week, everything is hospital based, we call it going to work as if it were a job.  Although AP setup the internships, in reality it is all individually arranged with the doctors and professionals we are shadowing and their schedules.  The weekend, however, is dominated by events in order to ensure a well-rounded experience in São Miguel. 

This weekend our coordinator, Daniel (also a tour guide on the side), took up up around the coast of the island to visit and see some scenic views of the coastline.  We made a pitstop at Santa Iria for a great northern coast view (see picture).  After the quick photo shoot, we headed to furnas.  Furnas are naturally occurring hot springs and mineral waters. The beautiful lake is pictured below.  We hiked through the jungle (quite literally) to reach the lake. I feel very lucky because São Miguel has an incredible amount of hydrangeas of a very blue color while also being the “Green Island” of the archipelago, which makes a beautiful contrast. After our hike we went to a local hot spring and went for a very relaxing swim.  Unfortunately the water had high sulfur levels and my bathing suit is now a slightly orange color, but I digress.  Anyway, I left the bath feeling very relaxed, which is an achievement since I normally find it difficult to relax.  After the hot springs we went to a restaurant where they served us food cooked on the steam of the hot springs.  It took 5 hours to cook.  Delicious.

 

After visiting a beach, we went home, gladly, exhausted after a long day.  That night we went to Vila Franca a neighboring town and saw a cultural festival.  Funny enough, I had an amazing hot dog.  Imagine the smallest shoestring french fries or mini french fries that taste like chips. I had a hot dog with those, mayo, olives, and maybe something else, I am not quite sure, but it was delicious.  Note to self, Azoreans know what condiments truly belong on a hot dog.

 

Today, Sunday, we went to a church festival where they had many riding horses that were decorated in festive gear.  It was really more of a parade, but the horses were confined to too small of a space for too long so they just seemed restless.  Afterwards we went to a small waterfall in an area surrounded by hydrangeas.  It was next to the beach so we were able to hike a bit and then lay on the sand.  Tomorrow starts another day of work in the pediatric department.  I just hope to go to bed early so I have energy for tomorrow and the week ahead!

São Miguel fun fact: People randomly shoot off fireworks on Sunday for the holy day, but they just sound like explosions.