Thursday, August 28, 2008


I guess it would help if I gave you a better idea of what I'm doing! So, here's what's going on. Right now all of my stuff is in boxes at my mom's house in Lowell, IN. But, I'm taking classes in Indianapolis, Indiana and the plan is to find a job and apartment there in Indy while taking classes.
So far no apartment, thankfully my brother and sister-in-law are letting me live with them when I need to. And as far as the job, well, I haven't been so diligent with that because I'm still trying to decide between working at a hospital or clinic.
My master's program is in Community Health Nursing with a focus in Primary Care. In the back of my mind I'm wondering about just finishing my Family Nurse Practitioner while I'm at it because I'll be pretty close. In my current program I"ll graduate in Dec. 2009 - so just another year and a half to go!!!
The class structure for this program is a little different than normal and we only meet for one very intense weekend once a month, and then there is lots of homework to do in between classes. I'm also taking a online Pharmacology class which requires weekly assignments, reading, and quizzes. I did take a job as a Teaching Assistant for an undergrad Research Class taught by the Dean of Nursing at IUPUI. I will have to be on campus every Tues. afternoon to help out with that class - but it only ends up being about 4 hours a week.
So, for example this past week I went to Indy on Thurs. and stayed there until Wed. and then came back to Lowell and will be here for a couple days, and then will be back in Indy on Tues. I guess instead of paying rent I'll be paying that in gas for my car =(
So, some fun things about Indy:
-campus is only blocks away from Downtown
-there is a beautiful canal running between Downtown and the campus
-there are at least 3 large hospitals across the street from campus
-there is lots of green space, trees, and parks
-no Chicago traffic
-I have family and some good friends from college that live there
-cost of living is cheaper than Chicago
I'm looking forward to learning more about the city and starting to get settled there!
Once I have a place to live you are invited to come visit me =)

Here is a photo from a section of the canal looking toward Downtown:

and a pretty fountain on the canal:

Where am I???

So, I've lived in Chicago for the past 7 years, right. When I would talk about going to my mom's house I would say that "I'm going to Indiana". Well, now I'm in the process of moving to Indianapolis (Indy), Indiana. The other day while talking to a friend in Indy I said that the next day I was going back to Indiana. "What?" she asked. Oh, ya, I'm in Indiana, just going to a different part of Indiana =) And the other day while searching for something in Indy I automatically typed in Chicago, IL and couldn't figure out why it wasn't bringing up things from Indy =) . . . oops, might take awhile to make the switch!
I do miss Chicago . . . but Indy is nice . . . just not sure it's sunk in yet that I'm actually making the move!

Monday, August 25, 2008

More about my family

My host family was wonderful and so hospitable! It was a pleasure to live with them for the entire 4 weeks of my stay there! There are already quite a few photos of them in previous posts , especially with all of the birthday celebrations for their daughter Lucy. But, here are some more and some of their house:

The whole family

Lucy sleeping on her chair
My roommate, Mary, and JuanPa playing

JuanPa's school play in which he was a lion!

A photo with YaYa after she gave me this delicate little crocheted vase that she made for me during my time there

The street/neighborhood around the house

The little grassy courtyard - one of those widows is my bedroom!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Good question . . .

I mentioned in an e-mail that lots of people are asking me this question, "When are you going back to Guatemala?". I too have thought about that question, but the honest answer is that I have no idea, none at all. Last year coming back to the states after living in Antigua and studying at language school I was very upset by the fact that I didn't know when I'd be going back to Guatemala. This year however I feel differently. I suppose a lot of it is because God taught me so much in my time there. I'm learning about being content with each and every moment and opportunity that God gives me along the way. I tend to look ahead at what is around the next corner and if there is something there to look forward to I'm doing ok, but if there is nothing there and life just goes on as normal I tend to get a little anxious. I need to find the balance between being content in today and yet figuring out how to plan for the future. But God tells us "don't worry about tomorrow" or to make plans to "go to this city or that city.
So, for now I just need to rest in the fact that God has a plan and He will show me what to do one step at a time. And along the way I want to be content and happy with the journey and not just seeking out a destination.
So, maybe I'll be back in 6 months . . . a year . . . 2 years . . . maybe never?
In the meantime I'm realizing that I have a lot to learn. I was challenged a lot about what it looks like to be involved in missions and what it means to do medical missions . . . and what is my role in all of that??? Not to mention the personal weaknesses that need to be worked on!
My heart is still in Guatemala - I'm not sure why? Why there, why those people? I still wonder if I'll ever live there and if I do how I will do that or who I will work with and where I would live. But those are the questions that I can't answer now and don't need to. There is a gap between where I am now and actually moving to Guatemala. So, if God desires for me to return, he will begin to fill that gap. And if not, then I will never regret every moment that I spent in that country and every person that I interacted with and every friend that I got to know! The best thing that I can do right now is leave it all in God's hands and let Him lead me step by step!

America Latina School and Clinic

Here are some photos of the America Latina school campus in Guatemala City - they actually have 2 other locations, in Palencia and Chimaltenango - which is where we held some clinics, and there are some general photos of our time there in another post.

This is the street outside of the school and the wall of red/cream is the wall of the school and main entrance:

Here is the clinic and there is an entrance to the side that goes to the dental office, business offices and the pharmacy/storeroom - those are the areas that I spent a lot of time!
and this is inside the clinic

Here is the courtyard, gym, administrative building and some classrooms at the school:

This photos was taken from the campus water tower thing towards some of the downtown buildings

Clinics and other ministries

Here is a look at some of what was happening around the clinics. There was more than just medical stuff going on - there were ministries for children, youth and adults as well as painting. When we were running medical clinics we had 2-3 doctors seeing patients, 3 dentists, help finding the correct prescription eyeglasses, and a pharmacy to hand out medications. In the clinic the first week I was able to check patients in by getting their main complaints. The second week I worked more in the pharmacy.

This first set of photos is from the clinic in Palencia - about 45 min. drive from the city where I was living.

This very colorful wall was painted by the team

The kids in a "VBS" type program

Craft time with the women - they loved it!!!

"Doctor's offices" and pharmacy

This next set of photos from Chimaltenango during my second week- about another 45 min. drive from the city in a different direction as the other clinic!

The is my friend Chris who is a missionary in Chimaltenango, so I spent some time with her . . . and tried some natural healing techniques for her finger - well as natural as duct tape can be =)



Team members and building used for clinics


Hope this gives you a glimpse of what was happening during my time in Guatemala!

The beauty of Guatemala

Here are some photos of some of the beautiful areas of Guatemala - the mountains, the flowers, it's amazing! One thing about Guatemala that intrigues me are the volcanoes . . . on this trip I got to see them from a distance, but sadly not really any new fun photos of them.

Some amazing flowers:

Some photos of a monastery ruined by an earthquake back in the 1700's, now still sits in ruins but has become a beautiful hotel and restaurant:

and one of the parrot's at the hotel:

Mountain scenes:

Week 4 in Guatemala

All the last week was spent in the clinic in Guatemala City. There were more things I would have liked to organize in the pharmacy/storeroom, but I was busy working on powerpoint teaching modules for some health promoters in some of the villages. That project pretty much took up all my time at the clinic during this last week. Maybe one day I'll get to go with them and help with the teaching???
In the pharmacy with Dr. Oswaldo and Dr. Oliver

Jorge overwhelmed by donations in the pharmacy
Tuesday evening was a chance to show appreciation to our host family, so we took Makko and Alejandra out to dinner. It was a fun evening to just be able to talk and laugh over good food! Afterwards we went to see the "central park" area of the city. That is were there is a large cathedral, fountain, and Government buildings.
Wednesday afternoon after a nice walk around the neighborhood I was able to meet up with a friend for dinner. It was nice to see her and catch up from the last time I saw her a year ago!
Thursday was the other interns last day at the clinic and so they had a lunch planned to say goodbye. We went to TGIFridays and both of us were officially said goodbye to and they gave us some little gifts from the clinic and school. The whole staff was there and so it was a nice way to end the week.
Friday was a holiday in Guatemala City and so there was no work. I was able to meet some friends for lunch - Anel and her husband Leonel and their baby Anika. I also got to do some quick shopping to pick up some little gifts for my host family. As we were leaving the shopping center it started raining, hard and it was really windy. Within 10 minutes the streets were flooded with water coming up to the bottom of the car - it looked like we were driving through rivers! Finally we made it to the house and I got soaked trying to get inside. Thankfully it didn't rain for long. In the evening I was able to meet up with some friends, Ana and Sylvia, that stayed with me in Chicago about a year ago while they were trying to get from Guatemala to Indiana. It was fun to see them again, and I got to meet Ana's little boy as well. It was a blessing to see how my spanish has improved over this past year because we were able to communicate much easier than a year ago!
After dinner Ana took me on a driving tour of the city - I don't know how many of the 25 different zones we were in, but lots of them!!! It was fun to see some new parts of the city and to see the differences from zone to zone.
Here's a photo of us at dinner
The only photo I have from our driving tour - this is one of the streets leading to central park
Saturday I was able to see some missionary friends that I met last year at language school. They are now working full time about 3 hours outside of Guatemala City, but because they were in the city and close by we were able to meet up for lunch. After lunch they had a little shopping to do so I just went with them. We ended up by a large mall and I was looking for thank you cards . . . now, this was a large mall - and I never did find those thank you cards! However, I knew somebody that lived close by so we met up for coffee and then hung out with some other friends and went to see a movie. Thankfully one of them is friends with the owner so we even got free tickets!
Sunday I was able to go to my friend Argentina's church and see her one last time before leaving. Actually, she took me to a store that had thank you cards =), and then we were trying to find our way back to my house. We were close, but missed the one turn. Then we were in familiar territory and finally got close to the school and from there I was able to get her to the house. Maybe with a little bit more time I could figure that city out?
Argentina and I

Sunday afternoon was the big family birthday celebration for 2 year old Lucy. When I got home from church everything was decorated in pink and princesses! We had lunch and then there was the piñata and then cake and then opening presents. In the evening I had to get everything packed up and ready to go for Monday morning.

The birthday girl at her pink princess party!

Even YaYa was celebrating and wearing a birthday hat =)

The piñata

Lucy had just woken up for the piñata so she didn't participate much
Monday I still went to the clinic in the morning and was only there for a couple hours. There was a large amount of donations that were received on Thursday afternoon and so we hadn't had a chance to clean those up. So, the whole morning was spent organizing and finding a place for the donations. Then off to the airport . . . and back to Indiana.