Friday, January 14, 2011

Being Sick and Last Few Days

Current Location: Chillan, Chile

What’s a trip to another country without getting sick at least once? On Monday, it was my lucky day. I don’t think I could have gotten sick on a day I would have disliked more. But in the end it was okay.

Monday was the day that we were spending the morning taking streamflow measurements, and in the afternoon we were driving out to the beach to see the effects of the earthquake as well as have a more fun, relaxing afternoon. I woke up feeling fine – a little tired, but not sick. I grabbed an apple for breakfast and headed to school with Julie. I didn’t start feeling a bit sick until we were on the bus on the way to the field site. I had brought my computer and had been writing some stuff on it, so I thought maybe the screen was making me feel car sick – something that has never happened to me. Once we stopped the bus, I thought I would start feeling better, but little by little I started to feel worse, until I finally had to stop taking streamflow measurements and sit down. After a bit of resting and sipping water, I started to get sick. I had hoped that after throwing up once, I would be much better, but I continued to get sick. Eventually they made the decision to take me home. I was so sad to miss the beach, but my health was more important. Once getting back I continued getting sick and was quite miserable, so being in the field would have been much worse.

My home stay mother practices a type of medicine called biomagnetism, which is similar to acupuncture. I don’t quite understand it, but it’s the belief that the body has certain energy pockets, and by using magnets, you can activate those pockets of energy. I think it also has something to do with oxygen in the blood, and by using magnets, you can kill bacteria by depriving them of an oxygen source? I’m not exactly sure, but she offered me a session of biomagnetism to help me feel better. It was really interesting. She had many different magnets of different sizes and would place them on various parts of my body – on my chest, my stomach, my head, my fingers. Then, she would take my ankles and shake them. Perhaps it’s mainly the placebo effect, but it actually helped me feel a bit better! I only got sick once more after the session, and was luckily able to make it back to the field the next day

While I missed a fun day, I luckily didn’t miss anything that was that significant field wise. Since what I am paying for is mainly the field portion, it’s nice that I’m not missing that part. The next two days were our last two in he field, and I was able to go and participate for both days. I still wasn’t feeling great and was rather weak from my inability to keep food or fluids down on Monday, but with resting, sitting in the shade, and continuously sipping water, I didn’t have any major issues. It’s weird to be done with the field – these two weeks have really been flying by! I’m sad to be leaving so soon, but I am also excited to get back and see all my friends again. It’s difficult not being able to talk to people as often as I am used to.

Yesterday was reserved for Data Analysis. We took everything we had collected, conducted our last experiments and tried to make rhyme or reason of it. We didn’t probably do the best job of that part, but we did our best! After finishing for the day, most people decided we had most definitely earned a drink, and we heading to a bar called “Saints and Sinners” for a few drinks. It started with 5 people, and eventually grew to I think 15 people! It was a lot of fun, and next thing I knew. It was 10:30 at night! I headed back to my families house – they had already eaten dinner, but my homestay mom heated me up some of dinner – a homemade pizza that was delicious – and stayed to talk to me while I ate. She is so sweet – I’m sad to have to go! I’ll have to start making my own dinners :(

Today we have our presentations, some free time in Chillan, and then a farewell party! I think for my extra day that a group of us are going to head to a town called Valparaiso on the coast. It’s supposed to be really fun and beautiful, and it is a lot close to Santiago. We still are figuring out the bus situation and our exact time of leaving and arrival. I’ll be sure to keep everyone updated!

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