Week 1, Part 1.

Finished up my first full week of the program. A ton of Spanish and a fair amount of adjustment took place this week. My brain is on Spanish overload. Taking 7hrs of Spanish classes daily was definitely more taxing than I thought. But that part of the program is over. Not sure if I know more Spanish now or just realized how much I truly didn’t know. We went through basically tons of Spanish grammar and all the tenses. Next week we are doing only medical Spanish vocabulary and conversational Spanish. I hope things will come a little easier when I’ve had more time to process all the information we went over.

In Latin American countries they have a traditional schedule with breakfast occurring sometime between 6:30-8am (we always have ours at 7am), and then a break at 10:30 for café (coffee) or jugo (juice). Lunch is usually between 12-2pm and is normally the largest meal of the day for most families, unless there is a party or formal gathering during the evening. Most families have Merienda between 6-8pm, which is normally some rice, a light sandwich and more juice! They drink a lot of juice here and it’s fresh and delicious, but juice is something I had cut out of my diet, but for these next several weeks it’s back. This was a great chance to see different aspects of the city. Cena, which was the word that I learned in Spanish classes for super, is more of a formal and larger meal and usually occurs on the weekends (if at all). The meal is customarily eaten at 9pm or so.

We followed the traditional schedule most days. We start classes at 8am, and each day at 10am we took a break and walked to grab a cafe or jugo. This was a good chance to interact with local shops as well as try various foods. There are breads, pastries, ice cream and tons of junk food on every corner. Diabetes is something that is on the rise in this country as well. Chronic diseases like diabetes are the second most common cause of mortality here. The first being car accidents, which is not surprising and extremely apparent any time you’re near a road or car. (I’m a little more desensitized to the traffic conditions after two weeks, but there is definitely no such thing as the pedestrian right of way. And, it doesn’t matter if you’re elderly or 9months pregnant, if the light changes green and you’re still in the street, you could very well become a casualty or deafened by honking cars.)

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During one of the 10am breaks this week we went to a local market which had tons and tons of fresh fruit, meats, pasties, and meal options. With the climate and the ability to grow produce all year round, there is a steady supply and tons of options. It dwarfed any of the farmer’s markets that I’ve been to in Ohio. They have many healthy food options, but I can see from the portion sizes and the amount of carbs they consume during many of the meals how this could be problematic and lead to chronic disease. The meats here taste 100% better and the meats and produce are usually locally grown without the use of chemicals or GMOs as a rule. When you walk around the stores/markets, there are less “all natural” or “organic” signage as it’s unnecessary when the majority of those types of foods are produced in that manner.

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