Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Random Facts about Wilson's Studies

The medical program at the University of Guayaquil really is a great and challenging program, but the lack of resources is just amazing when we are so used to such excess in the United States, even at rather small universities. Here are a few interesting things concerning Wilson's studies in Guayaquil:
1. He has 10 classes at a time!!! So, Wilson actually takes 10 classes a week and they are year round classes, not semester long. He has 7 lecture classes and 3 labs. Obviously, the most challenging and time consuming class is anatomy, but Wilson also spends his time studying biology, biophysics, embryology, histiology, and a few more he told me in Spanish and I can't really translate (b/c I don't understand the words in Spanish or English!). Ha!
2. Students find and share REAL bones!!! Because the school doesn't have the resources to provide models of the bones and all, students just find them somehow and share. Wilson brings home these bones that a friend gave him to use to study. I still don't exactly know what it means that they "find" the bones, but I decided I might not want to know so I stopped asking! :o)
3. They have to rent cadavers!!! Again, the school has 100's of students but very few cadavers. In his lab classes, there are about 60 people crowded around one cadaver with everyone trying to see. So, Wilson and some friends get together and rent cadavers for a few dollars and go when the whole class isn't there with one of the assistants and study. Yikes! How bizarre!
4. Copyright laws clearly do not exist here!!! All of the textbooks Wilson has are copies. They buy them on the street just like you buy a Coke or an icecream. You can pay a little extra and get color copies which Wilson decided to do for a few of them so that he could see the pictures better (especially since the school has no models for them to use!) He was a little worried to spend the money, and I just laughed and told him to go for it. It was only like $30. I told him that in the States, he'd be paying $150 per book or more (not to mention he doesn't have any kind of tuition at all here!).

But, Wilson really is loving it. He studies really hard and is one of the top students in his classes. I've seen him get stressed a few times, but for the most part, he's just completely in his element. It's amazing to me that anyone could get that excited over bones, tissues, and muscles, but I guess he feels the same way about me and Shakespeare, Chaucer, and Milton. Ha! :o)

A New Place

So, Wilson and I will be moving to a new apartment this weekend. We LOVE where we live, but it's just too expensive for what we need right now. We went apartment hunting about a month ago and found a really good deal on a much bigger apartment. We actually found my dream home when we were looking--it was a house for rent in a gated community with pool, tennis courts, etc., a brand new two story house with 3 bedrooms, huge kitchen, living room, dining room, and a cute little backyard. And it was only $360 a month!!!!!!!! But, it was too far out from the city. We really couldn't live there unless we both had cars. So sad!!!!

But, we found another place in the same area but just not quite as far out. It's a pretty big 3 bedroom apartment that's kind of on the river and still in a gated community (no pool though!). It's older, but we'll be able to fix it up the way we want so that'll be nice. And, it's close to lots of shopping and restaurants that I can easily walk to. It's unfurnished, so we're having to buy some stuff a little at a time, but maybe after a year it'll feel just like home. I'm really excited about this new place. It'll take some time to get settled there and get all the stuff we need, but I think it'll be well worth it!

But, the worst part is having to leave our landlord and her family. I've become very close with them since I go over there twice a week to tutor. But, they told me I'm still always welcome to come over and hang out, especially during the week when Wilson's at class until late. And, I still have an open invitation to visit their beach house. :o)

So, here's to Year #2 in Ecuador!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Reality Bites

So, it's been a while since I've posted anything here, huh?! But, to be honest, I've kind of been in that place where all the newness and excitement has worn off and all of the reality has set in. Wilson has started classes and doesn't get home each night until around 9 or 10. And he even has classes all day on Saturday!!!! So, that leaves me alone way too much in a place where I don't have a car or too many friends. So, it's been pretty hard for me lately. I've been a bit down as I realize that we really are going to be here for another 5 years!!! Some days I just don't know if I can do that. I mean, five years without Chick-fil-a, Target, or Dr. Pepper?!! What kind of life is that?! Ha!

But, here are a few of the things that have happened over the past few months:

My 30th birthday: Well, I have said good-bye to my 20's, and it actually seems a little strange. We didn't do anything too exciting. We went to the beach for the day and just kind of relaxed a little. I had saved birthday cards from my parents and my grandmother which I opened on my actual birthday, so that was really nice. And, since I missed my cousin's wedding, the whole family sang happy birthday for me and sent it to me. I burst into tears when I saw it! (They weren't that bad of singers though!) :o) So, my 20's were definitely very good to me, and I hope the next 10 years will be filled with many happy and special moments, too.

Father's Day: We spent Father's Day with Wilson's dad at a family friend's house. Mr. Oswaldo was really glad we were there. I actually sat with him most of the time. And, in very Ecuadorian fashion, there were speeches given. (They even had a sound system and microphone when there were only about 15 of us in this guy's living room!) Three or 4 guys gave a speech about fathers, and one even read a poem. It was so hard not to laugh. They tried to get Wilson to give a few words, but he declined. I wonder if he'd be a speech-giver if he'd never moved. Hmmm... But, one of his brothers did say that they wished the best to my dad in Georgia, so that was really nice. :o)

4th of July: The school had a kind of all day party on the 3rd that we went to for a little while. It was kind of funny to celebrate July 4th with a lot of Ecuadorians. Ha! They served hamburgers, hotdogs, and corn on the cob. And they had fireworks (of course they set them off in the middle of the day so it actually felt more like warfare than celebration, but oh well.) It wasn't really anything that great, but it was a nice gesture. And an excuse for me to get out on a Saturday afternoon, so I did enjoy it.