This summer has been very exciting so far. I started out by finishing year one of my MPH. This involved a lot of fun, a lot of late nights curled up on the couch with my guinea pig, and a lot of papers and presentations. Overall I think I learned at least a million things about the world and myself and people.
Once school let out, I went to Nigeria where I played with baby animals and made new friends. Oh, I also worked at a very large medical care effort with Loma Linda and a number of other organizations. I learned that sometimes you don't really need to do much or solve people's problems to make a difference; it might be enough to just be there friend.
From Nigeria I headed to the Philippines where I didn't wear sunscreen, did get a sunburn, and saw a lot of termites. The purpose of this trip was to do research for my MPH along with my classmates, looking at infant and child nutrition. We did that, along with a lot of other things. I learned that babies are adorable (wait, I already knew that), and that teamwork isn't always the easiest thing to do, but when a group of people try to combine their strengths a lot of work can get done.
After a few weeks in the Philippines I hopped over to Thailand with some classmates where we saw a lot of temples, ate a lot of Pad Thai, and rode a lot of buses and boats. I learned that temples are beautiful, peaceful places when they're not on the tourist circuit, and that village markets are so much better than the city.
Most recently I found myself in Japan, where I ate delicious sushi, saw beautiful parks, and rode the metro. I learned that everything is pretty in Japan, and that cities can be incredibly clean.
It's been an incredible summer so far. I've lost a lot of hair ties and pens, and gained a lot of memories and friends. Now I'm going to write a paper on the plane and then sleep for a week before I get back to real life. :)