February 17, 2011

everyday i'm hustlin

Took a long bus ride to Costa Rica and visited a local zoo that worked primarily in rehab and reproduction. They have had many problems of people taking wildlife, and then later trying to drop it off at the zoo when they either felt bad or didn't want them anymore. This objectification of animal life, which is not uncommon in the US, angers me so much. The two most often questions I get asked when I tell people I am in vet school: 1. You really like animals huh? 2. What do you think of Michael Vick? But this is neither the time nor place for a rant.

We got a behind the scenes tour and got to handle some animals. I love my field!

Their friendly guard dog.

A baby sloth

Afterwards, we stopped by a nearby restaurant for lunch. I forget what the dish was called, but you had your basic beans, rice, beef, that mashed stuff was potatoes, but it had a coffee taste to it, and a fried plantain. The beef was overcooked and dry, but I did enjoy the sides.

Got to wander the streets of San Jose for a bit. Came across some beautiful masks there...one of my favorites.

Another night in Heredia, we went out to a restaurant near our stay. I got the traditional Aztec Soup (whether or not this is what they actually ate remains a mystery to me). It was a tomato/vegetable broth with pieces of avocado, cheese, and tortilla bits that was a bit on the bland side. Still, given the rainy and cold weather up here, I'd have another bowl of that right now.

School has been relentless, but I still love it. And it's little things like this that make my day. I found this in my class mailbox for vday (some other classmates got one too, but who did it still remains a mystery) that's just too good not to share. Warning: unsuitable for kids.

January 31, 2011

i'm back

Apologies to the handful of readers who still check the blog. Things have been busy/rough to say the least, but you're not reading this to hear excuses, so onto the show.

In December, I had the opportunity to go to Nicaragua and Costa Rica to do some volunteer veterinary work. Overall it was an amazing experience as I got to see vet medicine practiced in other countries, learn some clinical skills, and practice my high school level spanish =) The trip definitely made me reflect on how I live in the U.S. as well as what kind of work I wanted to do in the future...
Here's a few of my favorite pictures that I took in Nicaragua.
We flew into Managua, but stayed at an orphanage on Ometepe Island, off the east coast.
My roommate
Here, we worked with large animals, mostly Brahmin cattle as well as some horses and goats, all of which were suffering from malnutrition. Having pretty much no experience w/ LA, I was more than happy to learn.
The meals that I had here at the orphanage were my favorites of the whole trip. You just can't beat a home cooked meal. The ladies working would make lunch and bring it to us at the worksite, something everyone looked forward to. Lots of rice and beans, a cabbage slaw, fried plantains, and some kind of protein, here chicken. Being that Nicaragua is the second poorest country in the western hemisphere, I did not expect to eat so well over there.
We also go a chance to learn and do some castrations. After a friend finished neutering a bull, the owner requested the testicles. A few minutes later, I walked by, only to see him slicing it up with a machete and tossing it back w/ some salt and lime. I was curious to know how it tasted, but given the fact that we did the surgery with a local anesthetic, I really didn't want to ingest lidocaine.
Had to try their beer here. It tasted like a lighter/bubblier version of Heineken.
And if you know anything about me, you know that I love soup....something my team soon learned. Here was a fish soup, the stock a bit on the bland side.
And I had it almost every time we went out to eat. Seafood soup complete w/ lobster tail. This was on the other end, really really rich.
And the chicken soup was just right...a very homey and simple soup.
Quite the gathering...
Can you see the two little hooves coming out of mama cow?
I could really see that the kids in the orphanage were loved and had a strong connection to the place. Amidst all the bs and horrible things that we see depicted daily on the news, it was refreshing to see something positive for a change.
The last night, they threw a good bye party for us, where the kids performed, and went all out with a pinata, cake, and ice cream. I'm not quite sure what kind of cake it was (banana breadish), but it certainly was delicious.
Once the pinata hit the floor, it was every man, woman and child for themselves.
The island was a beautiful place, and it felt quite odd to be swimming out there in the middle of December (not that I'm complaining). A week here and we were off to Costa Rica.

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