Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Life in a Day

I wake up. I go exercise. I go to work. This is my normal schedule for the work week, but it is not that simple. My time in Brazil has been fun and exciting, but also a true learning experience. I continue to learn more about the project I am working on here in Dr. Dora Ventura´s lab at the Institute of Psychologia (Universidade de São Paulo), but the basis is genetically confirming the diagnoses of individuals with albinism. I have learned so many different genetic techniques such as Polymerase Chain Reactions, DNA Extraction, and DNA Primer Dilutions. All of this experience will most certainly benefit me in the future, but it is not what I mean by a "true learning experience." I am referring to the absorption of culture and society that can't be experienced anywhere else. São Paulo is a melting pot of people not only from around Brazil, but all over the world. For instance, in the Pousada I live in we have people from Uruguay, Sweden, and Peru. It is being immersed in this atmosphere 24/7 that teaches you more about you deal with struggles of a language barrier, how you deal with missing the luxuries of home, and how you overcome cultural obstacles between people. I am not only fortunate to be in the MHIRT program, but proud to say I am one of the select few that knows what it is like to do research abroad.

On a lighter note, I have been able to do so many awesome things since I arrived 13 days ago in São Paulo. The first weekend I was invited to join Dr. Ronaldo Sano at the Aruja Golf Club on the outskirts of the city. We enjoyed very pricey Churrasco (Brazilian is grilled meat and nothing like American BBQ, but still very good), drank many Caipirinhas (a very strong cocktail made from Brazilian Liquor called Cachaça), and I even met the mayor of Sao Paulo (who apparently not too many people like because there have been protests everywhere since I arrived). More recently, I was able to tour the 2nd best medical school in South America called Santa Casa. In particular, I spent lots of time in the ophthalmology department where I helped give examinations to albino patients and scrubbed in on Cataracts and retinal detachment surgery. In writing this post, it is hard for me to realize that I have experienced so much already and it makes me excited to find out what experiences lie ahead for me. Ate logo, everyone!

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