Thursday, July 4, 2013

Dont Count the Days, Make the Days Count

Today has marked our 4th week in Florianopolis, and boy do I wish I could slow down time. My favorite morning activity is to make Brazilian coffee and crawl into our hammock on the balcony. There is no better way to start your day than waking up to a view of a lagoon lined with palms and mountains covered with banana trees. Yes, everyday I feel like I am living in paradise, I AM living in paradise!!!

My experience in this amazing country has been nothing short than extraordinary. Before arriving to Floripa, the name, “Brazil” sounded so foreign and exotic. However, now, when I say or even think the name “Brazil” I get a feeling of hominess and a passion that I cannot yet explain. I have fallen in love with the city. The people, the places, and the conversations have been life impacting. I am learning everyday, all day with everything that I do here in Floripa.

In my host laboratory my mentor, Dr. Riso and all of her students that work with her are incredible teachers and great guides to the city of Florianopolis. I am learning much about the antimicrobial characteristic of histones in shrimp and the identification of viral infections of invertebrates by using DNA extraction techniques and PCR (polymerase chain reaction). All of which are beneficial skills that I very much intend to use as I pursue a career in Veterinary medicine and research in zoonotic diseases. However, my experiences outside the laboratory have taught me just as much. Like learning how to navigate a city bus system or how to order food at a restaurant from a menu that is in another language. Living in a different culture away from what is “normal” is the best way to learn about the world and yourself. One of my favorite things to do here is to get on a bus and go somewhere. Get off and walk around. Everywhere I look I see something new, something that I would not have seen if I never left the U.S. The people here are some of the friendliest I have ever met, I make a new friend almost every day! I cannot begin to write about all of my situations that I have encountered, but I have learned from each one, both the good ones and the not so good ones.

I just cannot believe that we are approaching the halfway mark of our time in Floripa. Time has flown by so fast and there is still SO much I intend to do while I am here. I have learned to value time. I know, once I am back in Tennessee, I am going to reminisce my time in Florianopolis: the places and the people. It will feel like a dream, Floripa will be so far away, and no matter what I do, I well never be able to feel and experience and relive what I am feeling and seeing everyday right now. During my next 6 weeks I am determined to make everyday count, to learn and to have fun along the way. The world is an amazing place and meant to be explored! They call the island that Florianopolis is on the “Magic Island” as I mentioned in my last post. If only we could use some of the island’s magic to slow down time, I’ll be the happiest person on earth!

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