Monday, November 28, 2011

The Light at the End of the Tunnel (and a few spots along the way)…by blogger of the month Ross Green

Hello again! I’d first like to apologize for my lack of consistency in posting this month. Like I’m sure I’ve said a few dozen times before, finals are REALLY soon now! Last Thursday we completed our Bacteriology (I guess that’s what that quiz was…) quiz for the semester, and starting a week from today we have our other 5 exams! To add to the hectic feeling right now (‘tis the reason, right?!), we have group presentations in our Introduction to Global Health course this week, 2 Microbiology lab reports to complete, and Global Health module presentations to present as well! On a lighter note, there were also entertaining things that occurred this past week and a half as well, I promise!

About a week and a half ago 5 of my classmates and I decided to try something new on a Thursday night. We hopped in a couple of cabs, took the usual 22 shekel ride over to the BIG, and played some pool (or Snooker as they call it here in Israel). I must say, we had a great time! We had a few beers, played a few rounds, and basically just spent a few hours unwinding from the stressful week that we were finally able to put behind us! I’m not sure if it was because we were in Be’er Sheva, or Israel just has its own rules, but the balls we played with were much smaller than we were used to AND the table was much larger! It was crazy, but these new “obstacles” made it quite entertaining. To put it lightly, we were not professionals that night, and yes a few balls did fly off the table during our games. Overall it was a fun experience that we will definitely try again (and hopefully we’ll play better too).

Last Friday morning 4 of us traveled by bus to visit the children of Save a Child’s Heart. This foundation works to help children living in underdeveloped countries who are in need of heart surgery. Utilizing the services of fantastic cardiac surgeons here in Israel, these children and their mothers are flown in and given a place to sleep at this house just outside of Tel Aviv until their procedures are finished and they have fully recovered. When we visited last week there were only three children, all of which were there a couple months ago when I visited for my first time. The three of them were all from Angola, and were 5, 7, and 17 years old. It was a fairly quiet day, since it was raining just before we arrived, but mostly because the last time we visited there were close to ten children running around. This week’s visit revolved around a little piece of technology known as an iPhone. When we walked in and I saw that Erikson (the 5 year old that I spent a lot of time with the previous visit) was still here, I thought it would help him remember me if I showed him a picture of us that I took during our last visit. I pulled up the picture, smiled, and showed it to him… his face lit up! I was so happy and thought he was remembering all of our time spent last time playing soccer, making paper airplanes and playing music and dancing around the house. I was fooled, because from that exact moment on I realized that his face lit up because of my phone and not because I was there again (well, maybe slightly because of me too…)! He took it from my hands, we sat down at the couch, and two hours flew by with him not losing a second of iPhone playing time! I must say that it was pretty amazing watching him (and his friend Antonio, age 7) navigate perfectly on such a complex device. I could tell that this was NOT his first time using one, but it was pretty amazing watching him speed by from one picture to another, zoom in and out, and open up different games (Mom, I found a new technology tutor for you!). It ended up being a great time, mostly because he didn’t stop smiling until we attempted to leave (yes, with my phone… I don’t think he realized that), but when it comes down to it that’s exactly why we were there!

This last weekend was Thanksgiving. Unfortunately I am unable to write about the amazing dinner that my class put together Friday night (maybe next month’s blogger can begin with this), but I spent the weekend in Jerusalem and had my own amazing experience. For my first year of college I lived here in Israel on a program called Nativ. This program brings American students in their first year of undergraduate studies to Israel to study and volunteer. Every year on Thanksgiving they have a big dinner and invite all of the old participants of the program who are in Israel to join. Along with myself there were 7 other people from my year alone that attended this reunion dinner! The rest of them have either made Aliyah (moved to Israel) and joined the Israeli Army, or are studying here for graduate studies. Along with the 8 of us, there are few more people from my class that were unable to attend but are also here in Israel! It’s pretty amazing how many of us ended up back her for one reason or another, and it was great seeing all of them again, some for the first time since we parted ways 4 years ago! It was a nice experience to celebrate an American holiday in the middle of Jerusalem, but if any of you have been there (if you haven’t please go!) you would know that it’s not such a big surprise, since more people speak English on the streets than Hebrew! The rest of the weekend was spent with two of my best friends who started the army just a few days ago. We had a nice and relaxing time together, and traveled back to Be’er Sheva before they hopped on a bus and headed to their base.

Now, it’s crunch time! I hope you enjoyed reading my entries to this blog, and that they gave you a little light into what goes on here in the life of a first year medical student in Be’er Sheva! Thanks for reading! - blogger of the month Ross Green