Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Breaking cultural barriers, by February blogger of the month Amanda Norwich

Shalom haverim! I know, it never gets old... Thank you for tuning into this installment of the MSIH first year blog. You have joined us at a very interesting time. We are in the middle of cardio week where we get to (as our professor so eloquently put it) "break cultural barriers" by spending the entire week with Israeli medical students. We take classes, partake in clinical rounds at exciting locations like the Cardiac surgery department, Cardiac catheterization lab, Internal medicine wards, etc. They have even promised to "make party for us." We are all quite excited. In all seriousness, this has actually been the most interesting and motivating week so far this year. Sometimes when you get lost in the piles of books, mazes of pathways and enough flashcards to build a miniature Levittown it's easy to forget why we're here. As our last blogger Julia put it, whether it's Obama (the cute 2 year old at SACH we visited not the president) or the patients we've seen this week - this is why we're here. I've heard it over and over again from multiple classmates and I couldn't agree more.

Our own personal paparazzi at the Superbowl party!
            Now, getting back to our attempts at cultural assimilation. First to try and describe our situation I'm going to employ a little plagiarism. A friend has started a running list of small daily idiosyncrasies of American-Israeli interaction. Here's an example in the section "Literal translations that just don't play in English" -
“Eh, I was busy busy, I wanted to come but, I was sitting on my homework.  And the test, terrible, all on the face.” While this may seem culturally insensitive to some of you, making fun of Israeli people and culture, please know that we only do it in jest. To be honest, I don't feel too bad because they make fun of just as much and that's only the comments we understand! Mostly it's the mispronunciations or unknown and unfortunate mistakes we make while speaking Hebrew. I'm sure we could start an equally revealing and hysterical list of things Americans say to Israelis. Perhaps next time I'll include some.

            To top off our activities in cardio week, some of us also went out to watch the Superbowl hosted by the International Student Association. Not being a big football fan myself, I went just for the experience and I'm so glad I did. Kick off was at 1:30AM and the game ended around 5:30AM from what I hear. After falling asleep on someone's shoulder I decided it was time to leave. The night was made even more interesting by the camera man walking around taking pictures of real live Israeli-American intermingling (see picture below). I'm sure he felt like a National Geographic photographer, trying his best to capture us in our natural environment. I know I felt like a gazelle in the headlights. No pun intended, his light was literally blinding.

            Unfortunately I must leave you now to rest for another day in the life of a multi-cultural medical student. We need to rest up because tomorrow we will be doing a session of Yoga in the afternoon followed by Zumba in the evening. It's a hard life, I know. While I wish you could all join us, I promise to take photographical proof of medical students doing things not involving chairs, books or laptops. Maybe it'll even make it into National Geographic... 'Til next time! - Amanda Norwich, February blogger of the month