Paige's Return to Deutschland!

Hallo Berlin! This blog will be a place for friends and family to get very occasional snip-its on Biggs' life in Germany.

Monday, January 28, 2008

The Shot Heard around Mexico

Reason number 384 why I love Mexico: you don’t need any sort of medical documentation to administer a vaccination. Yes, yesterday I gave someone a shot. I know that for all of you medical professionals that doesn’t seem like a big deal. But for me, it was exciting; Exciting enough to say that I have done it but not motivating enough to start studying for MCATs or entertaining to my childhood dreams of becoming a doctor.

I should probably explain the context of how I am now “vaccinating” people. Well, the internship thing kind of came together. I am working with the Mexican Institute for Social Security (IMMS). Actually, the name is a bit deceiving because the IMMS has more to do with public health and health insurance than social security.

In any case, the IMMS is working on a few different vaccination campaigns. Last week we were doing a census of children under 5 in surrounding neighborhoods. This next week we will go back and vaccinate the kids that need to catch up and also administer a new oral vaccine against Measles. I still have a lot to learn about vaccinations. I probably should have paid more attention in my vaccinology course but I was too busy being wined and dined. (Archive January 2007 – Is there a Vaccination for Ottoman Fever?) The IMMS also has campaigns for healthier work places. The IMMS sends out mobile health professional teams to businesses. The team usually includes a couple nurses, a doctor, a nurse, and a blonde girl who wants to stick people in the arm. Yesterday we went out to a local agricultural business and gave the workers the measles vaccinations, tetanus boosters, condoms, and tooth brushes.

The jobs to pay the bills also seem to be coming through. On Monday I start my job as a homeschool PE teacher. Yes, I am getting paid to do Yoga with a 13 and 17 year-old. The job is slightly less rock-and-roll than my position in Berlin but I think maybe a bit more lucrative. I also am picking up some English classes.

When I am not doing the work/internship hustle I am dancing my pants off. One of the perks of a touristy place is there are tons of places to dance and lots of people on vacation who want to buy blondies drinks. There was a time where I refused drinks from men and wrote it off as a more socially acceptable form of prostitution. But, then the whole budget reality set in and now I don’t have much qualms about turning down anything free.

I am also enjoying living with the Mitchell family. I get to play big sister and babysitter which is fun. Also, Colleen has been my partner in crime since I have been here. We dance, we go to church, she finds me jobs, and we have some great conversations. We also have some funny activities like “speed dating” in our future. I will be sure to blog about that. Wow.

Nothing brings people together like free stuff

These two guys also got the tour for free. Go team.

I fought the waterfall and the waterfall won

I tried to slide down the side of this waterfall like the cool guides did. But, wouldn't you know that wet, slippery rock can be difficult to climb up. The good news is that I didn't loose any teeth when I slipped off.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Do the hustle...

I have been in Puerto Vallarta for 5 days now and figured it is about time to shoot out an update. A few things have changed. First, I have a place to call home. I moved in with the Mitchell family: Colleen (mama), Jenna (15), and Mattias (3.5). We are living a bit north of Puerto Vallarta in a suburb called Valle Dorado. The place is great; the community has a pool, is safe, and tourist free. I love tourists just as next person but it is nice to get away from them a bit. I think this will be a really nice place to live and after night one I already feel like part of the family.

The next thing to get lined up is the whole job thing. Well, it seems that in my moving history finding a place to live has been the easy part and the job is the more difficult part of the equation. I am looking for two jobs actually. The first is the unpaid, some how related to International Health position. I have met thus far with a few organizations. All did some really cool stuff but they had more to do with social work and teaching English than public health. But today after I finish this blog I will visit a local ministry of health hub and the Puerto Vallarta HIV alliance. So, hopefully that will come together.

The other job I am looking for is to pay the rent. I got on the ole business suit and took to the streets, sending my résumé far and wide to the fancy hotels. Basically I dropped my CV off with hotel Concierges in case some guests are looking for babysitters. Also, Colleen says that there should be some opportunities to do some babysitting, English teaching, salsa lessons, etc here in our little community. So, hopefully the odd jobs will come through here too.

I will end this blog update with a short story about my most exciting day here thus far. While walking the streets spreading my résumé around I met this really cool guy named Fidel. After we talked for awhile he said that he bought boat tour tickets for his in-laws but they didn’t want to go. He asked me if I wanted them. When have I been one to turn down free stuff? I imagined that the boat cruise would be a one-hour-around-the-bay deal. I invited a charming Kiwi named Tom that I met at the hostel to come along. As luck would have it, the tour was six hours long, included snorkeling, a hike to a waterfall, two meals, and uh open bar. Yes, it is fair to say that a good time was had by all. Hopefully I will be posting some picts once I mooch some pictures off Tom.

As you can see, life in México continues to be an adventure. I am not exactly certain how long it will last, however. Today I had a telephone interview for a position in Myanmar formally called Burma. If I got the position I would need to go back to the states for a couple months and wait for a visa. Then I would be gone for a year. In the mean time I am trying to be patient and get established; both of which are no easy task for me.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Feliz Año Nuevo

Why the Spanish? Because in just a little over a week I am moving to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico! Yahoo! I haven’t locked down exactly what I will be doing but I have contacted a few organizations and hope to start volunteering right away. I also don’t know where I am living or when I am coming back. My hope is to hang out there to complete my internship requirement of my masters. After Mexico I might be heading back to Seattle, Berlin, Burma, somewhere in France, or who knows. As usual, I have everything figured out.

My New Home

Home is where the beach is for the next four months.

Mildly Incriminating New Year's Photos

Cait so helpfully masks the identity of her date with a New Years horn.