Hola!

Long time no talk…or write.

So I just got back from Costa Rica serving on a Global Health medical mission! It was an awesome experience and I learned so much from the people in those communities and got to immerse myself into a new culture. It’s so refreshing to see how people can persevere and still be happy with what they have, even if it doesn’t equate to much. Seeing how families would put their kids first when it came to distributing appointments, even if it meant that they couldn’t be seen for their own medical issues. We went to two under served communities where we were able to do house visits to distribute appointment times and then we did clinic days where we were able to diagnose and treat patients for their illnesses and ailments. It was an awesome experience, especially since I have always considered doing something health related, so it helped give me a bit of perspective. I also had the best team to work with, I really lucked out. We were all so different, but yet we all were able to build meaningful relationships and learn from one another and share this experience of a lifetime. I really do think that the connecting point for all of us was our passion to make a difference in the world and or big hearts. It was so refreshing to meet such people and grow as a person. The food there is also really fresh and healthy for the most part. We had a lot of fresh fruits and rice and beans. It was nice to not eat processed or imported foods for a change and just stick to eating local grown foods. Makes me want to continue that at home, however it can get kind of pricey to do that on a student budget. I would like to try to eat healthier this year though, it’s good to keep your system clean.

In the picture below I really enjoyed connecting with these 3 kids, even though it was hard to communicate at times. They really enjoyed playing games on my phone and I ended up giving them a small gift of Canadian and American coins since they had never seen them before. They were really grateful for everything even though it was just a tiny gesture.  They were really good at Temple Run and Flow, even though it was their first time playing the games!

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The weather there was beautiful and warm, compared to the extremely cold temperatures we are experiencing in Toronto right now. It also never rained once the 10 days that I was there. It’s so cold it’s been advised that people stay indoors if you do not have to go out. Luckily classes were cancelled today. While in Costa Rica, I was tired at times but not because of my depression, but because the days were so packed, it was nice to do something I love and move around. I also felt a little down at times, but mostly I felt fine, especially once i took my medication. Being back, I have felt a little more down, I think the lack of sun and being exposed to people constantly and lack of movement has played a part. It’s honestly freezing here, I went from +25 degree Celsius weather to -25 degree celsius weather! It’s back to reality for me, I still have to write my finals that I postponed which is a little worrying since I didn’t get as much studying down in Costa Rica as I would have liked. We’ll see how it goes. I need to stop being so hard on myself and breathe to stop feeling so anxious. I think honestly that the medication has kind of plateaued, I might need to discuss this with the doctor and see if it needs to be increased. Hopefully next week when I get access to the gym again, that will help my mood and depression/anxiety levels.

I thought I would add that Costa Rica has a beautiful saying called Pura Vida, meaning pure life. They use it in the context of when someone asks how they are doing. They often respond with the saying to reference “life is good”. I thought it was really beautiful. People there are so relaxed and friendly. Even if they are burdened by their illness, they seem to radiate happiness. I hope that one day I can be like that too and not let things get to me. It really puts things in to perspective for me and resonated strongly with how I have been fleeing the past few months. You don’t need to have everything in the world to be happy. It really is something that comes from yourself and a way of thinking, you really can’t buy happiness. It’s truly a way of thinking.

I did buy another 1000 piece puzzle while I was on my trip. Hopefully I will build it sometime this term as a way to relax and take time for myself.

Happy belated New Year to you all! Here’s to Hoping 2014 will be a better year for us all 🙂

Here’s a picture from a community clinic day in La Promesa, Costa Rica with one of the community’s children. I also attached a few more pictures that I took on the trip

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Ciao!

– Megan