Well you guessed it, I am still not packed for London or Africa. I am not too worried about London because as long as I bring my own shoes I will be ok. Em already has clothes over there so if I don't have something to wear in my suitcase I will have her closet to choose from. Africa is another story, I have my stuff laid out on the kitchen table and figure I will rewear things, I am really not going to make a fashion statement. Yet I have this feeling in the pit of my stomach that I am forgetting something. Sooner or later I will find out if I forgot something.
It was a really big help though to talk to Charlotte, a friend who lives down the street. She lived in Africa for 2 yrs which made her a valuable person for advice. I have to admit that after talking to her I feel much better about what to pack and the trip in general. (I still don't want flies to hatch their eggs on my clothes and then get worms in my skin, gross.) I got to see Charlotte and a group of friends tonight when we went out to dinner. It was to Jina Yoo's which was delicious. I have never been there before and will hopefully go back in the future. I couldn't pronounce a lot of things on the menu correctly but in the end the taste is all that matters.
I have to give a big thanks to Stac for making plans because it meant a lot to me to see everyone come out. I especially appreciate the journal and look forward to the surprises as I document my travels. The journal will be great because I have a feeling I will need a place to right down what I experience. Don't worry though Em I will still keep up with my blogging.
Do I stay or do I go?
That is the question that I have been contemplating over today, do I go to the genocide memorials in Rwanda where the bodies were not buried. There are two large churches where thousands of Tutsi's were murdered and as a memorial their remains have not been moved. Instead the bones remain, in the rooms, between the pew, men, women and children. Some people compare the memorial to a modern day Pompeii. It is a horrific sight to see and I have been told it leaves a lasting impression...not a good one.
As terrible, disgusting, heart wrenching, traumatic it may be I feel as if I need to go see one of these churches. I don't want to go as a tourist (which in reality that is what I am going to be), instead I want to go because I feel as if I didn't I am kind of doing what everyone in the West did in 1994. By not going I am turning a blind eye and pretending as if it doesn't exist. How can I talk to, listen, and research the topic of genocide with survivors but dart around the genocide?
No matter how much I prepare myself, how many books I read, I won't be ready to see what took place. I can't fathom the fear those people must have felt or the anger and rage the killers must have had to carry out such atrocities. I know the pain I have felt recently with my Grandfather passing away but can't image what it must have been like if all of my relatives would have died...right before my eyes to make it that much worse. When older people die everyone says they lived a splendid life, made the best of their 80+ yrs but their body was just worn out. What do you say when it is a mother and her six children who are brutally murdered?
My mind is still not made up and I probably won't make the decision until right before we plan our day trip.
Standing still and yet flying by
How can time seem to move so slowly but then a week is through before you know it? The past week has really been a roller coaster for me. Monday and Tuesday were full of weird, sad, happy, and lonely times. That may sound kind of strange however that is what it felt like to me. No one ever teaches you the proper etiquette on how to act or behave during a visitation and funeral when you are "part of the family". The visitation was more like one of our family get-togethers such as a graduation party. Everyone was there and friends were talking, updating each other on how old their kids were, their new promotion, what the rest of the summer plans were. The only thing missing was Grandpa.
All Under One Roof Again
After 6 hours of class and an 1.5 hr drive I finally made it back to Wash MO to be with my family. With everyone home the house was much louder but I love it. That means everyone is back catching up, talking, teasing, and yes causing trouble. I talked to my Grandma tonight for a few minutes and she seems pretty upbeat. I think the reality that Grandpa is gone hasn't set in, I don't think it has even set in for me either.
I'm not the energizer bunny
Today I had the first part of my International Genocide in Rwanda class. This consisted of lecture from 10-12, an hour for lunch then more class from 1-5. That makes for a long day, not to mention the 200+ pages the professor wants us to read by tomorrow. I am not a fast reader especially after sitting in class all day so I don't think I will be able to read it all. Oh well I can only do so much.
He is resting...
That is the text we sent my sister in London when she asked how Grandpa was. There are some things you can't say over text...telling her that Grandpa passed away an hour ago is one of them. Adam and I stopped at the Burger King parking lot because they have free internet. It was about 2 am in London and we weren't going to be home for awhile so we couldn't lie to her and we couldn't tell her over text. So we skyped that way we could do it as close to in person as possible.
Yesterday was kind of hard. Ad and I thankfully went to the hospital in Fenton in the morning. We were there all day. I expected to see Grandpa and expected his condition to improve. It kind of stung a bit when I got there and half way through the day realized that his condition wasn't improving. Everyone was hopeful and didn't grasp the reality that he wasn't going to pull through this, his heart was simply too weak. It finally sunk in around 6 pm when the cardiologist came and talked to us (the family). There was the option to keep Grandpa physiologically alive with medicines, machines, ect... Yet that wasn't what he would have wanted.
My Grandpa was someone who was always out and about with a smile on his face. He greeted people he met with genuine pleasure to see them even if he couldn't remember their name or even hear what they said. I could always count on meeting him for breakfast at 8 am at Rothchild's when I made it back to Washington. That is something that I wouldn't take back for anything. It is neat to be from a small town when people I would meet actually told me what a great man my grandfather is. That is special to me.
There is sadness in my heart but I find comfort knowing that Grandpa Rau is in a better place now and is resting peacefully hearing everything. The hardest part for me when we were saying our last goodbyes was seeing the rest of the family and how much hurt they were feeling. There is really nothing you can say or do. The wonderful part though was that everyone who could have physically been there was there surrounding his bed and letting him know that he wasn't alone. Our family has always been close and we were very blessed that everyone was there to support each other.
Emmy and Matty will be coming back from London and Florida tomorrow afternoon. I can't wait to see them and give them a big hug. The whole family will be together for the visitation on Monday and the service on Tuesday. I am glad we will all be there. It kind of sucks that I am in Columbia all by myself since I have class this weekend.
A special thanks goes out to the hospital staff who made the experience go smoothly. The nurse that took care of Grandpa was named Hope and she was absolutely wonderful.
And the clouds rolled in...
It is kind of crazy how things happen. One minute you are self absorbed and the next you are shoved back to the real world. My summer day went from trying to decide whether to go to trivia and a outdoor concert or just the concert then deciding on going to a movie. Then it turned into Grandpa is sick and tomorrow I am going to St. Louis to see him.
Life is one of those crazy things that you never know what is coming, good or bad. Yet I am a strong believer in everything happens for a reason. Be skeptical if you must. For me having faith in the fact that everything works out is difficult. Especially when you are in the middle of a tough time. It is sometime like walking down a foggy road and not knowing where you will end up. However, things eventually start to fall into place and you begin to see where things fit together.
Right now I don't know really know how I feel. There is mix of feelings I'm worried, scared, hopefully, optimistic, kind of defensive or feeling like people aren't telling me everything. I am praying for my grandpa and my family and that is all I can really do right now. He is getting the best care and now we just have to wait and see how life plays out.
On a brighter note, I saw UP in 3D tonight before all of this went down and I really enjoyed it. This was the first movie I have seen in 3D at the theater and it is awesome, I highly recomm
Energy and Excitement
It has been awhile since I blogged but I left off getting ready to visit a couple of my high school friends who now work at the state student council camp for high schoolers. This is a one week long camp that takes place in Fulton at William Woods University focusing on leadership and those types of things. While in high school I attended this camp and each time I go back I realize how much I have changed since then.
The camp is a great experience and I am surprised how many people I met at camp whom I still keep in contact with (even though I went to camp 6 yrs ago). It was kind of weird going back and seeing the adult advisors who are still there. They haven't seemed to change much expect maybe a few more gray hairs. The energy that makes MASC is still there going strong. I forgot how in high school everything seems doable and you feel as if you really can change the world. The kids I saw at the camp were determined to not let anything stand in their way and were determined to have a good time. They didn't care that they were dressed funny or singing silly songs, they just went with it and had fun.
I wonder sometimes if I have lost my fun crazy side. It may still be here somewhere but in medical school I don't feel like there are a lot of times where I can bring it out from hiding. Yes there are good times, don't get me wrong but that is normally going out to a bar with classmates to celebrate the end of a test week. I was going to write about an example of what spontaneous fun activity I haven't done in awhile but now I can't think of anything. We used to do a lot of stupid silly things bu. I will have to work on that.
This week marks the completion of 25% of my summer community nutrition course. That is good and bad at the same time. The class is interesting because it is about developing and implementing community programs that have to due with nutrition. It isn't teaching us how many calories you should eat or how many fruits and veggies you should eat. I was surprised to learn that in Missouri the food stamp program (now called S.N.A.P. for supplemental nutrition assistance program) only gives $76.01 per person per month. That boils down to only about $2.52 per person per day. It is hard to obtain the recommended nutritional needs with this little amount to cash. There are other assistance program available such as food pantries but Missouri pays the lowest of all the states in regards to food stamps. It isn't even like 5 dollars less, most other states give at least $90 per person per month. I embarrassed for the state when I learned this.
There are so many issues out there that effect the people of the state how do you just pick one? For me I picked tobacco issues because that is what I am most passionate about. However, I still think it is important to recognize that Missouri's food stamps program has room for change but honestly I don't have enough time to devote to that change. I think most people are like that. They see an issue, think it is tragic, but since they aren't directly effected it is easy to just shake your head and go on. People don't have enough time or resources to devote to all the issues they disagree with. I am not saying that people can't make a difference on an issue, they can and do make changes and make a difference. The difference though is only for one program or issue, not all of the issues they are concerned about.
I don't know where I was going with that but I am at the lake so I am going to get ready to go out on the water. Meg
Rise and Shine
For me I am much more productive if I get up early, around 6 during the school year and 7 during the summer. Occasionally that is too early but then I will take a nap and everything works out. I'm not sure why I get more done when I get up early I just do. Also I can really tell a difference if I run in the morning too. I have much more energy and am actually awake. When I don't run early I tend to put it off then by the end of the day am too tired and don't do it. That is what works for me.
I know some people who are crazy night owls. My mom for one can stay up all night long working on things and being productive, not me. It hits midnight and I am done...time for bed. So why am I awake now when it is 12:15am? Well I decided to have coffee while I read my nutrition book at Panera. Now I am up and not really tired. That sucks because I need to go to bed so I can get up. Vicious cycle but it is my fault.
Tomorrow I am excited because I am going to go visit a couple of friends from high school. One I went to high school with and the other I met while I was in high school. We were all counselors at a leadership camp in New York together and since we are all from the St. Louis area have kept in touch. Each year if I am in town I make the trip to Fulton to see them. They were once campers and now they are the adults running the camp, scary!
When I look back at the places where I have met many of my friends I never would have expected that we would have stayed in touch or become such good friends. It takes a lot of work and luck. I think that you have to make the effort to keep in touch through talking, letters, facebook, or whatever you can do. Yet when you find true friends you can go without talking for months and then when you do it seems like you just talked to them yesterday. There aren't those akward so what are you up to...and what are you up to...then silence. Most of the time this is when I then begin to babble about random things.
I'll let you know how it goes
The First Day Jitters
Today I started my new class and had all the feelings that go along with that. I was nervous, excited, scared, and shy. You don't know what you are getting into, will the class be an easy A? will it be a hard time-intensive class? You just don't know. However, I am never as nervous when I know someone in the class. That at least ensures me that I am in the right room (yes that is something I have to worry about since I once sat in on an entomology class which was suppose to be animal physiology).
The teacher has you do some interactive fun easy group project which is good while you are working on it. The problem comes when they decide to test you over what "you should have learned from doing the project." Now the test is more like a gamble. Oh well things have worked out for me this far and I have learned something from all those interesting projects.
Tomorrow I meet with my debate group to build our argument against the given statement that junk food shouldn't be allowed in elemetary schools. If you have any reasons let me know!
My name is Meg and I am currently a Geriatrics and Palliative Care Fellow at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. I started this blog several years ago as a way to remember and talk about what I experienced while studying abroad in Rwanda during the summer of 2009.