Sunday March 6, 2011
Before I get into my Carnivale experience I would like to share a little anecdote about getting blood taken in Spain.
Before coming to Spain (actually 5 days before) I got diagnosed with a thyroid problem (thanks mom). They put me on synthroid and said that within 6 weeks I would need to have my blood taken and medication adjusted. After telling the doctor that I was about to embark on a 5.5 month stint in Spain she said that I could get it readjusted when I came home. So after going on the medication I felt great and all my symptoms went away! Then about a month or so ago my symptoms started to come back. I finally emailed my doctor and she said that it all sounded thyroid related and that it was probably time to readjust my medication but in order to do this I would need a blood test. I emailed Professor Delgado asking him about how to go about getting a blood test in Spain and whether or not he could come with me (I wanted someone who spoke both Spanish and English fluently to come with me). Well as it turns out he was in Texas and couldn’t come with me for about a week or so. So then I emailed Ana (the coordinator who only speaks Spanish). She called me and explained how since Delgado wasn’t around she could only come with me on Monday and that she was sorry but she explained where the clinic was. She told me to wait until Monday because it would be really beneficial for me to have a fluent Spanish speaker with me. Well, I didn’t like this answer. I wanted to get my blood tested asap so I could begin to adjust my medication so I could start feeling better. I grabbed my book, my passport, my credit card, looked up blood test, thyroid, and vein in my dictionary and headed out to the clinic.
So they woudln’t test my blood without a doctor’s appointment so I explained how it was for my doctor in the United States and that I didn’t actually need to be examined by a doctor so she put me on the list for the quick visit doctor’s appointments. I then found the doctor’s office from reception and camped out. After 15 minutes or so the doctor called my name and opened my file up on the computer…under personal information it said Es de los EEUU pero habla español muy bien (she’s from the US but she speaks Spanish very well). I explained my situation and my symptoms to the endocronologist and he wrote me a prescription up for a blood test. I then found my way from the doctors office to the blood lab and waited in line. When it was my turn I began explaining to the nurse that I had VERY tiny veins and that I wasn’t planning on getting blood taken today so I hadn’t had much water. She brought me water and began testing my veins. I tired to explain that she should be SURE before she stuck me because I usually have to get stuck 3 or 4 times before they are successful (like all the nurses in the US, she was confident in her abilities and just went for it) after 3 or 4 failed attempts I explained to her that I have a really good vein in my hand. She found this amusing and explained how they don’t do that in Spain (whatever lady). She finally got some blood out of me and I was relieved.
Oh, did I mention that NO ONE spoke English and I did ALL of this COMPLETELY in Spanish? I rock.
When I got home I emailed ana and said thanks but no thanks because I decided to take myself. She responded immediately saying that she was very proud of me and that I would not have been able to do it at the beginning of the semester!
Okay…on to Carnivale. I purchased a red wig and on Saturday at 2pm we boarded the bus in Granada to take the 5 hour journey to Cadiz (a beach town on the West coast of Spain FAMOUS for its carnivale). 19 of the Bucknell students were there and we claimed the back of the bus for ourselves. Everyone was dressed in funny costumes and bright colors. What is unique to the carnivale in Cadiz is that a lot of the costumes are politically related and have to do with current events. After our 5 hour bus ride we arrived in Cadiz. I wish there was an adjective to describe what I saw…it was Halloween+ Madri Gras+ Botellón (a Granada tradition of drinking outside in parks and picnicking) ON CRACK. There were THOUSANDS of people there dressed up in CRAZY costumes. It was SO overwhelming. I honestly cannot even explain it. There were parades and songs and food and drinks and performances and everyone was just crazy. It felt really safe and for the most part the bucknell group stuck together. I was definitely glad that I went but I would not do it again. We boarded the bus at 5am and headed back to Granada. I wish I could say more but I’m just so speechless.
Soon I will post Katie’s pictures of Carnivale (and the Canary Islands) so you can have somewhat of an idea. Doing a google image search of Carnivale in Cadiz gives you a pretty good picture of what it was like (if you’re curious).
SIX days until mom and alex (and my camera charger) ELEVEN days until dad and peter! Can you feel me wiggling with excitement all the way back in the United States?!