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The Road from Home (abridged) April 30, 2008

Posted by Benji in Journal.
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Wednesday afternoon in downtown Guayaquil: It’s hot and bustling as usual. Men in business suits and women in two-tone work uniforms are walking back from their lunch hours, filled up on fish ceviche or rice and fried meat or potato yapingachos. An English textbook in hand, I’m just now going to work myself. I’m trying to blend in with the packs of Latinos; I have on my stony street face (learned back in Brooklyn), but my blue eyes betray me. And if I were to open my mouth, well, then, all bets are off – my Spanish is on-par with a preliterate child. I sigh quietly to myself and keep moving.

Weaving between the street vendors who sell small red apples in large plastic bags, lottery tickets, and toothpaste to pedestrians and passengers on passing buses, I stop cold on the corner before my school. A body is sprawled out in the street, though it’s not garnering much attention from passers-by. A moment’s hesitation: Is this a homeless man or someone who’s had too much to drink? No, there’s a pool of blood forming around his head. No, this is not good.

I lapse into gringo EMT, kick into a sprint – leaving all knowledge of Spanish behind me – and try to explain to the security guard at my school that he needs to call an ambulance. (Oh, how I wish I still had those left-behind Spanish skills!) People have seen me running and now they’re curious. I return to the body with a small crowd. A second hesitation, this one moral: I don’t have a pair of latex gloves on me – should I act as a first-responder or stand back? Before I can answer myself, I’m already crouching in the street, checking for a pulse. As if in a made-for-TV movie, a woman steps forward to help me express myself in Spanish. The bleeding man is becoming conscious again, and he certainly doesn’t like that a tall white boy is trying to keep him from moving his head and neck.

Eventually Cruza Roja shows up and takes control. I slowly fade into the background, the people’s attention still focused on the bloodied man. I offer my name to a police officer, but am perplexed when he brushes me away. Did my efforts go unnoticed? Disappointed, I look over to the mob again and spot my translator friend. She smiles widely at me before disappearing into the crowd.


Does This Make Me Emo? April 28, 2008

Posted by Benji in Music.
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Death Cab for Cutie, “I Will Possess Your Heart”

Mislead April 24, 2008

Posted by Benji in General.
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Despite the wording of the email, it turns out that what seemed to be an offer to study in Iowa was not an offer but a flattering (and apparently generic) invitation to apply to their program. After a week of thinking hard about whether or not to take time off from medical school, this was quite a slap in the face. I think I would rather have not gotten my hopes up than to have been called outstanding and then subsequently “not in the top three.” As for the other programs, it’s amazing how in-bred they are: Though they accept applications from other schools, they only seem to offer positions to their own students…

Panic! April 21, 2008

Posted by Benji in Music.
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Panic! at the Disco, “9 in the Afternoon”

un-Passover April 20, 2008

Posted by Benji in Food.
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It may be a time when I’m supposed to give up leven for a week, but I’ve never really been a fan of keeping Kosher.  To the contrary, today I made a quick cherry cobbler. The crust was soft and sweet – I think I would have liked it better less sweet and a bit crispier – but here’s the recipie:

Melt 1 stick of butter in a 9×9 glass baking dish.  Mix together 1 cup sugar, 1 cup flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon baking power, and 1 cup milk and pour into dish.  Add 1 can of cherry pie filling in the center.  Bake at 350 for 45 minutes.

cherry cobbler

He’s Got a Plastic Knife! April 12, 2008

Posted by Benji in General.
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Playmobil is educating America’s toddlers about airport security checks.

Check out Cranky’s post here.

Every Cloud… April 9, 2008

Posted by Benji in General.

Every cloud has a silver lining.  When one door closes, another one opens.  Feel free to apply your favorite cliche.

Though I didn’t get the fellowship I had been hoping for in New York, I was offered one in Iowa…

Speaking of clouds, I was reading my buddy Todd’s blog (link here), and he was talking about his EMT training.  No one seems to get hurt when we’re around, it seems, thus making us “white clouds.”  During my most recent rotation – Ob/Gyn – labor and delivery was particularly quiet, and there were no real emergencies.  But after I finished my shift, things would always seem to go to hell…