A day in the life…

I thought I’d write a post to give you an idea of my daily life.

At 0530 my alarm goes off. I’m grumpy, obviously, but thank goodness for coffee. The coffee here is instant and everyone drinks it with milk and sugar. It’s actually quite good for instant coffee! Around 0630 there my transport arrives and honks to let me know. Honking is a universal sign meaning “Hello!” “STOP” “MOVE” and “WHAT ARE YOU DOING.” My driver is known as Uncle. It’s common practice in some of the many cultures existing here in South Africa to call older men and women by Aunty or Uncle instead of Mrs/Mr <Insert Last Name Here>. We battle traffic for around 1 hour to arrive at the hospital around 0730. My day begins then with either ICU teaching rounds or seeing patients in the medical wards. I do my best to sift through the massive paper files, see patients, write notes, and try to be generally useful. My usefulness is questionable at best… There are scheduled educational sessions throughout the day called “tutorials”, either a large group lecture or a small bedside case discussion. Some afternoons offer outpatient clinics for conditions such as asthma, diabetes, COPD, etc. Usually by around 3pm we’ve wrapped up our work for the day and the students start to thin out and head home. My transport picks me up and we have a much shorter drive home. I live in a neighborhood outside of Cape Town that is relatively small and safe. My host mom is an excellent cook and I feel like I am eating a Thanksgiving meal every evening. We have had curry, stir-fry, pot roast, shepherd’s pie… all delicious. The diet here seems heavy on meat, which is unusual for me, but plenty of fresh fruit is available too. Apparently there is an infamous sandwich that one must try here called a Gatsby. I think it is supposed to feed several people because they are GIANT. Many of the foods here go by their British names, fries are chips, chips are crisps, cookies are biscuits, muffins are scones…  For the past two weeks my evenings were quiet with some reading and crawling into bed by 2130. Two new students have joined me at my homestay now, and a couple more down the street, so I predict my evenings may be less quiet from here on out… No complaints there! I’m looking forward to getting to know them and exploring more of the city and surrounding area. The weather here has been fabulous. It’s autumn and going into the rainy season, but it really only rains at night. The mornings and evenings are cool with the days being warm and sunny at about 75 degrees. It’s basically perfect.

Ciao for now,

Ray

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