Sunday, June 15, 2008

hellos and goodbyes

At Casa, maybe more than other places I've been, the cycle of hellos and goodbyes is at the forefront of everything. We are always welcoming people, and then saying goodbye. Welcoming babies, and then sending them off with their parents to become a family. Welcoming new interns and sending them off to continue their learning elsewhere. It must be hard on the staff here to have so many hellos and goodbyes. Yesterday two new interns arrived. Sometimes (all right, a lot of the time) the hellos here consist of a genuine welcome followed very quickly by a request to don scrubs and jump right in. We all have to make the most of our short time here, so we don't linger too long on the hellos.

Today we said goodbye to Marcie. Marcie had a car, and was very sweet to take us all grocery shopping, and running other little errands as well. She is very generous, and didn't want money for gas or anything. She has a good way with laboring moms, and she and I have lots of things in common--we both have more kids than most people think we should have, and we both homeschooled. She will be missed.

When you spend so much time living and working with people, you get to know them pretty well. And when you spend so much time working as hard as we all do, the time moves pretty quickly. The interns almost all have families at home, so there is the additional need to connect with each other. So, already, I'm feeling a little twinge of sadness because I'm suddenly finding myself half way through my stay here, and I know that the goodbyes are coming.

Here are some good things that I can take stock in: my skills really are improving; my Spanish is still a comical mix of sign language and English words with "a" or "o" clumsily tacked on to the end, but it seems to mostly work; I've made some good friends; and I've learned that there's lots that I still need to learn. This is all good.

The current crop of interns is pretty fun, as well. We all were rolling on the floor laughing about our Spanish the other night. When you find yourself trying to talk to a mom about her pechos (breasts) because you think that she asked you about the red parts on them, only to discover that she was trying to ask you about her baby's diaper rash, the best strategy is really to just giggle about it with friends. Sometimes the addition of the "a" or "o" onto an English word really doesn't work, either, as one intern discovered. She told some bewildered parents that they didn't really need to wash their baby with sopa, a word that she thought meant soap, but really means soup. And we all very much enjoy the Spanish word for your bottom, pompis. The Spanish grammer isn't coming together as quickly as individual words, and we are often so tired sometimes it's hard to come up with words in any language. Our current Spanglish joke is "lift up your pompis, please," as one intern requested of someone needing a change of chux pads. It's probably funnier in person.

So, we're all working hard, learning lots, and thankfully we're getting a chances to laugh with each other. And even though I'm really looking forward to going home and not wearing scrubs anymore, I'm not looking forward to all the goodbyes.

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