Life Updates

Hey guys! Glad you like my Animal Rescue pictures :)

Life update:

I'm starting to get my routine down in Iquitos. I'm interacting with all the same people in the places that I frequent, which is nice because these people immediately recognize me (gringas can be hard to miss). They know my spanish is shaky, and speak slower and more clear now and don't get too stressed out when I have no idea what they're saying.  I guess in the US I don't really frequent places where I see the same employees regularly, but even if I did I don't think we'd develop an ongoing relationship.  Do more sociable people do this on the reg? Or is it because I'm somewhat of a novelty (people treat you "special" as a gringo)? Are Americans just in too much of a hurry? 

I did realize this year that its a problem how I always assume people don't recognize or remember me (due to going to such a big school @Penn State where no prof remembers you ever). Because at a small school like Hopkins, your professors actually recognize you from class and so I guess you should say hi (?). 

As far as workouts, the gym has only two working treadmills (+ two broken ones), so they have a 20 minute limit on them.  The treadmills are the only cardio machines, though there are also 2 spin bikes randomly placed if you know how to give yourself a good spin bike workout, which I think takes more discipline than I have at the moment.  My plan is to run those 20 treadmill mins as fast as possible (which is not fast bc its still 89 degrees with 94% humidity and theres no TV or fan or anything to make me feel better). My parents asked why I can't run outside; basically there's no place to run outside - sidewalks are fairly crowded, you'd have to stop at every corner, everyone would stare at me, people would yell things to me, same heat + humidity of gym but now add the sun, and I can't go that many miles in any direction before I'd be lost and maybe in a risky area. I've finally signed up for the monthly membership (i've been paying daily rates), so now I can go to unlimited classes as well, and it turns out I get training included! So.. I .. have a trainer?! haha, its good because when I finish he says "mañana" and I'm like ugh now I have to go tomorrow! The only class options seem to be Zumba and Kick-boxing as far as I have seen. Probably will have to hit up my first Zumba class eventually, but the instructor is no joke and I watch from my treadmill as half of the class quits every 5 minutes :) 
I didn't take any good pictures this week so here's a sweaty post-training one.

There's also a Spin studio two blocks from my apartment! Grace and I checked it out last night, and man this guy kicked our asses.  I honestly was being a lil lazy and didn't bump my dial as much as he wanted me to,  but seriously working out outside in 80-90 degrees and 94% humidity is a killer no matter what you're doing.  It's actually a cross-cycling class in the afternoon, which means we cycled for 30 mins, then got off the bike and did bear crawls on the ground, then back on the bike, then off again for some arm workouts, and finished it off by running around the block.  It was my second workout of the day since I felt obliged to go in with the trainer in the morning, so after running, weight training, and cross-cycling, basically every muscle in my body is sore today!

Research update:

As to be expected, I've run into some delays with the startup of my study.  There are two main components to my research here, one is observational and the other controlled experimental.  The observational study is really dependent on how and how often the toilets are being use. PAUSE: did I ever explain my study here? I guess that's important. I'm evaluating dry composting latrines that a local NGO has built in some of the low-income communities they work with.  I will measure different aspects of the latrine waste to determine if this process is successfully turning dangerous material into something useful, or at least significantly less dangerous. 
The observational study has kind of began.. but not really because my first set of samples have not become available so we don't yet have baseline data. 
The experimental condition arm of the study has definitely not begun. Still waiting on formalities and approvals to come through so I can start creating the "control latrines."
(p.s. if none of this makes sense, its because I've drastically oversimplified it because I don't want to get into the details of the study online) 

This is an Amazonian sidewalk

Next week is El Día de la Independencia de Perú!  As you may know, South America is big on holidays. So we have a long weekend coming up! Thursday-Saturday is off for celebrating Peru's independence from Spain. I don't know what I'm going to do with that time, and I imagine lots of things will be closed... any suggestions? Maybe I should book a last minute flight to see another city?  


Questions for you in the comments :) 1) Are you a "Regular" anywhere? When I worked at Starbucks in high school we had so many regulars, which I still find crazy cause buying a $4.50 latte every day is, like, a lot of money. But also, isn't that the new American Dream (or just for 22 year old grad students..)? 2) What are your favorite workouts? 3) Does realizing that my research is about toilets make you cringe?

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