Study setup, la playa, and food talk

Happy Monday!

 I owe you an update from Friday ... I set up the first experimental condition! Yay, lets take a moment to be excited about it! . . . . . . . .. . . .. . . .. 

 It of course did not go off without a hitch, but I was actually quite pleased with how well I anticipated the problems I was going to encounter and then adjusted to them accordingly.  (I was texting Aneesa exactly what I was afraid would happen .. it did).  However, the process I've got going right now might not be optimal, so we may be adjusting it this week.  Did I mention that we have only 3/5 of the amount of samples coming in as we were scheduling for? This means instead of building 2 experiments per week I can only do one --> setup is going to take twice as long!! Twice as long = 2 months.... That's what I would call an unrealistic timeline.

Our moto driver decided to take a different route back instead of the one we came in on which was way better. We had to get out and wait for 6 motos to cross this tiny wooden plank "bridge" before we had our turn across. Each driver was soo nervous to drive across the bridge and went super slowly, causing all of the men to yell at them, which I enjoyed.

 Saturday started bright and early with my coworker, Marvin, picking me up from my apartment to take the bus together to the clinic. It's the anniversary of the main community we work in so, of course, they had a huge celebration! We hung around with the field workers and I got to meet some of their kids and dogs which was super nice and they were so sweet (the kids not the dogs)!  After eating a whole bag of aguaje each (I will need to post a pic of this fruit), which took me approximately 15x longer than it took Marvin, we took a boat over to a nearby beach. 

la playa

 Marvin and I hung around the beach for a while until I realized I was definitely getting burnt.  I haven't gotten sunburn since being here so I never use sunscreen or worry about it, but it was super sunny, no clouds all day, and I was laying in a chair in the water.  Someone (coughnotme) lost/forgot their cash somewhere and we literally had to pile all of our coins together to try to pay our way back. By some miracle, we had the exact amount of change to pay the boat, moto, and bus back to the city for the two of us.  It was sad for me though, because change is always hard to come by and I was filthy with change this week!  Emily tossed her leftover coins my way and it was amazing while it lasted. 
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Marvin and I in the community

 Sunday was a completely lazy day. I picked up produce from the market, cooked, and cleaned the apartment. I also managed to watch almost an entire season of Friends. I'm still struggling to cook things that are healthy, easy, and I like. Any suggestions?  The main limitation is that I only have a stove top (also I won't cook meat/fish). The only legume I've managed to cook is lentils; I gave up on the black beans for now. I want to try chickpeas but I'm afraid it will be much the same problem as the black beans and I'm not ready to deal with that disappointment again ;)

why is cooking so hard for me? 

 This week is the first that I started missing/craving foods from home.  My mom makes crazy dope homemade cinnamon rolls that I've been thinking about!  I'll be in the Lima airport real quick at the end of next week on my way to Arequipa, and I'm thinking they'll have some american chains for me to revel in. I know there's at least a Sbux.  I always miss iced coffee no matter where I am, even Europe, cause no one does it like us (#merica) and I am addicted. Though, I was a big fan of the 'espresso' flavor of the individual packaged coffee drinks you can find in supermarkets and gas stations (and the vending machine in the library I worked from!) in Zürich. Restaurants that Iquitos needs someone to open (and do well), in order of importance:
  1. indian
  2. taco (ok just bring Chipotle)
  3. salad (I developed an expensive Sweetgreen habit before leaving Baltimore)
None of that will probably ever happen here. There are plenty of places serving pizza that range from scary to basically pizza (they struggle with the crust)! And there's a "taco" place that serves something like a burrito but calls it a taco. I think making Indian food is a good idea for me right now, because I have rice, potatoes, spinach, and lentils. But, I'm so afraid of the long list of ingredients and spices you need. Maybe that will be a goal for this week. Nos vemos!


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