Sunday, September 30, 2007

Hollywood

Oh boy...this is my second blog for the day!!! I wanted to get this up because I keep forgetting. My roommate and I, along with her nieces and nephews, went to Hollywood shortly after I moved down here. We did the normal tourist thing and walked down Hollywood Blvd. and saw all the stars and the Chinese Theater with the hand prints. I was on a mission at the Chinese theater... find the newly minted Harry Potter hand, foot, and wand prints. I was so excited that I think I may have frightened a few people. Oh well, here is the picture; I thought someone may appreciate seeing it...or am I the only loser!?! :)

AIDS Walk San Diego 2007


Today was the AIDS Walk here in San Diego. I have never gone to one of these walks before, but this year I decided to volunteer. The day started off very early and a bit rough, but turned out to be a pretty fun day. Let me start at the beginning...my alarm went off today at 4am at which time I got up, got ready and set off to be in Balboa Park by 445am to catch the shuttle. Luckily I only live about 10 minutes from there. I get there and the parking lot areas were not label too wonderfully, so I just park because I was told that the shuttle would come by all the lots on the map. No shuttle anywhere in sight. Crap!!! So, there I was at 445am, in the dark, slowly walking in the direction that I think I need to be going in, hoping that I would not run into anyone. FYI, for those of you who don't know, Balboa Park is known for some of the shady "business" that takes place there at night, so I was praying that I would not stumble across any of these such activities. I was in luck, however, when the volunteer shuttle showed up about 5 or 10 minutes later just up the road from me. I flagged them down and I was saved!!

I made it to my tent, the walker check-in, just in time before my shift started where we began setting up for the 2,300 people who had preregistered to walk and the other ton that decided to wait until today to sign up. In addition to the check-in we were in charge of collecting any cash donations that the walkers had with them....and let me just say bravo to some of the walkers. We had probably at least 20 people with donations of over $1,000, and one man with a $10,000 donation.

At about 900am, after we had cleaned up and packed our tent up, I decided to roam around the sponsor tables where I was bound to get free stuff!! I love all the free food, candy, pens, post-its and what ever else they always have. You can never have too many post-its!! But, back to the story...my main goal was to see the AIDS quilt. That was my main reason for wanting to go this year. I was kind of expecting there to be one huge quilt, but instead there were large sections lying around for those who have died here in San Diego. I wasn't really expecting to be so overwhelmed by it all, but there were just so many kids on the quilts.

In addition to the quilt, there was this altar set up where you could go in a light a candle for those you may have known with the disease and a huge wall of messages written to those who have died. All in all it was a good day, or morning since I got home at just before 1000am (at which time on a normal Sunday I would be still sleeping), and I had some fun!!






Now its time to walk up a few blocks to the street to the Adams Avenue Street Fair for some music, food, and beer!!! That is if I don't fall asleep first... :)

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

I'm Gonna Be A Bridesmaid!!!!

...At least that is the plan anyway. My cousin Erin from Chicago called me last night and asked me to be a bridesmaid in her wedding on April 29. I have never been in a wedding before, but it is pretty exciting for me...and for her as well since it is HER since it is her wedding after all. Plus, as an added bonus, I finally get to make a trip out to Chicago! Yeah!!!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Life in San Diego Thus Far

I thought that I would start off with a little science joke, so for anyone who got it...kudos to you. :) So, I have recently moved to San Diego to attend San Diego State University's Graduate School of Public Health in a program referred to as GEPAR, or Global Emergency Preparedness and Response, from which I will receive a MSPH degree. I thought that I would start recording the happenings here in San Diego for anyone who has nothing better to do than read this blog because I have been involved in some pretty fun and exciting (or at least things I find to be exciting) things so far...with many more to come. Here is a short(ish) overview:

I attended a Professional Training course a few weekends ago all about HIV/AIDS Prevention. It was a course given at UC San Diego and was sponsored by many schools in the area, including many from Mexico. I sat through about 14 hours of lectures given over 2 days and covered just about anything and everything that you ever wanted to know about the virus: history, biology, virology, associated opportunistic infections, counseling of the patients, epidemiology, etc. I was one of the few student there, and despite the fact that I was in a chair for almost 7 hours straight each day, I had a lot of fun. I was in my element...in a class learning all about some horrible virus.

Last weekend I was a Public Health Intern at an event called the Kids Care Fest in La Mesa, just east of here. It was essentially a free event for under privileged children and their parents to come to have access to basic health care screenings and interact with a variety of health care providers, but it also had a ton of games and activities for the children so they were not too bored. There was a pony ride, a rock climbing wall, a SWAT van and all the weapons they use, etc. My job at this event was to greet the families as they entered the fair and pass out the wristbands to the children that entitled them to their free lunch. I was having so much fun interacting with these kids that I stayed the entire day instead of my 2 hours shift. I cannot not wait to do this again next year. I met some of the cutest and most polite kids ever there...with the select few that looked at me trying to put a wristband on them and then screamed bloody murder like I was trying to kill them.

I have also been given the opportunity this semester to take an independent study course to work with one of the lead people in the EMS department of the San Diego County Health and Human Services, along with a few other students, to develop a tabletop exercise (otherwise known as an emergency drill carried out through scenario around a table) for a Stage 5 pandemic influenza outbreak in the dorms at SDSU for presentation to the housing people for the dorms at SDSU. This is in hopes that these people will realize that this is something that they really need to be prepared for and that they need to put together and train their own team of volunteers for an emergency like this.

Finally, next weekend is the San Diego AIDS walk. For those of you who know me know that it is kind of a joke that I would actually walk that far, but I have volunteered to be a worker this year. The only downfall is that I have to be there at 5am on a Sunday. Yeah, just a bit of a downfall, but it is for a good cause, so I figured that I could drag myself out of bed at the crack ass of dawn for once instead of sleeping in until noon. Should be a good experience and I am looking forward to seeing the AIDS quilt...plus I get a free shirt. Score (I am really just doing it for the free shirt...I am so just kidding). :)

I am sure there is more that I have been up to these past few months, but I am tired of typing and since it is after 130am I should try to sleep. I have a lot of fun biostatistics homework to do tomorrow. I'll update as more things come up. Sorry for such a long novel, but you chose to read it.