Monday, April 29, 2024

Done teaching!

After a great day of teaching a group of obstetricians and midwives (and one doula!), I came to my apartment all smiles. I get to go home tomorrow! And then I collapsed on the bed and crashed. Eric woke me up to check in--I'm glad, because it was too early to go to bed.

I don't have to wake up early tomorrow (although I probably will, knowing my luck). I'll have an unhurried drive to the airport, only 15 minutes away, and see my family by the evening!
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Sunday, April 28, 2024

Santiago de Compostela

If only I had a backpack, hiking boots, and walking sticks, I would blend in with everyone else. This city is the final destination of many pilgrimages. My mom did the final 100 km of the Camino de Santiago several years ago.

I'm just a few minutes from the main cathedral. I wandered around a bit this afternoon while waiting for my airbnb to open up. I went out again to see a bit more of the central city and to buy some food for dinner.

It's still not very warm: high of maybe 9 Celsius today. And my apartment is mostly unheated and I'm SO COLD. I hoped to warm up by taking a shower...and the water only goes to warm, not hot! It was so frustrating. I'm now running the hair dryer on myself, trying to warm up a bit.

I was walking around town, wondering why everything just felt a bit...weird, when I realized that there is no color anywhere! The buildings are all a darker stone or white. It's such a difference from Nice, where every building is painted a different vibrant color, usually in warm yellows, oranges, reds, and pinks with blue or aqua shutters.

It's still not completely dark, but I need to get to bed soon. I've been up since 4:45 am and I have an early start tomorrow.
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Saturday, April 27, 2024

Barcelona breech training

We had an outstanding training in Barcelona today, with a mixture of OBGYNs, midwives, and some midwives-in-training. Some worked in hospitals, some in home, some with MSF. They came from Spain (of course!), Italy, Iceland, Belgium, the USA, and Israel. (If I missed a country, I apologize).

We met at a trendy coworking space, La Vaca Coworking. We had the entire space to ourselves, two floors.

By the end of the day I was so tired! But also so happy because I made it through another day!

Just for fun, here's a picture of Ivy with the trophy she won at the end of this week's soccer camp.

Tomorrow morning, very early, I am off to Santiago de Compostela for one last breech training! Then I get to go home! So many exclamation marks today because I am just that excited!
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Friday, April 26, 2024

Birthdays & Barcelona!

Happy 15th birthday, Dio! I was able to talk to everyone twice today, once in the Prague airport and once in the apartment here in Barcelona. But it's not at all the same as being there. I can't believe it's already been 15 years! Dio had white-blond hair when he was born and little skinny chicken legs. He was just 7 lbs, very long and skinny. Kind of like he is today, except now he's over 6 feet tall, long, and skinny.

My day started at 4:45 am...2.5 hour drive to Prague...flight to ride to the venue...45 minute walk to pick up the apartment keys and the handouts...10 minute walk to our apartment...then a 2 hour super fast walking tour so I could see some of the main buildings in Barcelona. I won't have any time tomorrow and I fly out early the next morning.

I walked 13 km in total. All I wanted to do was collapse on the couch but I'm glad I got out. I saw several Gaudi buildings, one by accident as I happened to be walking past (Gaudi Palace). The other ones were the Casa Batlló and La Sagrada Familia. The last two I remember learning about in university. I also saw the Torre Glòries from afar.

It was very interesting to walk all around the streets, which are laid out precise squares as far as you can see...street after street, row after row, perfect squares. It feels a bit overwhelming after a while because you walk and walk and feel like nothing has changed!

I need to get to sleep soon. Good night!
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Thursday, April 25, 2024

Breech in Brno

We had a fantastic day of teaching. It started a bit stressful--the parking instructions we had weren't great and we couldn't get past the barriers and then we had to go a few different places. But we got it all sorted out and still had time to set things up.

This workshop was funded by a grant that our amazing organizer secured, so all 32 participants got to attend free of charge! Because they enrolled relatively late, most had not done the online training beforehand. So we had to adapt a bit and do some teaching to the group before doing our simulations and other activities. I also came up with a new simulation teaching format (just last night!) and tested it out on these students to rave reviews.

We had a videographer/photographer there. I asked her for some headshots, which I hope turn out ok. They also set up a little film studio and interviewed me and Kristine. I said some spicy things at the end, one of which was about "how I find it quite ridiculous that women are not being allowed to use their own vaginas." (Referring to the mandatory C-seciton policy for breech in so many places in the world.)

Kristine and I came home just dead. It's just after 9 pm and I'm heading to bed. We have to be up very early anyway, so it's for the best.

You will appreciate the sketchy elevator in our apartment building, originally from 1979 and not inspiring confidence at all. It lurches up, bangs and thuds upon arrival, and has no guard doors.

Also: baby Sophie's post-workshop bath time.

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Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Drive to Brno

I rented a car for the first time in our Grand European Tour. I was a bit hesitant because I was driving into the Old Town and then back out again...but it wasn't so bad.

We had a 2.5 hour drive to Brno, with heavy traffic the whole way. I'm not sure if this is something taught in Czech driving schools, or just something that everyone does, but when cars want to pass, they go RIGHT up to your back bumper. This must have happened to me at least 30 times (and I was going 130 km/hr!). Seriously, it's so dangerous.

By the end, I could anticipate it and get out of the way quickly. But sometimes it was not possible because I was passing a large truck and couldn't move over. They would still drive right up to my bumper.

It was cold and rainy so we took one quick trip to the grocery store (a Lidl! and right next door!) and then stayed indoors the rest of the day.

We teach all day tomorrow and leave the following mornings suuuuuper early to catch a morning flight out of Prague.

We won't even see Brno itself; we're in the industrial outskirts.
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Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Underwhelming and overpriced

I worked most of the day on video and book editing. But I decied that I coudn't stay indoors the whole day! So I booked a "Prague Underground" tour that sounded really fun. In reality, it was underwhelming and overpriced. We saw the basements of 3 buildings, 2 of the 3 decorated with kitschy themes. The torture one was fun if only because I was taking pictures for the kids to see later 🙂

I met up with Kristine and some of the workshop organizers and attendees for dinner. I had a beetroot risotto with goat cheese. So good!

When we were walking to get Kristine, the street was completely blocked by a swarm of ambulances in front of her apartment. We joked, "Oh no, what has Kristine been doing this time?!?" Turns out it was for someone who fell (or maybe was pushed?) out a window.

Tomorrow we drive to Brno. Wish me luck driving in the Czech Republic! It doesn't seem any different from driving in France, so I think I'll be ok.
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Monday, April 22, 2024

Prague teaching day

I'm totally exhausted and my inbox is terrifying (so many emails since this morning that I can't evne see them all on one page!). I'm not even going to try until tomorrow 🙂

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Sunday, April 21, 2024

Cold, sunny Prague!

I bundled up to expore Prague today, after getting a few hours of video editing done. It was beautiful but very cold.

I couldn't believe the crowds of tourists! In some areas, it was a literal river of people and you couldn't really choose where to walk.

In the morning I walked along the river, then across to the Petrin Tower (Petřínská rozhledna) and the Mirror Maze (Zrcadlové bludiště). 

The tower is like the Eiffel Tower but on a smaller scale. It has two observation platforms and you climb up on a double spiral outdoor staircase, going up one way and down the other.

The Mirror Maze was built in the 19th century and was quite fun. It also had a diorama of an important war in the history of Prague on the Charles Bridge.

I decided to cross the river via the Charles Bridge and that's where the crazy crowds began. I wandered back through the Old Town and then home for lunch.

After a few more hours of video editing, I wanted to get out again. Kristine and I had talked about getting a birthday pastry, so we met up and found a patisserie. It looked very French but my sacher torte was surprisingly sweet, almost too sweet! But the shop itself was quite lovely.

I snapped a few pictures during this afternoon excursion of the main square and the astrological clock. It was too cold to slow down and admire the sights!

I had a debrief this evening and talked to the family. Big teaching day tomorrow!
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