Welcome to The Cross(es)
I can’t believe we are already at our second biological field station here in Costa Rica! Estación Biológica Las Cruces is absolutely gorgeous, featuring a lush botanical garden and a canopy tower that offers a stunning view of the surrounding mountain region. That being said, it would not have taken much for me to LOVE this new location. The name translates to “The Crosses”…and this, of course, makes me think of home–The Cross a.k.a. Holy Cross–and I get a bit nostalgic.
During our three weeks at Las Cruces, we are studying Ethnobiology, or how people utilize and interact with plants and animals in their surrounding environment. This can be for medicinal purposes, nutrition, or artisanry. Not surprisingly, I have found the use of plants for traditional medical practice to be extremely interesting. Too bad I missed a majority of the lectures on this topic…why you ask?
My time in the ER
I’d like to say that this trip to the emergency room of San Vito Hospital (the closest hospital to Estación Biológica Las Cruces) was planned and a part of my course curriculum, but it was not. Two days after arriving at Las Cruces, I contracted a pretty bad stomach virus and could not stop vomiting. After 24 hours of me trying to convince everyone I wasn’t too sick, I finally visited the ER. And good thing! Turns out I had a whole host of issues and I had to have four different medications pumped into my veins over a 3 hour period (longest 3 hours of my life).
Minus the whole being sick, nauseous, and dizzy part, my time in the hospital was quite educational and enjoyable (enjoyable might not be the right word here but I’m trying to put a positive spin on it). It’s always fun when the aspiring doctor becomes the patient. I got a first-hand look at their public healthcare system, one-on-one interaction with a physician, and 3+ hours of normal hospital operation! Getting sick was all apart of my plan.
The great part of this story, however, occurred three days later when I was once again able to eat solid food. My first night back at dinner with the rest of the group, the head chef noticed my return and welcomed me back. Later, he walked over to my table and put a large plate of scrambled eggs in front of me…and said, “I made this special for you. The only ingredients are eggs, water, and love.” This was by far the most adorable thing I have heard during my time in Costa Rica. I appreciated his words and heartfelt gesture so much that I made it the title of this blog post!
Let the good times roll
I have so many other wonderful experiences to share from my time in Las Cruces…visits to indigenous communities, morning workouts on the tower overlooking the canopy, fun nature walks to hidden waterfalls. The adventures are endless. I’ll elaborate a bit more on my next post as long as I don’t make any more trips to the hospital. Fingers crossed!
This week I learned….
1.) that pineapples have an enzyme called bromelain that causes a prickly sensation in your mouth. That’s why we can only comfortably eat 3-4 pieces of pineapple at a time!! Also, because of these properties, pineapple is often used as a meat tenderizer.
2.) that I have managed to get sick and visit the ER on every abroad trip since being at Holy Cross. El Salvador, India, and Argentina. Let’s add Costa Rica to the list!
Haylie Butler '17