Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Introduction to Botswana

So I'm done with the MICU and have started my 2 weeks of blissful "elective time". What's in store for the next few weeks? Well, as much as I'd like to sit on my ass and finish off my kick-ass video game "Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic", I have quite a lot to accomplish in the next two weeks. The checklist:

#1: Write & submit a grant to the Fondation Recherche Medicale, a French scientific organization which gives out scientific grants--which I certainly will need if I don't want to find myself panhandling the Paris subway system next year. This will be the third grant that I've written on the same general topic (cystic diseases of the kidney) so hopefully I'll be able to do a lot of liberal cutting & pasting, however there's a kicker: the grant has to be written in French! Fortunately I have a good translator around the house (my wife) who has a vested interest in me not panhandling next year, so hopefully this can be accomplished in a timely fashion.

#2: Apply for a French visa. More bureaucracy, my favorite.

#3: Organize HUP BOWL III. More on this later. A bone-crunching, testosterone-laden annual contest of tackle football amongst the Penn Medicine housestaff which has become something of a tradition.

#4: Physically & mentally prepare myself for traveling to Botswana. I leave on Monday, Feb. 6th. So far my preparation has largely consisted of the following: I have plane tickets, and I bought the "Lonely Planet" book on Southern Africa yesterday. Beyond that I'm pretty much lost. However, I learned yesterday that somebody from Botswana is described as "Motswana" (DON'T use the term "Botswanese" or "Botswanan" or you will appear a ignorant fool) whereas a group of people from Botswana is called "Batswana". Good trivia material. Incidentally, I will be living in the capital of Gaborone, which is the largest city of Botswana with a population of approximately 186,000.

#5: general life organizational stuff (e.g., doing laundry, paying bills, shaving my ugly-ass beard) which has kind of slipped through the cracks while in the MICU...

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