One last ‘Pura Vida’

Wow I can’t believe this is the last blog of summer! While I have loved my time here, I am so excited to get home and see my family and friends for a couple days before hopping in the car for a nice 20-hour drive down to Houston.

My last days at my internship have been pretty busy as I try to finish up all my projects, or at least get them ready to hand over to someone else. The week has been filled with lots of final testing and report writing. For my torque device project, I think we are just about ready to make our final recommendations to the supplier. I spent last week trying to finalize the allowable limits for the tolerance range. This involved testing about 35 different cap and body combinations. My desk was covered in different units, and that is when I learned a valuable lesson in the importance of labeling and organization. I had to stop a couple times in the beginning to search for what piece I needed or to make sure I hadn’t mixed up different size caps, but luckily it got easier as I figured out what system worked best for keeping things straight.

Not pictured: more torque devices on the floor and on Sarah’s desk

Speaking of valuable lessons, I can’t even count how many of those I got this summer, inside the office and out. But I will share a few of the most memorable ones:

  1. Always bring a rain jacket. Costa Rica has its own Murphy’s law that guarantees it will rain if you do not bring a rain jacket, even if it is super sunny when you leave the house.
  2. Do not, under any circumstances, leave a plate with peanut butter on it on the counter for a couple hours. This will result in massive amounts of ants that do not die no matter how much you squish them and that then climb out of the trash can, up the wall, and onto the counter. This will then result in feeling like you might have a heart attack when you walk into the kitchen at 6:30am and see the hundreds of ants that you thought were dead.
  3. People are so nice! I know this sounds extremely basic, but everyone this summer was willing to go the extra mile to make sure we got as much out of our internship as possible. When we met with people to learn about their daily jobs, backgrounds, etc., they would often say “Oh, and you should talk to XX, too.” When we were in the lab getting help with the Instron, someone suggested, “Why don’t you go see if the neuromodulation department could help you out with a different sensor so you can have additional testing?” Everyone was ready to help everyone else; all you have to do is be confident enough to put yourself in a position where you can be helped. I think I got a lot better at getting past my shyness and putting myself out there.
  4. Meals are important. I have never been the best chef, and I often snack in lieu of making an actual meal, but that changed in Costa Rica. Breakfast and lunch breaks are practically sacred at work, and luckily, I had a good GMI pal that made me a real dinner every night in exchange for doing the dishes (thanks, Drew). I learned that taking a break to eat a solid meal is a great way to relax and get to know the people around you.
  5. Nothing makes people bond faster than giving them no other option. I think our GMI clan got a lot closer a lot faster than is normal. But I guess that’s what happens when the first 48 hours in Costa Rica consists of 7 hours together on a bus, 6 hours together at universities and hospitals, 4 hours together planning for the short course, and all remaining hours still spent together eating or sleeping. I loved getting to know every single person and can’t wait to get to Houston! Special shout-out to Sarah who endured the terrible traffic to Heredia with me, sat at a desk right next to me, ate breakfast and lunch across from me every single day, and never got tired of me. Nothing makes you become good friends like spending 10+ hours a day together, 5 days a week! Also, shout-out to Hannah for being the best GMI summer roomie! It’ll be a strange adjustment to not live 10 feet away from you and not go on walks together to see the neighborhood cows.

Although the summer of internships and adventures is over, I can’t wait to see what Houston has in store for the GMIers (hopefully it has beaches and farmer’s markets because that is what we did this weekend, and it was awesome). And so one last time:

Pura Vida!

Santa Ana Farmer’s Market and Jaco Beach

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