Friday, April 8, 2011

Caffeine Confessions

I'm not sure what exactly it is about caffeine that makes people spill their guts, but I'm convinced it significantly contributes to the overwhelming amount of personal disclosure that takes place in coffee shops. Maybe I am the only person who has experienced this, but it seems as though I happen to get caught in awkwardly personal conversations with completely random people on a fairly regular basis when I'm by myself at a coffee shop reading or studying or blogging. Regardless of how committed I am to whatever I am working on, people just start talking to me. I'm not the only one, I have had the luxury of watching this same phenomenon happen to others while I shrug deeper into my book and avoid being seen and getting sucked into the conversation as well.

Today while studying for my Quantity Food
Production exam that was this evening, the women beside me noticed my text books and struck up a conversation. She asked what I was studying, and when I responded with Foods and Nutrition she began to tell me all about her Crohn's Disease and the subsequent development of primary sclerosing cholangitis. I should probably start getting used to this. It's what I absolutely love about dietetics, it applies to everyone! But it also means that everyone wants to ask me questions and expect me to have all the answers.

Somehow our discussion lead to her diagnosis of a rare complication of Crohn's that causes terminal liver disease and her diagnosis; she was given between 6 months and 2 years to live about 5 years ago. She told me her whole life story. Her divorce, her strained relationship with her son, being ignored by doctors because her condition is so rare that no one believed her symptoms, that she hopes one day her grandkids will wonder who has been sending them cards in the mail for every holiday since she hasn't met them, how lonely she is because she sabotages every relationship she develops and has lost all her friends because she could die any day and how frustrating it is to have supposed to die a few years ago but is still free from further degeneration of her liver. These are not things you normally disclose to a complete stranger in a busy coffee shop. I realize she was a bit of an exception because she really opened up and spilled her guts, but she is not the first, and likely won't be the last person to sit down beside a complete stranger with a newspaper and latte, and get up to leave after a one hour conversation about anything and everything without having even skimmed more than the front page headlines.

In other news, we got confirmation that our funding proposal for Kenya got approved today! The proposal was for funding for the next four years! Tuck and I will be going back this year for 3 weeks to help out the two new students who are coming with us, but there will also be new students going every year for the next four years. It's so exciting that our projects will continue and that UPEI Foods and Nutrition students will be able to continue to impact the communities I have grown to love. As of right now the tentative departure date is May 9th, which means in the next month (to the day) I will be moving from PEI to Toronto, graduating AND leaving for Kenya! It's going to be a whirlwind of a month but I could not be more excited!

No comments:

Post a Comment