On day 26 of our DOC, eight of us broke off from the group to venture on a sunrise hike. After a quick morning coffee and several slices of sponge cake, we took our packed lunches and set out at 6 AM. With two flashlights to guide us, we carefully navigated our way over a stone bridge, soon to find that we were not the only pilgrims on the trail. A cat with gleaming yellow eyes, slimy snails, and an orange slug accompanied us on our journey. As for human interaction, one of my peers had an impressive, lengthy conversation with a Frenchman who later treated us to nougat from his hometown. Our search for the sunrise turned into a hunt for huevos fritos (fried eggs) to satisfy the cravings of our group. Much to our dismay, the two cafés along the way were unable to fulfill our needs. The hunger pangs finally ceased upon arrival at our hotel, where each of us enjoyed a hefty plate of eggs – with French-fries, obviously.
A few hours later, class discussion got heated on the topic of religion and science. The readings for the day focused on pilgrimages of healing, particularly to Lourdes, France. Some of my peers opposed the possibility of medical miracles, while others were more accepting. As a Catholic nursing major, I was more interested in another article Professor Bucar gave to me about faith and healing which questioned the lack of religious accommodations in medical facilities. Reflecting on this, I came to realize that my curriculum does not offer a course on spiritual care. Although there is a line to be drawn between medical responsibilities and the religious needs of a patient, spiritual healing should be considered as an important aspect of recovery.
Following the class debate, our blood pressure was raised once again by an extremely salty dinner. Russian salad, risotto, and overly seasoned chicken dehydrated our bodies. We hoped that dessert would compensate, but were disappointed when plates of stale St. James cake and freezer-burned ice cream were placed in front of us. I attempted the Ally-way of maneuvering my food to appear that I had eaten it, but I was unable to deceive the frustrated waiter. Fortunately, Manuel blamed our food aversions on “pickiness” to avoid offending the chef. Traumatized, several of us ran upstairs to inhale the remaining half of a fresh St. James cake, which appeased our uneasy stomachs. We retired to our beds to rest for the remaining 39 kilometers to Santiago.
Despite failure to see a sunrise and our atrocious dinner, the Spain DOC remains in high spirits. Our time in Spain is coming to an end and we are determined to savor every minute (just maybe not all of the food). As my first trip out of the country, I cannot imagine spending the past month with anyone else. I am so proud of how far we have come and know that the friendships we have made will last far beyond our long-awaited arrival.
Ally Femc – Nursing