Well, after conquering 5 continents individually and North America as a family we have decided to take on a new challenge. Look out South America - here we come! Rhett has been accepted to the Gorgas Course for Tropical Medicine for 2009! (There is a link in Favorite sites for those of you with too much time on your hands). We are thrilled at this incredible honor and opportunity for him to receive incredible training in tropical medicine. He is one of 24 students that were accepted from all over the world to participate in the course. Most of them have signifcant overseas experience and have done some pretty amazing and intersting things. Some of them have been practicing medicine for 30 years and others, like Rhett, are Fellows - just getting started. Many of them have done at least one rotation with Doctors Without Borders in some pretty crazy places. It sounds like we will have some interesting new friends from all over the world!
Next year at this time we will pack up and head to Peru for 10 weeks! We will be based in Lima but will be traveling to Cusco (near Machu Picchu) and Iquitos (in the middle of the Amazon jungle!) for field trips. Rhett may possibly be doing some additional research in malaria for another month or two and that would be in Iquitos as well. You can find Iquitos on the map above - just look in the middle of the dark green area (that's the jungle) and you will find the biggest city in the world with no roads leading to it! Due to it's location in the jungle you have to either fly there or take a boat up the river (Amazon that is). Pretty cool! We are really excited and ready to start planning our big adventure!
The course is really intense academically. Rhett will be working and studying very hard while we are there so he can take yet another test to get his diploma in Tropical Medicine. I am going to try to attend language school while we are there. Anyone who went to high school with me will find this mildy hilarious because I have detested Spanish since the first day of 8th grade. However, I now desperately want to have a second language. I know that this is not the time of life to start persuing that dream but I'm going to give it a shot. I have found a Spanish immersion international preschool for the kids to attend while I am in class. I am really excited about them have such an enriching experience at such a young age so they will hopefully be able to pick it up quickly. Claire started taking Spanish lessons last week to get her feet wet. It's just a 45 minute class once a week where they are immersed in Spanish playing games and singing songs. Claire is picking it up quickly - she left the class saying "adios!" and now knows her colors in Spanish just from that one class (I wish my brain was a sponge like that!). She translates through English though ("Azul - that's blue" then she will point to it). It won't be long before she and Ford are plotting against us in a language we can't understand!
I have affectionatley nicknamed this particular adventure "Step 1" which obviously will be followed by "Step 2" - stay tuned for more details on that. But obviously Step 1 is preparation for Step 2 so you can kind of see where this might be headed . . .