Closing Words: Katie

It’s hard to believe our time in the Bahamas has come to an end already.  I can honestly say the last four weeks were the best of my life, what an experience!  Over the course of this January term I feel I have learned so much.  Not only could I give a full presentation on type II diabetes now, but I also learned about the culture, how to host a successful wellness fair, the marine life in the Bahamas, sustainability, and island life in general.  I gained so much life experience over the course of the last month, and for that I will be forever grateful.

Some of my favorite times from the trip include the home stays, the kayak trip, our night at Tippy’s Restaurant and the Beach House, and our afternoon spent at Lighthouse beach.  While on our home stay, Miranda and I were able to fully experience the culture.  Our family was very accommodating and more than willing to answer any questions we had.  We had a chance to explore Tarpum Bay, visit the local park and watch a dog show, hang out at the house and play Xbox, and attend church.  The kayak trip was another highlight for me.  We had the perfect weather, with warm sunshine and water so smooth it looked like glass.  During our trip we were able to visit a blue hole and witnessed 5 large eagle rays swimming across the hole.  It was one of the most majestic things I have ever seen.  The kayak trip overall was a great time to reflect and spend some time in quiet out on the water.  Our night at the Beach House and Tippy’s Restaurant were such a great time as a group to bond and enjoy some local music.  Lighthouse beach was absolutely breathtaking.  By far the most beautiful beach I have ever seen.  We all enjoyed the day in the sun, the crystal clear water for snorkeling, and the super soft beaches.

If I were to give any recommendations to future students, I would just say to keep an open mind, try every new thing you have the chance to (within reason of course), and to savor every moment.  Over the course of the last month I learned a lot about myself.  I learned I am able to adapt to new situations and maintain a positive attitude.  Even in instances I would have thought I couldn’t handle, for instance the bugs and cockroaches, I was able to deal with just fine.  I am stronger than I realized I was, and I was able to overcome some fears I had prior to this trip.  I also learned how much I truly enjoy being able to help others and specifically working with underprivileged children.  This course was such an amazing journey in so many ways, and I will always cherish the wonderful memories that were made and the new friendships that were formed.

Island School presentations, Lighthouse Beach and bonfire on the beach! Katie Hurliman (1-31)

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Final Presentation at the Island School

It’s hard to believe our trip is coming to a close already. Today we gave our final presentations at the Island School. Everybody did a great job and it was really cool to see how much we all learned collectively throughout this journey about diabetes.

After our presentations we went to the most breathtakingly beautiful place I have ever seen, Lighthouse Beach. I honestly have never seen anything like that magical place.

The pink sand is so soft…I felt like I was walking on flour and the water is so turquoise I could have sworn it was right out of a postcard. We had lunch on the beach, napped a little and then played a little 500 in the water- so much fun! Then came snorkeling, which was absolutely amazing in the clear water. The rainbow parrotfish we saw were by far my favorite, so colorful and vibrant. After snorkeling for a while, it was time to explore the beach a little. We walked up to the lighthouse, checked out the little caves and of course took tons of pictures.  We were all sad to see the afternoon come to an end, but so grateful to have spent an afternoon just relaxing and enjoying the gorgeous beach.

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Where the Atlantic meets the Exuma Sound. Lighthouse beach.

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To end the day, we had a bonfire on the beach and spent some time bonding as a group. I am truly thankful to have spent the last three and a half weeks with such wonderful people and could not have asked for better company. This trip has been by far the most incredible experience of my life and I will forever cherish the memories made here.

katie

Homestay: Tarpum Bay (Katie)

Miranda and Katie HS2

Miranda and Katie- Tarpum Bay Homestay

I can now say I have truly experienced the Bahamian culture. This past weekend we were split into pairs and each matched with a family to stay with Friday through Sunday. Miranda and I were a part of the Carey family, which included Betty-Linn and Roddy, and their daughter Traliyah. Their grandson, Tramesio, was also there for a part of the weekend, and he was quite adorable. The Carey’s home is located in Tarpum Bay right across the street from the dock and beach. Tarpum Bay is absolutely gorgeous, with a very serene and peaceful vibe. To say I was excited as we pulled up to the two story blue house with porches overlooking the ocean would be an understatement.

I thoroughly enjoyed my experience with the Careys. As soon as we arrived, Betty welcomed us both with open arms. To start the night off, she ordered us cheeseburgers for dinner, which were amazing! Traliyah then gave us the run down on how to play Xbox Kinect. She proceeded to school us in darts, tennis and dancing. We had a lot of fun and laughs while we played. After warming up to us, Tramesio joined in on the fun and was such a doll. Once we were worn out from dancing around the living room, we ended the night with a Disney Channel movie and some T.V. Saturday morning we were able to sleep in a little before eating cereal for breakfast. Betty-Linn was so gracious and made sure we felt welcome. After breakfast, I went out for a brief morning run along the water. The views were amazing and so refreshing and peaceful.  Once I got back, we hung out for a while then went to the park for the local dog show. It was a lot of fun interacting with the people of the community and playing basketball with some of the local kids. They had a barbecue during the dog show and we were able to try some of the traditional Bahamian conch fritters and baked macaroni and cheese (so delicious!). Once things at the park started winding down, Miranda and I set out to explore Tarpum Bay in search of some ice cream. We eventually made our way back to the house to enjoy the rest of the afternoon. I was able to enjoy some time reading and napping, which was also nice. Later in the evening, Betty cooked us some lasagna and we helped Traliyah with her science project. We watched some more T.V. and played some card games to finish off the night.

image-7Sunday morning we woke up to find a very busy Betty already preparing the food for a traditional Sunday dinner. After having breakfast and reading some more of my book, we all put on our Sunday best and headed out to one of the local churches.  I really enjoyed attending church with Traliyah and Betty .  We were immediately welcomed by everyone and embraced in hugs during the greeting portion of the service.  We were able to watch Traliyah participate in a beautiful dance and were able to sing along to some traditional hymns and worship songs. The sermon itself was very different from anything I had ever listened to, not so much because of the content, but rather the delivery. Everything the pastor said was delivered with so much passion and enthusiasm. I couldn’t help but be captivated. After church we returned home to spend the rest of the afternoon relaxing. The Sunday dinner was a feast to say the least (and according to Betty this was nothing compared to Thanksgiving or Christmas meals). Our meal consisted of ribs and chicken, baked macaroni and cheese, corn, peas and rice (Bahamian style beans and rice), yams, fried plantains, coleslaw and Coke. After stuffing ourselves full of delicious food and relaxing some more, it was time to say our goodbyes.  I was definitely sad to go and will miss the Careys very much, but I plan on keeping in touch with Traliyah (and already have) on Facebook.
Overall, this was truly a great experience for me. Even if it wasn’t a weekend full of activities (partially due to the fact that Betty thought it was too cold…which it was in the mid-70s with some wind), I really enjoyed being immersed in the culture and experiencing an average day in the life of a Bahamian. I am so thankful for each and every experience I’ve had on this trip so far and I plan on savoring every moment we have left before we head home.

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Tarpum Bay: Katie Hurliman

Today was our first day of presentations. We started off at Tarpum Bay Elementary School and presented our information as one big group to the fourth, fifth and sixth grade students. As nervous as we all were, it went really well. The students were amazingly welcoming, receptive to our information and super engaged! Some of the students couldn’t wait to ask questions and they asked a bunch of great questions. 

It is amazing to see and experience the difference in culture here. The people are all so kind, friendly and welcoming. Today was the second time in the last two years that Linfield students have visited Tarpum Bay Elementary School, so the teacher said that we are no longer considered visitors, but their friends.

After our presentations we had a little bit of free time to explore around Tarpum Bay. It was absolutely gorgeous; everything was so peaceful and serene. After walking around and enjoying the views, we made our way to Ocean Hole for lunch. Ocean Hole is a spot in Rock Sound where the ocean runs into an enclosed cove from really deep underground tunnels. The depths of the hole are unknown. It was simply breathtaking.

To finish up our afternoon, we visited Deep Creek Primary School to help the students prepare the Junior Junkanoo by helping glue and glitter their costumes. It was really cool to see how big of a deal Junkanoo is to the people here and how involved the whole community is in the process leading up to the festival. Overall, it was a really great first day of being in the classrooms.

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Katie Hurliman: Introduction

Hey everyone!  My name is Katie Hurliman and I am currently a senior at Linfield College.  I am studying general science and plan to pursue a career in optometry.  I grew up in the small town of Tillamook, OR, where my parents own a dairy farm.  I have two younger sisters and a younger brother, and two wonderful parents, as well as our kitty, Tiger J.  I have worked at a power company for the last four years as a flagger/utility worker.  In my free time I love hanging out with my friends and family, spending time outdoors and in the water (wakeboarding is my favorite), and reading.

I always enjoyed growing up in a small town and having all my relatives close by, so when it came time to choose where to attend college, Linfield seemed like the perfect fit!  It was close to home (but still far enough away), had the wonderful sense of a small town community, and a gorgeous campus, as well as many other perks I have since discovered.  It’s hard to imagine that was nearly four years, and I’m now close to graduating!

I had always wanted to study abroad, but never dreamt it would become a reality.  When this opportunity presented itself, I was ecstatic.   This particular course immediately caught my attention because Type II diabetes corresponds directly with optometry, as it is the leading cause of new cases of blindness in adults and can cause diabetic retinopathy, as well as increased risk of cataracts and glaucoma.  I am thrilled to have the chance to help the Bahamian people potentially prevent the onset of Type II diabetes, and I hope to really make an impact in the short time we are there.

I am thoroughly excited to have this amazing chance to study abroad and experience new things.  I am looking forward to being immersed in another culture fully and enjoying the beautiful weather and beaches.  I have never been scuba diving or snorkeling, so I am really excited to try both of those.  I can’t wait to see what will be learned from this trip and to start this new adventure!