Author Archives: Marlen

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About Marlen

Hello. You are probably wondering who I am and what I am all about. Well, for starters my name is Marlen, I am currently a student at Western Oregon University majoring in Community Health with a minor in Human Biology and for the rest, you will have to see.

Ready for the Next Chapter

Graduation!! That came out of no where.

I cannot believe I just graduated from Western Oregon University with a Bachelor’s degree this past weekend. It was so refreshing getting to graduate with all my friends, and having my family there to support me. It will definitely one of the best and most memorable days of my life, and I am not saying that just because I graduated, but because it is the beginning of my next chapter, and because I may have tripped on my way to my seat at the beginning of the ceremony. I guess it is nice that even though I walked across the podium to receive my diploma a different person, I still got a little of my clumsy, childish personality that keeps me being me.

I am so blessed for all the opportunities I have had as well as for my experiences throughout my college years, my internship, and my life thus far.

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Class of 2014

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My two younger brothers and I

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My lovely parents

It is amazing, how fast time passes by, I cannot emphasize that enough. It feels like just yesterday, my parents were dropping off, a nervous, insecure, scared, Marlen at Western Oregon University’s campus four years ago. Now, I am a completely different. I am in awe, looking back and seeing how much I have grown and changed over those years. I feel so ready for my next path, my next chapter. photo2

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Arrival

On my flight from Buenos Aires, Argentina to Houston, Texas I could not fall asleep from all the nerves and excitement I had of knowing that I would soon be able to see my family and friends. From my flight from Houston, Texas to Las Vegas, Nevada it all hit me “I am going home.” I could not keep still; I was all shaky and antsy. Then once I got on my last flight from Las Vegas, Nevada to Portland, Oregon all I could think to myself is, “Could this plane fly any faster.” After, the longest flight ever finally I arrived. I was all full of so many emotions that I could not contain myself, especially when I saw my father and mother waiting out for me, I ran right towards them giving them a great big hug. After a few hours of waiting for my lost luggage, I went back to my hometown where I saw other, my two little brothers, who by the way are not so little and other family members.

A picture I took as I was flying over Oregon.

A picture I took as I was flying over Oregon.

To be completely honest it has felt weird coming back, its as if time had stopped. It almost feels like I never left. However, I still feel like I have to readjust especially when I have all these things going through my head and having so many emotions that I do not know how to express.

It is all coming at me, all at once, coming back, finals week, and graduation. I am just lucky enough to have the right people surrounding me who have and continue to support me that will make my transition back much easier.

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Saying Goodbye

“Really, is this my last week in Argentina,” I asked myself, at the beginning of my last week.

I felt like my time in Argentina went by too fast. I was just getting to feel like I really belonged. I am one lucky individual to be able to take so much back home, new knowledge, skills, memories, experiences, and of course new friendships. I have been so blessed to be given the opportunity to go to Buenos Aires, Argentina where I never thought I could say, “I discovered myself.” It really is amazing how much you can change in 72 days, I know I have came home as a new person ready to face the world.

Knowing that this was my last week all I wanted was time to slow down, but of course it did just the opposite. I had so much to do in so little time, finish up my internship, finish up last minute projects, spend time with my friends, say my goodbyes, and pack. I felt so rushed.

My first few days I got to help out my BAC coordinator with some work, and volunteered to create a video for her. The rest of my week I got to spend some quality time with my friends and say my goodbyes. My last day, Friday I thanked my internship supervisor, said goodbye to some of the lovely workers I got to be around, and receive my certificate. Then in the afternoon my BAC coordinator organized a goodbye party where I got to enjoy the company of some friends with some delicious food. I got to admit it was very difficult. I really shed some tears just knowing that the next day I was leaving.

Some of the lovely people I got to work with in my internship.

Some of the lovely people I got to work with in my internship.

Some of the amazing people that had joined me in my farewell dinner on Friday.

Some of the amazing people that had joined me in my farewell dinner on Friday.

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Some of the delicious food that my friends and I got to eat during my farewell dinner.

Saturday, I could not believe my time in Argentina was up . I woke up full of all kinds of emotions, all I wanted was time to stop, but of course it continued. So, I ate breakfast with the company of my friend from Switzerland, bought some last minute things, got ready, made sure I had everything, thanked everyone from the BAC residence, then spent my last hours with my BAC coordinator, her mother who has become like family, my friend from Switzerland, and another friend from the BAC residence.

As time got closer to my departure. I got more anxious and nervous, then once it was time, I could not believe my time was over. I said my goodbyes, which I dreaded. Then, off I went in the taxi to the airport with the lovely company of two of my friends who had been with me in my last hours in Argentina.

As we arrived to the airport and got all checked in, my friends joined me on my last meal in Argentina by eating some typical American food McDonalds, while sharing some laughs. Then next thing I knew, it was time, they walked me to security and said goodbye. I got to say my last hours are unforgettable!!

My two wonderful friends, who kept me company my last hours in Argentina and who were willing to take me to the airport.

My two wonderful friends, who kept me company on my last hours in Argentina and who were willing to take me to the airport.

Now, even though I did not get the chance to spend time with everyone or even say goodbye I will always take them with me.

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One More Week!!

It really is true when people say time flies when you are having fun. Throughout my internship I have not only had the opportunity to learn many new things, but I also have been able to make new connections with various individuals during my internship. I do not have enough words to describe how fortunate I have been to be given this opportunity, and have been very welcomed with open arms. My internship has given me so much that I will take with me as my journey continues.

Just this week I got to see a little of the pediatric side of things as well as pediatric therapy. I feel like this area drew me more into the health field than the previous medical field sections. I want to become a part of the pediatric community, as a health nurse. I cannot wait to go back with all the new knowledge I have obtained through my experiences here in Buenos Aires.

During this week I was able to visit El Ateneo, a famous library that used to be a theater. It is a place where you can select any book you desire, sit down and enjoy some coffee, or simply buy any books you would like. It was nice being able to sit down and read some books in Spanish. I also got to go to La Viruta once again with some friends, like I said I can’t get enough of it. La Viruta is so much fun, learning new dances, getting to meet people from all around the world, and just simply enjoying yourself.

Some pictures from the El Ateneo, library in Buenos Aires.

Some pictures from the El Ateneo, library in Buenos Aires.

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A picture of some of my friends and I from La Viruta.

Due to my little time left, my coordinator from BAC organized a trip this last weekend for me to go to the seventh wonderful places in the world, Las Cataratas de Iguazu (the waterfalls of Iguazu). It was amazing! I got to be accompanied by one of the sweetest, smartest, lovely Argentinian woman I have ever met, my coordinator’s mother who has become like my second mother and of course my friend from Switzerland. I could not of asked for more amazing people to keep me company. It is a place that I will never forget. It is definitely a place I recommend everyone to visit if they get the chance.

With my BAC coordinator's mother and I heading to Puerto Iguazu.

With my BAC coordinator’s mother and I heading to Puerto Iguazu.

The cabin we stayed at over the weekend in Puerto Iguazu.

The cabin we stayed at over the weekend in Puerto Iguazu.

Signing away our names in a restaurant we ate at everyday in Puerto Iguazu.

Signing away our names in a restaurant we ate at everyday in Puerto Iguazu.

Some pictures of Las Tres Fronteras (the three boarders), Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay.

Some pictures of Las Tres Fronteras (the three boarders), Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay.

Here are some animals I ran into while I walked through the trails of the Iguazu falls.

Here are some animals I ran into while I walked through the trails of the Iguazu falls.

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Some pictures from an international festival where more than 800 children from 25 different countries came together to put on a concert in Puerto Iguazu.

Some pictures from an international festival where more than 800 children from 25 different countries came together to put on a concert in Puerto Iguazu.

Just when I feel like Argentina has shown me all, it keeps surprising me with new things to see and new people to meet. I feel like I will be leaving with just a glimpse of Argentina, because it has so much to offer, the culture here is incredible.

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It’s the Final Countdown

Wow! I cannot believe my time in Argentina is almost over. I feel like I have so much left to do in so little time. My time in Argentina has been such an incredible experience I know for a fact that I am going to miss it, the culture, my internship, my home, and most importantly the people I have and continue to meet along my trip, in this amazing country.

Since my time is almost over here, I have been trying to do as much as I can with my very good friend from Switzerland, who I met here in Argentina.

Monday, we went to the Café Tortoni where we were able to see some wonderful tango performances while we ate some delicious food.

A few pictures from el Cafe Tortoni with my sweet Switzerland friend.

A few pictures from el Cafe Tortoni with my sweet Switzerland friend.

The next day, Tuesday due to the weather we unfortunately were stuck at home, however; Wednesday we made up for it by meeting up after my internship to go visit the MALBA museum where we saw some incredible art and photography, and due to the cold weather we ended our day with some Havanna coffee.

Some pictures from el museo (museum) MALBA.

Some pictures from el museo (museum) MALBA.

Thursday, I joined some of my friends from the BAC residence to a restaurant to talk and listen to some live rock Argentinian music.

A picture from the restaurant. It was nice being able to listen to live music from Argentina.

A picture from the restaurant. It was nice being able to listen to live music from Argentina.

Friday, I met my friend from Switzerland to take her to learn some tango by going to La Viruta, which we fell so much in love with that we planned to go two more times before I leave.

A picture of the basic tango steps found in front of La Viruta.

A picture of the basic tango steps found in front of La Viruta.

A picture we took before we started our tango classes.

A picture we took before we started our tango classes.

Saturday, we decided to take a trip to another town in Buenos Aires province in Argentina, Tigre. Since it is far we had to take a colectivo and then a train to arrive. The first thing we did was take a boat ride through el Rio de Tigre, where we had the boat stop at one of the islands where we ate and walked along a trail to enjoy our surroundings. Then we walked around where we got to see the casino of Tigre, amusement park, and el Puerto de Frutos. We literally spent our entire day and night en Tigre, it is definitely a great place to visit.

Some pictures from Tigre.

Some pictures from Tigre.

This is a picture of us ending our day in Tigre.

This is a picture of us ending our day in Tigre.

Sunday, we planned to visit La Boca, a neighborhood or barrio in Buenos Aires, Argentina. In La Boca we were able to enjoy some European flavor. We were able to walk along the colorful houses and streets full of tango artists, art, food, and so much more. Then, we decided to join the rest of Buenos Aires by going to la Plaza de Mayo where everyone was gathered around to celebrate el 25 de Mayo, the Revolution of Argentina. I was glad to be able to be part of that; there was a concert, good food, markets, and performances all night. I got to admit; I had a busy busy week, but it was so worth it.

Some pictures of us in el caminito de La Boca. It was incredible being in such a colorful area.

Some pictures of us in el caminito de La Boca. It was incredible being in such a colorful area.

A picture from el 25 de Mayo. A huge celebration of the Revolution in la Plaza de Mayo.

A picture from el 25 de Mayo. A huge celebration of the Revolution in la Plaza de Mayo.

In my internship this past week I was so fortunate to be able to work in the obstetrical floor where I was able to learn all about the security, regulations, and procedures they have. Additionally, I got to be part of one of the best type of surgeries, birth delivery! I got to say that being able to be part of that was amazing, especially getting to connect with the parents. I was so welcomed in that floor that I was given a surprise my last day on the floor, Friday where all the nurses surprised me with a poster wishing me a safe flight back.

The amazing OB nurses I got to be around with this past week.

The amazing OB nurses I got to be around with this past week.

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Lucky Number Seven

This week I had the opportunity to continue working on the same floor as last week, where I learned about chemotherapy, laboratory procedures, nutrition, drug administration, therapy, cardiology, and implantation of catheters. I was given the chance to see an implantation of a peripherally inserted central catheter (PICC), which is a very flexible and thin tube, which is an intravenous line (IV) that is inserted to administer medications to preserve the veins of patients. I was also able to evaluate the roll that the nurses have on the floor, which was very nice, because I got to observe the different responsibilities that they have compared to the other areas I have been in. I feel like being exposed to all the different areas that nurses work in, I am able to learn and see what I am more attracted to. Which is helpful, because I will know what area I would like to work in once I become a nurse. I have to admit that I have a different perspective about cancer and chemotherapy, I always thought negatively about it until now.

These are some of the lovely people I have had the chance to work with these last two weeks.

These are some of the lovely people I have had the chance to work with these last two weeks.

After work on Wednesday, I was invited by some friends to join them for a small, traditional festival that occurs every full moon, which is called, “La Luna Llena.” It is a gathering where people come with their drums to play, where people come to drink some mate, meet with friends, meet new people, and gather around a fire to listen and dance to the sound of drums. It was really fun. Friday, I was able to join one of my co-workers for dinner at her house where I was introduced to the classical dessert of Argentina, batata con queso, which is a sweet potato candy accompanied with cheese. I got to say as weird as it sounded to me I really enjoyed it. On Saturday I was able to join my coordinator from BAC to a birthday dinner where I was fortunate to have met a new friend that is closer to my age and has the same interests as I do, we both cannot wait to hang out again. Then Sunday, I was invited to another birthday, where I accompanied one of my supervisors’ birthday with her family. It was amazing, I was able to join in some lovely conversations and I was able to try some delicious homemade food, dessert, and of course cake! It was nice being able to see and compare the different traditions of birthdays celebrated here compared to the United States’. I love getting to be part of a different culture!

This is the picture I took of the classical desert of Argentina I tried, dulce de batata con queso (sweet potato candy with cheese).

This is the picture I took of the classical desert of Argentina I tried, dulce de batata con queso (sweet potato candy with cheese).

These are some pictures from the "Luna llena festival," where my friends and I gathered around the fire to listen to the sound of the drums and watch some performances while we had some mate.

These are some pictures from the “Luna llena festival,” where my friends and I gathered around the fire to listen to the sound of the drums and watch some performances while we had some mate.

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These are some pictures from Saturday where I joined my coordinator from BAC to her friend’s birthday, which was held in a club called Tazz.

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This is a picture of my supervisor’s birthday on Sunday with her family. It was such an experience.

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One More Month

It is absolutely amazing how fast time is flying right now. I honestly cannot believe I have been in Argentina for six weeks. I have one more month here and off I go, back to the U.S.A. this means I need to take advantage of my last month here to see, learn, and experience more.

To start off my week I got to cook a little something from home, some traditional Mexican food to thank my coordinator from BAC and her mother for everything they have done for me. I also got to start off my week in my internship in a great way . I was able to present the projects I have been working on to my site coordinator and one of my supervisors from my internship. Not only that, but I got to start off in a different floor this week where I learned about monitoring and controlling of chronic patients, protocols for hand washing, surgery, oncology, and all the primary prevention steps that are done to maintain and/or improve the health of the patients. Next week I will be able to continue to learn and work in this floor once again, I cannot wait.

This is a random picture I took heading to work, but I felt like it was appropriate because you see dog walkers everywhere everyday.

This is a random picture I took heading to work, but I felt like it was appropriate because you see dog walkers everywhere everyday.

This weekend it was all about studying, because Monday I will have the opportunity to take the American Heart Association Basic life support (BLS) exam with some of my co-workers. I was still able to take advantage of having some fun Friday, because I had an early shift. I was able to join one of my co-workers to Recoleta, Buenos Aires, an area that has an amazing history and architectural interest in the city of Buenos Aires. I was able to see an art gallery, sculptures, beautiful architectural buildings, and of course the famous Recoleta cemetery. The cemetery is known for having the graves of notable people, such as Maria Eva Duarte de Peron who served as the first lady of Argentina who fought for human rights, created her own charitable foundation, founded and ran the nation’s first female political party, and more. It was nice getting to see yet another part of Buenos Aires. Earlier today I took a break from studying to join my friend from Colombia to a Colombian restaurant that was very delicious.

This is a picture of the flor de la Recoleta (the Recoleta's flower), which is made of metal and opens during the day and closes at night.

This is a picture of the flor de la Recoleta (the Recoleta’s flower), which is made of metal and opens during the day and closes at night.

These are just a few pictures I took from the art gallery that I went to. The paintings are from an artist named Romulo Maccio.

These are just a few pictures I took from the art gallery that I went to. The paintings are from an artist named Rómulo Maccio.

These are some pictures from a culture fair my co-worker and I went to. It had allot of activities for the children and many stands with food from all around the world, such as Germany, Mexican, Colombian, Argentina, Brazil, and so much more.

These are some pictures from a culture fair my co-worker and I went to. It had allot of activities for the children and many stands with food from all around the world, such as Germany, Mexican, Colombian, Argentina, Brazil, and so much more.

Some pictures from the Recoleta Cemetery. At the bottom right is a picture I took from Eva Peron's grave.

Some pictures from the Recoleta Cemetery. At the bottom right is a picture I took from Eva Peron’s grave.

A picture of me surrounded by all the graves in the cemetery.

A picture of me surrounded by all the graves in the cemetery.

A picture of some coffee and media lunas (bread) that my co-worker and I had at the end of our day Friday.

A picture of some coffee and media lunas (bread) that my co-worker and I had at the end of our day Friday.

Some pictures from my day today with my lovely Colombian friend.

Some pictures from my day today with my lovely Colombian friend.

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Short and Sweet

This week was one of the shortest due to another feriado (holiday). I had both Thursday and Friday off because of el dia del trabajador (international worker’s day). I have to admit it was nice getting to relax this week. However, I felt like I had no time to really enjoy my last days with my lovely co-workers since next week I will be moved to another floor dedicated to different work. I will definitely have to visit them they have been amazing. I have gotten the opportunity to really learn a lot from them. With everything that I have been able to learn I decided to construct a few tools that I cannot wait to demonstrate to them this upcoming week. Additionally, I will be able to present what I have been evaluating these past weeks. All I can hope for is that they all approve especially my site coordinator from el Sanatorio.

These are some pictures of some of the amazing lovely ladies I have had the opportunity to work with.

These are some pictures of some of the amazing lovely ladies I have had the opportunity to work with.

For my four-day weekend I did not really do too much exploring I mostly took advantage and really gave time for myself. I did however; get to join one of my supervisor’s family to Lujan, a small city part of Buenos Aires, Argentina to see the Virgin Lujan and her basilica (church). It was perfect; the city was so beautiful and very peaceful. I really enjoyed going with them it really gave me an insight on how families interact with one another in Argentina, I got to admit my time with them made me miss my family, but in a way I felt at home. Not only that, but I also got to be able to check off something from my bucket list, to learn a different dance in another country. Yes, that is right I got to join my coordinator from BAC to La Viruta, a tango class in Buenos Aires earlier today (Sunday). I cannot wait to show my new moves when I go home.

This is a picture of me outside la basilica (church) de Lujan.

This is a picture of me outside la basilica (church) de Lujan.

This is a picture of my supervisor's children, who were amazing to show me around la basilica.

This is a picture of my supervisor’s children, who were amazing to show me around la basilica.

A picture of my supervisor and I.

A picture of my supervisor and I.

In this picture we are standing in front of the original place where they say that Virgin Lujan stopped and stayed. This is why there are many people's names, candles, pictures, and more things that have been brought there to thank Virgin Lujan for all her miracles.

In this picture we are standing in front of the original place where they say that Virgin Lujan stopped and stayed. This is why there are many people’s names, candles, pictures, and more things that have been brought there to thank Virgin Lujan for all her miracles.

These are a few pictures of me learning some basic steps for tango.

These are a few pictures of me learning some basic steps for tango.

A few pictures from La Viruta with my coordinator from BAC.

A few pictures from La Viruta with my coordinator from BAC.

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One Month in Argentina

I cannot believe it has been a whole month today (Sunday). Time is going by so fast. Monday, I was able to create some objectives with my site coordinator. Tuesday through Friday I was able to continue to work with the child educators and nurses offering presentations to teach parents about breast-feeding and its benefits. Additionally, I was able to learn some of the responsibilities nurses have as well as their protocols in the maternity, nursery, and neurologist department for babies. I am very impressed with the healthcare system here. Everyday I continue to learn something new working in my internship. I am excited to take everything I am learning back home.I am very impressed with the healthcare system here.

This is a picture of one of my lovely supervisors in the Sanatorio teaching me how the patient histories work and what they entail.

This is a picture of one of my lovely supervisors in the Sanatorio teaching me how the patient histories work and what they entail.

These are some pictures I took during and after of one of the childcare educators I have had the opportunity to work with giving one of the presentations to some expecting mothers and fathers about childcare.

These are some pictures I took during and after of one of the childcare educators I have had the opportunity to work with giving one of the presentations to some expecting mothers and fathers about childcare.

This is a picture of one of the lovely nurse I got to follow around this week.

This is a picture of one of the lovely nurses I got to follow around this week.

This weekend was a lot of fun. Saturday, I was able to go roller-skating in Palermo, Buenos Aires with my old roommate, a new friend, and my coordinator from BAC, who has made me feel so at home along with her mother who has become like my second mom. Today, Sunday I was able to get to know and explore a different part of Buenos Aries, San Telmo, where I got to see many acts and walk around all the markets in the streets with my co-worker and her sister who have become great friends of mine. Then they took me to a museum where I got to a small portion of the history here in Argentina. Later, after I said good-bye to them I met my roommate up who took me to a Syria culture fair where we ate some good food and listened to some great music. Then to end my day I got to go home and enjoy some great company while drinking some mate.

A few pictures of my BAC coordinator and some friends enjoying the nice weather in Palermo, Buenos Aires by roller skating.

A few pictures of my BAC coordinator, some friends, and I enjoying the nice weather in Palermo, Buenos Aires by roller skating.

A picture of the streets of San Telmo, Buenos Aires.

A picture of the streets of San Telmo, Buenos Aires.

A picture of a lovely couple dancing to some tango in the streets on San Telmo.

A picture of a lovely couple dancing to some tango in the streets of San Telmo.

A picture of one of the many performances in San Telmo, Buenos Aires.

A picture of one of the many performances in San Telmo, Buenos Aires.

A picture of me right outside the Museo Historico Nacional (National Historic Museum) near San Telmo, Buenos Aires.

A picture of me right outside the Museo Historico Nacional (National Historic Museum) near San Telmo, Buenos Aires.

Some pictures from the museum.

Some pictures from the museum.

A picture I took of the common markets in the streets on Sunday afternoons in San Telmo.

A picture I took of the common markets in the streets on Sunday afternoons in San Telmo.

This is a picture of my friends and I with some people we met along the way in San Telmo, Buenos Aires.

This is a picture of my friends and I with some people we met along the way in San Telmo, Buenos Aires.

Some pictures from the Syria culture fair in the Plaza Mayo, Buenos Aires.

Some pictures from the Syria culture fair in the Plaza Mayo, Buenos Aires.

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Semana Santa

Argentina is a country that has been influenced a lot by its Spanish ancestors, including its religious background of Roman Catholic. This is why Easter in Argentina is very important to most of its people. Being Catholic myself I was happy to experience Easter or in other words Holy week, which is a celebration that takes three days, Thursday through Saturday. Easter is a time to remember the triumphal entry into Jerusalem, the last supper, the crucifixion, and the resurrection of Christ. Due to its importance these three days are a central celebrations in Argentina where the people get to rest, people here have the days off and everything closes down for the Easter and Holy Week holiday. It was very unique getting to see the city in a different light, where the people of Argentina are at peace.

This is a picture of my rosary and a ramo bendisido (holy bouquet/plant), which I received prior to the Semana Santa (Easter/Holy week).

This is a picture of my rosary and a ramo bendisido (holy bouquet/plant), which I received prior to the Semana Santa (Easter/Holy week).

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