Sunday, September 14, 2008

Week 2: Lemons and Rabbits

To begin, my allegation that I now live in the tropics was confirmed upon last weekend's journey north to visit the Penguin (who wishes it to be noted that the etiology of his name has nothing to do with Batman villain). Suffice to say, the Penguin was spending his last weekend in The Pet and despite being only a 6 hours drive due north, his part of the country was about 10 degrees cooler than here in the Tropical Tundra. This caught me completely off guard. I had only packed shorts and t-shirts and so I spent the majority of the weekend huddled in the Penguin's smallest sweaters (which were still miles too big) and sipping tea. Despite this, I had a brilliant weekend and thoroughly enjoyed being with the Penguin and relaxing in a climate that felt more like home.

After returning (to humidity and heat... but let's not forget fresh fruit!!), the rest of the week rolled through like a thunderstorm across the prairies – it had moments of peace, moments of beauty, and periods of excitement. It was overall a blessing to observe and participate.

On Thursday, I brought home a wee friends from the Steel City to keep me company. He's a mini rex rabbit that I've named Hoyle (his real name!). He's taken a few days to settle in and we're still getting used to each other. I've never had a bunny before so I'm constantly worried if I'm feeding him the right stuff, or enough, or what kind of toys he needs or games to play, how much to pet him, how much to let  him be, etc. etc. Overall, however, he's been great and we're learning about each other together.

Last night was Lemon Dinner night and Scarlett, Jack, and the Real-Deal (plus his wife and baby) came over for dinner. Since it was a lemon-themed dinner, everyone wore yellow and we had lemon cream chicken pasta with garlic bread for dinner and lemon tart for dessert. I also made my Organic King Tut lemonade to have with our meal and it was a big hit. Hoyle even bucked up enough courage to come out of his cage to visit... but he kept it short and sweet. I was quite proud of him, nonetheless.

Only 4 more sleeps until the Penguin comes here to visit as per our 2 week rotating commute schedule. Even with all the miles between us, I'm so lucky to have him in my life and I wouldn't give up this love for everything. Hopefully, Hoyle won't mind sharing. :)

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Week 1: The Tropical Tundra

As always, I'm not too sure where to begin. This is mostly because inspiration is as simple as breathing in and so there's just so much to talk about that I simply don't know where to start. If you're reading this, you probably already know me personally. If you just happened to stumble across my page surfing the net - well, I'll leave it to you to figure me out should you chose to come back and visit again.

The purpose of this blog is really to record my time at medical school for my own reflections, if nothing else. I kept a blog throughout my undergraduate studies and looking back on it now, I'm so glad I wrote things down! So many of life's simple joys or daily pleasures are forgotten in the gamut of time and my old blog has kept such a good account of my little victories, humbling defeats, and daily insights that it's tremendously satisfying to go back and read it now.

I learned a few things from my previous blogging experience as well: (1) commitment is key. In order for a blog to be worthwhile, one must post regularly. Hopefully, my readers will hold me accountable to this; (2) anonymity is a must, so I will be developing nicknames for the people I discuss and obscuring places, dates, and times as necessary to protect privacy; (3) don't be afraid of sounding ridiculous. I used to hate journaling because I would look back and see myself as naive and be embarrassed. Growth is a process and shame and fear keep us from growing, so I've done away with those emotions. I'm keen to embrace the unknown and set off on new adventures. If my initial reactions and interpretations seem ridiculous in retrospect then I choose to acknowledge that perception as an account of how much I've grown.

Now, unfortunately, I do not have internet set up at home yet. So blogging will be difficult until that is accomplished. So many of the trials and tribulations from the last week have already slipped from my memories grasp and are lost. The task of recalling 7 days of inspiring stories is very daunting, indeed. Instead, I will endeavor to reveal the highlights of the last week and leave more detailed recordings to be made once internet access has been secured.

Orientation week, more appropriately known as Blurr Week for how quickly it goes by, was amazing. The weekend preceding the first day of school was nerve-wracking indeed. Questions like: what am I doing here? Am I good enough? Smart enough? Emotionally mature enough? swirled beneath the surface of my consciousness. Self doubt, panic, and insecurity were the soup de jour and I had no idea what to expect.

Fortunately, Day 1 absolved many of my concerns and throughout the week I met a vast number of amazing, wonderful, inspiring people who promised to be my peers throughout this remarkable journey. It helped, as well, that most people were just as nervous and stressed out as I felt.

Three notable persons deserve mention. The first is Scarlett. My first meeting with Scarlett occurred shortly after a water balloon fight. We had spoken previously over facebook and determined that we wished to car pool to school together as often as possible. Our first meeting proved that Scarlett was a joyous, mature, soothing person whom I perceived to be a vast, flatwater river. She offered stability, depth, and clarity and we quickly became good friends. This past weekend, we spent time together exploring our new city by cycling, wading in the Great Lakes, and playing Wii while watching her cat climb walls. We seem very well matched for each other.

The second person that requires mention is Jack. Jack is an exuberant, brilliant, athletic person whose ease at making friends is extraordinary. Amongst the 4 of us, I consider him the social butterfly. On more than one occasion, Jack has been the reason we've been late leaving the bar or a meeting because he's been so intent to meet everyone in attendance. When Jack meets someone, he doesn't just trade tombstone information with them - he approaches every new encounter with a disarming sincerity that results in an almost instantaneous intimacy. I'm quite envious of his social skills and look forward to learning from his example as I get to know him better.

Lastly, there is The Real Deal. This man has lived 3 lifetimes in one. He's not much older than I am but is married, has a daughter, has an undergrad, a masters, and is now in medical school. He owns a house, a car, and a jetski. By way of contrast, I can barely take care of a few goldfish and a fig tree. I don't know how he does it.

The Real Deal's simple, concentrated passion is evident in every one of his mannerisms. Like Jack, he is easy-going, relaxed, engaging, and energetic. He is the perfect compliment to Scarlett's anchor and Jack's exuberance. Despite having spent the least amount of time with the Real Deal over the past week, I perceive him as a reliable, confidential source of support and companionship.

I will introduce the others in my program as I get to know them better. The truth is that until Dec, I will likely be spending the majority of my time with these 3 wonderful, amazing people. I am so lucky to be here and share in this experience with them. Hopefully, I can offer them as much as they offer me.

Finally, a few remarks must be made about the ecology and environment that I've moved to. It should be noted that this most recent relocation is significantly more south than the land in which I was born and raised. While I am apprehensive of what the winter will be like (can I survive a December without snow?), I have been astounded by the lush landscape and all it has to offer. Consequently, I now refer to my surroundings as the Tropical Tundra. There are pear trees, and peach trees, and all manner of tasty, delicious items. I have made 2 stops at road side fruit stands to purchase local produce. Half of that produce was instantly devoured while the other half has been made into a pie.

That's about all I have for now. More to come later. Thanks for reading!

Friday, June 13, 2008

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