Monday, January 21, 2013

Christmas Vacation

I know Christmas is long behind us, and this will be a short post. I just wanted to celebrate a great Christmas season and throw a few pictures and memories into the internet before I forget them all.

One thing you may notice as I put up pictures is that I cut my hair significantly shorter than it has ever been. It was growing out a little too fast and I wasn't ready to deal with long hair again. I guess it also doesn't hurt that I was hoping it would make me a little more memorable on the interviews.

Anyway, it was my first married Christmas and although it doesn't change everything, it did feel a little different. It was the first time decorating our space together for a holiday, so we set ourselves a strict budget - I'm terrified of becoming a Christmas hoarder. And then we bought a perfect apartment-size tree, lights and garlands, got out the nativity sets and the ornaments I've been getting each year my whole life and when we were done it looked like Christmas.

We also went on a date to a ballet school production of The Nutcracker at Lake Arrowhead, which was adorable and great.

Date nights!

As I mentioned in my residency travels post I wasn't actually home that much of December, but after most of the interviews were done and I was terribly exhausted, John met me in Oregon and we spent a luxurious 10 days of holiday joy with my family. 

The house I grew up in. I always liked the clouds, it made it seem like another world.

Baking with Emma

Awesome wrapping job. Also Shannon has a wicked awesome onesie.

Chaucer and Emma.

We walked Chaucer on the property when it wasn't raining.

Family Christmas.

I got out the clarinet I haven't played in at least 5 years and Shannon arranged us Carol of the Bells based on the Trans-Siberian Orchestra version that we all played for our church Christmas service. 

There was one day we watched Harry Potter 5-8. That's a lot of hours. A lot of knitting happened.

I don't have any pictures of our New Year's Eve and time with John's family in San Diego, but that was also really valuable. It was a very family oriented holiday and I really felt so blessed.

In the end we had to come back and return to real life, but by then we missed our friends a lot and it was exciting to return and see everyone. 

There's a lot to be thankful for. 

So Merry Super Belated Christmas and I hope your year is great so far. 

Tachy Med Student: Interview Travels

Happy New Year!

Okay it's the 21st and we're three weeks in. I celebrate a birthday month, a Thanksgiving month, a Christmas month, why shouldn't the new year get a whole month?

As you may recall, I'm working on becoming a doctor. I graduate this Spring and I'm going into Pediatrics. As a fourth year medical student, in order to get a residency position for next year I got to travel all around the country and interview with different programs. It was an absolute whirlwind.

In all I went to 9 different states and a few more programs in the past few weeks.

I wanted to share a few highlights from my trips, photo style. As I have not yet matched, I won't be sharing my opinions of programs or my rank list, but I went to a lot of beautiful places.
It all started with this bag my friends gave me for my birthday. It came with me everywhere. It's giant but fits perfectly under the airplane seat. With this and a small carry-on suitcase, I never had to check a bag. However, since I flew Southwest which checks bags for free, I frequently checked it anyway so I didn't have to roll it around on my layovers.
This is the view from Morning Report at one of the programs. Wow right?
The southwest was sunny and clear with some gorgeous sunsets.
Snow all over in Utah. Also a surprisingly vegan friendly place, which I loved.
Oregon's amazing tram ride. Of course it felt amazing to be home.

Boston has really tall buildings, and while I was there I got to see Tiffany. She used to live there and just happened to be visiting the same time as me. It was so nice to have her show me around. Bridge over the Charles.
I tried to walk at least a little in every place I went because I think it gives me the best sense of it. Sometimes I took a latte with me.
One truth that became very true in my life is that the buildings all blurred together. I honestly can't tell you where this is. I know about how I felt in different places and whether I had a good sense about living and training there, but if you showed me a picture of each hospital I went to, I could not successfully identify them, guaranteed. That means I just have my priorities straight right?
[Whatever program this is, please don't hold this against me.]
I felt like Eloise at the Plaza in this hotel that the program paid for in Ohio.
There was snow on the Grapevine in California when we went through this past week. Usually it's not a very pleasant drive, but this is the prettiest I've seen it.
I have very few photos of interview food, as I felt extra weird taking pictures of my lunch in such a professional setting, but I certainly had lots of good meals out while I was travelling [and I few I'd prefer to forget]. 
At most places, they gave us breakfast and lunch (each interview day is about 8 AM to 3 PM). Sometimes if I wasn't sure I'd have a hotel breakfast or grab some oatmeal:
Jamba Juice Fresh Banana Steel-Cut Oats and Coffee

Hotel buffet: Oats, peanut butter, melon and strawberries.

Although I was fed lunch on my interview days, I frequently had travel days and had a great time finding a vegan-friendly restaurant in all these new cities.
Tofu, veggies, french toast in Oregon.

Adzuki burger in Tucson, AZ

Chicken melt also in Tucson, AZ

And...Chocolate Cake also in Tucson, AZ (I flew in and out of there for my Arizona trip so had a couple meals at this place)

Whole foods breakfast bar. Phoenix I think?

Whole foods salad bar and soup. Really couldn't tell you where.

Thai in Boston, MA

I just wanted to share that interview season, while indisputably exhausting, is a blessing. At what other time in my life do I get to travel the entire country imagining what my life might be like if I moved there, see amazing hospitals doing great work and meet piles of people who want to do the same thing.
And after most of them were done and I was bone tired, I got to head home to my parents' house in Oregon for Christmas. My husband came with me, and relaxing there was that much more enjoyable because of the whirlwind.
As I said, I finished my last interview a week ago, sent all my thank you notes, and after some consideration, I certified my rank list and got this email:
You probably can't read that, but it says "Confirmation of Certified ROL" meaning, I'm done! I am of course allowed to change it up until February 20, but I have faith God will send me where I belong regardless of what order I put the programs in. I've done my best to be honest with myself, but messing around with my list isn't going to change where He wants me to go, so it feels good to let it go.
So now that there's nothing left for me to do but wait for March 11 (finding out if we matched) and then March 15 (finding out where we matched) it feels like a strange balance of relief and nervous anticipation.
It would be easy to be anxious, but I'm trying to just enjoy my electives, my friends and this time when my worries are out of my control.
Missed you, see you soon!