Monday, September 6, 2010

Final Year to go and Final Exams to take (well almost)

Hello Friends, hats off to you from the top of Machu Pichu!

Relatively major things have occurred or are about to occur and I want to share with you who don't mind reading.

First, a quick time-line:
June = backpacking trip in New Mexico
July = board exam study month, Peru excursion, skills exam in Philadelphia, PA
August = surgical intensive care service, 2 board exams, application to residency programs

(My dad ran after the end of this rainbow, wanting to find the "pot of gold"! I thought he would fly directly off the alpine plateau!)

In the last 8 months I have learned to call a new place home. The In-laws of my classmate from medical school have been amazing on multiple levels. Not only have they kindly let me "stay", they constantly reinforce to me that their home is my home, they encourage me academically and spiritually, and they are super fun! Jack is a veteran backpacker and knows the Pecos Wilderness like the back of his hand. He led a group, including my dad and I, on a wonderful 6 day trek. Although I tried, there was no way I could study in the mountains. I was forced to conversate deeply with my 6 companions and contemplate God's creation. The good life.
(Atop East Pecos Baldy, 12,500'... beyond the mountains behind me lies Sante Fe)
My Rocky Mountain aunt probably knows this already, but the alpine micro-environment is quite interesting. Think land of midget life. Up there, one may find most of the flora also found at lower altitudes, only they are teeny tiny! Midget plants ;)

In mid July, my friend Eric and I flew up to Philly together for an exam. This one was arranged in a practical format to examen our clinical and humanistic interviewing skills. The "pass" grade just came in the mail! Woo Whoo! After our exam, we rumaged about the city in search of the legendary Rocky Statue... eventually finding it next to the Museum of Art. And of course, we mastered some massive Philly cheese steaks at this genuine corner shop called Delarosa's. Delish!
This month was originally set aside for the dedicated purpose of board study... but when I learned that my dear college buddies, Evan and Jordan, were going to be visiting some other dear friends in Peru, I could not resist such a unique adventure. We picked up the "tourist" journey quickly, starting in Cusco (the ancient capital of the Incans) we walked, taxied, bussed, and trained our way up to the Machu Pichu ruins and back.
(left picture: The puma paw was the symbol for royalty. right picture: My Peruvian friend Alex says these flowers have great hallucinogenic properties, but this is not knowledge via experience :)

These ruins were hidden during in the age of conquistadors and have remained that way until the early 20th century when an archeologist accidentally stumbled upon them. Machu Pichu is now one the world's most frequented ruins. The indigenous people's culture is a mix between catholicism and Incan gods like the sun and the power that resides in the ancient rocks. To me, the mountains were the amazing part of machu pichu and it chilled me to see the semi/full worship that these man-hewn rocks received.

Surgical ICU was a crazy experience. It can make a normal person quite paranoid about how dangerous car accidents and gunshot wounds can be. I may have to support a national "Wear your helmet while you drive" campaign sometime in the future. But it was a great way to become familiar with who is really really sick and who isn't.

In the middle of that rotation I also finished my 2nd step of board licensing exams. Another Woo Whoo! I'm beginning to get antsy about when and how I can begin the kind of medical practice and community living that I've been subconsciously dreaming about these last 3 years. As my mom turned some unreported age this weekend, she made a comment about how quickly life goes by. We are here today and gone tomorrow. It immediately spurred me into action-thought mode (which are contradictory, but possibly precursors to something good in me). I want to finish life with more love poured out than textbooks read and degrees earned.

The interview season is gearing up for this year, Nov through Jan. I'm finally interviewing for a paid position! If any of you live in the NW USA, Colorado, Appalachia or various Texas cities, I may have to visit you in between.

Until then,