Tuesday, November 15, 2011

There and Back Again: A Hobbit's Holiday

From coast to coast, our dreams of medical school have finally come to fruition...
  I remember as a teenager sitting at the dining room table with my friend Ashlee and planning out how we were going to travel the states together after high school graduation. We were going to travel in a van, sleeping in the make shift room in the back of it and visit each major city for a day or so. We had the whole year planned out...I still don't know where we thought we would get a van or the money to pay for gas, but I know that after high school I thought those dreams were long forgotten. That is, until I met Phillip.
  I can attest that I never imagined that this year would have ever worked out as easily as it has. When we sat down and started planning all this, I felt like I was in back at that dining room table in 8th grade again. I assure you it has only been by God's good grace that we've made it this far.
  Our journey from California led us from the hot desert sun through the awe struck beauty of the canyon until it collided with the hail from the mountain tops of Colorado. We spent two weeks at Parkview Hospital and let me just say, I don't think I've ever crammed more into two weeks of my life.
  Phillip worked on a hospitalist rotation. I spent my time with two GI doctors and found I was very passionate about gastrointestinal diseases. During my rotation I picked up several tips of places to go in Colorado and of course Phillip and I did not pass on any of them! That weekend we drove to Denver and spent the night in the historic Brown Palace Hotel which very much reminded me of our stay at the Hotel Hershey. I loved the antiqued elegance of the architecture. We spent time downtown at the 16th street mall and went bowling at Lucky Strike, which I've now learned is just a fancy bar that also has a bowling alley on one end and apparently celebrities like to frequent. (I think they just started that rumor so they could charge you more, and trust me by the time you get done paying you will at least feel you have a celebrity's bill!)
  From Denver we traveled to Estes Park and entered the Rocky Mountain National Park. We embarked down the trail of the Old Fall River Road which is a one-way, uphill, 11 mile gravel road that winds deep into the peaks of the park to a total elevation of 11,796 feet above sea level. The beauty and wonder of this rugged mountainous road was one of the most relaxing encounters I've ever experienced while feeling this close to nature. The valleys are indescribable in their beauty and their peacefulness exudes from trickle of the streams through the light breeze that makes the wildflowers come alive. I even said to Phillip that I hoped heaven was just like this! After bringing ourselves to leave behind the mesmerizing valleys and the excitement of seeing the numerous herds of elk, we drove back to Colorado Springs and visited the Garden of the Gods which properly named, sits just below Pike's peak and is truly one of the greatest displays of all that is the wonder of God's creation. From there we drove to the top of Pike's peak providing for 14,115 feet of the most breathtaking views (it was literally that cold) that stretch as far as Kansas and New Mexico!!
Colorado was absolutely one of the most amazing experiences I've ever known and to top it off I actually loved the hospital, the staff I worked with, and most importantly I learned a tremendous amount!
  Among leaving the new found charm and enchantment of Colorado, my sadness was relieved only by the comforts of knowing the car was destined for the glory and goodness of the deep South! (there's no place like home!) We spent the weekend catching up with my family and occupying the attention of the sweetest lil darlin in the whole wide world! (that's my "Southern-ness" coming back in) We begrudgingly headed back to Fort Worth that Sunday evening where we met our new landlords for the month and found out we would be sleeping on the floors of an empty and unfurnished apartment. Phillip took the living room and made the pantry his closet. (He was nice enough to let me keep the walk-in closet in the bedroom...I'm not spoiled at all) While in Texas, we not only worked 60+hour work weeks but somehow also managed to find the time to check out Six Flags and several of the downtown sports bars all while still making the commute back home for Liddy's baptism! Our last weekend in Texas/Louisiana was a very special occasion. Phillip was able to experience his very first Zwolle Tamale Fiesta!!! (something I've been awaiting for the last two years!) We took Liddy to the parade and stuffed ourselves with tamales until we didn't even want to watch the mud races any longer. It was an extremely hot and dreadfully humid weekend...just the way us Southerners like it! I know by the end of it, Phillip was ready for some beach time, so we packed up the car once again and headed towards the Gulf!
  Before arriving in Florida, we were informed there had been a mistake and our student housing and we were going to be homeless unless we forked out the cash and sprung for a ridiculously awesome vacation rental right on the beach. Well let's see, that took about all of about a day to decide what we had to do. After a few phone calls and a slightly steep price, Phillip confirmed our two week stay at Sunset Beach on Treasure Island. (seriously, I couldn't have made that one up if I would've wanted to!) Our door looked out onto the bay where we would sit on the dock and watch the dolphins swim up and chase the jumping fish.  Most evenings were spent walking across the street to the beach and enjoying the local bars and restaurants. We were very sad to leave that place, but it was on once again to the next location.
  We spent that weekend in Orlando where I was able to enjoy the excitement of Universal Studios just as I did when I was seven years old and my parents took me for the first time. The only difference: this time Harry Potter was there!!!! I'm not sure if I was more excited about living out all my HP fantasies or getting to ride through "The Cat in the Hat" on a couch? It's quite possible that both were just as equally amusing to me as the Halloween Horror Night was thrilling for Phillip. Yes, we spent Friday night being chased by men in masks with chain saws and repeatedly putting ourselves through the most wicked terror of pure frightfulness. It was amazing! I didn't think it was possible, but I actually enjoyed every minute! I'm just hoping Phillip was as impressed with my enjoyment. After settling in to our new apartments for the month, we worked a long week- Phillip on Oncology service and me in the ICU- and ended it at an interview in Miami.
  That week, I got some of the most awful news...Mark called after taking Oscar to the vet and reported to me that he was very ill and that the doctor was not very hopeful for his recovery. After several long discussions and many tearful phone calls, Phillip decided to fly me back to Louisiana to say my final farewells to my best friend for the last ten years. I spent that Halloween weekend with my family, sleeping on the floor cuddled up with my puppy every night as I watched him grow increasingly weaker. I will miss him terribly and although it was unexpected and a very swift decline, I know he was happy spending his last days with my family in Louisiana.
  Since arriving in Florida, we've been on four interviews in four weeks- I think the season is among us! We even received instructions on filling out our rank list this week. We have also found time to go diving and manatee "searching" in Crystal River. Much to my disappointment, no manatees were to be found. Last weekend we went hiking on Honeymoon Island where we interrupted several armadillos and I playfully adorned the place with the nickname "Armadillo Island". While at the beach there, we came upon an elevated walkway and below, lurking in the cool shade from the hot sun stretched a giant Eastern Diamondback rattlesnake! He stared at the tourists as we all began to line up for photos. From that moment, our eyes did not often wander far from our feet! We also became very keen at spotting osprey in the treetops. We even watched one fly overhead with a fish fighting its clenching grasp. The most amazing sight of the entire hike was the pair of bald eagles we spotted nesting on the edge of the island.  They were such powerful creatures to observe!
  This week Phillip met me out front of the hospital where he routinely picks me up after work, with a very excited tone. I was surprised to find that after all our time of searching for the elusive manatee, he had spotted one in the bay- right outside my house! We rushed back and quickly ran to the edge of the lawn and as I patiently waited, I could see the shadow of a slow moving creature swimming ever so gracefully toward us. We watched from my windows as he took his time making his way back down the murky waters raising his head for air every few minutes. After watching for some time, we decided to round out the day with a walk through the park near Phillip's house, where earlier in the day he spotted a wild alligator in the lake. We cautiously circled the lake that Sunday as we listened to the Saints play the Cardinals over Phillip's satellite radio broadcast on his phone. As we were getting ready to turn back and head to the car, we heard a voice from the bridge say, "Excuse me, sir, but could you tell me if that's a gator over there?" It was a young girl who had been talking on her cell phone as she sat and watched the waters. Sure enough as we watched, from underneath the swampy plant life sitting atop the water, slowly rose an alligator to the surface. We sat and watched him bake in the sun until Phillip's phone died, at which point we sprinted to the car only to find that the game had gone into overtime. (Luckily the Saints pulled it out!) It was the best way to end our last weekend in Florida-watching two indigenous species in their natural habitats.
  I will miss the swimsuits, tanning lotion, tank tops and beach towels of Florida, but our destiny awaits us in Pennsylvania next week. We have scheduled to sit for the second half (and last for medical school) of our Step 2 board exams next Monday. If successful, the only thing that sits between us and graduation is a few rotations and a long flight to Africa!! (More to come on our holiday and Africa plans from Phillip soon!)


Things I've lost so far on this journey:
my interview suit (left it twice- retrieved it once from a hotel and replaced it at 10pm the night before an interview the second time)
electric toothbrush charger
box of medicines

Things we are continuously praying for:
1. our families/friends and their patience and understanding
   during this process and during our absence
2. the health of our loved ones
3. that God will help us to keep our eyes open and hearts
    ready for His word to speak to us at all times
4. that we may be receptive to God's word when we hear it
5. that we may spread our love of Christ to all those whom
    we are brought to care for
6. that we may never "bury our talents in the ground" and
    hide from the risk of failure, but instead grow in the love
    of Christ and duplicate what we have so graciously
    been given..."For to everyone who has, more will be
    given and he will grow rich; but from the one who
    has not, even what he has will be taken away."
            Matthew 25:29

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Peaks and Canyons: enjoying the highway of life and trying to avoid it's speed traps

           At around 4am on August 29th Angela and I loaded up my poor QX4 with enough junk to last us 3 months on the road and set off on the next leg of our adventure.  After saying goodbye to my parents, who dutifully if not begrudgingly woke up before the sunrise to see us off, I set the Q in motion and we drove off.  As I coasted the Q down the driveway, it's breaks let out a squeal loud enough to wake the neighborhood up, letting me know that it was too old and had too many miles on it to be embarking on such a massive adventure.  I too was wondering if I was ready for 3 months of living out of a suitcase, living in strangers houses, and adapting to new cultures (I had grown use to the comforts of California, and the close proximity of the beach!!).  As the car traveled further down the freeway, and my belly became full of coconut donuts and coffee, I began to get more and more excited about the adventure before us.   I was living out the dream I had created for 4th year long before medical school started and I could not believe it was coming true.  We had a great time in California (I will let Angela tell you more about it) but as the sun rose over the high desert I knew the adventures ahead of us would be just as grand. (The only sad thing will be watching my tan that I had spent so much time obtaining, disappear over the next few weeks.)
         Our excitement increased even more when we arrived in Needles, Ca at around 8a and it was already 95 degrees! We had finally got some true summer heat that we had been missing all summer. As we climbed in elevation in Northern Az our excitement grew to a feverish pitch.  We we were surrounded by pine trees, fresh air, and road signs with pictures of Elk that let you know you don't stand a chance if you hit one.  Our excitement boiled over to inaudible bursts of joy when we first saw the Grand Canyon.   For Angela it was her first time seeing it, for me I was again amazed at how . . . for lack of a better word . . . grand it is.  We parked the car to step out and take pictures of the canyon only to realize we had parked feet away from two mule deer.   The deer were very photogenic and clearly used to people.  Not believing our luck we watched the deer for about 30 mins and then turned our attention back to the canyon.  We hiked/drove to many different lookouts along the canyon all afternoon long.   Each time marveling at it's beauty and remarking how the canyon looked completely different from each lookout.  As the sun began to drift downwards we left the Grand Canyon and headed for Tuba City which was a Hopi Indian reservation.  We stayed at a nice adobe styled hotel built by the Hopi Indians and then headed for Pueblo the next day.
            Not two hours into our drive the next morning, Angela was pulled over for going 72 in a 65. Luckily, despite not having the current insurance card in the glovebox, the officer was nice enough to give Angela only a warning.   We learned our lesson and proceeded to travel the rest of the way at a painstakingly slow 65mph.  As we traveled towards Pueblo we crossed Four Corners which I believe was a bit of a let down for Angela.   I do not know what she was expecting, but empty desert with a slab of concrete and a few Navajo Indian gift stands was not it.  We continued on and stopped for lunch on a nice river in Durango, Co.  We were both impressed with the city and the amazing WalMart it had.  Stopping there erased the bad memories I had from years ago of my cornea being burned by soot from the Silverton train which left from Durango station.
           After our peaceful lunch by the river we headed up the Continental Divide and were immediately pounded by hail, thunder, and lightening.   Thankfully we escaped without a dented car or cracked window, though I was not sure if we would.  Once the hail and rain stopped we were able to enjoy the beauty of the Rockies as we climbed to 11,000 ft.   We both loved being engulfed by the pine forest and watching the distant storms roll over the peaks.   As we traveled down the pass we descended into high desert and remained in the high desert, traveling along the foothills of the Rockies, until we reached our final destination of Pueblo, CO, elev ~5000 ft.
            Pueblo is a nice city of about 100,000 people.   It is in the desert but is framed by the tall peaks of the Rockies which are an hour's drive away.  Downtown Pueblo is very green, with a beautiful park.  There is a river which runs through the center of the city and a nice riverwalk with many places to eat.  There is also a zoo and a nice lake which allows water skiing and has a campground by it.  Overall, we are very impressed with the city.   It reminds me of Riverside because it is a city built in the desert with mountains surrounding it.  The population size and the riverwalk remind Angela of Shreveport.  The house we are staying at is very nice as well.  We are staying with an ER doctor who is very hospitable and very helpful.  We are able to talk to her about many different aspects of the Parkview Hospital and the city of Pueblo.  She has given us good insight.  We both have also enjoyed our rotations at the hospital and are very impressed with the hospital.   However, there will be more on that and more about our Labor day weekend adventure later.  For now I must turn in because we have our 1st Residency interview tomorrow!!
Things we are praying about: That we will listen to God as He leads us towards whichever Residency program He chooses; Angela's health (the NON humid weather is giving her skin fits), Our upcoming interview; and our sanity as we continue to travel!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

California Dreams

Our time here is quickly coming to a close and as the weeks trail by, I thought it would be a good time to stop and reflect on what we've accomplished thus far...

We began our journey west with a flight to Las Vegas where Phillip's brother, Daniel, met us. We quickly learned of his new found post graduate skill of owning the night in Vegas. He scored us an awesome suite with a corner patio and full view of the Las Vegas strip! It was a great weekend, and to top it off Phillip's parents were able to join us. The boys golfed while the gals went to the spa and after we saw "Phantom of the Opera"- what a great trip!

After finally making it to California, we immediately began studying for Step2 of our board exams in July. A month of studying is never fun, but when you have the beach and the California sun it's never that bad either. Boards came quickly and after studying so hard, we both felt that it couldn't have gone any better. We should know results in a few weeks...so keep your fingers crossed!

Once boards were behind us, we packed our bags and flew to San Francisco. (But only after an appropriately long delay in LAX and making friends with the waiter at the closest Mexican restaurant.) It was only a weekend, but it turned out to be a great mini-vacation. San Francisco is a beautiful city and to see the Golden Gate Bridge was a truly amazing experience. The fog and the cold was a bit of a surprise to me and in fact, I had to buy a jacket once we got there!!

Leaving San Francisco wasn't easy either, but knowing that you're working in Newport made it a little better! Phillip and I started rotations the Monday after boards and commuted back and forth between San Clemente and Newport Beach, which is in the middle of the OC lifestyle. It was quite an interesting time. I was in an office treating 90 year olds who were still driving and working out three times a week! Past movie stars, friends of Will Ferrell and world renowned doctors were a few on the top of the list. But while I was busy treating the rich and famous, Phillip was across town working at a free walk-in clinic for low income patients. We saw quite the spectrum of Newport society and we are very grateful to Phillip's Aunt Becky for not only helping us to set up these rotations, but also for dinner and margaritas with the family. Yum!

While we were working in Newport, my family came to stay with us in San Clemente. It was so nice to have them so close, and to be able to see California and hang out with Phillip's family! They got to see Crystal Cove and Laguna Beach, which (in my tourist opinion) are two of the best beaches in Southern California. Mark also really enjoyed the mission at San Juan Capistrano where he learned all about the flight of the swallows. On Friday, I took off work and went to San Diego with them. After breakfast on the pier that morning, we spent the day at the zoo looking at all the animals and letting Mark act like one. We spent the last few hours of the day in La Jolla Cove with the seals and watched the sunset. After leaving San Diego, we stopped back by San Clemente, picked up Phillip and told his parents goodbye. We spent the night in LA and met up with Daniel and their cousin, Jennifer, who were nice enough to give us a tour of UCLA. Saturday was spent walking Rodeo Drive and enjoying the Santa Monica Pier. It was nice to have Daniel to show us around and to give Phillip a chance to see the tourist side of SoCal.

After saying goodbye to my parents and wishing them safe travels we headed down to San Diego to see Sugarland with Phillip's church friends. As always, Sugarland was amazing and it was great to see the SD crowd again. Phillip spent early Sunday morning diving with his friend, Michelle while I stayed behind and worked on residency applications. After they were done, we all went to church at Flood followed by pizza at Pizza Port!! What a great weekend!

Last weekend was spent with Phillip's high school friend and baseball teammate, David, to help celebrate his girlfriend's birthday. We were squeezed into a limo with 14 of her closest friends and family and driven to Tamecula for wine tasting. It was great to be able to meet all of Phillip's high school friends and the wine was too bad either! :)

This past week, we started our first subinternship at Pacific Hospital of Long Beach. It happened that we were both assigned to the same outpatient preceptor who is Taiwanese and recently finished the program at PHLB. It's turned out that he is a great teacher and works really closely with the hospital, so we've been able to meet and work with all the residents as well as other medical students and staff. It's been nice to see how we compare with students from this side of the country. On Thursday and Friday we go with our preceptor to his office in a predominantly Asian town. Almost all of our patients speak Chinese and every day we've eaten a different type of Asian food. (I'm getting really good with chopsticks!) So far, we've learned a lot and been able to experience and gain appreciation for a new culture so it will be interesting to see where the rest of the month takes us!

This weekend started off Friday night by hanging out with Phillip's childhood friend, Reid, and his fiance Ariana.  The boys were able to catch up on work stories and debating about various different sports teams and players. I was glad for the chance to finally meet Reid and Ariana and see their beautiful home. On Saturday we went to San Clemente and had a Saunders' family get together.  It was my first time to meet Phillip's cousin, Scott, and his wife, Heather.  They have a baby boy, Michael, who is almost 18 months old and as cute as a button. (probably my newest favorite kid, next to Liddy!) We had a lot of fun teaching Michael how to throw sand and watch for the trains at the beach. To round off the day, we had an amazing dinner and watched the sunset! Another great day at the beach!

Next weekend shows no signs of slowing down. We are planning to meet Daniel in Santa Barbara to hopefully get some more wine tasting in, which I've been told is some of the best in California! So I'm getting pretty excited already. Other things to look forward to soon are board scores and moving on to Colorado for the next leg of the journey. I'm sure we will document every step of that adventure too, so don't worry!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Chillin' on a dirt road . . .

       As Angela informed you, we arrived to Louisiana late on a Friday night after an epic 19 hour drive.  If any of you ever have a chance, take a drive through Tennessee and Alabama in the end of spring.  The mountains, green hills, twisty rivers and expansive lakes collide to make a beautiful landscape.  I thoroughly enjoyed the drive as Angela slept.
      Upon arriving in Louisiana at 2a I was promptly invited to play co-ed softball the next morning which I gladly accepted.  However, after going 1-5 and realizing may baseball swing was no match for the difficulties of slow pitch, I have officially retired from the game.   (Until the next game I get invited to play at which time I will pull a Favre).   Besides playing softball I have filled my leisurely time fishing.  With the skill provided to me by beginners luck, I am proud to say I out-fished Angela.  I think it was because I used organic bait and California cheese (Happy cheese makes for happy fish :)).  Toledo bend is beautiful and if I could go fishing there every Saturday morning I do no think I would ever leave.
      When I am not enjoying the outdoors I am working.  I have been privileged to work with a Hem/Onc doctor in Shreveport for the last two weeks.  I was really impressed with the city of Shreveport and the friendliness of the people.  As one doc said "its a big city with a small town attitude".  I might also add the greater Shreveport area has managed to engineer a way for 200,000+  people to commute back and forth from work without any traffic jams.  I was also really impressed with Oncology.  It confirmed my passion for medicine and my desires to be an oncologist (maybe).   I enjoyed the challenges of talking with and treating patients in all stages of cancer.  There were some triumphs and some sad situations but every patient was rewarding.  Hearing all the patients stories was real enjoyable.  There was much to learn about cancer and even more about people's journey in faith.   It is amazing how much and how wonderfully faith plays a role, no matter the religion, in the well-being of patients.  In my two weeks I have learned to appreciate the complexity of cancer and the strength of the people who battle it every day.
      Though Angela and I have spent most of our time in Louisiana on medical rotations, the main reason for being in Louisiana right now is Liddy, and she is beautiful.  She was born a little over a week ago and has already been a blessing to all that have met her.  Kris and Nick are going to be wonderful parents and I am sure Angela and I will never feel too far away from Liddy with all the pictures of her that will be posted.  Nick and Kris have hogged her in Glenmora all week but as I write this she is on her way back to Noble for the weekend and I am excited to see Liddy again.
      Sadly our time in Louisiana is rapidly coming to an end.  It feels like we just got here and if every part of our journey goes this quickly we are gonna be a resident before we have a chance to learn anything about medicine (stay away from any hospital I may be working in next July).  I have loved being here.  You cannot beat bbqs every weekends, hot DRY weather, lakes to fish on, and family to hang out with.  I am thankful for the warm southern hospitality that has been offered to me, especially Angela's parents who have let me crash at their place for two weeks, and to Granny and Pa who have let Angela and I study for boards on their computer every night.  It will be sad to leave but I am excited to continue the journey, we are getting closer and closer to Africa and graduation!  Though hardcore board studying is in the near future so I am not excited about that.
       Until then I am going to enjoy this weekend in the warm Louisiana sunshine and hopefully enjoy one last bbq!  We are then off to Las Vegas to celebrate Daniel's graduation and birthday!  I think we have found a new birthday tradition for Daniel :).  Things we are praying for:  Kris, Nick and Liddy, focus for boards, safe traveling, peace and health for both of our families, and that Mark does not maim himself or any customer while he sells knives.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Louisiana Lovin

A long trip home...
After working call on my last day at Southern Ohio Medical Center in Portsmouth, I made rounds at 5am and drove to Lexington where Phillip joined me after selling his car. We drove for another 14 hours and arrived in Louisiana at 1am, stopping only twice along the way. Phillip woke up early on Saturday and played in a co-ed slow pitch softball tournament with Mark where he made several amazing plays and turned alot of heads- a great way to get even more attention than just being a stranger in a small town. That evening Kris and Nick came home and we were reminded of how cramped a house can be with seven people in it.

Phillip and I started work that Monday at Highland Clinic in Shreveport. I began working with an ENT specialist, Dr. Parker, and Phillip across town in a busy oncology practice. It was an amazing first week- I arrived early several days to assist Dr. Parker in the OR while Phillip learned the ins and outs of many chemotherapeutic drug regimens. I made several new friends in Dr. Parker's office and also ran into several old friends along the way. Dr. Parker was more impressed at how many people I knew more than how much medicine I knew (not surprising I know).

On Wednesday we had the greatest blessing of all as we welcomed Ms. Lydia Belle Davis to our family. She was 6 lbs 4 oz and 21 in long. She is a gorgeous little princess and she already knows it. The moment Nick brought her from the OR, she had these big, beautiful wide eyes- opened and staring at everyone, tyring to soak it all in. She had such a crowd waiting on her, I have no doubt she instantly knew how much she was loved. She has been a great baby so far and her mom is healing well. We cannot wait to watch her grow up!!

This weekend Phillip and I got the opportunity to go fishing with my dad. We left at 5am and were on the lake by 6! It was an amazing day with perfect weather. The lake was so beautiful and peaceful that early in the morning. and we had a great view of the golf course from the water. Phillip ended up pulling in most of the fish. He called it beginner's luck. I'm not sure what he was doing, but he stole almost every bite I got! (I'm still a little bitter) Either way though, it was worth having such a great dinner. All together we caught 47 white perch, 4 bream, and 1 small catfish! Quite a day!!

Sunday we said goodbye to Ms. Liddy and made another trip to Natchitoches where we met my long time friends Jessica, Corey, Tommy, Brandon and PJ at the CSO. I have missed them all so dearly and it is always a little bitter sweet to go back, because I never want to leave! It was really good to get to hear Fr. Jason preach again too- it always ignites my spirit when I go back to Holy Cross!

It's been a busy first week and things aren't looking to slow down any time soon. We have one more week in Shreveport and I started a neurology rotation with a young female doctor today, which is very inspiring for me. It should be an interesting week and we are already looking forward to the next part of the journey when we meet Daniel in Vegas to celebrate his recent graduation!! So stay tuned to see what happens!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The journey begins

This is the first of what I hope to be many entries detailing the events of the next year of our lives. We have now completed yet another chapter of the text book we call med school. As we turn the page and leave Ashland we will miss the friends we've made here and the times we've spent at Bellefonte, but we move forward with high hopes and great anticipation of the things to come.

I moved away from home at the age of twenty and have lived in a different place every year since, priding myself on how quickly I could pack my belongings. I did not, however, anticipate how difficult it would be to prioritize everything I own and live from two bags all year. It was a very frustrating and yet humbling experience. We are blessed with so much and most times still feel it's never enough!

My goals for this year (outside of sweeping boards, acing my interviews and landing an awesome residency spot) are to see the world... as God sees it- with a bleeding heart and eyes wide open, ready to embrace it. I want to soak up everything the world has to offer and hopefully make a an impact along the way.

It's been a long journey and the road is finally winding down but I feel like it's only beginning. We are so close to finally realizing our ultimate goal of being physicians and as we draw closer we would like to invite you to join us in our quest for adventure, knowledge, and faith.