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 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!