Let's do a quick catch up as it has been quite a while since I posted. So, I accepted my admission into the Indiana University School of Medicine at the Fort Wayne campus in Indiana. I fully admit now that I could not have anticipated the difficulty of medical school and there is really no way to anticipate it until you are deep in it. Much of the last 5 months of my life were spent reviewing flashcards and reading notes seeing only the 29 other medical students in my class and the professors and staff. The stress was constant and perhaps would of been unbearable if it weren't for the fact that the people in my new small community were amazing in both rich personalities and absolute compassion and support and the fact that most days I could end my days venting my frustrations and sharing my struggles with my wonderful boyfriend. So the first semester went by fast, but I learned quite a lot and managed to succeed in passing all of my courses.
However, my winter break has been no less busy. The first few days of break I spent in Cleveland getting some clinical observational experience with neurologists at the Cleveland Clinic. I stayed in a hostel in the middle of the city and enjoyed the memories of all of the travelling I did with Sara in hostels two years prior. I shared the room with a occupational therapist from Australia who was similarly visiting work contacts. It was clearly off season and I saw very few other people at the hostel. Still my roommate was kind and we shared breakfast together the first day and I managed to convince her to check out a board game cafe that I had found a few blocks down. The shadowing experience was also very rewarding and I relished every opportunity I had to watch and learn. It really solidified my interest in specializing in neurology. I left after a few days and returned to Fort Wayne to rest up before heading to Indianapolis the next day.
On my way to Indianapolis, my car blew a tire which was the first time I'd ever had a blown tire. I struggled for about an hour to sort out the tire which I logically understood but had not instructions for. Finally, someone took pity on my stopped and sorted out the spare tire. It was more than a little stressful. I quickly returned to my parent's home and sorted out my car only to find out that an axle had broken. The next day was a whirlwind of chores and driving as it was the only full day that I would be in Indianapolis this entire break (until the very end). The next day, my family began our drive to Florida for a week long vacation. The trip was enjoyable and relaxing and I enjoyed the warm weather and the beach. I've taken on some role as planner in my family. Enough vacations that have felt direction-less have lead to me taking some initiative to pick out activities to do and plan out a schedule. Overall it was a nice trip and I always enjoy an opportunity to relax with my family. I'll admit though much of the week was distracted by my anticipation for the trip of mine that began at the end of the week when I would leave from Orlando for a two week trip back to Oxford which is where I'm writing from now.
So maybe that was a bit longer than a quick catch up but hopefully helps to add perspective to my recent life. The first day back I was largely on my own and I was pleased at my ability to navigate my own way to the place I was staying. I spent much of the first week relishing feelings of being home. Within a few days, I took an opportunity to put a plan in action that I had planned in the month before. One morning while Leigh was showering, I set out a trail of letters which had a bit of ribbon and buttons that had runes from his favorite game, Suikoden, on them. Then I went into the kitchen and made a breakfast of banana pancakes and tea and waited for him to enter the kitchen, a ring pop in hand. As soon as he came through the door, wearing a suite top and pajama bottoms (that's what I get for suggesting he dress up and not being specific), I asked him to marry me and he said yes. So perhaps the most exciting thing that happened that week was that I got engaged.
In many ways, it was an anticipated event, but as such not a surprise, but felt good because it was a necessary step that marked positive progress. Leigh and I had spoken previously about the US visa process and I had made some preparations before hand to make the process easier. I'm hopeful for the future and excited to begin the process. For my second week in Oxford, it's been a bit more busy. On Monday, I met with the head researcher for the Migraine clinic in Oxford and we discussed and designed a summer research opportunity. I was pleased to find that he had a research project which I could easily jump in and do as well as give me opportunities to witness the medical practice of neurologists in the UK. I need to sort out paperwork and housing and apply for a number of scholarships but I'm excited to get started. It will be a wonderful opportunity for my career and it means I can come back.
On Tuesday, Leigh took me to Camden Town in London. Camden is a pretty impressive shopping center with thousands of little shops like a massive flea market and two separate areas with food stands like a state fair or a food truck. We spent the entire time wandering and just getting lost in the maze of stands. There were plenty of cheap factory made stuff and lots of clothing with many different styles from goth to ironic hipster. I really enjoyed the adventure from getting slightly lost and asking a corner shop for direction and grabbing sweets to just taking in the color and business of Camden. Both Leigh and I napped on the bus.
In the coming days, I will need to pack and have plans to meet some of my friends. I think when I leave this time around, I'll be a bit less sad, because I have a lot to look forward to. I'm glad I get to end this blog post on such a cheery note and yes I have a lot to be very thankful for. I will still refrain from using this blog for things other than my trips to Oxford, but I hope that this serves as a nice update and also allows me to tell the stories of my most recent life for everyone who is interest to read. Perhaps this is a good reminder...