Saturday, August 30, 2008

...And The Battle Begun

Newcastle is the party center of England, so we decided to dabble Friday night. We ran into our Histology professor in the Gate district outside of Tiger Tiger, and he ended up joining us for a few hours dancing and sweating the last few days of endless studying. You can get away with anything here, I've never really gone OUT in a city this size, and I have seen things I would never see (never want to see?) in America. The big thing over here is ballerina outfits and masks, not to mention the amount of neon would make Las Vegas jealous. I don't think there are many cities that could come close to the nightlife here. If I had a pound every time I saw a pub, I would have medical school paid for in its entirety. I have so many weekends to explore, it's going to be hard to tear away from England to explore elsewhere. I need a few more years here! I'm going to The Sage to see Bon Iver with Hayden and Val (plus many more) in a couple of weeks for less than 20 dollars. The music scene over here is out of this world! I am also going to see a Rugby game for the first time in my life, with trips to Germany, Ireland, and Scotland before Christmas. It's up to one good trip a month, I can't believe this is actually happening!

I want everyone to imagine meeting a groups of people just like themselves, and then plan out all of the amazing things that could happen over the course of four years. I am well on my way into Never, Never Land and I don't want to come back.

Don't worry, I spend 30-40 hours a week in class and another 10 in Anatomy lab with the cadavers (not that scary in person, even dead person), plus 20 or so individual study hours. Is it sick to say I love this?

Note: I will probably post another 30 white coat ceremony pictures, along with videos, because that weekend was one of the best in my life. The other photos are from the rendezvous Friday, and the infamous wig that will be worn for the urinary tract presentation to be given a month from now. Don't worry, that video WILL be posted.


Monday, August 25, 2008

Headlights look like Diamonds

Things aren't so different on this side of the Atlantic. Well I study more, I struggle to translate English, I always carry an umbrella, and my palate has changed a little (Fish and Chips with black vinegar is to DIE for). I've decided that all of my good qualities have been enhanced, I can't wait to go to school, and in a sick way....I enjoy what I am learning, yes I like to study.

The people here are so smart it would make your head spin, imagine going to class where everyone listens and participates, ultimately to become exactly what you want to be when they grow up. It's surreal and an Utopia in a way, and I am still impressed by my colleagues drive and it fuels my need to learn more. It also helps to be in England, I still look at a map sometimes and wonder how the hell I got over here.

Some things to remind me of home? Rock climbing! I have lost so much finger strength and my endurance is shot, but it felt so good to get on a wall with my Katanas (courtesy of Kaleigh) and make up my own routes. Needless to say, the lactic acid build up in my shoulders was the best burn I have felt in quite some time. Surfing! Liz has a board and the predicted waves weren't so good this weekend, but there is still the rest of September...after that hypothermia will deter me from the water for a while. Football! (Don't ever, EVER, ever call it soccer here.) I went to the Newcastle United V. Bolton game Saturday, (1-0) left the fans cheering in tongues I still cannot translate. I spent the first half learning how to cheer, it really sounds like gibberish, but they have a Christmas carol...marching song....references to Spiderman, the Gator Football games don't have a leg to stand on when compared to the 50,000+ screaming in St. Jame's Park. It was SO LOUD, you have no idea. I was also run over by a horse when the cop lost control of him (as you can see in the above picture), other than that I felt safe surrounded by the season ticket hooligans surrounding me. I also got the only goal on video, check it out!

Well I have to give a 2 hour presentation with microscope slides teaching my histology lab classmates epithelial cells/connective tissue with Bela and Haley, so enough chatter. Cheers!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

High Tide or No Tide

Family. Well, I have my immediate lovies...then the 150 doctors who are now integrated into my days. It's amazing how motivated people are here, and how much they want to help you. I know I am going to succeed. I love them all so much, and I never thought I would be truly happy anywhere. I miss my mom, dad, brother, a spatter in Gainesville, a load in Jax, my family in the North and far West, and of course a trio of faithfuls in Orlando. I am encompassed with a wealth of knowledge and culture, just things you couldn't wrap your mind around in a million years purely through my descriptions. I thought I would miss just physical contact, but I have already hugged half of the class. If you know me, I have been dubbed a "hug whore" for lack of a professional term.
Even living in flats/dorms again does not bother me. Well I lied, the water pressure is like showering in a drinking fountain....I still think there is shampoo in my hair.

I am already studying around 6 hours a day, with the six hours of class, and 7 hours of sleep = 5 hours to eat and live....It's not forever, but I can totally deal with the stress. My classes are Gross Anatomy and Development, Histology (GROSS!), Medical Biochemistry, and Bioethics (AHHHHH!). They consist of 10 books, 2 dicitonaries, 4 course packs, 4 labs with their manuals, a few cold bodies (which I can't keep), and countless charts and stacks of 500 flashcards. The catch? It will all be in my head by December 8Th. HA! It's OK, I didn't know it would be that crazy either.
I am going to my first NEWCASTLE UNITED FOOTBALL game! (Oh, SO excited!!!) It is this Saturday, and their are 40 of us going. I have a feeling it will be a GREAT ending to the first week of school. Speaking of which, I need my sleep. I once again plead for you to get on SKYPE if you love me, I would love to see a familiar face!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Metal Heart

New family, castle hunting and movie watching!

The trip to England took 2 days of my life and a lifetime of sanity. JFK put a ground stop on all of their incoming flights, but not the outgoing international ones. Thus causing the initial three hour delay in Norfolk, VA, the first of three. After arriving into JFK, getting lost on the way to the international terminal, getting in a fight with security over the water bottle I got from the connecting flight, Delta threw us on a flight with Air France...instead of British Airways. Having cheery French people "Bon Soir!" at 11 at night, when you've been traveling since 4...well I wasn't so nice. We sat on the runway for another hour and finally landed in Paris around noon their time. I might have slept 3 hours, but I learned a whole lot of French! Our flight to Newcastle left late and we didn't arrive with the second time change until 4 pm London time. Needless to say, customs was a blast and our luggage was left at JFK. We got it two days later, after multiple heart attacks without any form of communication with my worried father in Virginia. My mother and I made it though, with the lame U.S. dollar, our exchange rate limited our time and site-seeing to the Newcastle area, which is still a mystery in most parts to me.

School starts Monday, and my White Coat Ceremony is tomorrow. I will officially be inducted into medical school, Hippocratic Oath and all. I am more excited than scared now, and the people that I have met (from 6 countries now!) are amazing. I couldn't be more blessed with a more loving group of intelligent over-achievers!

The change taking place in my life, causing me to collide into people and cultural experiences that were far out of reach from my limited mind, is allowing me to grow into the person I've always wanted to be. I finally feel like I am doing something for myself to better others, and I know that I am giving up wonderful experiences and people back home. You are always in my mind and hearts. This may only be a year trip, but I am coming back with a lifetime of knowledge.

Now, I have to conquer the Geordie accent and look the opposite way when crossing the street. Other than that, Life really is good.

Monday, August 4, 2008

In Fear and Faith

I leave in two days, and I am sick of packing. From packing everything I own into a van, to fitting the next year of my life in three's a little tiring to say the least.

Here is a Chi-town recap: Kooza (Cirque du Soliel show), Less McCann at the Jazz Showcase (AMAZING!), Venetian Night (675,000 people...and their boats), Blue Man Group, Navy Pier, John Hancock tower with lunch at The Signature Room, Tour of Oak Park where my aunt lives ( I <3>

I hadn't been to Chicago since the summer of my senior year in high school, and it still has the ability to shock and awe. I remember being 18 and taking a cab by myself from the Customs' building (where my Aunt was Field Director...aka THE BOSS), to the Sears Tower and exploring. My sense of independence has never been amplified that much, ever. Being in a huge city alone surrounded by sky scrapers, it seemed old hat to walk the streets at 22. I love Chicago, and sorry, it is 100 times better than New York. It's so much cleaner, the people are friendly, and the atmosphere is...well...fulfilling.

I plan on doing a clinical rotation there through Rush hospital in a few years, and I can't wait to go back. If Chicago had a beach, I would live there, but for now I'll stick with visiting Anne and being a tourist.

Two more days until I cross the pond. Wish me luck!