Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Birthday sisters!

So, I know I told you all about my youngest sister.
But I don't know if I told you that I have THREE sisters.
Yep, I'm that lucky.
And these two BOTH had birthdays this week!
Who us?

Birthdays? Are you kidding me?

Oh, ok, maybe we did!

That's right. We're birthday girls. Eat your heart out.

This is Marissa.
She's 3rd of the 4, and she just turned 25 TODAY.
She has the most random skills of all of us.
Like fitting a whole peach in her mouth.
And being really good at bowling.
And catching food in her mouth.
It's pretty great.
She's a one-woman party trick.

If you'll notice her above tshirt and below couple of outfits,
she has a fine appreciation for the biker/redneck culture/style.
She's been to NASCAR.
She's been to Sturgis Bike Rally (where she purchased pictured leather chaps).
And I heart her.
She is more up for fun than anyone I have ever met.
We all like to dress up,
but I didn't even have to look to find 3 pictures of her dressed up as a pirate.
They found me.
That's how often she dresses up.

She even made a living for a while off of her love of fun and eyepatches.
She moved to New Zealand right after college and
bartended in a ski town at a bar that had a theme party pretty much every night.

She's fearless, adventurous and loves soaking up life.
Case and point:
Last year for Christmas she gave all of us sisters envelopes and inside were pictures of people skydiving.
"We're going skydiving?!?"
"Yep! Tomorrow!"
NBD, it was her 3rd time.

She has the most serene, uncomplicated spirit of anyone I know.
She just flows with what life gives her.
And is always smiling.

She's still pretty fierce too.
She ran a half marathon without training.
She climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro (also without training).
And I know from personal experience not to take up too much of her side of the car or she will break your nose with your own hiking boot.

My friends and I talk a lot about 'spiritual ages'.
I'm pretty sure Marissa's is 6.

She's so chill, she will fall through a chair and just stay there.

Again with the pirating...
She's also a superstar athlete.
She is the only one of us who can legitimately play tennis.
Oh, and she played Division I soccer.

She does amazing things:
Business major, Division I soccer player, moved to New Zealand for a year, and is currently working for Grassroots Soccer in Zambia.
She never does so in a controlling, hyperorganized, type A way,
but some how it all gets done.
Probably with a lot more smiling than most of us manage.

This is her 6 hours before her 6am flight to move to Africa for a year.

And somehow she made it!
And is doing great things!
(p.s. I don't know if you can see, but that folder in her's a Pirate folder.)

Love you Marissa!
Miss you lots, but we're super proud of you.
Happy birthday!!

And THIS is Kara!
My oldest sister.
Who turned 25 + something or other.

She's the oldest, so she started that whole love of dressing up thing.
And she taught us well!

Home girl can tear up a dance floor!
We went dancing when our family went to Ireland when she was 16 and I was 13.
We were coming up with the most ridiculous dance moves we could think of,
and some girls came up to us and were like 'you guys are amazing dancers!'.
I knew then that I should always follow her moves on the dance floor.

She set the bar for being a superstar athlete.
She ran on the high school CC team when she was in jr. high.
She had the 300 hurdles record in high school.
She has run 2 marathons. Both without training.
She (also) climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro.
(Yes, I'm the only one of my sisters who hasn't climbed Kili. Yes, that is weird.)

She's pretty stunning.
Sometimes she even looks like Miss America.
Or even Barbie.

She's the best sister supporter.
She makes us Valentines.
She goes to our games.
She forged a pretty awesome path for us to follow and does everything she can to make sure we're successful too.

She has a propensity to 'Vanna White' things in photos.
But she's not just a pretty face folks!
She's got her MBA and is a kickass, super brilliant businesswoman.
She can even get businesswoman specials.

She fun.
My best friend likes hanging out with me,
but she really likes hanging out with me when Kara is there,
because everything is more fun with Kara.

Oh, she's also adventurous too.
She moved to Australia after college for 3 months.
She is a rockstar skier, who lived in Vail for 2 ski seasons.
She moved to Costa Rica for 3 months to learn to surf.
She could probably be the next Danica Patrick if she wanted.
(Except she wouldn't do those annoying Go Daddy commercials, because she's cooler than that.)

She's mastered that whole professional yet cute look, which totally eludes me!

She is a PRO at the Kinect dance central game. PRO, I tell you, and it's not just because of her awesome outfit.
She's an amazing big sister!

I'm so glad she came first because she did a pretty great job of showing us what to do.
Following your heart to adventures all over the world.
Working hard to follow your passions.
Not taking yourself to seriously.
And dressing up and celebrating at every possible occasion.

Happy birthday big didder! You's all growed up!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Love Day!

I hope your celebration is a little better than mine.
I'm getting cozy with some microbiology and pharmacology flash cards!
But definitely feeling all the love in my life,
and I hope you are too!

p.s. How great is this card?! No pressure or anything!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Thunder Snow in Narnia

The other night, I was deep into the Boards question bank on a snowy evening,
sitting across from
The International Man of Mystery,
Mr. Matthieu Larochelle,
when we saw flashes of light out the windows.

I looked at him totally confused,
"Was that lightening?"

We walked to the window as the sky let out the longest rumbling roll of thunder I've heard in spring, summer, or winter time weather.

"Do you think it's the apocalypse?" I asked,
convinced that wintertime thunder had never happened before.

There was another flash and rumble from the sky that was glowing with a yellow atmosphere.

Well, we decided this was something we couldn't miss.
So we suited up in coats, snow boots, and mittens over our unwavering study uniforms of sweatpants and hoodies,
and headed out into the night.

We were going to trudge across his backyard to a trail through the woods, but quickly realized the snow was above our knees.
So we shuffled along the sidewalk to the proper trail entrance as another bout of lightening and thunder unfurled over our heads.

We walked along the trail in the silence that only falling snow can create,
under formerly bare branches now thickly slathered with an icing of heavy, sticky snow.
We turned a corner to head further into the woods and came upon a clearing guarded by a 30 foot fir tree so laden with snow it was more white than green.
I paused before passing its branches and braced for the other side of the wardrobe,
we were entering Narnia.

Past the fir tree,
we couldn't see the apartment buildings any more,
there were no boards to study for,
no one else,
no footprints,
no signs of civilization.

Only snow and quiet and trees robed like angels looking down on us.
We followed the trail alongside a creek until we spotted a huge, untouched clearing on the otherside.
I stepped off the trail to make my way there and instantly sunk to my thigh.
I looked to the boy from Maine,
"It'll be like that all the way across."

I took another step, exhilarated at breaking fresh snow,
at stepping off the trail,
at snow falling into my boots,
covering my sweatpants,
and at stomping clumsily all the way to the creek.

We jumped across it, worked our way a little ways into the clearing,
and then sank straight down,
forming thrones out of the snow.

We sat breathing in the cold air with 12 gigantic, apostolic fir trees standing guard around the edge of the clearing and a few stars blinking down at us through the breaking clouds.
The night was glowing with an ambient light reflecting off the snow and sparkling against all the haze shuffling through the air.

I had forgotten about spiritual moments in the boards hustle.
But this one settled down nicely, resting in my hair and on my shoulders in the form of snowflakes.
And I breathed.

As we made our way back out, I nodded to the original fir tree keeping watch over this other world and thanked it for the brief respite.

This time, instead of taking the sidewalk, we charged up the hill in Matt's back yard, laughing and huffing our way through the thigh deep snow,
and as we crested the hill into his driveway,
this world suddenly felt like the foreign one.

The woods are lovely, dark, and deep, But I have promises to keep, And miles to go before I sleep, And miles to go before I sleep.
-Robert Frost

Saturday, February 5, 2011

What DID happen in January...

I rang in the New Year with my dear friend Michael at his cabin up in North Georgia.
They do not sell alcohol in the town of Cleveland, GA. So we bought Welch's Sparkling Grape Juice. (and might have added gin to it...try it, it tastes like honeysuckle!)

Michael's cabin is named Cherrylog and is a pretty sweet place...wood stove for heat, trout in the river behind it, no internet, no tv, no distractions.
It was the perfect way to end out in front of the fire, long talks with an amazing friend, reflecting on the year, running wild through the woods, reading, and sleeping. It was the first time in a long time I set aside 2 whole days to only do exactly what I wanted to do. If that isn't luxury, I don't know what is.

Then, when I got back to Vermont, what should I find but my license plate that was stolen in OCTOBER, wrapped in a red ribbon and placed on the windshield of my car.
I guess whoever ripped it off my car while it was in my driveway developed a holiday conscience and returned it.
Complete with a red ribbon.
I had just gotten a new one when I was home for the holidays.
So now I have a GA license plate to put on my wall.
Merry Christmas indeed!

My friend Mayo hosted a clothing swap for the med school ladies.
This was my first and the best idea ever.
Everyone brings all the clothes they don't want and you drink wine and trade clothes!
Not only do you get sweet free new duds,
but it's just as exciting when your friends choose your clothes to give a second life to.

Plus we brought so many clothes, Mayo's house was like a legit boutique.

Over MLK weekend, the girls decided to head down to Mayo's family home in southern Vermont for a study retreat.
(In case I haven't told you, we're in full on boards study mode. The boards exam is where they test you on absolutely everything you've learned in the last year and half in an awesome 8 hour test. I'm taking mine February 18th. Should be fun.)
We made awesome pizzas.

Went in the hot tub surrounded by snow banks.
Annie: "Wait, is it cold to be in a hot tub in the snow?"
Me: "No, you just don't get your hair wet, and it's fine."
Annie: "Wait, how do you not get your hair wet? Do you put a towel on your head?"
Me: "No, you just don't put your head under the water, Annie....."

So Annie got us towels (washclothes) to put on our heads. We each provided the guns individually.
We went cross country skiing and snowshoeing in the morning right out her front door.

Oh, and we studied too....

Check out the photo series behind Mayo. Her dad is a photographer and takes amazing photos of Vermont landscapes. Her parents own a gallery, The Village Green Gallery, together, which features his work and other Vermont artists. Pretty awesome. I heart VT.

Oh and they have horses too. So we played with the horses. Have I mentioned I love Vermont?

I also did my part this month to perpetuate cultural stereotypes.

(Love you Annie!)

On a serious note, Annie and I also carried out our Schweitzer Fellowship community project, which involved creating Community Maternal Health workers for the Somali-Bantu refugee population in Burlington.
It was so, so great.
We met with two women who already work in the community association's office and went over topics like birth control, delivery options, pre-natal care, newborn care, etc.
We made sure they had all the information about the American system.
We cleared up some questions for them, like "why don't women get prostate cancer?".
And we learned a lot from them in the process, like how a community can really do a great job of supporting new mothers.
We made them some reference sheets then called together a larger group of women, introduced them as community health workers and let them answer questions!
It was great.

We also in the meantime got dominated by one of their adorable 6 month old babies.
(Don't worry, we didn't presume to give them parenting advice. We know our limits.)

We also took an afternoon off of intense sciencing (it's a word) and got our creative on to make Paper Plate awards for our class. I just had to share, because they turned out so fun. And it took us 5 hours. So I feel like I need to give them all the limelight I can.

Btdubs, turns out I can't draw. So none these are ones I drew because I wanted to display the cute ones.

Then, a whirlwind week later, we presented the public health projects we'd been working on all fall in a Poster Session, finished up the small group sessions we'd been having for our last class Convergence, and took our last test of the Foundations (classroom based) part of medical school.
We did it.
I was pretty certain, many times (ok like every other day), that this day would never come.
I really wasn't sure I would make it.
Let's just say, the classroom style of medical learning and I didn't exactly see eye-to-eye.
I'm allergic to powerpoint.
Senseless memorization makes me cross-eyed.
And 6 hours of lecture instantly gives me ADD.

But somehow or another (due in large part to my friends), I made it.
And it was a deep, deep relief.

So, since it was the end of Foundations.
And two of my friends' birthdays.
We took the night off (remember that pesky boards exam we're studying for?) for one hell of a celebration.

We celebrated one birthday with sushi.

And the other with an 80's cover band.

We took lots of photos with great art direction.
("You're molding clay!")
(I think this was the tail end of "You're hunting with your bare hands!")
We air-guitared. And grooved. And made the band play 3 encores.

The birthday boy wore my favorite tshirt ever.

And I got to celebrate with some of my favorite people.
There was also some skiing, some yoga, dinners with friends, and other fun sprinkled in there.
So, like I said, as far as January's was pretty stellar.

Hope yours was too!