Saturday, October 31, 2009


The day has begun on a refreshingly caffeinated note. I broke into my splurge of ground Lavazza espresso. The java didn't fail me. It was delicious and gave me the appropriate kick in the pants to start to study the male reproductive tract haha. The taste and smell of the coffee whisked me back to the secluded squares and quaint museum cafes of Europe. I think of them fondly and power on through my day of studying.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Looking for Beauty

Currently my days are full of facts, figures and memorization. Like most other medical students I assume, I find it hard to remain positive and realize there is more than the book or page of notes in front of me. I just reread the commencement address from my brother's high school graduation this June given by a wise and thoughtful teacher at our alma mater. In his speech he urges the graduates to be ready for beauty which may confront them suddenly and in the most quotidian manner. These days I often become frustrated if I am struggling to understand a concept or spending an evening not studying.
I think it is vitally important for my psychological well-being and my success as a medical student and as a doctor to keep my perspective. I must remember what I am working towards and the profound impact my knowledge will have on other lives. Sure studying and cramming facts into my head efficiently and effectively is my main goal even though it may seem sacrificial. And being on an island thousands of miles from my friends and family may seem isolationist. Yet, I must realize that there are other important elements in my life and that they will be preserved when I resurface during breaks and when I get back to the States after sixth term. On the other hand, it is crucial that I don't think too far ahead or spend too much time lamenting the good old days. Staying focused on the here and now is imperative for my studies. I must take each day as it comes and be ready for whatever beauty comes my way. Beauty comes in many forms and I must appreciate all of them and relish the diverse beauty each day. Reaching out to a friend, the ebb and flow of the tides, the sound of pouring rain and the intricacies of the human body. These things which I might ignore as commonplace are anything but inane. There are the elements of my life and they beg admiration. Taking time each day to reflect on what is uniquely beautiful will surely make each day worth experiencing in this otherwise rote existence.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Productive Day

I feel like today was my first real day on the island. I woke up ready for a full day after a few beers at Bananas last night. Housekeeping woke us up knocking on the door at 8:30 am; nevertheless, it was fortuitous as the nice lady cleaned our place up and helped us get rid of some of the bug carcasses from last night. I made a quick breakfast and headed to pick up my orientation packet. Got that and headed to the masses lined up for registration. By the time I had waited 30-45 mins in a helter-skelter line and got to the front they didn't have my photo-ID card printed and ready for me. I was not too irked as there had been some confusion with the picture I had sent ahead of time by email, so I was half expecting a hiccup. I went down one floor and stood in the line at IT, only to realize (with the help of some sweaty guy from FL) that we really had to be in the next office over, where there was no line- yay for wasting another half hour. Anyway, I got a new ID, unfortunately they had to take a picture on the spot, and I look like a real goober with my island short hair. oh well. Went back upstairs, bypassed all the poor schmoes waiting in line and got my ID validated, got my mailbox combo/instructions and with that I was officially registered as a medical student. I then went out and stood in the hot sun waiting for a SIM card for my old cell phone. That was successful too, but as I was schvitzing waiting in the next line to "purchase double minutes" from Digicel, it was announced that they had "run out of minutes" for the day and that we should come back tomorrow....WOW didn't know you could run out of something like minutes, but I guess that's par for the island.
Anyway, I went back to my room to escape the heat and make some lunch. I headed back out to and got my traveler's checks validated from the Chancellery, got my first (of three) Hep B vaccines, tried my mailbox, and inquired about book distribution which I found wouldn't occur for First Termers until tomorrow. I really felt I was knocking things off, I love to feel on top of things.
I decided to hop the bus to Spiceland mall near Grand Anse to get some supplies to hang my pictures. I also ran into IGA and got some eggs and butter for breakfast tomorrow, as I plan on going on a tour of Saint George's (the capital city) that leaves from campus at 9am!
On my way out of IGA I ran into some dude who looked like he was struggling with all his bags and we both missed the bus. I offered to help him with his purchases and we began to talk. He was starting Term 2 and was really friendly and nice (not to mention he was from Boston and a Sox fan). I helped him back to his dorm (in the luxurious SD6, the newest building on campus). The dorm was so nice and I hope to meet him and his roommates again, they were cool dudes.
Hung my pictures and the room looks much nicer. Tried a burger from Sugar Shack, it was ok, nothing special.
Drinking a caribe with lime now, and just met some cool dude from England who randomly came
It's all good for now.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


Email me if you want all ten pics. This is where I will be eating, sleeping, studying and becoming a doctor. Pics of campus to follow after the rain abates.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Med School Day 1

As we touched down through the hot, sticky air piercing the sun rise and I glimpsed the placid sea and swaying palms I knew I had migrated to a new home to begin a new journey. The trip to GND was fairly uneventful. My bags both arrived in one piece even though my second bag was marked "standby" and even though they threatened to make me check my second piece of carry-on luggage. I managed a few hours of neck-wrenching-head-bobbing sleep and before I knew it I was waiting in the customs line to declare my laptop. Lucky for me I was near the head of the line; a girl I met later on campus, who ironically was from Breckenridge, CO, said she waited two hours. Anyway, I paid my 68 US dollars and proceeded to hop in a taxi for SGU. Little did I know I was supposed to make it clear I was a new student and I would of gotten my housing assignment from someone and been put in a free cab, but instead I paid the cheap fair and asked the security guy at the gate which dorm was mine.
It all worked out. I got to my building and sure enough my room is on the ground floor so I didn't have to schlep my bags up the steps. Unfortunately we don't have an ocean view, but maybe that is for the best once classes begin...
I did a bit of unpacking and proceeded to PTFO on the bare mattress for 2 hours, Tommy did the same. We then went to find something to eat for breakfast in the student center and wandered around until we got down to the little beach where we stuck our feet into the Atlantic Ocean! There we met a girl who had also been on our flight and was from CO, wow what a coincidence!
I came back and unpacked completely and showered. I felt a bit better. Got some lunch, a wrap, it was ehh (I really hope there are more food options/I need to take a trip to the grocery store tomorrow). I am back on my bed resting, traveling/no sleep=tired Blaine. I am sure there will be more excitement later today/tonight.
It is safe to say that despite appearances I am not in fact on a beach vacation, but rather, along with around 3,000 other students on camps, striving to move ahead in my journey to become a physician. I can't wait. I have a burning feeling in my stomach that is a mix of excitement and a bit of nerves (might also be the lettuce from the wrap). After years of hoping, wishing, waiting, I have finely begun on the road to M.D.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Berlin then Prague

Spent the last 2+ days in Berlin. It was very interesting. I can't say that the city has the asthetic charm as other European cities, due mostly to the destruction of allied bombing in WWII and the beautiful socialist architecture of the DDR behind the iron curtain. Nevertheless, behind the smothering of graffetti and the weirdos that we've seen on the streets and in the train (they do love their raggedy dogs, piercings, funny hair and tattered clothing), Berlin has been a full dose of European history. From the Prussian kings to the re-establishment of the Reichstag the modern architecture blended with the traces of Baroque buildings and centuries old food and culture has been fascinating. From the weinerschnitzel and pilsner to the tree lined KuDam boulevard Berlin has been very unique. I am not sure where you could have sausage and sourkraut for lunch and Vietnamese noodles for dinner and ride to the top of a communist-era tv tower in East Germany and walk through a private collection museum of Picasso and Matisse paintings all in one day. Berlin is truly an amalgamation of cultures and an East meets West. It is a great jumping of point for our segway into Eastern Europe. We take the train tomorrow to Prague and end our travels in Budapest. Look forward to keeping you up-to-date from there. I am looking out my hotel window before bed and eyeing the illuminated ruins of the Kaiser Wilhelm chuch bombed and left in ruins after WWII to show the destruction of war. Very haunting.

Hope everyone is well,