This year wasn't about seeing new countries or starting new careers, but it was about stamina, balance, and countless exciting, sweet, and wonderful moments. Moments that are, without question, worth writing down.
1. Spring Break in San Francisco!
|dukies in tahoe|
|dancing and laughing at a book launch party|
I know. Spring Break does not seem like a logical place to begin a Year in Review List, especially a list with 13 items! However-- January, February, and the first couple weeks of March weren't really made of moments conducive to photos or lists. I spent a lot of time in the library and in the anatomy lab. I learned a lot. I started figuring out how the human body works. I absolutely loved it, and learned so much-- but a picture of my flashcard collection isn't super exciting.
However! Spring Break was exciting. I headed out to San Francisco, where Ben and I met up with Duke friends at Squaw Valley for some great spring skiing. We also hiked to the beautiful Alamer Falls and got spiffied up for a book launch party. After 2.5 months of intense learning, it made for a refreshing and rejuvenating break.
2. Cadaver Ball (aka, Anatomy is Over!)
|(yes, I did wear my high school prom dress....)|
3. Janelle's Wedding
|the girls near the ceremony pavilion. with scenery like this, who needs decorations?|
|the lodge where the reception was held.|
In a lot of ways, Janelle's wedding sums up 2013. When I first booked my ticket, I was really nervous-- I was so excited about spending a weekend with some of my best Duke girlfriends, but I was also really worried about missing a day of classes and a full weekend of studying. However, it worked out. Knowing the wedding was coming motivated me to study harder than ever so that when I finally touched down in Colorado, I was able to keep my books (mostly) packed away and just relax. Janelle got married in Estes Park, Colorado, right outside of Rocky Mountain National Park. We hiked, we played in the snow, we saw caribou, we danced, and we had late-night heart-to-hearts, and we laughed so hard I thought I would cry. It was perfect, and taught me that having balance isn't only possible-- it's necessary.
4. The Derby Half Marathon
|this is not the derby half. I didn't take pictures at the derby half.|
this is a random 5k I did over the summer where we all wore neon and ran through
blacklights. It didn't make the top-13 list, but I needed a picture, so here it is!
Round two! To be honest, I really wasn't sure about running the Derby Half this year. I loved the race last year, and wanted to do it again, but wasn't sure how to balance half marathon training with studying (not to mention, another weekend away fro the library!). I didn't end up training as much as I would have liked, and my time wasn't anything to write home about, but I did it, and I had fun. This was my first race since the 2012 Derby Half, and it also reminded me how much I love long distance running-- prompting me to make running a more regular part of my daily routine.
5. Review is Published!
Another less-than-photogenic memory: Throughout 2012, I put together a review on how bronchoalveolar lavage, a clinical technique, could be used to evaluate chronic lung transplant rejection. In many ways, this little review was my baby, and I spent many, many, many evenings at my desk, reading articles, making charts, and writing. It was an amazing experience (and hopefully one I'll repeat!), and finally seeing it in print was just the icing on the cake.
|lighthouse at the tip of the island|
|biking with dad.|
Between first and second year, we got almost a full month of vacation-- not quite enough time to pursue anything too serious (research, a job, etc), but definitely enough time to relax and travel. My first week of vacation was spent on Sanibel Island with my parents. We went on walks, we rode bikes, we read novels, we ate more key lime pie than I should probably admit, and we simply relaxed and enjoyed each other's company. It was, in a word, lovely.
7. San Diego
|torrey pines state park|
|late afternoon wine tasting in the sunshine|
|SAN DIEGO ZOO!|
|sunset over the pacific! so much love :)|
I flew directly from Sanibel to San Francisco to spend the remaining three weeks of break with Ben. Having spend the last year and a half being long distance, it was absolutely wonderful to have a bit more time together. Although Ben still had to work during this month, we did set aside some time for two weekend trips. Our first trip was to San Diego to visit my college roommate, Brittany. I LOVED SD. We explored state parks, we visited the sea lions at La Jolla cove, we went to the zoo, we explored Old Town, we ate so much good Mexican food, and we had the best time catching up while exploring an honestly awesome city.
|not a screen screen! it's yosemite valley!|
|beautiful beautiful beautiful. in the distance, you can see vernal and nevada|
falls, where we hiked the day before this was taken.
The summer before Ben and I started dating, Ben was working in San Jose. I was in Switzerland at the time, so Ben and I sent each other lots of postcards from our various summer adventures. At some point during that summer, Ben went to Yosemite, and sent me several postcards. I can still clearly remember sitting at my desk, looking at the pictures, reading his descriptions, and being absolutely amazed. I knew I had to add Yosemite to my "to visit!" list.
Since Ben moved back out to the Bay Area in 2012, we started talking about making a trip to Yosemite together, and this summer, the logistics finally made sense. We weren't able to get Half Dome permits, but we did explore the valley floor, hike the Mist Trail, see the giant red woods, see a wild Coyote (!!), and hike into the eastern portion of the park to Tenaya lake. It was easily one of my favorite (may even the favorite?) trip of 2013, and I am so glad that Ben and I got to experience the park together!
9. AAFP Conference: Kansas City
|vandy represented at the aafp conference.|
Near the end of my first year, one of my third-year friends told me I should apply for a grant to attend the American Association of Family Medicine Conference. I wasn't sure if I was going into family medicine (I'm keeping a very open ming about my future plans!) but she said it was a great learning opportunity. The conference had many med student-focused sessions and covered everything from "What is Family Medicine?" to "Overview of Chest X-rays". Seven Vandy students ended up going, and we had a great time learning more medicine and exploring the surprisingly fun Kansas City.
10. Five Year Anniversary: Great Smoky Mountain National Park.
|biking the perimeter of cades cove. while biking, we|
saw a wild black bear!
Every year, on our "dating anniversary," Ben and I go on an adventure. Our first year, we climbed Pilot Mountain. Our second year, we became Swiss Expats together (second year kind of wins, no?). Our third year, we went zip-lining. Our fourth year, we went white water rafting. And out fifth year, we went to Great Smoky Mountains National Park!
Even with good balance and time management, it can still be hard to leave for a weekend during med school. Lucky for us, however, our fifth anniversary fell on my week-long fall break. We ventured to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, where we climbed Mount Le Count (a "southern six-er"), biked through Cade's Cove, saw black bear cubs in the wild, and simply relaxed by the fire.
11. Music City Half Marathon
|sweaty but happy|
In April 2013, the Derby Half re-sparked my love for long distance running. After my second year started, I was very intentional about making time for regular running-- including my beloved Saturday morning long runs. I didn't really follow a training plan or intend to get faster, but regular running in the Tennessee hills did great things for my speed. In October, I ran the Music City Half Marathon with my Dad. The course itself was a little dull (the first two miles were literally by a recycling plant and a junk yard!) but Dad and I set a fast pace and stuck to it. The result? 1:55 and a new half marathon PR! I beat my old Geneva record by almost two minutes and felt happy and strong while doing it. Now I just have to break 1:50....:)
12. Nashville Half Marathon
|lucy, isa, brittany, and me-- a fantastic race with fantastic company!|
13. Thanksgiving in Houston
|with my precious baby neice|
Although I usually head back to Kentucky for holidays, this year my parents and I flew to Houston to spend Thanksgiving with my sister, brother-in-law, and two nephews, and niece. I don't get to see them nearly enough, and it was absolutely wonderful to spend three solid days eating, playing games, and simply catching up. So, so, so thankful.