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30th January 2006

Kenya continued…

Hi Everybody!

First of all, thank you, thank you, thank you for all of your congratulations! They made me smile. I was glad to have a few of you express regret that I was moving across the country—otherwise, I would have thought that you were just overjoyed to get rid of me! To answer a few of the questions, yes, I did want to go to Milwaukee, it was my first choice (and I was overjoyed to find out that I was theirs), they are a great program, and as nervous as I am to leave, I don’t regret for one minute ranking them first. It’s going to be a good thing for me.

I realized this weekend, that while I have been emailing and updating in terms of my match stuff, I really haven’t written about being in Kenya for a while. Part of that’s due to the fact that I came down with the “Nature’s revenge” and spent much of last week, feeling like I couldn’t sit for long periods to even email. But Cipro is magic and I’m doing much better now.

Cut to be nice

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26th January 2006

Match Results

For better or for worse…

I have been accepted at the Medical College of Wisconsin in the Medicine/Neurology combination program. I’ll be spending the next five years in Milwaukee, starting in late June.


I did start to cry. Luckily the room was empty, so there wasn’t too much embarassment. I am excited and a little stunned and nervous and worried and homesick and a million other emotions. It’s going to take me a while to process everything and really come to terms, but for now, I’m happy.

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26th January 2006

the long wait

I find out my match results in about two and a half hours.

That is, if the internet connection stays up. It’s been extremely finicky today.

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23rd January 2006

I’m ready to go home

My day can be summed up in one phrase: “a mouse ran by my feet this afternoon.”

Those of you who know me know my overwhelming fear and loathing and disgust of mice. I’m completely unable to deal with them – I can’t help the shriek and jumping to higher ground. I can’t. It’s worse if I’m feeling exposed in some way – and today, I was wearing a knee-length skirt and shoes that were open in the back. I know it’s irrational and they can’t hurt me, but I was right behind my mother when she stepped on a mouse and I can still remember the sound that it made. And I’m still haunted from reading “The Long Winter” by Laura Ingalls Wilder and reading how Pa woke up from a dream of going to a barber and found a mouse chewing off his hair. *shudder*

The thought of going back to the hospital tomorrow … the day after … three weeks … knowing that not only do I have to deal with the smell (which has gotten exponentially worse since the first day), but I have to worry about the scurrying gray bringers of plague, has seriously made me consider finding some horrible disease to contract so I don’t have to go in.


The day had started out well, with the chance to round with the neurology resident and the cool consults she had. I was excited.

Man, ignorance is bliss.

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20th January 2006

Jambo! That’s Swahili for hi!

It’s hard to believe that I’ve only been gone a week—I feel like I’ve been gone for months. There’ve been some moments of stress—like discovering that my Rank List for the Neuro match had not been delivered to where it was supposed to go and that I only had a few hours to somehow get a copy of it before the deadline. I’m kinda worried about what’s going to go wrong on Match Day, since everything else has. Luckily, with the time differences, there’s some wiggle room so I can figure things out, but ugh. The resident that I’m working with is from Indiana and she’s applying for fellowship in Pulm/Critical care and is having a disaster as well—apparently they’ve all sent invitations to interview through the mail, and she has her mail forwarded to come here, so that by the time she’ll get the letters, the interview dates will be filled. She also said that she had a lot of problems with the match for residency, where they mixed up her rank list order (and wouldn’t let her change it), and she ended up at Indiana, when she really wanted to go to North Carolina. *shudders* I can’t imagine going through something like that, but she seems pretty happy in Indiana, so I guess it worked out well. She’s going to be a chief there next year, so if I do end up going there, I’ll know somebody.

African experiences, week 1, part 2

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17th January 2006

i never learn

I honestly need to stop saying that “such and such was the worst day of my life” because invaribly, something will come up that will completely and thoroughly dethrone the title. Today would be one horribly example.

I discovered today–when it struck me that today was the deadline for my rank link and it might be a good idea to confirm that the SF Match had received the packet mailed last week (overnight of course)–that the address provided to send the Rank List to, was no longer accurate. And my rank list is sitting in some unknown place in San Francisco waiting for “somebody” to pick it up.

In other words, on Match Day (Jan 26th) when everybody else finds out they’re going to the place of their dreams, I would be SOL and without a place to be next year.

I’ve faxed my rank list (thank goodness I thought to bring it with me!) to SFMatch, call my sister to verify where I sent it, called my dad and had him call SFMatch (he only got voice mail with the promise that they’d return the call at “their earliest convience”. Still haven’t heard a word from them), faxed a copy of my match list to my dad and had him fax it (in case it didn’t go through because I’m international), emailed them myself high priority, emailed my student affairs office who also emailed and called them, emailed my programs who very promptly wrote back with numbers (alas the same ones that I had) and I can’t think what else. I’ve been on the computer for hours (since about 3 in the afternoon here), trying to fix things, and waiting to hear from somebody who knows anything. There’s nothing else that I can do now. The deadline is in one hour. Either they got it, or I’m still SOL.

This has just been such a nightmarish process, the entire application thing. I thought that everything went wrong when I was applying for med school, but that was just a transcript that wasn’t declared official the first time, and a letter that arrived a little late. It’s been nothing like the constant mess that this has been. If I didn’t know that I really really wanted to do this and that it was the right decision for me, I would so give up. Because, right now, it does not feel like it’s worth the stress and heartache and continual worry.

I’m really irate at the Matching Program right now for not having any kind of accessible contact information in case something goes wrong, and for providing the wrong address in the first place. I did not invent that address–I distinctly remember printing off the address sheet and writing the address out in the post office, exactly as they had it. But of course, once (if) I hear from them, it will be labeled as my fault for not submitting the list earlier.

I just didn’t need this.

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17th January 2006

The Keyna Experience: The Early Days

(copied from email. It’s easier that way)

Hi everybody!

Well, I made it safe and sound to Africa, with only a mild (ha!) case of air sickness to spoil the trip. Of course, I forgot quite a few essentials—medical tools (I really could use my reflex hammer. And my pin light), medical books, gloves, a watch and the Wireless Access Card for the 15 pounds laptop that I lugged all over 4 international airports. So now, I have a computer and no way to hook it up to the internet — the precise reason that I brought it. Luckily, there are some (albeit incredibly slow) desktops provided here, I just have to compete for them. It’s not going to make match day fun (but that whole experience is just not fun period), but I guess I’ll figure it out. And when Rachel’s husband comes in ten or so days, he’s willing to bring the card. So, Karin, if you could look in the green computer bag and see if there happens to be a small card, I’d greatly appreciate it. If not, dad, the computer’s a Compaq Presario 2100. I have no idea how old it is. If there’s more information that you need to see if you have a card that works, let me know.

So I’m typing this out on the internet-less computer, with the hopes to transfer it to the desktop (I did remember to bring my memory stick! Yay for me!), and as it takes a while, I’m making this a group email to everybody. I promise individual emails soon — especially if I get emails back (hint, hint).

It’s hard to believe that I’m halfway across the country. Actually, it’s not. There are some very obvious differences — the first being that it’s probably 70 degrees and sunny and there’s blossoms on all of the trees!

We arrived in Nairobi on Saturday night and all except for our attending’s, luggage managed to make it with us (not to worry, his came the next morning). We spent the night in a very posh hotel — except for the fact that the beds were very hard and the power flickered (while I was 7 stories up in the air, trapped in the elevator, I might add) and the place had 13 feet gates around it with guards, and the ZEBRAS in the field across from the hotel, one might have thought Dorothy was still in Kansas.

More African experiences

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15th January 2006

Dear diary,

Today, I kissed a giraffe. I think I’m in love.

Have arrived safely in Africa. Got horribly airsick–the details of which I will spare you–but other than that, everything’s been great. Now, I need to get to bed, because I’m surrounded by mosquitos and I don’t want to get malaria. Or African sleeping sickness. Will update with details (and pictures of my new lover Daisy!) later.

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13th January 2006

Bon Voyage!

Well, folks… This is it. The final post. The last hooray.

Or whatever. 🙂

I’ll be leaving my house in 2 hours 35 minutes to go to the airport. As you can see, I’m still up, going through the final things. I’ve already “lost” my passport, the copy of my passport, my iPod charger and my permethrin sprayed socks tonight–all were found right under my nose. I’ll probably repack one more time and then shower and maybe catch an hour of sleep.

I’m nervous, of course. Most of my fantasies have involved either falling asleep right now and missing my flight, forgetting something horribly important, or somehow getting robbed in the Amsterdam lay over. I’m sure I’ll relax once I get there.

claidheamhmor, melancthe, and shirerain–I know we have a few more details about the South Africa trip to iron out, but I will be reachable by email, so we can continue to talk about it. 🙂

Michelle, I got your wonderful, lovely email and it made me cry. In a good way. I’ll write back as soon as I get a chance.

My email address is jcd1013@yahoo.com or jcd1013@gmail.com. Feel free (hint, hint) to write and tell me all the sordid (or dull–I like both!) details of your lives!

So long, folks!

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10th January 2006

Mindless rambling

I cut my hair today and nobody even noticed. Not even Chris, the one person in my life who notices if I’m wearing new shoes.

Mom’s verdict: “Well, it’s like you usually do your hair.”

But it’s shorter (almost 3 inches, people!) and fluffy! I never have fluffy, upturned hair! *sigh* I so wanted to be admired, but no such luck.

Had my last “What to Expect in Kenya” meeting, where basically everybody freaked out because plans were being made without everybody’s knowledge and nobody knew how we were getting from Nairobi to Eldoret, or where we were staying in Nairobi, or how we were getting to where we were staying if we ever found out where (the circular arguments went on for quite some time). Right now, I’m just going with the flow and letting everybody else figure those details out, because it’s the one thing that I have no control over and it won’t just be me. (On the other hand, I’m starting to freak out that I haven’t gotten hostel arrangements yet for Amsterdam, because then it is going to be Just Me and haven’t never been to Europe before, I’m going to be quite clueless. But I have no idea how the bus system works and where I should be looking for housing options.) I did finally manage to get an appointment to get my shots–Wednesday afternoon, so that’s taken care of. And I got sunscreen, lotion and travel books, found my passport, plane tickets and Match list barcode sticker (all had been lost in my room), selected the final pictures for my yearbook page (including getting a new photo of Chris and me with my fluffy hair), so all in all it has been a productive day. I’m trying not to even think about the long list of stuff that still needs to be done.

And Chris bought me this awesome bag that’s basically one long strip of cloth that you zip to make a bag. Plus it has a really long strap, so I can sling it across my shoulders, just the way I like. My Guatemala bag that I used forever (it was bright yellow and brown, and yes I wore it with everything. I’ve been told that I have no fashion sense) was retired and I was so needing a tote bag, since I can’t really bring my “pickpocket-me-please!” purse. It just tickled me that he knew exactly what I needed. *hugs the Chris*

I’ve been posting a lot more frequently, now that I have a “following” with expectations that I update. I’m not sure if it’s a good thing. For example, the above? Would have been deleted and not have wasted anyone’s time.

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9th January 2006

Shakespeare says it best.

This was one of my favorite quotes in college. I rediscovered it tonight.

Helena, a young physician (LOL), has been pleading her love for Bertram who is leaving the city. His mother overhears her and confronts her about her feelings. I used to have this memorized:

Then, I confess,
Here on my knee, before high heaven and you,
That before you, and next unto high heaven,
I love your son.
My friends were poor, but honest; so’s my love:
Be not offended; for it hurts not him
That he is loved of me: I follow him not
By any token of presumptuous suit;
Nor would I have him till I do deserve him;
Yet never know how that desert should be.
I know I love in vain, strive against hope;
Yet in this captious and intenible sieve
I still pour in the waters of my love
And lack not to lose still: thus, Indian-like,
Religious in mine error, I adore
The sun, that looks upon his worshipper,
But knows of him no more.

~All’s Well That Ends Well~

I don’t think it takes much analysis to understand why I love it so much. 🙂

Unrelated religious stuff, mostly for me

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7th January 2006


I’m waiting for some random person who’s fixing his car next door to finish. He asked to plug in his extension cord and would only be a few minutes. Fine, but that was an hour ago, and um, I can’t shower or anything until he’s done.

So, instead, you all get to entertain me! Snagged from everybody:
Tell me a fandom you know I know of and I’ll tell you:

01. The first character I first fell in love with:
02. The character I never expected to love as much as I do now:
03. The character everyone else loves that I don’t:
04. The character I love that everyone else hates:
05. The character I used to love but don’t any longer:
06. The character I would shag anytime:
07. The character I’d want to be like:
08. The character I’d slap:
09. A pairing that I love:
10. A pairing that I despise:

Believe me, there are TONS of fandoms that I could answer. And I won’t even back away blushing from the shagging question like I normally do. Ask away! Ask numerous times!

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7th January 2006

Must be dreaming

Six days. In six days (less really), I’ll be flying to Kenya. I can’t believe it is coming so soon. I have so much that I have to do to get ready. All that stuff that I said here that I needed to do? Haven’t done yet. I haven’t even gotten my immunizations done yet (I’ve been dreading more shots. I can do just about everything else – pap smears, blood draws, whatever – but I dread shots. My muscles contract instantly when they inject the fluid and my arm aches for days. Ugh), but those should be done shortly. Luckily I don’t need series shots or anything, so I could theoretically get them done on Thursday, but I don’t like the idea of procrastinating that much! I have the next week off to get everything done, and I hope to borrow a lot of stuff from World-Travelling Guru Chris, so it should all get done.

My computer is still dead. I’m unable to get it to power up to more than a black screen now. But, by a bizarre, unexpected move, I do have a laptop to take to Kenya. I have a class that I have to take, and because I’m going to be in Kenya for the start of it, I had to go to a special orientation yesterday. I sympathized with the director over his computer difficulties, told him of my own, and somehow walked out with an old laptop that was used once upon a time in the course to take with me to Kenya. It’s slower, but it has wireless internet access, so I think I’m set.

I do have news, though. I got an email, a Very Important Email. Cut to be kind

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7th January 2006

Protected: The African Safari

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4th January 2006

Help needed…

My laptop died tonight. All of a sudden, it turned a whitish gray with blue vertical lines running all the way across. I restarted it, the screen came back okay, but the instant I touched it the screen died again. And then I couldn’t restart it. I’ve played with it all night, I think there’s something wrong with either the motherboard or some other connections from the case to the computer, because it seems that it’s the movement that causing the screen and then the computer to go wonky. It was pretty windy last night, and I did have it plugged it to charge and I’m afraid that it got hit by a power surge. Tay (fileg), have you or Jim experienced anything like this with your laptops? Advice on where I might first try to tackle the problem. I tried resetting the parameter RAM, and I was able to start the computer after that, but it didn’t last long.

I hope I can get it figured out soon. I was really hoping to take it with me to Kenya, so I could keep in touch, and if it’s having problems…. Well, I leave in 10 days. (pauses a moment to freak out that it’s only ten days) I don’t know what I’m going to be able to get done.

The other favor. In addition to trip planning, match list planning, and teaching, I’ve been informed that the yearbook committee needs our pictures and layouts by the 10th of this month. I’m having a hard time coming up with pictures (it’d probably be too weird to put the one of me in the wedding dress, right? *sigh* but I looked so pretty…), but I’ve got a few ideas. I’m getting new pictures of Chris and me to go into it (yay, for having a digital camera!), and I’ll put one of me in Guatemala and probably one of the black and white ones I showed you all earlier, my family, etc. It should be okay. Although I think the last picture of my family was taken during my college graduation…

Anyway, my problem is actually the text portion. It’s a rather large area, and I have no idea how to fill it. That’s where you come in. I need quotes–funny, inspiration, friendly, witty, something, and ideas of what I could write without sounding too cheesy. Something that in years to come, people will look at the yearbook and think fondly of me. Any ideas? Bueller?

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3rd January 2006


The Professor!

*raises mug of apple cider*


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3rd January 2006

Happy New Year’s Day After After … er, bother that, Happy January!

I didn’t do a “last day of the year” or “year in review” post like I had intended. But then I haven’t sent out my Christmas cards yet, and I still plan on doing that. Maybe for Human Rights Day or Valentine’s Day (if you want a Christmas card for a random holiday, drop me an email at jcd1013@yahoo.com and I’ll send one to you…eventually). BTW, while I’m actually remembering AND sitting in front of my computer, thanks so much for all of the cards, guys! They really brightened up my dreary mailbox.

My New Year’s was really nice and mellow. It was down-pouring here all night, which dampened any desire for revelry. Instead, I went over to Liz’s with other friends and we all drank hot chocolate and cider, watched X-Men, and put puzzles together. A pair of our friends has this Renoir painting that is one of the most challenging puzzles I’ve ever done. After 3 hours of work, we maybe had put together 50 pieces. But it shall not conquer!

I’ve started teaching this week. Yep, you read right! I’m teaching 1st year medical students how to do a physical exam and conduct a patient interview. I love it. One of the first things that I had decided, long before choosing a specialty, was that I wanted to stay in academics and have the chance to teach medical students. It’s rather awe-inspiring to teach my 6 first years and realized that that was me, just three years ago. I often feel like I know nothing now; especially after 9 draining hours of examinations–but I’ve learned an incredible amount in medical school. I know for example, the exact format of the interview (chief complaint, history of present illness, past medical history, medications, allergies, family history, social history, review of systems), without even trying. I know what questions to ask to understand recent headaches, diarrhea, diabetes, etc. I know where to place my stethoscope and what I’m listening for. You don’t want me to be your doctor, but it’s a process and I’m not as standstill as I thought.

Maybe there is a chance that someday, I will be a real doctor. 🙂

I submit my Match list sometime in the next 7 days for residency, which has me completely worried and stressed out. Have I told you all about The Match (to be said in a voice of foreboding doom) yet? Basically, this is how my future place of residence and my job is determined. I’ve interviewed at all of the various schools, and now, I decide which schools I would want to go to. I submit a list (paper, because neurology seems completely clueless about technology), with my choices ranked. The schools submit their list, with all of the people that they would want as residents ranked and wherever the highest choice matches, that’s where I go. On January 26th, I will know where I will be spending the next 5 years of my life. Four tiny weeks away. I’m trying not to think about it.

In the meantime, I have to sort through all of my conflicting feelings and old and mushy impressions of the different schools to figure out my preferences. It’s a lot of pressure and I’m feeling very torn. I’m freaking out about moving away. By myself. From all of my family and friends that I’ve been with for nine years. To a place that, because of my busy schedule, will be lonely. I’m comfortable here (which is probably the number one reason I should go), and it’s been hard to completely convince myself to uproot myself, especially when my school here was willing to create my special combination program just for me because they loved me so much.

Well, my school just made that part of the decision easier. I got an email last week–after excited emailing everybody after I got back how Indiana was willing to share copies of the paperwork that they had submitted to create their program–with the overall message of “Julia, we don’t think we can get the paperwork done in time. Please look elsewhere.” It crushed me and really put me in a despondent mood, which I think I’m only now started to get myself out of. I’m not a very confident person on a good day and having your one “foolproof-you’re-at-least-getting-in-there” school back out damaged my already blue spirits.

So now, I’m back to square one and seven days to make up my mind. I’ll be posting some of my impressions, strengths, weaknesses of the places that I visited over the next couple of days (hopefully with pictures!), to help me sort out the confusion. If you’d rather not read my ramblings on this, let me know, and I’ll make them private. I suppose it’s more for my benefit, but my travel journals were rather sparse on details, so if you do want to know… It’s up to you.

Ack! It’s almost 2 and I need to be up early so I can go be a school marm again! What am I doing!!!

***P.S. Thanks again to everybody for their words of compassion and support last week. Knowing that you are all here for me transformed my spirits. I do know that I will never be alone when I have such good friends out there who are thinking about me.

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2nd January 2006


Note to self: the next time you think that hanging out with the current crush at the grocery store is a great way to get him to really notice you, remember the $96 bill, the peach cobbler that won’t fit in your freezer, the bruise on your ankle from crashing the cart into you (must you always be so clumsy??) and the lonely drive home, after he left to go on a dinner date with another girl.

In some ways, it was worth it. Great conversation about life and houses and favorite food, lots of laughs, minimal (was there any?) uncomfortable silence, fabulous, lingering hugs (how did I get into a hugging relationship with him?? I swore I’d never do that again!), etc. Even the bit where he left for his date–a girl from the internet he just talked to for the first time yesterday–I would have found amusing if it wasn’t him and the utter frustration that he is just so oblivious. Or not interested, which still sucks.

The New New Year’s Resolutions:
1. Get some courage, Cowardly Lion.

It’s one or the other, girlfriend, and it’s time to choose. *nods head*

Have I told you I’m really bad at New Years resolutions?

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    • A Fresh Look June 16, 2022
      10 days later (thanks rain!) my house is almost all painted (there’s a few more finishing touches). Karin and I argued a lot about the color. She wanted a light blue; I wanted a sunny yellow and we compromised with a green. It’s called peacock plume and it changes hues depending on the sun. Every […]