I woke up way before my alarm. I knew that today was my last day of medical school ever! At the same time, I realized that this was my last day in India (I have a 10 year Visa, I don’t have to leave, right?). I ate my last dosa, drank my last cup of tea, went to my last lectures, went to my last chai break, and had my last jungle shower. I was amazed at the outpour of love and appreciation from all of the members of Pallium and those in the course with me. They threw Therese and I a going away party (I asked if they were celebrating that we were finally leaving or if they were celebrating us). Each one took time to talk with me. Some said that they have been changed by just knowing me, some felt inspired to look into jobs in the US, some wanted to try an American recipe (I gave them a BBQ recipe, and they were confused where all the spices were on the ingredient list), some invited me to their own states to work in the future, some gave me gifts, some asked to keep in touch with them, and some felt that they had learned a lot from just talking to me. It is a great feeling to know you made a difference just by being present.
I ended the day with many hugs, photos, and exchanging of information. I felt like a celebrity because everyone followed us out to the car and waved as we left for the last time. I spent the evening talking to Ann, the lady that currently lives here in the guest house. She is a retired physician who spends a few months a year just helping out different palliative care centers. I’m almost thankful that the WiFi was out the last 8 days, because we spent the nights just laughing, sharing stories and experiences, and comparing our countries (she’s been to mine and I’ve been to hers). Every night we would sit for hours and I wouldn’t even want to get up to get a drink because the conversations were that precious. Tonight’s talks were extra special, because we knew that it might be the last time we would see each other for a long time. I will miss her the most. Luckily, she is very facebook savvy so I know we will be in touch. Plus, she visits America yearly, so there is a chance I’d run into her.
Tomorrow morning, I’ll board my plane and head back home. I live right next to the airport, so all night I hear jumbo jets. Now it will be my turn to wake someone up! I feel like I can almost wave to the passengers on board because they planes are that close. When we take off I’m going to try to find my apartment building to see if they could really see me when I was flipping them off for waking me. My flight is 4 hours to Dubai, a 2 hour layover, then a 17 hour flight to NYC, then I will stay the night in an airbnb (not in the Bronx this time) and leave for Columbus bright and early. With the time difference, I will leave India on Saturday morning and get to NYC Saturday night, despite the 24 hour flight. I haven’t watched TV in a month, so I am most excited about watching movies on the plane. Also, because of the laptop ban, I have the perfect excuse not to do any work. I’m going to use so much WiFi the airline is going to take my phone away #pinterest #onlineshopping #ikea.
After spending a month in a dry city, I am very much looking forward to a nice glass of wine on board to celebrate me finishing medical school. I’m not going to sugar coat it; medical school was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. People assume because I am smart that I was going to make it through easily, but it was challenging in so many ways. Learning how to pay bills, to cook, to budget on a small amount of loans, to find Michael jobs that weren’t terrible (the restaurant he started at closed about a month into living in Athens), to learn how to learn quickly, to figure out how little sleep I truly needed, to manage my time, to study like I’ve never studied before, to learn how to balance work with pleasure, to regaining my health (Mono, Diabetes, Meningitis, you name it, I had it), to growing spiritually, to planning a wedding, to marrying my best friend, to having a puppy, to losing my puppy, to taking on new challenges, to letting go of the past, to realizing my true potential, and most of all, learning who I am and what kind of doctor I want to be. Before all of this, I was a totally different person lacking in confidence and filled with unrealistic expectations. I was hard on myself and had a very type A personality. I was uncultured. I was obsessive. I was controlling. I was not mendable to change. If I were an episode of Fixer Upper, I would have been the barn that had already fallen down that was transformed into someone’s dream home. Like they say, you pick the worst house in the best neighborhood and turn it into the best one. This investment in my future has made me into my favorite house on the street #joannagainesismyidol #housepuns.
I must bid you all farewell. Thank you for going on his journey with me. It is truly special to know that my experience has touched so many lives. I hope that I have taught you something new. My parting gift to you is a quote from Giovanna Holbrook, “The more you see, the more you see what you have not seen.”. Until next time…