Every Day is a Gift

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The beautiful Castillo San Felipe del Morro, Old San Juan

Just got back from my honeymoon about two weeks ago. It was a magical trip!!!!! Exotical adventures – tropical weathers – romantical moments – t’were each abounding and a-plenty on this trip!

I had been looking forward to the trip for a very long time-we tied the knot in the summer and waited what seemed like forever for our honeymoon to take place over Christmas break. Leading up, of course, to the break was a long string of final exams for our big first-semester-of-school wrap up.

I didn’t think I was going to make it to our honeymoon, I was so stressed! My TCM (Tissues, Cells, & Molecules, aka Histology with all kinds of associated pathologies) exam was sub par, and I knew it the from the moment I turned it in. So right from the start I felt my confidence cracking. But the next day we had the OMM (osteopathic manipulative medicine) exams (practical and written) and felt once again like I was a capable being. The next two finals – Case Discussion and Anatomy of the Pelvis, went about how I had hoped, and in the end, I looked back and felt very blessed to have done as well as I did in my first semester of medical school!

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Buckwheat blueberry and chocolate chip pancakes – the best! This plus daily exercise equals maybe getting through the anxiety of finals!

The honeymoon, as I eluded to previously was one of my favorite trips by far! We traveled all over and made many adventures and memories together. We hit up Rincon, an amazing surf spot on the west coast of the “Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.” Here, James and I had our very first-ever surfing adventures with the awesome instructors of Rincon Surf School (http://www.rinconsurfschool.com/). The weather was great-water warm-waves PERFECT! and we stood up!!! Both of us!!!!! first time ever!!!!!!!!! We are definitely going to do this surfing stuff again! We would have gone back for more if not for the fact that the 2 hours belly-boarding left my hips, ribs, and sternum bright read an bruised. It was so bad the next day, I couldn’t even lay down in bed on my stomach!

Besides this, the rest of our days were all planned out in detail by my most wonderful hubby, but alas they were many of them not to be, for I was struck with a vomit-inducing 2 day migraine. And by struck I mean totally out of commission: lights out, TV off, and a lot of sleeping. But it was our honeymoon and we made the best of it! Had lots of quality cuddle time, I did manage to watch 1 movie (almost 2!), and I was waited on hand and foot by my hero! While in bed, I watched as James spent his time calling for rental cars (which never came, apparently people rent cars in Puerto Rico and then just don’t return them over the Holidays and so the rental companies just run out even when you already had a reservation made???), making up ice bags for my head, and running around asking the el restaurante of our hotel holiday inn to make me up some toast. I was finally better when it was time to leave the west side of the island. Much revealed to finally be free from the binds of searing, unending pain, James and I jumped into the cool little swimming pool surrounded by the palm trees of our hotel, twice, before it was time to jump into the cab taking us to our next destination: San Juan!

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I’ve never seen a cock fight – but I almost saw one on our visit to the lovely Island of Culebra… Puerto Rico has its fair share of chickens, to say the least

In San Juan, many adventures were to be had! First,we tackled Old San Juan, a glorious place! Finally free to walk about and stretch our legs, we hiked all over the old town. Appetite back in full swing, we ate at some fun restaurants: Cafeteria Mallorca for breakfast and Barrachina (“Birthplace of the Original Piña Colada”) for lunch/dinner. We bought a Piragua – the hand-made snow cones sold at stands which are densely packed throughout the town – an utterly refreshing snack to swallow down mid-day, at temps at well over 90F in the hot Puerto Rican sun! We made our way through the two grandiose fortresses, each breathtakingly beautiful (one is pictured a-top this post), and hiked through the beautiful promenade, El Paseo de la Princesa and from the Cathedral to the Gate of San Juan, stopping to peak in at the Parque de las Palomas, which was, much to my surprise and slight embarrassment NOT a palm tree park (as one such non-Spanish-speaking person such as myself may think by the look of the word) but in fact a PIGEON park (ewww pooop)! We stopped in at some of the shops and I gazed at all the pretty things, James waiting patiently for me to examine every hat and bracelet, stopping to buy me a beautiful hand-carved pendent!!! 🙂 One shop we stopped at was called the Butterfly People, so exquisitely beautiful, the website pictures (http://www.butterflypeople.com/) do not do it justice. You are not allow to take photos in the shop, which makes sense because this entire room is basically a giant work of art! Intricately selected, arranged, and mounted butterflies are on display from wall-to-wall. This place is a family owned business, whom, as one of the owners was telling us, uses only humanely collected specimens, and their work is simply magnificent. The ethereal luminescence and the colors… I wanted to stand there and stare at the walls forever … AND the AC was amazing ha ha…

San Juan wall-art!

San Juan street-art!

That town was far too full of treasures to explore it in just one day! We also ran out of time to see the bioluminescent bays we had hoped to see, and therefore a return trip is most definitely in the making! But other adventures were to be had…

We had just 2 full days remaining, but in this time we managed several trips. First, we voyaged to (on the worlds most sea-sick-infiltrated cargo boat, I must note) the beautiful Flamenco Beach of Culebra Island! This was by far one of the clearest watered, softest-sanded beaches I have ever been to! The cargo-boat ride somewhat messed up my digestives for the day, but the trip was well worth it. After bathing in the sun and frolicking in the soft waves together, I scarfed down some good old rice and beans (mmm fiber!!) while James had a burrito and grabbed a frappe (which is Puerto Rican for fruit smoothie) to go as we ran to catch a last minute bus ride to our boat (which was a FAAARRR smoother journey!!!). Next was a trip to the worlds largest Radio Telescope followed by a hike through and to a waterfall in El Yunke Rain Forest!

Flamenco Beach, rather tortuous journey, but worthy destination!

Flamenco Beach, rather tortuous journey, but worthy destination!

The trip ended all too quickly… it was such a glorious two weeks – Christmas with the family followed immediately by honeymoon with the man of my dreams… When we arrived back in the states, the world was a frozen barbaric tundra, through which I had to depart to go to school one night earlier than intended due to the awfulness of the driving conditions. Living apart can be especially tough: here I was back to school after what had been the longest togetherness-time in which James and I have had as a married couple.

These past two weeks I had been buried in school work, right back, it seemed, to where I had left off. I filled my days with back to back hours of studies and my nights with crying to James about the burden of our distance and felt so cruelly alone in the world. Sleep wasn’t going so well either. But this past weekend started off with a little-talkin’-to with Josh, a good friend of mine that I will periodically carpool with to and from school. He listened to my summary of the past two weeks and simply said to me, “well you’ve got a pretty good life.”

This weekend I went on a little trip with James, saw friends and family, and somehow somewhat balanced that with my homework… and through it all I thought about what he said and how right he was. Now I’m not saying that the overly emotional nights are by any means over. But I pray that in my times of despair, and stress, crazy female hormones, insane medical school learning issues, and most of all, missing my other half, I will stop to give thanks to our creator for all that I am blessed with, because every day is a gift!

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