Two months ago I was reading a Murakami novel on a beach in San Juan, Puerto Rico and since then I have moved from New York City to my much larger, cheaper, and sunnier apartment in Ann Arbor and experienced (and have enjoyed, and sometimes barely survived) six weeks of the first year of medical school. Here are a few glimpses of my path in returning to school after two years of adventuring, moving to the Midwest, and easing (and sometimes hurtling) into the world of medicine.
Having lived in bustling cities during the past two years, I wanted to live and learn medicine in a quieter place that was vibrant and green (for at least part of the year). The weekly Ann Arbor Farmers’ market has kept my Californian roommate and I happy and well-fed. Farmers from various parts of Michigan (I won’t specify since my sense of Michigania geography is still embarrassingly non-existent) sell peaches, famous blueberry and apple cider donuts, jams, honey almond goat cheese, herbs and flowers, yellow and green cucumbers, fresh bread and yogurt, and most exciting of all–offer free face painting–from 7 am – 3:30 pm every Saturday. While I bemoaned beginning medical school in early August, the market is one of Ann Arbor’s summer-fall treats that has eased my transition.
Last Saturday, a few fellow students and I went to a free evening festival hosted by the farmers’ market. As all of us were still studying for a weekend quiz (you may be able to detect the immense backpack I am carrying in the photograph below), this several hours-long study break of $1 wine tastings, live music, sunlight after a week of rain, and some twenty free samples of asiago pesto bread, almond espresso brownies, watermelon gazpacho, and organic arugula ricotta gnocchi completely revived us.
Even on the Saturday of the first football game of the season, I managed to convince my fellow med students to walk through the farmers’ market and buy apple cider donuts on our way to the game. Which brings me to the inevitable topic of football. Till now, I have never been interested in football. During the student panel at the Michigan interview day last year, I grew tired of the football talk and asked (perhaps annoyingly) about spaces for the arts in the medical school. But as luck would have it, a few friends convinced me to buy a ticket to the football game two weekends ago. As I entered the Big House for the first time, I could hear and feel and finally see a yellow and blue sea of some 100,000 people that completely engulfed me. First-year medical students (M1’s) get seats extremely close to the field (is that what it is called…?) and have spectacular views. Here are a few photographs taken by Bianca Verma, M1 photographer extraordinaire: