End of Journey

November 1, 2010

John Montrose and I had 7 hours before the plane took off.

From Barcelona, we’d run off to the Canary Islands. There was an abandoned fortress on a black sand beach. It was surrounded by farms of banana trees in one of the most peaceful – and saddest – places I have recorded in my passport. To be fair, my passport is new. It only has stamps from Canada, Alaska, and now Spain. But, they are all lonely places at the right time of year.

JM and I boarded the bus going into Santa Cruz, where we stayed our first night on the island. If you can imagine a surreal balmy tropical utopian town, with Spanish architecture and Caribbean charm, where everyone drinks espresso in plazas encompassed by palm trees, you’ve got it. We switched to a second bus at the semi-utopian bus station. Now 5 hours left. We went North.

Once off the highway, the bus curved onto a road some might call dangerous or beautiful or on the edge of a cliff curling around a mountain. The point is, the bus driver is one of the bravest men I have known. For an hour the road&we switch-backed high into the Anaga Range. In theory there are laurel forests here, where “rare moss hangs like party streamers” says the guide book. I saw no moss.

For those of you who read this blog regularly, you may have noticed a different tone to this entry compared to the other ones. That’s because I‘ve been reading a novel. Now I’m starting to write like the author instead of like myself.

Or, it could be because during the weeks before my vacation I’d become depressed, and so had my posts. I don’t feel bad about that – becoming depressed, I mean. According to many credible sources this happens to 25% of medical students. Who wouldn’t get down from ten weeks of confinement to a hospital? Who wouldn’t feel alienated being the only woman in a group for over two months? Who wouldn’t question her career path if her days are spent feeling burnt out? Looking back at the few-and-far-between posts, I’m surprised how poorly I documented it all. No mention of seeing a therapist and a psychiatrist. No word about losing my appetite, and then losing five more pounds.

Don’t panic.  I’m feeling much much much better now. (Damn, there goes the surprise ending of this post). So don’t get worried about me at this point. Anyway, back to the story.

The bus coiled up and up the mountains. I did not get nauseous. This was a great achievement.

Eventually it went down the mountains, which opened up to a town, which opened up to the Atlantic Ocean. We descended. The view widened.  By the end of the line everyone got off the bus.

It was sunny. There was a concrete bus shelter, two small houses, and that was pretty much it. The trees had unripe fruit, some flowers, and mostly green big leaves (contrast that with the colors of autumn back home, I thought). Blue water crashed against rocks 50 feet below. Cascading cliffs framed the whole scene on both sides.

After fifteen minutes our bus driver/hero finished his cigarette – the signal that we have to get back on to return to Santa Cruz. If we waited for the next bus, we would miss our flight. I was looking down at a makeshift farm on the terrace 10 feet underneath us. It had a kitten, two chickens wandering freely, four roosters penned in, and two skinny dogs babysitting everyone. I dream of having chickens one day. I read a fortune cookie this weekend that said “it is better to have a hen tomorrow than an egg today”. A good sign.

I went to John Montrose. He was trying to record the sounds of birds chirping. I told him we had to leave. “I would give anything to stay here.” “Yeah. I know.”

We got on the bus, and headed home.

So, I put off anesthesiology for a year to see a cliff on the ocean and a small crew of farm animals in the tropics. That’s one way to look at it. Another way is, rather than make people numb and unconscious for two weeks, I think I have woken myself up.



One Response to “End of Journey”

  1. govnuh Says:

    Ah, your gchat away message made me think that is was the end of the blog. That had me more worried than any med school induced weight loss ever could. Thank the heavens it’s only the end of a journey (slash the beginning of the next).

    Sorry I’m missing jews and baseball. Give Sandy K. my best

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