Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Ottawa for Christmas

I just woke up from a drug induced attempt to avoid jet lag and the house is quiet and still. I made it to Ottawa, Canada, yesterday all the way from Sopot, Poland. Ironically, it is both colder and snowier in Poland than it is here.

Even though I'm not "home" for Christmas, this place feel like the next best thing. It's a little odd to think that I don't really have a home to go to for Christmas, but I suppose that's part of growing up. When my classmates asked when I was going home, I had to respond that Poland is my home now--as weird as that sounds. I have a storage unit I could go to, where all my stuff is, or an aunt's house or friend's place, but that's the limit in Portland. I could go to my parent's house in Panama, and even though they would be there, I doubt it would feel like home. Piotr's mother's house is the most home we have. And I have to admit, having Grendel (my cat) here to welcome me really made it feel even more like home.

I was debriefed last night as to the holiday plans and schedule. I will do my best to take photos and post a few here and there. We will be in the tiny town of Merrickville for two nights in a row, including a stay at a little bed & breakfast. Our NYE plans are still up in the air, but we're going to try to settle something soon.

I hear my cat somewhere getting into something. I should go find him before he wakes anyone else up.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

From one country to the next

Last night I found this blog again after unfortunately forgetting about it for over three years. Since my recent move to Poland, I thought about starting a blog about my adventures here. Since I already have this one started I will just continue with the L'Aventure du Corsiar.

Some of you may or may not know the updates so here is a synopsis. I've been trying to get into medical school for a few years. I live with my partner of 4+ years, whom I met in Japan, Piotr Dubiel, who is Polish Canadian and originally from the Tri-cities of Northern Poland. It turns out that there is an English medical program in his birthplace, the city of Gdańsk. I applied and was accepted. Two weeks later, I was in Poland with his family starting classes while Piotr finished up work and packed all our belongings. Fast forward three months, it's almost Christmas break and Piotr is leaving Portland next week to meet me at his mother's place in Canada for the break, after which he will be joining me in Poland (finally!).

I can hear you now. Why Poland? What? Co? ("Co"="what" in Polish) Why do Americans go abroad for school? Med school in America is expensive, damned expensive. Bottom line, going abroad is cheaper. It's a win-win situation. The school can bring in some extra money and, depending on the caliber of students, be able to publish and present more in the English medical world.

The Medical University of Gdańsk started an English language medical programme a few years ago. Polish students attend school for free, rather it is paid for by the government, and like I said this program helps bring in money for the school. The school is one of the top rated Polish medical schools and is well known through Europe. Slowly, the English side of the school is being recognized as well. All of our classes & lectures are in English, though we do have Polish language classes as well. It's a six year program--most international medical schools are six years based on people coming straight from high school--and in those six years I will be working towards a combined MD/PhD. This summer, in addition to a four week nursing training course, I plan on helping edit English medical papers and journals published by Polish researchers. (See mom? I'm using my English degree too!)

The best part about all this is that it feels right. I am finally learning what I'm supposed to be learning. Those of you who knew me as a child know what I'm talking about. All those years of pouring over body atlases and toy skeletons is paying off!

With this blog I will try to post photos, stories, and comments about my life in medical school, in Poland, and the trials & tribulations of once again living in a country where I don't speak the language.