Tuesday, May 14, 2013

How to Vacation

What?!  It has already been, like, almost a whole MONTH since I actually took this vacation and I still haven't really had time to blog about it.  (OMG, time, slow down!!!)

As soon as I finished taking Step 2, I hit the brakes hard, determined to relax the crap out of my time off before my next rotation.  I immediately dove into the stack of books that had been waiting for me.

Wait.  That's not quite true.  Immediately after I finished taking Step 2, I fled to my car in the parking lot outside the Prometrix testing center, turned on my phone and got about 8 messages that all said something to the effect of, CONGRATS!  YOU DID GREAT!  YOU KILLED IT!  YOU WORKED SO HARD, YOU DESERVE THIS!  SO PROUD OF YOU!!  .... and immediately burst into tears.  I sobbed all the way home.  It felt awful.  I was totally, 100% sure that I had definitely failed, that I was the world's biggest screw-up, that this failure was definitively and absolutely unsurmountable, and that I would never actually get to be a doctor, after all.  (Some of you may remember that I barely - and by barely, I mean barely - passed Step 1.  So Step 2 was kinda do-or-die for me.)  I got home, parked in the driveway, allowed myself five more minutes of body-wracking, face-buried-in-hands, soul-churning, devastated bawling.  Then I took another five minutes to try to fix my face before I had to walk into my house and face my roommates.  And then I started drinking.

And my wonderful friends came over to help me celebrate.*

Anyway, after I recovered from that day as a whole, both the exam and the activities that followed, I did get down to some extra-curricular reading.  Man's Search for Meaning seemed like a good place to start after the experience of Step 2... 

... which I got about five pages into before abandoning it in favor of a much more vacation-worthy book my roommate lent me - an awesomely, totally bizarro, self-described "book of raunch" that was sort of like 50 Shades meets Alice in Wonderland.  That's right, I chose erotica over existentialism.  Surrealist erotica, even.  Go ahead and judge me.  It was a great choice.  Then, a couple of days later, I packed a backpack with my yoga mat and a couple of bikinis and flew to Nicaragua.

And so now, without further ado, I present: My Instructions for the Best Vacation Ever. 

Step 1: Spend about five weeks studying your ass off for what feels like the highest-stakes, most career-defining exam of your life.  Spend nine harrowing hours taking said exam.  

Step 2: Pick a place that looks like this:

Step 3: Bring a really good book.  Or two or three.

Step 4: Pick the right taxi.

Step 5: Hold onto your hat on the ferry ride to the island.

Step 6: Give some friendly shelter to the little monkey who hates getting splashed.

Step 7: Be sure to tip the hotel's valet.

Step 8: Follow the signs so you don't get lost.

Step 9: Take a big huge breath.  Now let it out.  You are on vacation.

Step 10: Welcome to your cabana!  Make yourself at home.

Step 11: Roll out your yoga mat and enjoy the view.

Step 12: Take lots and lots of walks on the beach.  Lots. 

Step 13: Enjoy the breeze at night.

Step 14: Spend as much time as you can reading in different hammocks, benches, and reclining seats.

Step 15: Take more walks.  Collect shells and sea glass.

Step 16: Fight back tears when it's time to go.

Step 17: Make the most of a long layover in the capital.

Step 18: Say goodbye. Start planning your return.

*I am overwhelmingly happy to report that my worst fears about my Step 2 performance were not realized, after all.  I actually did pretty well.  Thank God!!!  My heartfelt thanks to all who sent messages and thoughts and prayers my way.  

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