I hate spiders.
Most phobias are a result of a single traumatic event in a person’s past, but I honestly can’t remember the first time I started hating spiders; I personally think it was ingrained in me from birth. My Buddhist mother jokes that I was probably killed by one in my last life, hence the instinctive fear/hatred. All I know is that eight legs is WAY too many limbs for one single creature. We humans get along just fine with two, why can’t arachnids learn to do the same? Step up to the plate, buddy! IT’S CALLED EVOLUTION.
I first knew I had an irrational fear of spiders when I was in the 3rd grade. We had to read Charlotte’s Web, and while I loved (and still do love) reading and books in general, the thought of reading Charlotte’s Web made me want to hurl. Mrs. Lynch made us take turns reading passages from out of the book, but this was inconceivable to me because, hello, I could barely bring myself to even grasp the book. I mean, have you SEEN that thing? Charlotte’s eight-legged ass is printed in full splendor on not only the front cover, but also the BACK!!!
- Your idea of a nightmare involves your teeth falling out. Dreams about ghosts or getting shot are soo overrated.
- You can’t help it when your gaze inadvertently drops about 3 inches south of a person’s eyes when you speak to them, even though you know it makes people feel uncomfortable, like how talking to a totally random person who just happens to be a psychologist makes you paranoid that they’re psychoanalyzing you.
- It’s even worse if said person has chipped/crooked/crowded/stained/restored teeth because all you can think about is how much nicer they’d look if they got a nice set of veneers.
- You’ve gotten really good at applying liquid eyeliner and eye makeup in general because hours upon hours of drilling teeth has taught you how to have a super steady hand.
- You used to freak out whenever your clinical instructor would tell you to drill 0.5 mm deeper. Now you’ve gotten so used to itty-bitty measurements that 1 mm might as well be a kilometer long in your book.
- You pass the time at boring dinner parties and social functions by analyzing what type of occlusion everyone has…and how best to fix it.
So the news on the streets is that another coup is in the works. Only time will tell, however, if this will help serve as a temporary fix, or just screw things up even more than before.
A lot has changed since I last blogged. A couple of months ago, no one could have cared less what you wore. Now, the color of your shirt can determine if you’re friend or foe (or human punching bag).
Back when Samak was in office, the PAD were all the rage, mostly because everyone was all about kicking the loud-mouthed, straight-talking PM out of office. A few months later, and now it’s de rigueur to bitch about the PAD.
As the plane descends into Rome, the captain awakes you by announcing clear, sunny skies and 12 Celsius weather. The Italian man sitting to your left awakes with a start, and you can’t help but admire his ability to sleep through an 11 and a half hour flight without stirring for either food or a bathroom break. He catches your eye and asks, in English, if you’re here on vacation.
“Si,” you say, tentatively trying your hand at Italian. You studied French in high school, but the romance languages share some similarities, grammar-wise and vocabulary-wise, and you decide you might as well give it a shot. The worst thing that can possibly happen is that you’ll both have a good laugh over a butchered phrase. “Sono qui in vacanza.”
He smiles, appreciating your effort, and says that he’s returning from holiday in Phuket, and that he had a fantastic time. “La Thailandia è molto bella,” he adds in Italian, complimenting the beauty of your home, and you don’t care if you sound biased — you have to agree. He is the quintessential Italian man, the kind you see in the movies, read about in the books, and hear about in the songs — tall, dark, and handsome, with sleepy, mysterious eyes (then again, he did just wake up). You can’t help but wonder if you approached those movies and books with a tad too much skepticism; maybe some of the cliches and rumors about this country are true after all.
I’m in love with Italy. Butterflies-in-your-stomach, mushy-like-a-Hallmark-commercial, head-over-heels kind of in love. That’s the only way I can explain it. The colors feel more vibrant here. Food even tastes better here. Since I’ve arrived, there’s been a smile on my face that I can’t seem to wipe away. Anything seems possible here. There’s always something waiting around the next corner.
Rome was like nothing I’d anticipated; the hundreds of thousands of pictures of the Eternal City never prepared me for the sheer majesty of the real thing. Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica was a deeply personal and profound experience that this sometimes skeptical Catholic will remember forever. The lovely renaissance city of Florence stole my heart, as did the idyllic Mediterranean island of Capri, where the faint scent of lemons and oranges linger with you everywhere you go. Venice deserves all the hype she’s gotten since the days Casanova frolicked through her winding canals. La Serenissima she is sometimes called, and deservedly so; never have I seen her more serene than at the end of the day, when the lights come on and the throng of tourists retreat from the fringes of her shores. Light seems to shine brighter in Venice, glinting off the glimmering black gondolas and casting shadows along the fading terracotta buildings, giving her the famed romantic ambiance she is world-renowned for. An afternoon drive through the gently rolling hills of Tuscany was like driving through a sun-kissed postcard; the image of faded villas dotting the endless expanse of vineyards will forever be imprinted in my mind.
- Passport? Check.
- Camera? Check.
- Italian phrase book? Check.
- Trusty travel guides? Check.
- Watched the best of Italian cinema, like Cinema Paradiso, Malena, Il Postino, La Meglio Gioventu, L’Ultimo Bacio, and Pane e Tulipani? Check.
- Read obligatory books about la dolce vita and il dolce far niente, like Vroom With a View, A Thousand Days in Venice, The City of Falling Angels, and Bella Tuscany (all of which were fabulous, by the way)? Check.
- Worked up an extra ravenous appetite for pasta and gelato? Check.
- Extra collapsible suitcase to transport hot Italian guy back home? Check.
And as if the prospect of spending the next two weeks in Italy wasn’t enough of a head rush already, I just found out yesterday that I ACTUALLY PASSED MY DENTAL BOARD EXAMS?!?
Holy shit. Too much excitement to handle here. Way too much excitement. In fact, I’m still in a bit of a daze and am still having a hard time believing it, really (the part about passing my boards, not traveling to Italy — that I’ve been dreaming about since, oh, forever).
Currently Playing: Catch You by the uber glam Sophie Ellis-Bextor, whose super stunning, super vivid music video was filmed in none other than Venice. Can’t help but wonder if I’ll embarrass myself too badly if I try to reenact said video while I’m there? Something tells me that the answer to that question is a resounding HELL, YEAH.
To 3rd Year (aka the Year that Very Nearly Killed Me):
No offense or anything, but boy am I glad I’ll never have to see you again. You sure did give my ass a whooping now, didn’t you? All those weekends spent doing root canal access openings and long nights spent with the books sure did teach me a thing or two about appreciating the small things in life, like naps. I mean, seriously, if I had a penny for all the times I thought to myself, “God, I’d kill for a nap,” I’d be off sailing into the sunset somewhere around the Mediterranean right now.
And geez, your buddies? All 16 of them? They sure didn’t make things any easier, mind you. Take the best of your pals, Microbiology and Pathology, for instance. They very nearly turned me and every last person in my dental school into raving hypochondriacs. I swear, My Girl’s Vada Sultenfuss had nothing on us. I mean, it was totally normal for us to be all ready to dig into a steaming hot bowl of kuay thiew tom yum, only to stop short and ponder about the striking similarities of the noodles to Ascaris lumbricoides, and to wonder if that’s the reason why some of us (not me, obviously) can devour a pint of ice-cream and a loaf of bread before hitting the sack, and still remain as thin as a rail. Or how about the countless times we were learning about some random disease in Patho, only to notice an obscure spot on our arm and go, “Shit, do I have dermatitis herpetiformis? Does that mean I can’t have gluten? But I can’t live without — oh wait, that’s a mosquito bite.”
I mean, THAT’S JUST NOT HEALTHY.
But thankfully we got over it. And lived through it. And man, although you’ve taught me SO incredibly much this year — stuff that is actually starting to come together and make sense, stuff that I can actually see myself applying to real live patients in the future — I still have to say, THANK GOD I’LL NEVER HAVE TO SEE YOU AGAIN.
Au revoir, sucka!
But thankfully yours,