brain farts

Archive for the ‘Wanderlust’ Category

[Note: More photos of Rome can be seen here and here]

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.

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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.

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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.

Currently Reading: Villa Serena by Domenica de Rosa.

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.”


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,

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My girl Caro dubbed me the Freak Magnet way back in high school, and as you can see, the nickname is most definitely here to stay.

[Along Kata beach, while Lynn attempts to play
the part of savvy professional photographer]

Excuse me?

(looks up from viewfinder)

You (points to Lynn)
take picture (slowly mimes camera movements
as if Lynn is mentally slow) for me and my friends?

(holds out hand for camera)
Um. Okay.

(walks a few feet away to join her two elderly friends,
one of whom is sunbathing…topless)

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“I’ve always thought that I would love to live by the sea
To travel the world alone and live more simply
I have no idea what’s happened to that dream
‘Cos there’s really nothing left here to stop me…”

Life for Rent by Dido

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