In which I go to the AAPD in Boston (Part II)

After a lobster-roll induced nap, the residents went to catch a game at Fenway. I knew we’d be back later in the week for the AAPD party, but there would not be a game that evening and while I’m no big fan of baseball, I am a big fan of drinking a beer outside in an iconic stadium.

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Sometimes you just have to Instagram..

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Kat, Bri and I

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They played (and sadly ended up losing to) the Toronto Blue Jays, which was appropriate because we had Janice as our token Canadian among a bunch of Americans. David, Jane, Jim, Kari, Janice, Christine and myself.

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We could not have gotten luckier with the weather. The only other game that week, the next night, was almost rained out!

We could not have gotten luckier with the weather. The only other game that week, the next night, was almost rained out!

The next day I wandered down to the Boston Public Library. It had free wifi while our hotel did not, but mostly I wanted to study in a pretty place.

The next day I wandered down to the Boston Public Library. It had free wifi while our hotel did not, but mostly I wanted to study in a pretty place. I was not disappointed

Its reading room reminded me of studying at Duke. I spent a few hours here listening to the most enjoyable biostatistics lecture of the year.

Its reading room reminded me of studying at Duke. I spent a few hours here listening to the most enjoyable biostatistics lecture of the year.

Since I had skipped a few MPH classes to make the trip, I needed to catch up to take the online quiz due during the conference. Fortunately Thursday was rather rainy and most other people were slowly making their way into the conference, so I didn't miss much.

Since I had skipped a few MPH classes to make the trip, I needed to catch up to take the online quiz due during the conference. Fortunately Thursday was rather rainy and most other people were slowly making their way into the conference, so I didn’t miss much.

The next day I was able to catch up with all the UNC kids who I graduated with and went into pedo. Most of them are finishing up: just Kevin and I are in three year programs, his at UNC. Rebecca is finishing up at Pittsburgh Children's, Taylor is finishing at Baylor and Chance is finishing at UF-Naples. Not pictured here because her flight was delay: Allie who is finishing at UAB and Logan who missed the conference for a cousin's wedding is finishing up at MUSC. So proud of them all!

The next day I was able to catch up with all the UNC kids who I graduated with and went into pedo. Most of them are finishing up: just Kevin and I are in three year programs, his at UNC. Rebecca is finishing up at Pittsburgh Children’s, Taylor is finishing at Baylor and Chance is finishing at UF-Naples. Not pictured here because her flight was delay: Allie who is finishing at UAB and Logan who missed the conference for a cousin’s wedding is finishing up at MUSC. So proud of them all!

UNC reunited

UNC reunited

Meeting up with Allie and Kevin

Meeting up with Allie and Kevin

Pediatric Dentistry is a small group - it was so fun to know so many people and keep running into them again and again - like here with Chance and Allie at the AAPD Reception at Fenway on Friday.

Pediatric Dentistry is a small group – it was so fun to know so many people and keep running into them again and again – like here with Chance and Allie at the AAPD Reception at Fenway on Friday.

One of my favorite professors/Master's committee member Johann Aps and I at the Fenway party. He is from Belgium, so I tried to explain baseball briefly to him, but I think it's better if we try to catch a Mariner's game at some point.

One of my favorite professors/Master’s committee member Johann Aps and I at the Fenway party. He is from Belgium, so I tried to explain baseball briefly to him, but I think it’s better if we try to catch a Mariner’s game at some point. At this time in the evening I was so happy I had brought a coat – it got chilly once the sun went down!

The next day was filled with poster presentations by the graduating residents. I'm so proud of these people!

The next day was filled with poster presentations by the graduating residents. I’m so proud of these people!

The conference nights ended (for us anyway) with the school-specific receptions. I am fortunate enough to be welcomed to both the UW and UNC parties. At the UNC one I was able to catch us with my wonderful mentor Dr. Martha Ann Keels and her associate Kerry Dove. Kerry, Tayler, Martha Ann and I make up one of my favorite groups of women: undergrad at Duke and UNC dental. Despite our rivaled pedigree, it's no secret who we cheer for: GTHC, GTH!

The conference nights ended (for us anyway) with the school-specific receptions. I am fortunate enough to be welcomed to both the UW and UNC parties. At the UNC one I was able to catch us with my wonderful mentor Dr. Martha Ann Keels and her associate Kerry Dove. Kerry, Tayler, Martha Ann and I make up one of my favorite groups of women: undergrad at Duke and UNC for dental. Despite our rivaled pedigree, it’s no secret who we cheer for: GTHC, GTH!

The next day I split from the rest of the group to swing by the Boston Commons once more on the way to the airport. When my little brother was serving in Afghanistan, one of the members of his group, LCpl Matthew Rodriguez was killed in action. He was from Boston and his family has done a lot of the area in Matthew’s name, including contributing to the Memorial Day flag tribute on the Commons.

I stopped by to pay my respects, both to him and all those who have given their lives. Standing, arms crossed, next to my bags packed for the plane, in the last of my clean clothes, I was thankful for my sunglasses to hide some of my sobbing. Cities pool a large number of mentally ill people who do weird things in public, so I hoped I blended in, or at least didn’t attack too much attention. So many flags, standing for so young men and women. Too many flags. The juxtaposition of all that loss with families playing in the sunshine on a that Sunday afternoon was all at once beautiful and crushingly unfair. With Graham safely home I was awash with fresh survivor’s guilt and overwhelmingly thankful at the same time. Memorial Day to me, had never meant so much.

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One thought on “In which I go to the AAPD in Boston (Part II)

  1. Thanks for the posts. Have missed the West Coast adventures!! What a beautiful tribute to our fallen soldiers. You made me cry too and so thankful Graham is home safe as I wished all of our freedom fighters were. Keep us updated as I know you have a busy schedule until the finish line. Come to Nashville, I know 4 mouths that could use you!! Love you!!

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