In which we go to a wedding: Bri & Ian edition

You know it’s been a long time since you’ve blogged when wordpress changes it’s format.. obviously I have a lot of catching up to do, so let’s start with our first August wedding. Bri and Ian were married on Decatur Island up in the San Juans – it’s a special place to their family and it was so sweet to watch the ceremony in his grandparents’ back yard. I’ve been stalking their wonderful photographer’s website for pictures to include in this post, but ultimately decided that 1) it’s taking a long time since summer is prime wedding season and I’m sure she’s still editing and 2) those are really her photos and it’s unfair to put them on this blog. So here are mine from that EXTREMELY fun and gorgeous weekend:

We arrived on Decatur from Anacortes by private very boat. The Washington State ferries don't run to this particular island like they do to the larger San Juans.

We arrived on Decatur from Anacortes by private very boat. The Washington State ferries don’t run to this particular island like they do to the larger San Juans.

Happy to have escaped only mildly sea-sick!

Happy to have escaped only mildly sea-sick!

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The view from our cabin was gorgeous - we watched otters play in the bay below.

The view from our cabin was gorgeous – we watched otters play in the bay below with high def binoculars.

At the rehearsal we ad a preview of the gorgeous view from the ceremony site as well. You could see all the way across the straight to Mount Baker

At the rehearsal we had a preview of the breath taking view from the ceremony site as well. You could see all the way across the straight to Mount Baker.

Walking back to the cabin after the rehearsal dinner took a little extra time - there are no road signs on the island, so we got a bit lost.

Walking back to the cabin after the rehearsal dinner took a little extra time – there are no road signs on the island, so we got a bit lost.

But the views of the bay at sunset were worth it.

But the views of the bay at sunset were worth it.

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Boats in the bay

The next morning the bridesmaids were picked up in a pickup truck to go get our hair done.

The next morning the bridesmaids were picked up in a pickup truck to go get our hair done.

It was a little windy!

It was a little windy!

Obligatory bridesmaid dresses shot

Obligatory bridesmaids’ dresses shot

The day had robin-egg blue skies and great views of Mount Baker across the water.

The day could not have been more perfect: robin-egg blue skies and great views of Mount Baker across the water.

Hydrangea bouquets

Hydrangea bouquets – These had to be carefully guarded as the deer on the island were clamoring to get them all weekend. One unfortunate guy got his head caught in the garden gate that was containing them and almost had to be “taken care of”, but escaped at the last minute. 

Hair done

Hair done!

Hair all done!

Make-up done!

At this point I put down the camera for a while, so there are no current pictures from the amazingly gorgeous ceremony, but trust me, it was amazing.

Jeff and I at the reception

Jeff and I at the reception

Dental residents: Ian, Karen and I!

Dental residents: Ian, Karen and I!

At the end of the night we all headed down to the beach to light paper lanterns:

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Lighting it up...

Lighting it up…

...getting hot..

…getting hot..

... and LIFT OFF!

… and LIFT OFF!

Someone commented that Jeff's eyes looked crazy in this picture. Really this moment is capturing his thoughts that his dear wife has had several glasses of prosecco and is innately clumsy, we're holding a lot of fire and if something happens we will need to be (expensively) airlifted off this island. I think he's being rather calm given the situation.

Someone commented that Jeff’s eyes looked crazy in this picture. Really this moment is capturing the thoughts that his dear wife has had several glasses of prosecco and is at baseline rather clumsy, we’re holding a large, highly flammable object and if something happens we will need to be (expensively) airlifted off this island. I think he’s being rather calm given the situation.

The next morning we had to wait until the tides came in to head out on the ferry – Kat and I used this time to wander around the beach, look in tide pools and poke at seastars.

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It was so much fun seeing all my co-ressies one more time. It's going to be a long year without them.

It was so much fun seeing all my co-ressies one more time. It’s going to be a long year without them.

On our walk we ran into Bri!

On our walk we ran into Bri!

Soon it was time to get back on the boat and leave.

Soon it was time to get back on the boat and leave.

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I’m smiling in this picture, but I’m actually really sad this is the last time for a while that I’ll be near these lovely ladies.

I was sad to leave the island, but the ferry ride back had some spectacular views of Mount Baker and friendly porpoise sightings to smooth the way.

It was sad to leave the island, but the ferry ride back had some spectacular views of Mount Baker and friendly porpoise sightings to smooth the way.

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In which we MATCHed new residents!

MATCH day was Monday and I’m so excited to welcome a new class of excellent residents to UW! They’re the last class I’ll get to be co-residents with, so they hold a special place in my heart (though who are we kidding, I love all my co-ressies so much and they all have special places). Between the residency interview process and the Duke Alumni interviews I’ve been conducting over the past few weeks, I’m very thankful that I’m not on that end of either application cycle. So excited to meet our new co-ressies in June!

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From us: Kari, Ian, Matt, Jane, Karin, Tiara, myself, Kat, Gloria, Karen and Bri – WELCOME! We’ll try to find some sunshine before you get up here.

In which I went to Whistler

This quarter system in grad school is fast. As in, you feel like you can’t take a week off of work and ever except to catch up. That’s why I tried to cram as much social life as possible into the beginning this time and by getting to work early and staying late every day these past two weeks, I think I’ve managed to do it and not already fail out.

Last weekend I made a last hour decision to go to Whistler in BC with a bunch of co-ressies. While I don’t know how to ski (that one time in high school I never made it off the ice covered southern-east coast bunny slopes), I did have a wonderful time playing in the snow!

We drove to Vancouver Friday after clinic and stayed at some of our Canadian co-ressie's homes before heading up the Sea-to-Sky road in some early gorgeous pre-dawn light.

We drove to Vancouver Friday after clinic and stayed at some of our Canadian co-ressie’s homes before heading up the Sea-to-Sky road in some earily gorgeous pre-dawn light. We kept reminding ourselves that rain at this level meant snow in the mountains.

Whistler was the site of many of the 2010 Olympic events. I'm in love with all things Olympics (the basic reason we got cable was for the 2012 summer games). So excited that they start up again in a few weeks!

Whistler was the site of many of the 2010 Olympic events. I’m in love with all things Olympics (the basic reason we got cable here was for the 2012 summer games). So excited that they start up again in a few weeks!

Ice skating took place down in Vancouver about 2 hours away, but Bri and I thought we could practice a few moves here.

Ice skating took place down in Vancouver about 2 hours away, but Bri and I thought we could practice a few moves here.

The snow was beautiful. They'd double their snow pack in the day we were were there.

The snow was beautiful. They’d double their snow pack in the day we were were there.

While some of the group hit the slopes, I practiced my apres-ski techniques by eating delicious lobster pad thai, drinking and cheering the Seahawks to the NFC West championship and getting a massage at one of the spas.

While some of the group hit the slopes, I practiced my apres-ski techniques by eating delicious lobster pad thai, drinking and cheering the Seahawks to the NFC West championship, dipping in the snowy outdoor hot tub and getting a massage at one of the spas.

The next day a few of us went snow tubing with all the little kids.

The next day a few of us went snow tubing – we were definitely the oldest kids there.

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Glad for duck boots to keep my toes warm in the snow and slush!

High school Elise and Rachel: the last time I went “skiing” was over a decade ago in West Virginia. Mostly I just slid down the bunny slope and prayed not to die.

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Karin, Christine, Kevin and Bri

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Leslie, Gloria, Karen (our wonderful trip organizer!), Karin, myself and Bri

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Super fun trip! Now to talk Jeff into trying a day out on the slopes..

In which I had my last first day of school

I’ve had a few first days of school:

Kindergarten at Ball Camp Elementary School in Knoxville, TN

Kindergarten at Ball Camp Elementary School in Knoxville, TN
(thanks Mom for sending the picture and for dressing me in a appliqué ticking stripped dress).

Not pictured: My first day of school in a new town, third grade at Woodland Elementary in Oak Ridge, TN.

First day of college at Duke (ugh, yes, I really was that pale)

First day of college at Duke (ugh, yes, I really was that pale)

First day of dental school (Yes, I know it's my badge, but I went to a concert the night before and didn't pull myself together the next morning enough to take a full shot and this was taken on the first day. Coincidentally I made great friends with Kevin Ricker, our future class president, because we bonded over having gone to that concert).

First day of dental school
(Yes, I know it’s my badge, but I went to The Hold Steady concert the night before and didn’t pull myself together the next morning enough to take a full shot and this photo technically was taken on the first day. Coincidentally I made great friends with Kevin Ricker, our future class president, because we bonded over not being able to hear anything since he too had gone to that same concert).

And my other last first day:

First day of residency with my awesome co-residents.

First day of residency with my awesome co-residents.

First day of classes in residency - all dressed down to go to anatomy lab.

First day of classes in residency – all dressed down to go to anatomy lab.

And now maybe, just maybe.. really, my LAST first day of school:

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Starting MPH classes at the School of Public Health

In which I start a new chapter

When I ranked UW and Seattle first during the Match process, I was really excited. This was the only program where you could dual train in pediatric dentistry and public health and get paid to do it. I was even more excited when two weeks later I found out that I’d matched to one of the two spots in the country available. Awesome – I would earn not only my Certificate in Pediatric Dentistry (which alone qualifies you to be a pediatric dentist), but also my Master’s of Science in Dentistry and my Master’s in Public Health. It was the ideal triple threat combination that lets you go wherever you want. Bonus: I loved that Bri was the other person who matched to the position; we got along great and I knew we’d make an awesome team. But then, fast forward a year and some initially trying months of residency later, and my program told me that the grant that made all this possible no longer existed. Done. Gone. Over. No chance of finding additional funding. Sayonara. Goodbye.

I was, needless to say, a tad upset. I had moved not only myself, but my husband, 2,853 miles across a continent for this. I ranked other really good programs lower to do this. I gave up just going straight into a lucrative, safe dental practice to do this. I had already been accepted at UW’s School of Public Health – a top ranked institution. Not cool. Seriously, not cool. My program gave me two options: 1) just drop the MPH and complete the traditional pediatric dental residency and graduate in two years with the Certificate and Master’s of Science in Dentistry or 2) continue with the additional Master’s of Public Health track, knowing that I would not earn a salary for my third year and I would be responsible for the additional tuition. Option #1 was out – I’d already going through too much to get here. Option #2 was really out, because seriously y’all, I’m in the 22nd grade, and all those years of schooling don’t come cheap. Until we win the lottery I’d rather not add to the debt load already bearing down on us. I was crushed.

But this story has a good ending (though for many sleepless nights there didn’t seem like there’d be one): through some hard work and a lot of good luck I was able to fall into the right place at the right time with the right people. I’ve been awarded a T90 postdoctoral trainee grant from the NIH to continue my work in pediatric dentistry and start my MPH classes next week. It comes with the stipulation that I spend a majority of my time in research, an area I’ve always loved, but have recently fully embraced as where I’m supposed to be. This puts me on the path to Academia, a world I know well from the student side and am learning more about each day from the teaching side. I’ve always had lingering doubts about running a private practice as a solo practitioner, and this solidifies that that probably was never going to be the right choice for me. The one downside of all this is that I’ll have less time to spend with my co-residents, whom I love and whose friendships I cherish very much. They’ve been very supportive in the transition and I’m thankful that we’ll still share a few clinics and more importantly, many happy hours together.

Thanks to all of you who lived out this saga in real time through phone calls and emails; your support sustained me. Thanks for never giving up on me and more importantly, for never letting me give up on myself. Thanks for reminding me that life has a funny way of always placing you precisely where you need to be.

This isn’t the direction I set out on, but I’m so freaking excited to see where it goes.

MPH orientation today

MPH orientation today

In which there were some resident pictures

We had to take a couple of pictures for the Washington State Academy of Pediatric Dentistry newsletter last week, so here are some gratuitous shots. I’m in love with each and everyone of my co-ressies – they’re such wonderful people! Here we are in our natural (non-HIPAA violating) habitat:

Lower level conference room - where we take our lectures and have meetings.

Lower level conference room – where we take our lectures and have meetings. From the left: Drs. Tiara Brown, Melanie Perry, T. Matt Griffith, Elise Sarvas, Brianne Butler, Gloria Guan, Ian Marion and Karen Mak

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More of us: From left – Drs. Christina Wang, Janice Duong, Karen Mak, T. Matt Griffth, Tiara Brown, Gloria Guan, Karin Herzog, Melanie Perry, Kat Lane, Elise Sarvas, Ian Marion and Jim Heidenreich

In one of our clinics

In one of our clinics
Back row from left: Drs. Tiara Brown, Melanie Perry, T. Matt Griffth and Ian Marion
Front row from left: Drs. Gloria Guan, Brianne Butler, Elise Sarvasand Karen Mak

In which we tricked Bri into getting on a Duck Boat

My co-resident Bri loathes the Duck Boats in Seattle. You know the ones. They surface in any major touristy city – D.C., San Fran, Branson, Newport, KY, Boston, Philly, Boston and Stone Mountain, GA and are amphibious tour busses (boats). They’re slightly.. okay, really annoying – a major feature is that they use loud quackers to get locals to wave at them and acknowledge their presence.

Duck boat on land

Duck boat on land

Any real local just kind of tolerates them as a tourist attraction and sometimes this toleration boils over into true abhorrence, à la my friend Bri. She has told me multiple times how much she hates them and that no matter what, never in a million years would she get on one. Never, one must always remember, is a very strong word. 

Bri’s birthday was this past week and so Kat and I concocted a brilliant plan to get her on one of these tourist traps. First, Bri owed us pedicures for part of our birthday presents from back in March. So off to Wallingford we went to collect at Night Lite Nails.

Clockwise from upper left: Bri, Kat and I.

Clockwise from upper left: Bri, Kat and I.

And then lunch at my favorite Mexican place in Seattle, TNT Taqueria:

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From there we convinced her through a series of lies and half truths that we were going down to the Seattle Center and managed to make it there without too much suspicion. The only trouble was when we neared the Duck Tour station (“Oh I just want to check the price of a ticket for when my family comes in town…”), she began to suspect the inevitable and took off running away down the block. Luckily we had more co-ressies meeting us there and Matt graciously tracked Bri down from her sprint and carried her back to her own special seat on the Duck:

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All touristy annoyingness aside, it’s kind of nice to see your own city with someone else driving. I learned a lot today and hopefully it’ll make me a better tour guide for our all visitors out here.

Nice picture of the Market without having to dodge traffic

Nice picture of the Market without having to dodge traffic

The Waterfront without trying to find parking

The Waterfront without trying to find parking

Bri began to forgive me after I gave her a commemorative birthday duckie I stole from work (we give these to the kids too small enough for the toys from the coin machine).

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It's awesome how much public art our city has, especially downtown.

It’s awesome how much public art our city has, especially downtown.

Seattle landmark Pink Elephant Car Wash (first automated car wash in the nation) - where Elvis cleaned his pink cadillac daily during the 1962 World's Fair

Seattle landmark Pink Elephant Car Wash (first automated car wash in the nation) – where Elvis cleaned his pink cadillac daily during the 1962 World’s Fair

Over the Aurora bridge - so nice to have the luxury to take pictures and not be concerned while driving so far up!

Over the Aurora bridge – so nice to have the luxury to take pictures and not be concerned while driving so far up!

We picked an awfully good day - you could see the Mountain out in all her splendor.

We picked an awfully good day – you could see the Mountain out in all her splendor.

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Bri, Karen, Kat, Matt and Karin

After we crossed over into North Seattle we entered for a quick dip in Lake Union in North Lake

After we crossed over into North Seattle we entered for a quick dip in Lake Union in North Lake

In the water we got incredible views of Gas Works Park

In the water we got incredible views of Gas Works Park

Gas Works and Kite Hill

Gas Works and Kite Hill

Matt, Ian, Me, Bri and Kat

Matt, Ian, Me, Bri and Kat

Sleepless in Seattle Houseboat

Sleepless in Seattle Houseboat

Group shot on the Duck

Group shot on the Duck

We also saw the charred boats from last week's 4th of July fire.

While in North Lake we also saw the charred boats from last week’s 4th of July fire.

Out towards the Ballard Locks going towards Puget Sound

Out towards the Ballard Locks going towards Puget Sound

View from the back of the Duck

View from the back of the Duck

All in all I found it an enthusiastic view of our adopted city. There were some lies (we do not call the Burke-Gilman Trail the “Spandex Highway” even though there are a lot of bikes) and some history lessons (in 1889 the Great Seattle Fire destroyed the entire 25 blocks of the city, but only one person died), a few good city pictures and a lot of fun with the co-ressies. Bri said she didn’t like it, but she’s smiling in all the pictures, so you be the judge:

Ian, Me, Matt, Kat, Jim, Karin, Bri and Karen

Ian, Me, Matt, Bri, Jim, Karin, Kat and Karen