For our final Indian adventure, we decided to go to Goa, which is a very touristy beach area. (Meaning I could wear shorts, for the first time our whole trip!) We boarded our plane knowing that we would be getting our residency match email the moment we landed. For most people, match day is very ceremonial, and the whole medical school gathers to open envelopes, announce their match on stage, celebrate with family, etc. My parents drove down to Austin with my little brother for his match day. Alec’s family drove to Nashville to watch Taylor take the stage. We were pushing our way through a crowd trying to get off the airplane when Alec got the email. (In India, there’s not much order to deboarding. Forget the row-by-row nonsense or the waiting for the seatbelt sign to turn off. Every person for him/herself.)
So you get the picture—our match day was pretty a-typical. Even for a process that is already a little crazy. We got an email saying we were moving to Augusta, GA—a place I’m sure I would never decide to move except for the Emergency Medicine program located there. And it’s not the kind of thing you can decide you’d rather look elsewhere—once you match, you are to go or you can forget ever matching again. (Which means you can’t be a doctor.) I’ll write another post soon here on what matching was like, and how we’ve processed this cross-country move more in depth.
We called our family and texted friends from the airport, sitting by baggage claim until 11:30 PM. We were pretty worn out and ready to get to our hostel, but my parents had asked me no less than 12 times how I was going to share the match news before we left for India. They were not going to be denied that phone call. After all, if my mom is willing to pay $1/minute for a phone call, you know she’s desperate to get the news. After calling the parents, we headed for our hostel.
Turns out in India, you have to specify you want an air-conditioned room. Suddenly, our $7 a night room didn’t seem like quite as great a deal. Thankfully, my gracious mother-in-law texted me saying she was putting money in our account for a nice hotel for the next night to celebrate our match. But we did meet some fun people from all over the world during this surreal night. (Think: matching around 11 PM, pulling up to this hostel around 12:30 trying to process our upcoming move, then suddenly meeting a bunch of drunk foreigners and falling asleep in hot, stiff bunk beds). I'm just grateful I had the wherewithal to turn on my fan... Alec didn't even realize his bed had one!
Goa is certainly beautiful and worth the trip! We started our Saturday with a hike to an old lighthouse. Then we relaxed on a beach that had a particularly great view of the sunset. However it turned out this beach was one of the major party beaches. We were offered cocaine on at least two occasions, and we had dinner in a particularly trippy hooka bar. We later learned that most single, young Indian girls aren’t even allowed to go to Goa unless they are married and taking family vacation. It has some sort of “girls gone wild” reputation. This did explain why I felt so outnumbered on the beach. (Even though Connor got asked for more photo ops than I did—those golden locks were a real hit.)
After dinner, we realized our hostel locker keys were no longer safely tucked away in Alec’s pockets. And I wasn’t feeling optimistic that we’d be able to find a lock cutter in Goa at 11:00 pm. We even asked other patrons of this restaurant to take a break from smoking so we could check under the cushions and help us find our keys. (All seats were basically dirty cushions on the floor…) We backtracked to our beach chairs about a mile away, and there they were, laying in the sand. Sometimes I think God just likes to remind me that he takes care of even the little details in my life.
For me, our last week in Bangalore was a whirlwind of wrapping up my research at IJM. Connor and Alec got the opportunity to work in the ER for a few days, and they took a day off to check out a local temple and sushi restaurant in Bangalore. Alec tried to convince me to take the opportunity to observe a surgery, seeing as how it might be my last chance ever. (You can’t just walk into the OR here in the states.) But I didn’t think the hospital would appreciate having a volunteer pass out during an operation. There's a reason I didn't go to medical school, after all.
My co-workers wanted to play dress up with my new sari, and now I realize why everyone offers to help you put them on for you! It is such an intricate piece of clothing, and now I’m just dying to be invited to an Indian wedding so I can wear it again!