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Catherine Fischer

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Catch-Up [Jan. 18th, 2003|04:48 pm]
Catherine Fischer
…So much catching up to do! Where to begin…

(This is what I wrote on the plane heading out for my Christmas "vacation" -- I ended up running errands for DAYS, having only a few quiet moments with friends, fewer with the pleasure-reading books I happily got for Christmas, and none at all with Kevin, with whom I hadn't really visited since the prep for finals. It was a relief to get back to St. Kitts -- I was exhausted. And badly jet-laggged. So here it is, out of date and all.)

Feels like a year since last I took time to look at myself from an external perspective – I’ve been so busy thinking about the material I’ve needed to learn. There was an appalling amount of it, and it just ramps up from here. (Think about how much medicine has grown and changed in the last 50 years – and veterinary school is still only 4 years long. It’s like a beer bong for my head. Gawd.)

My last final atrocious – half problems which required not only knowledge but analytical thought (these are valuable and useful, and I’ll do my best to hang onto the information gleaned) – half problems which required a great deal of brute memorization of nit-picky details (which I will have mostly forgotten by the time I start second semester, and won’t care). I was so stressed out for the last two weeks, I wasn’t recognizable as me – half-blind with eyestrain from 18-hour days studying, worst acne since my teen years, and only took the time to eat when someone fed me – I’ve lost 25 pounds since I started the semester.

I got straight A’s. It was the second hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life.

The weekend was a blur; I remember being most impressed by suddenly discovering that I was in the Caribbean, in a tropical paradise with warm wind and warm water and sunlight thick as honey. (Even my dreams feature anatomy and physiology, when they don’t feature my Mom dying – which they do almost every night.) So Saturday, Kevin and I packed up the tiny little barbecue we bought from a departing 7th semester student, mixed up a gallon of rum punch (damn good, if I do say so myself – got the recipe from a bartender-friend of mine down here), and headed to the only protected Atlantic-side beach on the island (normally, one does NOT under any circumstances swim in the Atlantic side – which is actually still technically the Caribbean sea). All of my friends showed up (after checking their grades – they all passed! Hurray! We’ll be studying together next semester!), and we spent hours just floating in the wonderfully buoyant, salty Caribbean sea, body surfing when we could catch the wave (the rum punch was pretty depleted by now), and talking about everything under the sun – EXCEPT class. We didn’t get out of the water until a bull walked through our barbecue area, and the sun set (which is when the tiger sharks come out). The water was so warm and clear, and the air felt like a blanket around my shoulders when I finally left. The sweetness of the evening was polished off by another perfect Caribbean sunset, all gold and amethystine and bat-filled, with the piled clouds the region is famous for (like memories swept into a corner). The water was lambent silver (every evening that I’m out before sunset, I can just envision sailing ships dark against its quicksilver surface), and Basseterre and Charlestown on Nevis sparkled like diamond tiaras as twilight let its hair down. What beauty is mine here to savor – I’ll miss this place while I’m away.

Had a little time to start putting my poor tiny apartment in order before leaving – alas, it’s hopelessly crowded, what with Kevin and the cats – and set my friend Jaime up with the cats (she’s watching them for us while we’re gone). And then we flew away! I’m on a plane, headed for Dallas (second leg of the journey), somewhere over the American south.

Since Kevin got here, exams have gotten more frequent and ferocious – I haven’t actually been LIVING on St. Kitts – I’ve been living school, and letting Kevin deal with the every day realities of bank and bills and groceries. I’m going to enjoy the final week before school starts again – building shelves in the apartment, starting a container garden, snorkeling and swimming and sight-seeing (I still haven’t really seen Nevis, which is practically a stone’s throw away). Maybe I can see Stacia or Saba – won’t make it to Montserrat, probably, until next spring, during the break between 2nd and 3rd semesters, when I intend to go island-hopping. And Carnival! We’ll get to jam in the streets with the steel pan bands when we get back! I’m really looking forward to that – I’ve developed a terrible addiction to a lot of Caribbean music. Bringing some back to the States to share.

Kevin’s ice cream, sold though the school coffee-shop, is a big hit – it keeps him busy, and our refrigerator/freezer full. He’s already started taking orders from some of my classmates for buckets of ice cream. Heh. The staff on campus already call him “Ice Cream Man”. I’ve tasked him with finding and purchasing his own car, so that I can set my own school schedule again, and use my car as a locker – has been a source of some contention (especially when I’m a stressed-out monster, and can’t even take my own needs into consideration, let alone anyone else’s). He’s hoping for an off-road vehicle of some sort – I hope we can afford it. The Learning Resource Center still hasn’t gotten back to him about the job – the government of St. Kitts is insisting that Ross hire locally, but no one local is qualified for the job…it goes around and around. Kevin’s been busy learning a couple of new software applications that would be useful in the job – having some fun with it, too, since the applications in question involve graphics and animation. He’s also been geeking a lot (since he doesn’t do that 10 hours a day working anymore), snorkeling, and taking lots of pictures to draw from. And cursing at the cats. Emily, ever the pill, has decided that NEXT to the litterbox is good enough. *Sigh*. Her heart murmur has advanced, and so has the renal failure (not critical yet, but definitely advancing), but I swear she will never die. She bit the hell out of my finger – all the way THROUGH my finger – right before finals, while I was trying to give her her heart medication…with the last two teeth in her head. I still haven’t fully recovered sensation. Catlich. Arrgh.

God, it’s going to be a full Christmas vacation. Not just all of the people Kevin and I want to see, but all of the errands we have to do – there’s so much stuff we need to get, that we can’t get back in St. Kitts (like an air conditioner that WORKS), and medication and personal supplies – aya. We’re also going to see a lot of movies – the single theatre in St. Kitts shows stuff I don’t really want to see (not that I actually possess time to see movies while I’m in school). Cold San Francisco is going to feel WEIRD after the Caribbean warmth (although not as weird as Minnesota in December is going to feel, when I set off for my clinicals in two years) – and while Christmas music has been playing on the radio (Caribbean style, of course, which is the only way I’ve enjoyed some of those songs in YEARS), and everything has been decorated for Christmas, it hasn’t at all felt like Christmastime here (the harsh study schedule is primarily responsible for this, the tropical surroundings, secondarily). I do miss seasons, the turning of the world and the settling of the Earth as the light diminishes – but I must admit, I’m still quite in love with the tropics. Two and a half years is going to go very, very fast.