Atomic bomb (ice cream) cake at Marrakech DC
For fourth year medical students, this week is the culmination of four years of hard work, of endless lectures, labs, small groups in the first two basic science years where we delve into the pathophysiology of disease and then two years of on the job training/clinical experience in the hospital. The past year, I've applied to away rotations in hopes of strengthening my application, gone on my away rotation in LA, applied to over thirty training programs all over the country, gone on 15 interviews all of the country, and submitted a rank list of where I would like to do. Not to mention take two US medical licensing exams that qualify me to pass medical school. It is in the past two years that we practice what it is to be a doctor. However, in a few short months, we will stop practicing and actually become doctors (interns, but still). We'll be the ones making decisions (M.D. = make decisions) about patient care and we'll be the ones responsible for their wellbeing. Where we do our residency will set the stage for the rest of our careers, not to mention be the location where we spend the next 3 -7 years of our lives. And this week, we find out if and where we matched.
Today, almost all of my friends and I received and email at noon notifying us if we have successfully matched. It's especially a big deal for people who have applied for competitive specialties like dermatology or orthopedic surgery as they have a high rate of not matching (up to 40% of Derm applicants don't match), however it's virtually unheard of for internal medicine folks to not match, so I wasn't worried. On Friday, March 20, 2015, we find out where in a grand ceremony where all of our friends and family are invited, we have speeches/performances, and then they call us down to the stage one by one to receive the envelope that contains where we matched. For some of my classmates, their top few choices are spread out all over the country, so they do not know if they will end up in Boston or San Diego, and can't begin to plan the next stage of their lives until then! I feel the same--it is as if my life were paused in still motion until I find out if I match at my first choice program in San Francisco! I can't look for an apartment, book flights, arrange for my car to be shipped, until Friday, which is when my life will start up again!
In addition to this already exciting week, I also celebrated my birthday early this past weekend since I'll be in Asia for my actual birthday on March 31. Friends new and old joined me for an all-out birthday bash in DC. It's a shame it only took us 4 years and the end of med school to make it down to DC together.
We started out the night at Marrekech DC, a Morrocan restaurant in Dupont. A man dressed in an armored costume escorts you inside, which made me feel like I was walking into a tourist trap, but you are transported to another world once you walk inside. I had no idea such a restaurant existed in DC! A small bar and front room gives way to a huge banquet hall in the back adorned in Morroccan tiles with plenty of couches and pillows around the room to lay, I mean dine, on. Add in the candlelight and incense and I felt like I could have easily been dining in Morocco or the Middle East.
My one requirement for my birthday dinner was that it be different than anything I've had before, and Marrakech definitely delivered. We had course after course of tasty Morrocan food including bread with olive oil tapenade (the highlight of the meal for some), veggie lentil soup, cold salad trio with carrots, eggplant, and spinach, chicken almond pastry, and then chicken and lamb cous cous. We finished with a surprise ice cream cake and champagne and sparklers!
Med school girls in DC
STUFFED after 8 courses
After dinner, we made out way to Chinatown where we attempted to do shots and ended up just playing Pac-Man and Skee Ball at Iron Horse. Oh how far we've come from college and first year when every post-exam ended at 2 am stumbling home (or was that just me?)!
Blazers 4lyfe @ Iron Horse
The next morning, after my friends graciously booked a suite for us at the Park Hyatt, we made our way down to Blue Duck Tavern located in the hotel. The whole hotel is decorated in serene, zen-like Japanese decor and the restaurant blended in perfectly with falling water and simple wood and chrome finishes. The brunch at Blue Duck Tavern was one of the best brunch experiences (if not THE best) I've ever had because of the ambience and the impeccable service. Needless to say, I'm looking forward to that luxury life when I'm rolling in my attending salary, in oh about six years or so.
Clockwise from top: Omelette, thick-cut fries, biscuit and short rib hash, open-faced breakfast sandwich, pumpkin pancakes, Muesli, brussell sprouts
Even though the day was cloudy and raining, we took advantage of the near springtime temps to frolic in DC at some of the monuments for some friends' photoshoot. I visited the Library of Congress for the first time and then we explored Eastern Market and Capitol Hill Books. Coincidentally, we ended up getting pupusas and Salvodorean food at the same cafe (Tortilla Cafe) I went to in college! Looks like my tastes don't change much.
For the final event, the always reliable J made me a Matcha cake! Vanilla cake with matcha frosting. It could have been an Asian wedding cake, it tasted to light and delicate. I'd say he could safely have a job as an all star chef and baker if he wasn't already a CPA. Since none of us were quite ready for dinner yet, we started off with cake ("it's a different stomach") and then walked to a local pizza place (Rustik Tavern) for a quiet dinner with some of my closest friends.
Even though my birthday's not for a few more weeks, I'm so thankful my local friends could get together and celebrate with me--not only my birthday, but the end of med school and the end of an era in Baltimore.
I'm looking forward to many more celebrations ahead--my real birthday in Asia and MATCH DAY in 4 days!