First, a few photos taken with my iPhone while on today’s “run”.
Here’s to recognizing how significantly fortunate I truly am, how fun a life I’m leading, and to all of those I’m so happy and blessed to share it with. Here is a recap of the last six months of my life.
November brought my first medical school interview at Liberty University in Lynchburg, VA. Though I didn’t get accepted, it was an excellent experience and I got to spend some time with a couple great friends I made in 2013 while in Kenya. I also made it to Durango for an elk hunting trip with Dad and Netti Jo (Annette). Then, my high school newspaper staff friend Alex Bond and I made our way to Moab for some awesome climbing adventures. Dad joined for the first night in the camper which was a treat and afterward, Alex and I got into almost as many things as I can remember. Needless to say, we had a blast and what I do remember includes a couple hairy situations, a lot of fun, and tons of beauty. Thanksgiving in Durango was also major fun at the Community Center in Vallecito, CO, near where Dad lives.
December was excellent but the highlight was without a doubt Molly coming home from her European adventures. A close second is plenty of family time in Bossier, Baton Rouge, and Dallas. Near the end there I gave a few private photography lessons for the first time and had a great time doing so. I hope my student had as much fun as I did.
January’s first week came with another exciting adventure in that I shot the cover for SB Magazine, Shreveport Bossier’s regional magazine. We went to five businesses in Shreveport to highlight the people who help them run. Here’s the online version of the article: http://sbmag.net/february-issue/. Two days later I was flying again to Kenya for a five week stay at CURE pulling double duty on the job I’d had in 2013. I had a great time and it further encouraged my desire to become a surgeon. In fact, the reason I didn’t stay longer was because I had two med school interviews in February – but that’s getting ahead of ourselves. Molly came over for almost four weeks! To Kenya! How huge is that!? It’s major and we all know it. We grew considerably while there and I can’t put into words how fortunate I feel for her to have been there to see what that part of my life looked like. She was extremely good with the kids and helped me TONS (yes, I needed the capitals). I unfortunately missed a Monroe family reunion while there, but know that they know I wanted to be there. I also interviewed and got the job for a commercial photography internship in NYC, which I ended up turning down. I would’ve loved to, but it didn’t pay anything.
In February Molly and I were in Kenya until the 17th, on which I flew directly to Yakima, WA (east of the Cascades, and usually sunny) for my interview on the 21st with Pacific Northwest University, an osteopathic medical school. I loved it. I wish Molly had been able to join me to know how Yakima was, but was very happy with how the interview turned out and impressed with the school. Spoiler, I got in, but that didn’t happen for another week or two. From there I flew to Spartanburg, SC for an interview with Virginia College of Osteopathic Medicine’s Carolina’s campus. The interview went great there, too, and the people were nice enough, but it didn’t feel like the place for me. At least not as much as PNWU did. I had more time in Yakima and could explore much more than I could in the Greenville/Spartanburg area, but I do feel like I got a good enough reading on things to know how I really felt about it. I got accepted and declined the offer. It was $2,000 (or thereabouts) to hold my seat. I also scored a $1300 Delta Airlines voucher, which I’d be happy to let Molly help me use up for volunteering to get off my flight home after all of this travel. It was worth it. So I flew to Mom and Pat’s house in Bossier for Cory’s birthday celebration.
The first part of March took me once or twice to Baton Rouge to visit Molly and I got some quality time with family, my buddy Alex, and good friend Deep, who I serendipitously met while working at LSUS-HSC a few years ago. Alex has a new climbing gym (and conventional, sort of, gym in Bossier through Pro27 called Climbossier. Here are some links for that: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Climbossier/1532674673681124 and http://www.pro-27.com. Then, the biggest adventure for sure, was house and dog-sitting in Boulder, CO with Molly. We found these people on craigslist while we were in Kenya and, well, one thing led to another, as they do, and so there we stayed, for three and a half weeks! How awesome is that!? We flew into Durango to see Dad and Annette for a few days beforehand and found him in some serious back pain. That was really tough for all parties, especially for Dad, and we postponed the Boulder thing a few days until we had to go up there or give up the opportunity. Again, Molly and I grew closer and more confident in our relationship, finally feeling for at least a while like we were in the same place. We also got to climb a lot, I finally got back into running some, and my best bud David Legan came out to skydive, wingsuit, and hang out. Great thoughts will always be had about our time there.
And that brings us to April. Molly and I celebrated her birthday early since we wouldn’t be together for it, filming our own cooking show, sorta kinda, to make her birthday cake. I gave her a Maasai necklace she didn’t know I brought home from Kenya that I was convinced she’d seen at least twice between then and now yet somehow, she hadn’t. She flew to her namesake’s birth in Dallas, her second cousin if I’m not mistaken, and I flew to Shreveport to then drive to New Orleans for my interview at LSU-HSC. Fortunately and finally I was able to stay with my childhood friend Rhett Parker, who remains one of my best friends, for one night as I was interviewed and visited the school. It was superb. Prodigious even. Seriously, the school has got it going on. Not only is it less than half the cost of PNWU (a big and somehow minor detail in my hopeful decision making process), but it has probably ten times the number of simulated robotic patients able to do all sorts of incredible things like bleed and respond to medication in real-time. I was highly impressed with all I saw there and would be very happy to attend the school. I should know shortly after May 1st what their decision is as far as my acceptance is concerned. All appropriate digits are crossed. We’ll see. I then flew to Charlotte to see my friends Josh and Harmonee Klein (parents Ken and Deb not to be excluded) for a few nights and go to a thing at the National Whitewater Center called Tuck Fest, which was an outdoors event like none I’ve ever been to before. It was awesome. And I got to meet their five week old son Saint Everest Klein – a privilege I’m happy to have had. He’ll undoubtedly grow into a respectable man. At Tuck Fest, I got 6th in the twilight 5k, being in 2nd for a bit and deciding that, well, that hurt a little more than I thought it would. I felt that way shortly after the gun went off. We also participated in the bouldering competition and had a great time just hanging out, finishing the event by watching some deep water soloing (you had to qualify to get in, which I didn’t) and camping out a couple nights. I took a taxi to the airport at 0430 Sunday morning with an Indian American man who admitted he was afraid of both camping and the dark, heading for Durango before Dad’s surgery on Monday. That went as expected, as well as either he or the doctor could have hoped, and I’m here now watching and helping him recover. Last Wednesday I went around Durango passing out resumes and calling around for some work, which I successfully found after an interview yesterday. I’ll be working part time at Surya Health and Wellbeing Center on Main St. in town. They have a number of practitioners and I’ll be filling in a role titled Patient Care Coordinator. I’m happy to have the job. I may also be staying a few nights in Dove Creek, CO, near the Utah border to do some ranch/farm work with an ex-pro cyclist who now lives and owns a business around there. Who knows. I’ve successfully found, after five attempts, a running shoe worth owning made by Salomon, the Sense 4 Ultra Soft Ground as they call it. So I took them across the street yesterday when UPS brought them and bested my “neighborhood” summit-to-house trip by eight minutes. The tread on those things rocked. Today, two hours across the street again brought beautiful cloudy sights and 40+ elk wandering about, scared by my smell. I came up on three of them not 20 yards away after being upwind of them, scaring them immediately once they heard me. I also saw two mallards both days (like they usually travel) and a mule deer through the quickly blossoming aspens.
I have big plans for May, June and July and am hopeful for a lot more time with Molly, some highly needed money, an acceptance to LSU, and anything else “epic”.
More to come…