I love it here.
I arrived in San Diego around midnight on Monday night. P. was waiting up for me since I didn't yet have my keys. It had been a long couple emotional and driving days and I was still anxious when I got here. Not quite knowing how the living situation would work and how P. and I would get along, etc. The weather, of course, was beautiful (and has been perfect ever since).
I unloaded the backseat of my car that night and got my bedding in so I could make my bed and sleep in it. I got to sleep in the next day, but didn't as late as I should have because I knew I had a lot to do. I unloaded my trunk and then went out on errands.
First I went to the post office in the fancy part of town. I live right on the boarder of two zip codes so I am officially in the fancy part, but much closer to the more surfer part. Anyway, the post office was a little difficult to find. I drove through the village where everyone was very dressed up and very privlaged acting. They drove really badly actually. But the sun was out. It was 75 degrees with a slight breeze. On my left I'd catch glimpses of the palm trees and ocean every few blocks. I couldn't believe this was my life now!
While picking up my boxes, I asked how to get to Ikea to get a few pieces of furniture and a trash can and other random stuff. I got lost several times getting there, ended up somewhere north on the freeway. Stopped to ask directions a few times. It was okay, though. I had the windows rolled down and it felt wonderful. Plus I convinced myself that I was familiarizing myself with the areas.
I did eventually find it. And (bonus) it was nearby a Costco so I could do some broad strokes of grocery shopping while I was at it. I found a couple piecies of furniture that I liked and got some help loading them into my cart and then into my car. The loading guys tried to tell me I had to tie it on my bike racks on top, but I thought it would blow off on the freeways, so I convinced them we could fit it inside...which we did...barely.
On the way back I got groceries and a cool new iPod thing and a router for wireless at Costco. I reversed my directions to find my way back to my new place. Once I started getting close all the signs started saying "Beaches" and they were all the exits I had to take to get home. Have to love that!
So to get home, I follow the "beaches" signs and arrows. To get to work I follow the "H" (hospital) signs and arrows. It's like the road people know how much I get lost. That was nice of them to put up signs just for me. Or maybe I just go to fun and necessary places...I guess that's it. I like to have fun and be needed, so that works out well, too.
I stopped to set up a new bank account on my way back, too. I already had my cell phone number, driver's licences and car registration changed. I wanted to feel like I was totally home...back where I am from. Back where I breathe easier. Back where the sun shines. Back where perfect strangers smile at you just because. Back where I feel safe on the streets. Back to the ocean.
While it is a round-about homecoming for me. There is also a lot of newness and changes. New place; new area; new job; new people; new hospitals; new friends. So far, despite all my fretting, it is really good newness. Really good.
Once I got back, a kind-hearted, gong-using, construction-working, loud-depressing-music-playing gay neighbor, T., helped me unload my car. He offered to help me build the pieces if I needed help. Said the place was really safe and he's lived here ten years and loves it. I love it, too, already.
Our apartment is part of a large complex that is on a fairly busy street that has fancy houses on the other side and then the water just on the other side of those. There is a cliff part directly across. I walked down there when I was here last month and there is an access point where you can look out over the beach and surfers and areas just down the coast. Our place is on the edge of the complex closest to the water, close to laundry, on the ground floor. It's pretty perfect really. I told P. that and she said, "I'm glad you like it," with a smile.
She's been great at helping to oriente me to the area. Telling me how to get to the freeway faster, recommending a good bank, baking really yummy strawberry bread, etc. She even helped me build some of my furniture. She put together all the drawers on my semi-complicated chest of drawers.
It was a lovely sunny afternoon so I was building the pieces outside in the sun on the back patio feeling the slight breeze and listening to the aformentioned neighbors music before I decided that I needed my own iPod to drown it out. I was wearing my new cool Rainbow sandals that B. decided I needed as soon as I got here and surprised me by having them delivered. P. came out when she'd finished baking to help and visit. She was great.
I learned that she has two older sisters and that her dad is in HI right now getting medical care. I met her mom when I was here last month. I caught her up a bit on my background and personal life. She's really interesting. I love to hear her talk about her travels and experiences. I can live vicariously a bit. Plus she seems really easy going. At first I thought we would be good to cohabitat but now I think we could even get to become friends also. I'm already feeling comfortable here (which is saying a lot for me since it usually takes me a while to settle in). I think part of that has to do with her welcoming me so well.
The other part has to do with me growing up and becoming more comfortable in my own skin. And learning to take the important sources of strength with me. I know what I need to do with make myself settle down and feel at home. I can spoil myself a little and find places that I love and that recharge my soul well. I stay in close touch with my wonderful friends who love me even when we are far apart. Plus I have been traveling so much in the last couple years that I know what I really need to have with me to make me feel connected and happy. And the rest is just there.
After P. and I built the furniture, I made pasta and we shared that and some bread. Since I cooked, she cleaned up while I continued to unpack my stuff. I was up late because the next day (today) I was starting my first day of orientation and (predictably) I was nervous...shocking. I still didn't have internet on my computer because I ran out of energy before we could get the router set up. But earlier in the day I'd discovered that my cell phone was accessing the internet to send pictures and my bill was out of control so I decided to pay for unlimted internet access from that. It is slower and smaller screened, but it was enough to get online to make sure of the place and time for the next day and get directions to the compter training place.
I checked my email on it also and found that there had been a tragedy in my cousins' family. My aunt's brother had been murdered two weeks ago and was just found dead in his house. His girlfriend is suspected because she had lied about being pregnant and having a baby and had continued to live with him while he sat there dead. Wierd and sad. No one had told me about it because they thought I had too much going on already. It was pretty shocking to learn about. I can't imagine what they are going through. I never met this person, but I'd heard them talk about him many times. It is just unthinkable. The stuff that people do in real life is sometimes so much more horrific than the stuff you see in movies. It is just in comprehensible.
My the time I'd finished writing her back with my profound sympathy (which is even more difficult to do on the little phone key pad), I was exhausted and headed to bed. I had to get up semi-early the next day and it was already to the point where I wasn't going to get anywhere near enough sleep.
I set up my new alarm with the iPod thing, but it didn't work in the morning (user error), so luckily I awoke myself in time to take a shower and recheck directions and hit the road. I left early because I didn't know how traffic would be. It was fine, though, and I made it in plenty of time.
We were doing computer training and I met the three other people in the combined program. They all seem really nice and real and smart and kind. Just the kind of people I like to surround myself with. I know this is first impression and I will get to know them much better in the coming years. I'm looking forward to it.
The computer system for the University Hospital is great, too. All computer order entry; all we still write is daily progress notes and history and physical. Being back in the atmosphere of the hospital made me want to get started again. I really enjoy what I have chosen to do with my professional life and I realized that, despite all of my performance anxiety, I have missed it. I am looking forward to being back in the hospital and taking care of patients. I have a lot to learn, but I have also already learned a lot. I feel well-prepared and excited.
The four of us went to meet our program secretary after the four hour (slightly mind-numbing) computer session. I will not use it for four months because of the way my rotations work out, so I will definitely need a refresher course. Our program secretary welcomed us. I also got to try on my long white coat! It feels really cool to have a longer coat now. They give us three and we can pay to have them embroidered if we want; I'm still thinking about that.
One of the other interns lives near me so we will carpool tomorrow. The other three are in serious relationships and either moved here with there significant other or just moved in together. I am living with P., does that count? It's okay, though.
The hospital sits up on a hill and is a tall white building. The lawns are green and it is surrounded my eucalyptus trees. I think it is pretty for a hospital. Or maybe the sun shining on it just makes everything look better.
I drove back to my apartment (following the "beaches" signs), had lunch, talked to a few friends and family, then was exhausted (that relieved sort of exhaustion) so decieded that I would take a nap. This will be my last free afternoon for a while since from here on out we have full days of orientation along with at least three evening events. It gets busy, I tell you. Then I start work at the Children's hospital on the 24th...and am on overnight call the first day. I knew that would happen. I'm actually sort of glad, though. That's how I started third year of med school and that worked out pretty well. It lets you hit the ground running.
As I feel asleep the ocean breeze rustled the blinds on my window and the gardeners chatted outside. It was a good drifting off...and a good nap.
When I awoke I decided to go for an exploring run to find the closest beach access. When I headed out the front door, there was a beautiful bouquet of lilies, roses, tulips, and gerber daisies out side. And the card had my name on it. They were from Michael. He misses me and loves me. We're still talking and things seem so much better. I kept wanting him to be better and I think he might actually be doing it. I'm suspicious still...and we'll see what happens. I can give him another chance, I just worry about my friends and family not doing the same. I honestly haven't given it a ton of thought lately. Things feel good and I'm just sort of going with that for now. It is a pleasant (if still slightly uncomfortable) relief.
After moving the flowers into my room (which immediately started to smell like the lilies), I headed out for my run. Weather is perfect. I ran toward the water and found access to the beach just a few blocks away. Running along the beach in the sand felt so good. It was my fairy tale vision of what I'd seen as my life here, but I wasn't sure it would actually be that way...but it is. I guess some dreams to come true.
I ran down to a pier and stopped in the shade it made to do my sit ups and some yoga in the sand. As I crunched up and down, the sound of the waves got louder and softer with my movement. The sun glinted off the ocean. There were people everywhere, playing catch, catching rays, walking, running, talking, eating, drinking, visiting, laughing, smiling. Ahhhh. No one looked at me like I was crazy. I just blended in with the overall happiness of the afternoon.
I brushed the sand off when I stood up and finished stretching. I ran back along the boardwalk and stopped at one of the many closely cut lawns to do some push-ups and more stretches. There was a cute young family picnicing nearby. The little girl was around 1 year and had a red polka-dot tutu on over her diaper.
I ran back to our apartment and P's cat met me at the door. He'd hissed at me once earlier when I first got home before he remembered who I was. I think he is warming up to me a bit. He's pretty friendly.
P. got hom soon after. After we caught up on each other's days a bit, she helped me set up the wireless internet. Yipee! I took a shower and now I'm sitting in bed eating beef jerky writing while she watches "So you think you can Dance" and checks on me when she walks by.
I love my life. Did I mention that?