Tuesday, November 17, 2015

My Medical Grand Tour, Part 1 of 4

From the 18th into the early 20th centuries, it was not uncommon for wealthy American medical school graduates to travel to Europe for a mixture of advanced training and extended cultural vacation. In the 1700s they tended to go to England and Scotland, in the early 1800s Paris, and from the late 1800s Germany and Austria. Here is my own version of a medical grand tour.

Out of a combination of discretion and superstition, I tried to be circumspect online while I was traveling for residency interviews, but now that they are over and I have Matched, I want to share the pictorial travelogue I kept while on the trail. You probably don’t want to read about the nitty-gritty details of call schedules, research tracks, and clinical electives, so here are some snapshots I took along the way. (Apologies for the low quality of the cell phone images, as my camera went missing at one point and/or I didn’t have it with me on the interview day.)

On my very first interview, in Indianapolis, IN, I made the rookie fashion faux pas of bringing the wrong purse; for future interviews I swapped the brown corduroy for a professional black Kate Spade bag.

My second interview, in Columbus, OH, was the day before Halloween, so I decided to dress up for the holiday. After conducting a Facebook poll about which pair of earrings to choose, I wore an orange collared shirt under my standard black suit and the black spiders you see here. Much to my disappointment, nobody remarked on them, although I did bring them up during my interview with the Program Director.

The night Dear Husband gave his big scary organ music recital, I was staying with relatives in Cambridge, OH. He set up his laptop to livestream the performance for us. You can read all about it here.

Despite having grown up in Baltimore, MD, on interview I finally, finally got to visit Johns Hopkins—I mean Jesus—in the rotunda.

In Boston, MA, a friend took me out for a fancy seafood dinner, complete with raw oysters. (I think it was the first or maybe second time I had ever tried them.) My favorites were the Pemaquid, ME, oysters because they had just the right briny taste of ocean.

The weather in Rochester, NY, was unseasonably warm, and I did not appreciate having to lug around my heavy winter coat on shuttles and through airports. However, we were able to take an applicant group photo in front of the upper falls in just our shirt sleeves.

After interviewing in Newark, NJ, I took the PATH train to Manhattan to have dinner with a friend from graduate school and hear the famous, brilliant, and humble medieval historian Caroline Walker Bynum give a talk about these two objects: the Beguine cradle (?1460s) and the Burgundy creche (2nd half of the 1400s). Bynum ranged from the identity politics of monks versus nuns to the material culture of medieval worship to the cults of Mary and Joseph. I began my historical training as a medievalist, mind you, so I knew just enough about the topic to have been properly awed.

This series continues with Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4.

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