Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Graduation Recap - Dental Dad Dinner

I have this thing where I always want the different groups of people I love best to meet and love each other as well. Makes hanging out a lot easier when all my friends just become a mega-group of friends. I never was one for group hopping. Mega-group is where it's at. 
As such I was really excited when my Dad suggested a dinner to meet some of my Boston friends. So excited I uncharacteristically took the initiative and started planning (planning is for fools!) for the night about two months in advanced. I wanted to make sure that we found a time that would work for everyone.

Lucinda likes to tease me sometimes (and if I'm being honest my entire group does as well). About a month before the actual dinner she came to clinic and told me that the Barry's (even though they had already told me they were coming) would not be making it. Apparently, the immediate sadness that overtook my entire face was hysterical. She quickly told me she was just messing with me, having not expected such an immediate reaction of that nature. 
What can I say? I'm a sentimental girl sometimes.
And I knew that graduation was going to be a weird time for us. 
Because as much as we had made it through dental school together, and wanted to celebrate together, the reality is that most of us would be spending most of our time with the family and friends who came from far and wide. 
I wanted to have a solid group shot of some of my favourite people. People that were part of the reason that I made it through my dental school career. Each one of the people who came to this dinner impacted my life. And I will treasure their friendships. It sounds overly dramatic but I just wanted one moment where we could be together. 

Oh... and I wanted them to meet my family.

We went to Fire and Ice and it was awesome. 
I guilted Ben and Jesse (who had been in Palmyra, New York earlier) into arriving in time to come to this dinner. I wanted my friends to meet my brothers. To see how hilarious they are and hopefully shed a little understanding for why I am the way I am sometimes. I just love my brothers and cousin-brothers. 
Ben and Jesse arrived at 7pm - which, cutting it close allowed us to arrive about fifteen minutes late to the dinner (which my friends laughed and commented on the mormon standard time of it all - family ruining my rep for being prompt and on time :)
Too be fair, Ben and Jesse desperately needed to shower. 

Lindsay made me a freaking crazy ton of candy necklaces for myself and my friends, which I more than happily distributed out. They thought it was pretty awesome and couldn't believe all the work that went into them. And it was a fun little thing.

Alisun and The Barry's

Sabrina and Aaron

Derrick and Mel

John and Tamsen

The Brothers

Dee and Myself

The food at fire and ice was pretty great. Of course I was no Dee. She had this masterful way of combining meat, vegetables and sauce into the most delicious thing ever. I actually had to have her walk me through it cause I couldn't replicate the mastery she used. And it was great because everyone got to eat as much as they wanted and whatever they wanted.
And for those hungry boys, it was perfection. 

This was my family in Boston. 
And I already miss them dearly, in particular Dee, Lucinda and Alisun.
But I'm so happy for all the wonderful memories we have - and the more yet to be made!

My favourite moment happened at the end of the night. It was just Dee, Lucinda and Dan and my family outside chatting. And for once in my life I wasn't the token Canadian. There was some serious American mocking and it felt pretty great to be on the other side! Especially since for the last four years I was always outnumbered. 

I just like us. I really do.

Monday, May 28, 2012


For the first time since graduating I slept in. It wasn't the unsound and ill sleep of the overly travelled. It was a pre-stress-and-responsibilty kind of sleep. I woke up and stayed in my pyjamas all day. It felt like that kind of day. I laid in my parents guest bedroom for hours just knowing that for the first time in a long time I didn't have anything that needed to be done. There was no obligations. And I let that feeling settle into me. I climbed out the window and sat on the roof. Climbed in the window and watched youtube videos. And read books. I liked the quiet. And the solitude.
I have a lot of life planning to do. And a lot of thinking and contemplating. Things I would rather not do.
I've been to Cold Lake probably two or three times every year since my parents moved up here. But I usually only go from their house to the dental office and then away again. As ridiculous as it sounds, what I like best about being here right now is that I can be alone. Being secluded with a father who works all day makes that easy. Without the guilt of knowing I should make an effort to spend time with people who love me and would want my attention.
I decided to explore my parents' neighbourhood today since I've never really done that and I do plan to start actually exercising again at some point and a walk sounded nice. Its mostly made of cul-de-sacs. But it is only a block away from what appears to be some sort of trailer campground and what I can only assume is Cold Lake - the large lake the town is named for.
I walked every street in their neighbourhood which took me around an hour, considering all the dead ends and back tracking and re-tracking that occurred. And as I walked, I thought about the constant connectedness of my life. Dental school Melissa has always had a computer or phone at her hands.
I was never the type to be in constant communication. Don't get me wrong. I love instagram and a myriad of other ultimate time wasting applications that come with having a cell phone and the ability to be in constant communication. Its easy to get caught up in always being connected. But I actually held out on getting a cell phone for many years because I loved the freedom of not having one so much. I only got a cell phone my last year of University. There was just something nice about knowing that if people wanted to contact me they had to put in a little effort to track me down. And if I was out, then that was that. I used to actually know people's phone numbers. I enjoy a little quiet and not feeling the need to check my phone thousands of times each day.
I feel so strange in this life of mine. And I'm not sure what to do. Most of the time I just want to be left alone with my books and journals and thoughts. I want to run away. I want to stay exactly where I am. But mostly, I want to feel like I'm not a lost little girl.
But life isn't a wish-granting factory. That much I know.
It's lucky, I suppose that its going to take a bit of time to get a Canadian dental license. And I'm sure my parents are praying that in the meantime I pull myself together. But I'm not so sure I have it in me to patch myself together one more time, when I feel like the last four years has been a marathon of patching.
As I walked around in the beautiful sunny weather, I thought that maybe I'll take a break from cell phones and constant connectedness. A Canadian cell phone feels so permanent right now and I am anything but ready for anything permanent. It might do me some good to be trapped with my thoughts alone and forced to deal with some things. Yes, I think a break would do me some good.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

I'm Here. I'm There. I'm Everywhere.

Super happy that my Dad and I got a chance to catch up with these two while
we're on our little jaunt to Van City. #perkofbeinganomad

Thursday, May 24, 2012

This Happened.

I graduated.

Its still so weird to me.
I'm no longer a student.
No matter how many times I say that, it doesn't stop feeling surreal.

I'm not gonna lie, I could have done without convocation.
It was crazy boring, and by the time they called my name (and pronounced Lowry wrong no less), I was over it. I wanted that diploma in hand and to get the hell out of there.
It was torture listening to the final names and the final speeches.

Graduation has been strange.
First off, there wasn't really a goodbye of sorts between my friends and I. No sort of finality. We all just kind of left without a word. One minute we're together and now we're not.
Which I suppose is the only way it could be. 
But its weird.
Second, I had a lot of people come to support me. 
They helped me pack (which was disastrous) and helped me celebrate and explore Boston one last time.

 This picture is awesome because we ordered ourselves in amount of education we have received. 
Poor little Joshie.

It was really nice of everyone to come though.
Ben and Jesse drove across the country to come.
Julie came from Virginia.
My Aunt Shelly came from Louisiana. 
My Uncle Todd and Tyson came from Western Mass.
My parents and Josh flew.

It was nice having people there. 

I'm graduated.
I'm not sure it'll ever feel normal.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Last Weekend Before Graduation

I don't know whats wrong with me. I should be beyond excited to be done. But I keep feeling all this anxiety about the activities we have planned. Like suddenly I won't know how to interact with my friends and it will be horrible and I'll be trapped. Its like I've forgotten that just because the end is near, that doesn't mean our friendships are also ending. I may be over school, but I'm not over the people. I'm ridiculous. But I was dreading this BBQ. I contemplated bailing and not going. 
But I couldn't do that.
And I'm glad I didn't.
It was the perfect day. Sunny. Warm. 
We played lawn games. We ate amazing food. We laughed. We had an awesome marshmallow treat bar. 
It was the perfect day. 
And I was reminded again, how sad it will be to move away from all my friends.
But really, we're all leaving. 
So its nice that we get to enjoy our last few days together.

Ha. And this guy is my chiropractor. :)

Tooth toothpicks

Love these three

Thursday, May 10, 2012


I got up just early enough to catch the last Clinical faculty I needed to sign me out so I could do my last three academic sign outs.

The sign out of treatment planning was very quick.
It maybe took all of three minutes. 
But my locker sign out wasn't till 9am so I had to wait around the school.

Locker sign out was also quick.
Thats the thing about signing out. 
None of it takes very long.
And yet it is the most drawn out process ever.
Just a small stop at my lockers and they congratulated me and I went to my next stop. 

Of course, this being dental school, that involved more waiting.
The person signing us out of the Academic Office wasn't even at school at 9am.
So I waited till she arrived.

Signing out took all of thirty seconds.
After which I went to my final destination.
When I arrived, he told me that my name wasn't on his list of 
people who could sign out, and asked if I could come back
in an hour to give time for the system to update.

One thing you need to know about dental school is that it has ruined my patience.
The reason I am done a week early is because I developed a "don't take no" and "this is happening on MY time schedule" attitude. And when I want something done, it better damn well get done.
Persistent, is the polite way faculty and staff refer to me.
But basically it's a constant barrage of me harassing them until they do what I want, when I want it.
But waiting an hour to get signed out of my LAST sign out. No. That would not do.
So I told him that if it was a computer problem with the system not updating, that he better call IT. Because this was getting done now and nothing he could say would dissuade me from that.

So he sent me out to wait while he phoned. 
And I heard him tell the IT guy that I wasn't interested in any excuses and wanted it done now.

But while he was on the phone, the system updated and my name showed up.
I dropped off my ID.
And he signed me out.
My final sign out of dental school.

Its been very anti-climatic this whole sign out process.
I'd love to say that it feels so good and that I'm happy as can be.
But mostly I feel like who even cares.
Ya, its nice that I no longer need to stalk people and bully them into doing what I want, when I want it done. Thats nice. But now I'm left in this odd place. I know that this moment should be a grand thing. But its very underwhelming. Like really, this is it? The moment I've been working to for the last four years? It pretty much feels like every other moment.
My graduation is confirmed. I'll actually be getting my diploma when I walk across that stage (which a lot of my classmates can't say). And while its nice and I'm glad for it, it's not the end. There's getting a license. There's packing. There's moving. There's always more.

The discussion that I've been having with my also signed out friends, is that now that we are done with school we're trying to switch out of the school mode. Because one thing I know for sure, is that dental school has brought out the worst in me. But part of that is why I'm done a week early. Because I was bossy and demanding and wouldn't take no for an answer. And everything was hyper-analyzed and done on my time schedule. And the way I wanted it done. 
But this version isn't at all who I want to be. I hear myself talk and I hate it. I hate how I sound. But it has become so ingrained that I know this transition is going to be a difficult one. 
I'm done with dental school and on to something new.
But it's just another thing that is happening. Not a great thing. Just a thing.
Nothing more. Nothing less.
It just is.