I did not know that Florida had two time zones. I am currently sitting on Juliet's bed in a cute little apartment in the Florida State Hospital campus in Chattahoochee where she will be staying for the next six weeks. She is here for her first clinical rotation; the concentration is psychiatry. After this she has seven other rotations in seven different fields and hospitals over the next year and a half. If this past year of school was intensive and stressful, the next one for her will be extensive and adventurous.
Chattahoochee is a five-hour drive from our home in St. Petersburg and the clocks here run an hour behind. It is a quaint little town with a rich local history. The long drive into the town through the scenic rolling hills and narrow lanes reminded me of Wyoming where we eloped to last year for our wedding and honeymoon. Who knew that a year later I would be dropping her off in a remote town for a month and a half with such a heavy heart. I'm incidentally leaving for the same mountains and canyons of Wyoming in a few days for my ultramarathon. I really wish she could have come with me but this clinical rotation is a huge opportunity for her career and I wouldn't want anything less than that for her.
Yesterday was the "White Coat ceremony" at her university where the teachers officially gave students in her class their medical white coats as a rite of passage, thus bestowing upon them the responsibility and trust that is expected of a medical care professional. It was a short and sweet procession and Juliet was awarded a scholarship for being the top student in her class. I cannot put into words the amount of effort and dedication that she put into her studies over the past year and was immensely proud to see her hard work being rewarded in front of hundreds of students and their family and friends. Most students in graduate and post-graduate programs, including yours truly, just do enough to get decent grades so they can move on to the next course. Not Juliet. She gave every lecture, class, lab, quiz, test, and exam her utmost best. While her eighteen-hour study days drove both her and me crazy, I realized that very soon she will make a genuinely caring and brilliant Physician Assistant. I am very proud of her and so happy that she is in my life.
Our friend Sandra and her daughter Madison were also at the ceremony and took lots of photos. We celebrated the night with some yummy Hibachi and crashed early. We packed both our cars this morning with all the things Juliet will need for the next six weeks and drove up to Chattahoochee. Once I get back home, I will try to put some of the pictures from her ceremony online. Right now I'm stuck in a small town without any wired Internet access and am using a laptop tethered to a cellphone to write this 'blog entry. And Juliet just prepared some dinner for me so my tummy says good bye Internet!