Sunday, May 31, 2009

Arrivederci America, Salve Italy!

The end of my first year of med school was a whirlwind- I enjoyed our end of the year medical school party, packed up all my belongings in one night and stowed it painfully into the basement of my apartment building at Pitt. I jetted back to Boston and was whisked almost immediately away to my sister's graduation at Yale. Talk about pomp and circumstance, there were 3 days of festivities to send the graduates off... and yes I begrudgingly went to all of them (jk, mei). I have to say my favorite part of the weekend was their "Class Day" (day before graduation) where all the seniors wear crazy hats (betsy wore bunny ears) instead of their graduation caps and they have a yale alum as a speaker (clever guy, but i fell asleep nonetheless). It was pretty chilly weather and I wore two jackets most of the time, but the sun finally showed up on Class Day!
Family at commencement ball, congrats mei!

The rest of the week I wrapped up by seeing old highschool, college, and med school friends. An album of end of the year pictures!

So Boston had pretty freezing weather, miserable for May!, most of the time I was back, and in many many ways I was in need of a change of pace and some warm Italian sunshine. On Saturday I packed my bags and my parents drove me to Logan- off to Italy I went!

This summer I'll be doing cardiac stent research at a UPMC hospital in Palermo, Sicily. A few Pitt Med students go every year, though this year was definitely a struggle with funding. Thanks to numerous sources I was finally able to scrape up the moola to go! I'll be living in the green region above, and at Point A below for the next two months. I'll commute to Point B (via taxi or bus everyday) which is IsMeTT hospital (Mediterranean Institute for Transplantation and Highly Specialized Therapies). Note how close I am to the ocean! (bwahaha, although I will note that we are at a port with tons of cruise ships, and not a beach).


The beautiful city of Palermo- I was particularly struck by the proximity of mountains to the shore. You can see them off to the distance all around the city.
When we arrived in the area of our apartment we were informed by our friendly driver that Palermo is currently undergoing a rubbish strike. Unfortunately, that means that trash has not been picked up for awhile = unpleasant stench everywhere. There's overflowing rubbish on all the curbsides... I only hope that the city resolves this fast!
Otherwise, the drive in was wonderful- the ocean is a cerulean blue, our apartment is beautiful- clean and outfitted with kitchen supplies including home-made pasta sauce by our landlady, and Xiao and I enjoyed pizza/pannini and gelato our first night in. Buona Notte Italy!

French Fry Pizza (made me recall a certain Pittsburgh style of sandwich... ;)) and panini and the local pizza shop!

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