Vacation to Maine!

It's been a long time since we've updated! Probably that's because residency fell into full swing and Kyle started traveling to Charlotte, NC on a weekly basis... 

Olivia completed rotations in the Peds ED, Newborn Nursery, and survived round one of the Labor and Delivery floor on both days and nights. Her vacation was a much needed break, and we took the opportunity to go to Maine for a week! Having never been there, we decided to go to Portland and Acadia. Here are some highlights. 

SEAFOOD: we ate a lot of Lobster, clams, and clam chowder. Thank you to our friends who provided various restaurant recommendations and Yelp :) We didn't have a bad meal during our entire week in Maine. 

HIKING: It's a good thing we did a lot of hiking to make up for all of the yummy food we ate! Acadia was beautiful in October with the foliage still around and cooler temperatures for hiking. Our favorite hikes included the Beehive Trail and the Precipice Trail - both had a lot of obstacles, rocks to climb up, iron rungs, ladders, etc. to overcome before getting to the top! We were unaware that the Precipice is considered one of the more dangerous national parks trails that exists....but we made it just fine! :) Look up a Youtube video if you want to see exactly what climbing it entails! It's definitely unique! We also took an easy stroll along the Acadia Ocean Path Trail. 

THE FARM BY THE SEA: An adorable Air BnB that we stayed at that had oceanfront property and a hobby farm. You could walk out to an uninhabited island during low-tide and look at the all the tide pools. It was magical. 

LOBSTER CATCHING: We decided to be touristy and ride a lobster boat - it was a lot of fun learning how they catch lobster, regulate the industry, etc. and a unique way to see Portland. We enjoyed helping bait traps, measuring lobsters, and throwing back crabs. 

It was a week full of food, hiking, and enjoying God's creation! The rest of Olivia's vacation has included a visit from her parents and relaxing at home. We will hopefully update again and remember to post some favorite recipes we've been making this Fall :) 

California Road Trip

As our instagram/facebook updates have indicated, we had a whirlwind week-long adventure in California :) Starting in San Diego and finishing in San Francisco, it was a week full of family, friends, yummy food, and new adventures! 


Olivia was honored to be her (first) cousin (once-removed) Amanda's bridesmaid! The #hillalwaysloveliew wedding was set right at the La Jolla Cove, where rocky bluffs overlook the ocean and seals and sea lions abound :) It was a beautiful wedding and we had a great time exploring the area and eating an abundance of fish tacos at Oscar's! 


Olivia's family + extended family were at the wedding in San Diego, but the party continued in LA as several of them are from there! Our brief pit stop in LA also enabled us to see friends from college and high school - it's amazing how much can change over the years and how much time can elapse between seeing one another, but the bond of friendship is still there and picks up where you left off :) 


Kyle's mission was to go to Yosemite (he was a previous national park junior ranger...)  and despite my protests of being a poor hiker/anti-nature, he convinced me that we should go see Yosemite rather than drive up the coast from southern to northern California. It was definitely worth it! We decided to spend approximately 24 hours in Yosemite, which surprisingly was the perfect amount of time to do two different hikes: Vernal Fall/Mist Trail and 4.8 mile trail (which turned out to be 2.8 mile trail much to my delight...) We experienced staying in the half dome village (in a cabin, not a tent!) and no bears were spotted.


From Yosemite, we drove west -- back to the coast -- to see Monterey, Carmel by the Sea, Pacific Grove, and we attempted to go to Big Sur! It was pretty interesting to drive through some of the tiny towns and farming lands of California - the vegetation and landscapes are all so different throughout the state! 

We were able to visit Point Lobos Natural Preserve (unfortunately no otters were spotted) and saw the beautiful coastal views of Highway 1. Big Sur was deemed the "Big Fail" of our trip, as we drove all the way there only to find out it was closed because of all the damage it sustained over the winter - we were told to come back in September for a full opening.... but despite the disappointment, we were still treated to gorgeous vistas on our drive there and back. 

17 mile drive didn't disappoint! It was a foggy gray day when we went, but it made it more magical in my opinion :) 


Our final destination was the Bay Area. Thanks to the Keenes, we were able to experience Stanford/Palo Alto - I was amazed at how many bikers there were compared to Cornell's campus! We spent one day exploring San Francisco, road the cable cars, ate clam chowder at the Wharf, saw the Golden Gate Bridge, and climbed Billy Goat Hill. It was a true joy to see Cornell friends, some that we hadn't seen since graduation :)

It was a week full of adventure and we are so thankful that we could go on vacation before we move and residency starts :) Thank you to the friends and family that made time to see us or hosted us along the way :) We loved visiting and hopefully we'll be able to do it again! 

Up In The Air

This has been three weeks full of traveling for interview season. For most of the traveling I was "up in the air" (flying) as is my future (who knows where I'll end up for residency!) so this title seemed fitting.  I'm so thankful for the family and friends that have hosted me during my travels or made time to hang out with me :) Read to see where I went, who I saw, and what I did (besides interview, haha!) 

Map displayed for cities visited - I did not drive this route

Map displayed for cities visited - I did not drive this route

First Stop: Grand Rapids, MI

I had a great time hanging out with Kyle's family (including our adorable niece)! It was my first time being in Grand Rapids in the fall, since we nearly always visit in the winter for the holidays or the summer for the lake cottage. I went to Meijer Gardens to see the Japanese Sculpture garden, went wedding dress shopping with my sister in law, took long walks with Quincey (Kyle's dog), ate at their downtown Market, etc. etc. :) 

Second Stop: Chicago, IL

I took the train from GR to Chicago, and stayed with Marissa for the week! My mom was in town for a conference for the first part of my visit, so it was a treat to see her too. So many things happened in one week besides interviewing at two programs :)

  • Cornell friends were in town! And we watched the World Series game together
  • Halloween happened - and since Kyle wasn't here (for me to torture with my costumes), I decided to be a cactus while Marissa and Alan were adorably Chip and Joanna Gaines from Fixer Upper. Also the photo with Michael totally looks like it could've been taken at Cornell at the Cru Halloween Dance Party or something... (we'll never grow up) 
  • Marissa and Alan ran the Hot Chocolate 5k and I cheered them on/drank hot chocolate/ate breakfast. I guess my goal is to be at the level of physical fitness where I can casually decide to run a 5k whenever I want... 
  • The Cubs Won the World Series and I was in town! We went to Wrigleyville since Marissa lives so close, but fortunately no couch burning riots were occurring during our quick survey of the festivities 


Third Stop: Chapel Hill, NC

I flew from Chicago to Chapel Hill and immediately noticed how over dressed I was as it was nearly 80 degrees! They told me it was un-seasonally warm, but regardless, it was quite the improvement over the midwest/upstate NY temperatures.. 

It was wonderful to see my friend Ben, a physical therapy student at UNC, from my missions trip! He showed me the ever important "Well" of UNC (I thought he was saying "Whale" at first.... oops haha) and treated me to some delicious frozen yogurt + a walking tour of Franklin St. 


Then, I drove to meet up with Jean (JP) - someone I hadn't seen since we graduated from college! It was a treat to catch up with her and to stay with her family who ever so lovingly pushed all of the Asian goodies/food on me :) 

We forgot to take a photo together, so this picture of the restaurant we ate at will have to suffice!

We forgot to take a photo together, so this picture of the restaurant we ate at will have to suffice!

Stop 4: Charlotte, NC

This is the part where I actually drove on the trip - I rented a car (woohoo being 25!) and drove myself to Charlotte, NC where I stayed with my friend from high school, Jill! We went to the renaissance festival where she barely was able to feed the animals ;) (see below for her hilarious faces), ate delicious BBQ at Midwood Smokehouse, went to Elevation Church, and watched a lot of Hallmark Christmas movies (they're just so cheesy and addicting). It was so exciting to see Jill, since it had been many years since we last saw each other! She is now a grown up teacher of 3rd graders :) Also pictured below: her neighbor/friend also had a ballpit, which I promptly sat in. 

Finally, it was time to come back to Syracuse! And fortunately, Kyle is working from home this week so we will actually see each other :) 

I'm so thankful for all of the family and friends who have shown such generosity and hospitality along the way. I often hate asking for help/hate being an inconvenience and am thankful for the love you have shown me! 


Vacation Part 2: Philly & DC

Driving was not the theme of our vacation, but it did feel like a big part of it. We left Grand Rapids on Tuesday morning and spent the whole day driving to Philadelphia, where we stayed for just 24 hours. Olivia had to take STEP 2CS: a standardized patient exam (actors pretending to be patients) which is only offered in a handful of cities, while I hung out in the Courtyard for eight hours as she took her test. 

Olivia studies on the beach in Michigan for step 2 CS... 

Olivia studies on the beach in Michigan for step 2 CS... 

We were happy to grab dinner with some friends in Philly before hitting the road, and thankfully did not have our car broken into after parking in a sketchy lot. Inner-city driving in not something that either of us enjoys too much (it definitely tests your marriage....haha), but after making plenty of wrong turns, we finally made it out of the city. Since we still had a few days left of vacation and were already on the East Coast, we decided that DC would be the last stop on our trip. Featured below: bubble tea, the LOVE sculpture, and a "Bell-fie" ;) 

It only took us a couple of hours to reach Alexandria, VA, which turned out to be a quaint area (at least by where we were staying).  We spent the next morning exploring the area and checking out some of the local shops and restaurants before hitting the Natural History and American History museums in the city. The thermometer was pushing 100, and it definitely felt over that with the humidity, but we survived our trek around the Mall before heading back. We found the DC metro to be super convenient and fairly reliable, but I guess not everyone feels that way.

Day 2 for us began early on to beat the heat, although that ended pretty quickly. We made it to the zoo around 9am and traversed through almost every exhibit. Highlights included pandas (duh), elephants (Kyle’s favorite), bison (lol), and a funny looking sloth bear. By the time we left around 12:30 it was very hot. We trekked back down to VA to meet up with one of Kyle’s best friends who happened to be in the area for work until his flight back to NYC. We did venture back to the Mall at night to see some of the monuments, but it was still extremely hot out even at dark. (Also, those monuments are not close together!)

Our last day of the trip was filled with meeting up with friends from college, hanging out in different parts of Virginia and Maryland. We had some very yummy asian food of different varieties and really enjoyed catching up with old friends that we have not seen in a while. We left Sunday morning for Syracuse, making it home in under six hours, but still putting our total car time for the two weeks well above any desirable limit.

As we settle in for a busy fall, our trip had the perfect balance of relaxing and exciting (and even had a little work/school tossed in too). We were very happy to spend time with friends and family, and look forward to wherever our next vacation may be!


Nicaragua Recap

I (Olivia) went to Jalapa, Nicaragua on August 13th-21st with Christian Medical Dental Association's Global Health Outreach program. This trip could not have come at a better time: an accidental break in school due to some course scheduling issues and changes in summer plans... but also what I learned from this trip was so timely as well!  Here's a brief recap and explanation of some of the things my team did did, and some of the things I learned:

Where did we go? - we traveled 8 hours north of Managua to get to Jalapa, a small town in the mountains near the Honduran border. 

See the mountains under the clouds?? (Photo by Sally Moon)

See the mountains under the clouds?? (Photo by Sally Moon)

Who went on this trip? - we had a family physician (my mom!), an internist, a pediatrician, a pediatric resident, a PA professor, and a nicaraguan doctor + many PA students, a PT student, several undergraduate students studying all different things, RNs, nursing students, pharmacy students, and several non-medical people! We also had an army of phenomenal translators! :)

The team on the last night (without the translators) 

The team on the last night (without the translators) 

What did we do? - each day, we ran a clinic, but we also ran much more than a clinic! Patients would come from Jalapa or surrounding areas and register. They would go to a community health session to learn about preventive health measures (i.e. good hygiene practices), and then a session to learn about Christianity and the gospel. Next, patients would go through triage, and then proceed to the clinic to meet with the physician best suited for their age/chief complaint. We had the opportunity to take histories, do physical exams, make assessments and plans, and pray with the patient if they desired to. In addition to medical services, we had our own pharmacy on site, physical therapy, glasses for correcting vision, and a laboratory that could run certain tests. While adults were doing medical things, we had a full time children's program as well! Sometimes, patients weren't able to get to the clinic, so our teams would be assigned to do home visits (pictured below) - I brought my violin along to play music for the patients. 

Playing violin on a home visit with Ben, the PT student (Photo by my mom)

Playing violin on a home visit with Ben, the PT student (Photo by my mom)

So, what did I gain from this trip? 

There are so many things I could write about, and it would be impossible for me to put it all on this blog. You should definitely ask me about it in person, or email me with more specific questions! Especially if you want to know how GHO/CMDA sets up these trips so that the short term mission trip is not more harmful than helpful. Or if you want to know how you can support the long term workers there! Or if you want to help donate to buy a generator and/or compressor (the power went out several times while we were there and we relied on a generator!) But for now, I will write a little bit about what I've learned from this trip. 

I am reminded of how God is at work everywhere - too often, medical school is a bubble. Whether it's a bubble from what's going on in the country, to what's going on with your friends/family because your head is stuck in a book (or I guess staring at the computer screen in today's day and age), it's easy to forget that world continues to turn each day and there are so many people living on this planet. I loved meeting the Nicaraguan people, hearing their life stories, and hearing how passionate and sincere they are about their faith. I also loved hearing from other people that were struggling with their faith, that they sometimes went to church but weren't really sure if they could say they had a personal relationship with Jesus- I loved it because it reminded me that they are just like us! They are so similar to the people in my own city here in the states. I am immensely thankful that there is a network of pastors in Jalapa that are following up with new believers in Christ, as well as those that want to reconnect and rekindle their faith! There is so much beyond my commute to the hospital/school and back, and I am grateful for the chance to be reminded of that this past week. 

I am re-affirmed in my calling to pursue Family Medicine - I noticed that I loved being able to take care of kids, adults, pregnant ladies - anyone and everyone! No one was too young or too old. We could see families together at the same time instead of sending the kid to one doctor and then parent going to another. As I head into applying for residency, I am thankful that God used this trip to remind me of why I'm so passionate about this field of medicine! I also need to consider if I want to truly work on my Spanish and work with Spanish speaking populations down the road...

I have some amazing new friends  - A one week trip can be difficult - by the end, you finally feel like you know everyone, and then it's time to say goodbye. I met some fantastic people on this trip, and it was so refreshing to see people passionate not only about physical health, but about spiritual health. I loved working in the clinic with these friends, playing my violin with the worship team, eating dinner with these teammates every day, sharing at night how God had been at work, hearing their rich testimonies of grace (which often made me cry!), staying up late at night trying to connect to the wifi, exploring Grenada on our last day and zip-lining through the canopy! We might now be far apart and it's possible that in this lifetime some of us won't meet again, but I take comfort in the fact that we're all in God's family for all of eternity. 

Somehow I always find myself with the Asians... :) 

Somehow I always find myself with the Asians... :) 

It's crazy to think that the next time I go on a medical missions trip, I might actually be a doctor. 

Totally crazy!! 

There are so many things that are scheduled to happen this year and so many potential changes. Residency applications, interviewing, ranking - all of that is going to happen very soon. Kyle and I don't know what's next, but wherever God leads, we hope to be faithful to the call to love the Lord with all of our heart, soul, and mind and to love our neighbors as ourself. 

Okay, end of recap! Thank you to everyone who supported me in prayer or financially on this trip! It meant so much to me knowing that there were so many of you praying for this trip and reading the updates while we were there! 


Olivia (& Kyle)