the future Dr. Zeidan

I can’t believe it has been so long since I updated. It seems so much has happened and I am sure I will forget something. I came to Detroit for commencement. It was fun, and also very wonderful to see my family and Jason. While I was there I also had a job interview that went well. It was really hard to go back to internship after that. I was basically just counting the days till I graduated. A few weeks after I was back I had some bad news. My dad was needing emergency triple bypass surgery. He madit through it, and is recovering well. He isn’t allowed to drive still, but he is able to go back to work. He rides with his friend who lives close. I was also offered the job at blue water counseling. I have accepted it, but I am waiting on my temporary limited license to come through before I can start.

Anyway, both Jason and my mom made it to Alaska to help me move out and to be there for my internship graduation. While I was very very very excited to be done with internship it was very hard to leave Alaska and also say goodbye to my internship cohort. Many of them are like siblings to me now. We got a chance to take my mom up to Hatchers Pass after graduation, and we explored the mine. On the way down there was this beautiful rainbow. It seemed like a movie set. That weekend we also got to go to Mt. McKinley. We did a flight tour with a glacier landing. It was amazing. I highly suspected Jason was going to propose, but he didn’t. He had always promised it would be before I moved in with him, but the next day he left. This left me feeling confused.

I flew back to Michigan 2 days later, and my cat and aly have been introduced. It hasn’t gone so well. Aly is terrified of Sonata, but Sonata doesn’t realize it. They can occasionally be in the same room. I have also seen a few friends, but for the most part I have been lazy or studying for the EPPP since getting your PhD isn’t enough. Yes that’s right I need another 2000 hours of supervised practice and to pass the EPPP before I will be fully licensed.

Last week I was really tired, and Jason came home and was like lets go for a hike. I refused and he looked kind of upset. He then suggested the mall. I eventually agreed to get dressed and go. He kept trying to get me to look at pictures of Alaska we had taken, but I kept saying I’d look in the car. He texted one to me and was being pushy about me looking. I kept saying in the car. He finally was like can I show you then. It was a picture we had taken at Mt McKinely and he had put Shannon will you marry me on a sign in the picture. Apparently he was having someone write it out on the hike we were going to take, but I screwed things up. Anyway, I am so excited and happy. We are planning an October 2015 wedding here in Michigan. In August our families are supposed to meet. There will be a blessing of the ring. This is something that I traditional for Jordanian weddings, and it is important to his father. Anyway, that’s it for now. Lots going on. I’ll try to update more frequently.

 

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spring time mania

So much has been going on here in Anchorage. I have already sent a total of thirty boxes to Jason. It takes about a month for them to get to Rochester, and with him coming here for my internship graduation I need all the boxes to be gone the first week of June. The people here are so incredibly nice. I make a new friend every time I go to the post office.

 

My Alaska Psychiatric Institute Rotation is complete. It was a bit overwhelming. More because it was so short and they tried to fit everything in. I really loved working with the adolescents though. It is so amazing to hear what a teenager’s life is like in the villages compared to what my life was like as a teenager. At times I find it frustrating, but then I remember it’s what they know and I am making a judgment and most likely if I had grown up in a village I would do different things and enjoy much different things. There is also a Baptist Priest coming to anchorage soon to protest outside the native center because he is calling the natives heathens. It’s so upsetting. I can honestly say that my experience with anyone from a Native Alaskan background has been a positive one once they get to know me and I get to know them. Many of them are religious now, and they went through so many horrible events. I know many of my patients and colleagues plan to go protest against the priest and I am seriously considering it too.

 

Spring is here in anchorage though, and the sunlight is increasing drastically. It is now well after ten before it gets dark, and when I wake up at 5 am it is lightish. We gain about 5-7 minutes of sunlight a day. I am having some trouble falling asleep now. The mornings are great though. There is still snow on the mountains but for the most part the snow and ice ha melted in the valley.

 

As the internship year comes to a close I am no longer taking on new patients and instead working on transfer summaries for my patients to go to the new students coming in. It’s sad too. I mean I’ve worked with some of them all year long. I wish the best for them all. In more personal news Jason is also spending this time interviewing for his fellowship. His Alaska interview will be May 9th and I am keeping my fingers crossed for that one. He has some good options though. They interview early for palliative care, so he won’t actually start until the summer of 2015. The places he has gone though have talked with him about helping me to find a job in the area if he chooses to come there. That is kind of awesome.

 

This week has also been kind of special for Jason and me. It was our first year anniversary. He sent me flowers and a stuffed animal. They were supposed to be delivered to my home, but ended up having to be delivered to work since the company doesn’t deliver after 3 PM. We also got to see each other after nine weeks. We went to Seattle and it was so amazing to see him after so long. I love traveling with him too. We always get a hotel with a full kitchen and do our grocery shopping and cook together. We also go to the gym every morning. I can run again! I am taking it slow, but I did three days back to back in Seattle. Plus we went on an amazing hike on a mountain to Bridal Falls. It was supposed to be easy, but we were jumping over streams and climbing up rocks. I was pretty sore after that. We also did some shopping, and I got some Kate Spade shoes for commencement. They are hot pink which I fitting since I defended my dissertation in a hot pink suit. Anyway just two weeks till I leave to go back for commencement. I am hoping the redwings are still in the playoffs, but they aren’t doing so hot. It would be great to go to a game though. Oh and I know what else is new. I have red hair again! Anyway, I hope all of you are doing fabulous and I look forward to seeing my Michigander friends in two weeks!!!!!april_red april_32 april_31 april_30 april_29 april_28 april_27 april_23 april_24 april_20 april_15 april_12 april_8 april_7 april_3

Rural village reflection

So I’m back and have been back for a while. Of course I had difficulty actually sitting down to write about my experience right afterward because I was not only exhausted, but overwhelmed with work almost immediately.  So the night before I left Jordan had texted me because there was a bad storm heading to Anchorage and possibly to Nome. There was a question of us ever getting out of Nome to go to Stebbins to begin with. Of course things went smoothly though. The flight to Nome was pretty awesome. I could see Mount McKinley from my window. Nome was different. It was smaller than I had imagined and because of the rain it was grey and much like a Michigan winter. Ray (our supervisor) picked us up from the airport and let me tell you smallest airport ever. There is one terminal and one gate. There isn’t a rotating thing for luggage, it’s just pushed through a flap. We got a chance to see Nome including the behavioral health clinic and gold drudges. Then it was time for our flight to Stebbins. I seriously thought I would have problems on the small plane, but it wasn’t bad. It hurt my ears horribly though, and Jordan had the same issue.

Now Stebbins. It’s on St. Michael’s island and made of volcanic rock. The runway is gravel, and there isn’t an airport. People met our flight, and someone took our luggage on a four wheeler to the health clinic for us. I don’t know what I was expecting, but it wasn’t that. For some reason I wasn’t expecting houses. Now don’t get me wrong. I wasn’t expecting igloos, but I guess I was expecting a more communal way of living versus families set up just like mine. Anyway, the houses all looked the same, and were small. The village is basically one or two roads made of volcanic rocks. Nobody really drives cars, there maybe are two in the village. Everyone has a four wheeler though. People were friendly probably because we were with Ray and he is like a celebrity there. I felt really conspicuous though being the only white person there besides the teachers. Not to mention I felt a little overdressed and let me remind you I travel in sweats. Of course they were lululemon and I had my new coat and boots.

Anyway, Ray forgot to arrange a place for us to sleep, so the first few hours were spent hunting people down to find a place for us. We ended up at the teen center with a woman who also was just getting in. She was there for headstart and comes to the village about once a year. Can we say obnoxious!?!?!! She had no social skills at all. She immediately offended me and Jordan and wouldn’t leave us alone to unpack. Jordan was awesome though, I was missing Jason and he let me use his phone to call him (yeah no Verizon cell service there). It really helped having Jordan there because he has been in a long distance relationship and was very supportive and understood the feelings. Anyway, the first night we slept on cots. The teens and kids were banging on the windows and screaming open up it’s the government. Of course Sarah had warned us about this, so I was expecting it. Plus earlier and the day we had heard stories of how the teens had blown up the supplies used to build sewers and equipment to get the town running water. It’s funny that they destroyed the things that would have gotten them running water and a flushing toilet. Oh yes they use honey buckets still. Anyway, the first night was miserably cold, so Jordan and I packed up our stuff and decided to opt for the floor of the health clinic rather than sleep in the cold teen building with the obnoxious know it all.

The first full day was spent kind of just hanging out in the morning. The village seems to go on their own time, and nobody seems to get out of their house before 10 or 11. Later that day we helped Ray with a mental competency assessment. This meant visiting a home. I can’t say much about that because of client confidentiality. I can say that seeing what some people are living in was eye opening. I would feel trapped if that was my daily life. The smell was so strong, and I am surprised I didn’t get nauseous. The person we assessed was so sweet though, and Ray was amazing with her. My heart broke hearing her story, and the abuse she is suffering from family members and possible abuse from people in her family who are in authority in the village. Nobody will go against that person. Basically in the village they have very little of what we use in modern day cities for entertainment. No malls, movies, gyms, etc. They have bingo every night, and a small store with junk food. I bought frozen veggies there and it cost me 10 bucks for the bag. When I heated them up they were a muted grey green. No wonder everyone fills up on sugar and frozen pizza.

Jordan and I spent a lot of time hiking. We climbed a volcano twice, walked along the beach, through the village. Basically we saw what we could. The jail is so small, and often when someone is psychotic they have to be locked in one of these sparse cells because there is no other place to hold them and they have to wait till someone can bring a plane in and get them to Nome, and from there they have to be transported to anchorage. We did get a chance to see the native dancers and drummers. They were very welcoming, and that was amazing to see. Its sad more children aren’t getting into their customs anymore.  It was also heartbreaking to hear how children are often taken away from their homes and sent away because of the abuse they are experiencing at home. The woman at headstart was also rude and demonstrated why these people are totally against white people. She wanted to diagnose all the children with ADHD um no. They’re kids. They have energy they want to play.

We left the village and flew back to Nome on Monday. I left saying I’m glad they make us do this as part of the internship, but I definitely don’t see myself practicing in a village. It’s so isolating. It wouldn’t work well for me at all. Ray enjoys being by himself and it would drive me nuts. We got Thursday to catch up with Sarah and Jason who are the intern stationed in Nome, and then we were supposed to catch a flight back to anchorage. I was so ready for my own bed and to have my phone back even though Jordan let me talk to Jason every night. We got through security and then they announced our flight was canceled. I almost broke down right there. They really scared me by saying the next day’s flight was booked, but they ended up bringing a full flight up for us the next day instead of half cargo. Since Ray turns his cell phone off Sarah had to go check out a company car and pick us up at the airport. We dropped our stuff at her house and then drove the car back and walked back. I definitely cried. I just was so tired, but honestly it was awesome being able to talk with Sarah and learn more about her. It’s been a while since our camping trip. It was amazing of her to let us stay at her place too.

Finally Friday we got home, and I went straight to the gym and then had a phone date with Jason. Seriously though I was exhausted for a week after that. I had my MOVE groups starting this week and so much to do given I am the one leading and supervising the master’s students. Plus of course millions of normal clinical activities. The sun doesn’t come up now to almost 9 am and is down around 6 pm. That’s making me tired too.

I did go to my first Alaska Aces hockey game and had a lot of fun. Met some new people too who seem awesome. My MOVE group went well yesterday, and now I’m starting to feel a little less busy although I still am booked all week in the clinic. I just have this weekend and then the next weekend Jason will be here, so something to look forward to! I hope everyone is well!

pavel and i boarding the small plane

pavel and i boarding the small plane

coming into stebbins

coming into stebbins

the "airport"

the “airport”

pavel with a volcanic rock

pavel with a volcanic rock

me and pavel exploring the island

me and pavel exploring the island

pavel with some weird fungus

pavel with some weird fungus

pavel and i on top of the volcano

pavel and i on top of the volcano

pavel and i on the volcano

pavel and i on the volcano

me hiking with jordan and stebbins in the background

me hiking with jordan and stebbins in the background

beach in a parka?

beach in a parka?

pavel and i on the beach

pavel and i on the beach

the dancers

the dancers

sunset

sunset

sunset

sunset

leaving stebbins, the lake is the volcano and nobody has found the bottom

leaving stebbins, the lake is the volcano and nobody has found the bottom

leaving stebbins

leaving stebbins

Nome the end of the iditarod!

Nome the end of the iditarod!