it is funny to think back to my first days at Duke and remember how much has happened since then:
- I started this blog as my "grad school outlet-to-keep-me-sane." And now, it's become one of my favorite hobbies and means of communication with family, friends, and some strangers.
- I took out loans for the first time in my life, to pay tuition to Duke. And figured out how to live on a (tight) budget.
- I found a new church in N.C. that I love. I thought it would never be possible after having to leave Portico behind in Cville.
- I made new friends at Duke, and kept the old very close too.
- I got engaged to my best friend Adam.
- I went to many Duke Basketball games where I bled blue and jumped around a lot.
- I planned a wedding...while simultaneously planning my thesis research project in Damak, Nepal--studying mental health among Bhutanese refugees.
- I travelled to familiar places like here and here and, of course, here.
- I travelled to a new corner of the world and made new friends who were not as different from me as I expected. Go figure.
- We even had a dance party on the Nepali rooftops!
- I found out one of my best friends had cancer, and watched as she was super brave, battled it, and eventually got all better.
- I played dress-up in my mom's wedding dress.
- I played dress-up in my wedding dress.
- I had the most fun and blissful wedding day I could ever imagine in a big old barn, and married said best friend. We danced a lot and ate gelato.
- I returned to Italy and got to speak my favorite language for 2 weeks, in my favorite country, with my favorite person. I can't delete the photos from my camera.
- I learned to live with a man.
- I learned (am learning) how to cook well for two on a budget.
- I wrote one-bajillion thank you notes.
- I got bangs for the first time since I looked about like this
- I almost got my first puppy, and then thought better of it.
- I learned about epidemiology, all about infectious and noncommunicable disease, how to run logistic regressions on data sets, and how to conduct quality research.
- I gave a lecture to a class of Duke undergraduates.
- I wrote a "thesis of publishable quality."
- I defended my thesis.
- Oh, and did I mention that I PASSED? (And don't it feel good!)
I had no idea what Duke had in store for me. And, now, I have no idea what is in store for me next. But the same one who brought me to Duke is directing my next steps too. And so, I get excited thinking about where I'll be and what I'll be reflecting back on two years from now.
Thanks for following this blog through my graduate school years. I hope you'll keep following into this next phase, wherever it takes me!
Lots of love to you all!
*Bridal photos by Eric Kelley Photography.