We had a lovely dinner last night inspired by Costco. That store always has wonderful meats, including leg of lamb. We rounded up some of Sanjai's Ortho folks for a Sunday Dinner. I think our invitation threw our guests for a loop, since home-cooked Sunday dinner is not really the norm with our group of people. However, we had a fantastic time with lots of laughter and very full bellies.
Even though cloudy and cold weather has begun to settle into Chicago, today was at least sunny. Poor, little Kaya has been deficient in her exercise lately due to busy schedules and unpredictable weather. So, I took her for a walk and a game of fetch. I'm sure any reader could tell that Sanjai and I are crazy about our yellow beast. However, one of our only gripes is that she is terrible on a leash! She pulls like crazy despite multiple different leashes and using training techniques. So, today after throwing the ball for her, I decided to let her just carry the ball in her mouth on the way home. It kept me from having to carry the slimy ball. I normally wouldn't let her, because she is so clumsy, she normally drops it. However, today she firmly held on to the ball AND as a result, she walked on the leash without pulling!! It was such a triumph. I'm going to have to try it again before she has worn herself out running.
Obama rally in Grant Park, "Chicago's Front Yard." Three blocks from our apartment.
The energy on the sidewalks walking around was infectious. Chicago has not been a shiny, happy place by our observations in the past year. Except last night, people were so happy and kind to each other even before the first electoral votes were assigned. Perhaps the people were being presumptuous. However, if Obama can spread that kind of optimism, that's change I can believe in.
One of my students from last year, Jerry, is typically an underperforming guy. I was able to coax some effort out of him last year, even awarding him a most-improved award, but it appears he has returned to his old ways during his sophomore year. Yesterday, he walked past me humming "Hail to the Chief." I commented on his choice of song. He said to me with a twinkle in his eye, "First Black President, Mrs. Shukla." Will this historic election change the outlook of our typically underperforming Black students? I sure hope so.
I told Sanjai in September that I wanted some kind of celebration. I have been the martyr every year since our first year of dating - insisting that I'm not high maintenance and I don't need any fuss for my birthday. However, this year was different. Sanjai assembled a small group of our Chicago friends to celebrate my birthday, which is exactly what I wanted. We went to eat at Joe's Prime Steak and Stone Crab(not to be confused with Joe's Crab Shack!). We were joined by Neil, Reetu, Tom and Aarthi. We had an incredible meal and lots of laughter. Even though politics came up everyone was civilized and considerate.
Afterwards, we visited a Haunted House in a suburb called Melrose Park. The haunted house was your typical fare of loads of grotesque people jumping out at you. There was a crazy part that I haven't seen any other time. One of the rooms had a space alien who coaxed you into a tunnel that you traversed by walking a railed elevated walkway. However, there were swirling green lights that made the whole room feel like it was spinning. We had to hold the railing in order to pull ourselves to the other side - even though nothing was moving!! The visual stimulation alone was enough to trick our brains into experiencing vertigo. Dad, you would have been finished.
It was such a fun evening. I'm glad I asked for a little something. I was treated to an assortment of spa treatments the next day. I got a fantastic massage that was followed by a pedicure and a manicure. To top it off, when I came down from my massage, I found Reetu waiting for me so we could get our nails done together. It was a great day.
I'll try to better about posting. I've become spoiled by Facebook. Now that my mom and brother are on there I slack in posting. My bad - hope everyone is doing well. Oh my God, I'm 30!
June brought endings and celebrations. I ended my first school year in Chicago Public Schools on June 13. I will be returning to the same school in the fall much wiser and stronger than a year ago. I've still been involved in some work during my summer "vacation." I have completed curriculum maps for the 9th and 10th grade science classes in this past month. My first quarter plan is due Aug. 18 and detailed lesson plans are due Aug. 25. The job can be quite demanding. My last day at work was going well. Students were dismissed at 9 am - they just came to pick up report cards, but some inevitably hang around (they feel safe at school so they find reasons to stay - often we put them to work and they happily oblige). So, I was frantically trying to get my room packed up for the movers that would be coming to move our things to the floor below. I was nearly done, when an impromptu meeting was called by the admin. During our meeting, two of the straggler students previously mentioned, J and K, walked through the meeting room carrying boxes for a staff member. They disappeared into her office, which adjoins to my classroom. When I returned to my room from the meeting, I found dish soap had been squirted all over the floor. I let out a bellowing, "DUDE!" and set out after J and K. I pulled them into my room and demanded an explanation. J (who is not a troublemaker) said only, "I'll help clean it up." K said, "How do you know it was us?" I told him all the adults were in the room with me and they were the ones who weren't - gotta teach deductive reasoning somehow! K reluctantly joined J in the cleanup. It was a rotten way to end the year, yelling at kids.
Sanjai ended his 2nd year of Orthopedic Surgery residency. His life has greatly improved. He will now only take primary call once a month. The rest of the time he is on back up for the 2nd year resident. The only sad part about his advancement is that our friends, Ben and Rob, who were chiefs, have now graduated. They will move on to fellowships that will take them away from Chicago. Rob heads to Duke for a year, then he'll be back at Rush. Ben heads to Africa for a year, then Gainesville, FL for a year, then back to the Midwest at a position in Iowa City, IA. So, we'll see these guys again, but Sanjai will miss them - they have been great teachers.
Finally, June also saw the end of our lease in the condo on the West Side. Hallelujah. While we enjoyed the people, the building and neighborhood were terrible. We are so happy with our new location and dwelling in the South Loop. I no longer have to frantically scan the sidewalk for broken glass to help Kaya evade. We're not woken up by our upstairs neighbor walking across the wood floor in heels at 2am. I've not had to call the police. It's fantastic! We are walking distance to so many attractions. We're both really excited for August to get here. My family is coming to visit for Lollapalooza, which is held at Grant Park only a few blocks from here.
Below are some pictures from the Graduation/End of Year Party that was held for Sanjai's Ortho program.
Ben, Noor, Nicole and Rob with Reetu and Neil (we're going to their wedding in late Aug.) with Noor and Ben (they're getting married this weekend!)
Last time we posted, we had just had our anniversary. That was two months ago. So, we've got a few things to catch people up on.
In late May, we travelled to Lancaster, PA to see our friends, Alison and Robin, get married. We were very fortunate to get to see lots of other med school friends at the wedding, some we had not seen since we left NC. Lancaster is a neat little town with a quaint downtown and nice people. Once again, the GPS system from Mom and Dad saved us. Little Northeastern roads have no rules, so it was nice to get help from that patient, all-knowing voice. It helped us to find a Doughnut shop from the groom's suggestion. He claimed it was the best doughnut he has ever had. The offerings were very unique, but even more like dessert than regular. It was too much sweet in the morning, even for this Southern girl. Overall, it was a great trip. We are looking forward to the next med school wedding, which will be in Los Angeles in late August.
Our third wedding anniversary arrived this week. Poor Sanjai not only had a Grand Rounds presentation on the day of our anniversary, but he was also on in-house call at Cook County. So, we waited until the weekend to celebrate. We decided to do it up. We had dinner a place called Cite, which is on the 70th floor of the Lake Point Tower (Sammy Sosa once lived in this building!). The view was amazing. There were swallows diving all around the windows, presumably catching bugs. The food was very good and elegant. It was an evening we'll be able to remember. As we were leaving, Sanjai said he didn't know how we'll be able to top it in the coming years.
We're getting closer to wrapping up our first year here. I have five more weeks of school. It sounds like the last week is a fluff week. Sanjai edges closer to his third year, which means much less call. Also, we are three weeks away from the start of our new lease in an apartment in the South Loop. We can't wait. So, it's a busy but exciting time.
We have a wedding to attend next weekend in Lancaster, PA. The bride and groom were both classmates of Sanjai's in med school. It will be nice to see some of those folks again. The next weekend is my little brother's graduation. I am REALLY excited to see my family again, which will also include my grandparents.
Well, Happy Mother's Day to those who are mothers. Thanks for all you do!