Thursday, December 29, 2011

Merry Christmas, y'all

Here's a quick update on the Chang's Holiday Season:

1. Disney World is still the happiest place on earth.  I could not love it any more than I already do.  It was so fun going with my nieces this time and seeing their eyes light up whenever a character would walk by, especially Minnie Mouse or Donald Duck.  They stole the show.  Three days is just not enough though.  My heart still longs for all the magic!

2.  We found out Ed matched (!!!) into ENT at Tripler Army Medical Center.  That's right friends, we are moving to Hawaii, which means you essentially have a vacation home in Paradise.  Start planning your trip now.  We move after graduation in late May 2012.

3. Whoever said Las Vegas is like Disney World for adults was obviously on crack.  WDW is a million times better than LV.  And this whole "Las Vegas has become family friendly" line is a lie.  You are constantly bombarded by pictures of naked women.  I inhaled so much second-hand smoke during my week there that I may have shaved a year off my life.  Plus, let's be honest, all the hype about the buffets is not lived up to.  Disney World's food doesn't even compare, except for In-N-Out, that's pretty great.  :)

4.  Snowboarding in Utah was so much fun.  I had a little hissy fit and almost gave up before even making it to the lift, but Ed was nothing short of the perfect husband that day and encouraged me to keep trying.  I ended up loving it and will definitely do it again.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!  

Monday, September 26, 2011


We made it to Hawaii safe and sound.  The 9 hour flight from Chicago to Honolulu was the longest of my life.  That's actually a false statement, I've been on tons of longer flights, but this one seemed to never end.  Ed and I got stuck in middle seating, and for some reason my bladder decided to act up on me.  I had to ask my neighbors to get up 4 separate times so I could pee.  I kept wishing I was pregnant so I could use that as an excuse.  But nope, I guess I just drank too much coffee and orange juice for breakfast.   AND, they didn't serve any food on the flight.  Not even peanuts.  What has the world come to?  We had to pay an arm and leg for a salad and wrap.  United Airlines, you just lost 2 customers.  Anyway, Ed played some game on his iPad for the entire flight, and he was happy as a clam.  My attention span was about as long as my 3 year old niece's (should have taken some Adderall...lesson learned).  I tried playing games on my iPhone, but it would only entertain me for about 10 minutes before I was ready to move on to something more exciting.  I eventually got so bored that I started thinking of all the things that could go wrong on the flight, and I almost convinced myself that I was going to get a DVT and die of a pulmonary embolus before the flight would ever end.  I think I've done too many Step 2 practice questions. (If the question involves a woman who just got off a long flight or a truck driver, the answer is something about a DVT.  Always.)

We've already had our first hiccup of the trip.  Victim: Ed Chang.  Perpetrator: Car Rental.  "Mr. Chang, may I see your license?" "Sure..........oh crap."  Ed had forgotten his driver's license.  How could this happen, you ask?  Ed always uses his military ID to check into flights.  So we got 5000 miles away from home before he realized the mistake.  Unfortunately, we don't know where his license is.  Since he never uses it except to rent cars, we are assuming it is in Seattle, WA, the location of his last car rental.  He had flown out there last week for an interview.  He has been on the phone for hours with the car rental place, but keeps getting the run around and no one will get back to him about the license.  Ed has contacted Arizona (the state that issued his license...long story, don't ask), and they said they are willing to send him a replacement license, but he has to send his license # to them.  Who actually knows their license #?  Not me.  Nor Ed.  So we are still counting on the Seattle car rental place to find it and overnight it to us.  Until then, I am in charge of the driving, which is uber weird.  I hate it.  I like to sight see and let my mind drift off to random stuff like DVTs, not worry about which exit to take and swerve in and out of crazy traffic.

Our condo is so nice.  We are located in Diamond Head Park, right south of Waikiki.  It's a 2 bedroom place right on the beach with a great view and full kitchen, living room, bathroom, cable TV, internet, etc.  Seriously, anyone is welcome to come visit us while we are here.  There is plenty of room.  I still can't believe Ed was able to find this place for under our daily housing stipend that the Army provides. That's right, we are staying here for FREE.  It's too good to be true.  I hope we don't have to work too hard while we are here so that we can actually enjoy our time in paradise.  We ate at a hole-in-the-wall Korean BBQ restaurant last night that was out of this world good.  Ed had told me that the Asian food was on a whole different level here, and he wasn't kidding.  It has not disappointed.

Here is a picture of our view from the condo.  I will try to update the blog a couple more times while we are here so everyone can know just how great our trip is.  :)

Monday, September 19, 2011

Residency Applications/Interviews

Ed and I are right thick in the middle of residency applications.  In fact, Ed has already done 2 official interviews and I just dropped him off at the airport for his third.  As most of you know, Ed is applying to military residencies because he is on scholarship for medical school (shout out to all you tax payers...thanks for our income!).  His first interview was at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (WRNMMC) in Bethesda, Md.  He absolutely loved the residents and attendings, and the fact that his hospital is brand spanking new (opened this year) and it is right across the street from the NIH, Ed was salivating at the idea of moving to DC.  Ed started medical school as part of the MD/PhD program, but because his preceptor moved to Colorado this past summer, his research has been halted and he is going to take the Masters in Science and not get to finish the PhD at UK.  The WRNMMC program would allow Ed to work on his PhD project at NIH during residency, so his goal of getting the double doctorate is not quite dead!  Yay!

He also interviewed at Brooke Army Medical Center (BAMC) in San Antonio, Tx.  I accompanied him on this trip and did an unofficial interview at Christus Santa Rosa Family Medicine program.  We both had great interviews and can totally see ourselves ending up in San Antonio.  Obviously, I loved being back in Texas and seeing so many Aggies everywhere, and with my two best friends being Texas natives, it is definitely my second home.  BAMC has a lot of perks that WRNMMC didn't, namely that the case load is higher and he will get better facial trauma training.  One of the downsides is that the research isn't nearly as strong as DC, but there is some opportunity.

Ed is currently on a flight to Seattle to interview at Madigan Army Medical Center at Fort Lewis (Tacoma, WA).  We don't know much about the program, but it seems to have a strong reputation.  Also, the Pacific Northwest is known for being the hot-spot for Family Medicine training.  Unlike where we live in the Southeast, Family Medicine is the "cool" thing to do out West.  There are 7 different Family Medicine residencies within an hour drive of Madigan, but the one I am most interested in is Tacoma Family Medicine, not only because it's the best location, but it has an awesome reputation.  Once again, we'd be happy to end up in Washington state - such a fun, vibrant area with skiing, hiking, and ocean activities all so close.  It may take a while for me to adjust to the clouds/rain though.

Ed and I leave for Hawaii this coming weekend.  Yes, I just said that - HAWAII.  Whoop!  We will be there for a whole month doing away rotations.  I will be working with the University of Hawaii FM Program and Ed will be with Tripler Army Medical Center at Fort Shafter.  We have rented a condo on the beach near Diamondhead.  It looks amazing.  Don't worry, I will be posting lots of pics.  Whenever we mention Hawaii as an option for residency to our friends, everyone thinks ranking them first is a no-brainer.  We agree that living in Hawaii for 5 years, all on Uncle Sam's dime, sounds fantastic, but we have to decide if we are willing to be that far away from home for so long.  Since we will be attempting to start a family during that time period, I feel like it may be hard to have Papa and Happy (my parent's nicknames, thanks to my niece Mary Beth) half way around the world.  So, needless to say, it is a very good thing that we are doing rotations there so we can get a feel for actually living there instead of just visiting for a one-day interview.

The interviews are starting to pour in for me.  That's one of the joys of choosing Family Medicine (or primary care in general).  It's not nearly as competitive as ENT.  I have interviews set up for VCU-Fairfax (in Fairfax, VA...duh), Georgetown (DC), Franklin Square (Baltimore), Meharry (Nashville), and Trident (Charleston, SC).  If you've been paying attention during this post, you should now be asking, "Why are you interviewing in Nashville and Charleston?"  That's a great question.  And here's the answer.  While we are quite confident that Ed will match into an Army spot, there is always the possibility that he could open up his Match Day letter on December 15 and it read "deferred," which means he is released to do a civilian residency.)  Ed has applied to about 20 civilian ENT programs in the Southeast, two of which are Vanderbilt and Medical University of South Carolina.  And since he had to apply to civilian ENT residencies, I had to apply to FM residencies near those spots as well.  Can you say headache?  So while our main focus is DC, San Antonio, Tacoma, and Hawaii, we have to be prepared for all options and keep other schools in the back of our heads.

OK, well I'm tired (and slightly stressed) from writing this, so I'm gonna go.  I will update y'all about Ed's Madigan trip and of course Hawaii in a few weeks.  Until then, check out my hunky hubby before one of his interviews.  Mmmm mmmm, gotta love a man in uniform. 

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

First Anniversary

Ed and I celebrated our 1 year anniversary a couple of weeks ago, and I have to say, this past year has been a blast.   Maybe it's because we're still newlyweds, but I really think this marriage thing is pretty great.  (BTW, when do we stop being "newlyweds?"  Because I still feel like we qualify.)  We laugh more than any couple I know.  We play the "I love you more" game every single day.  And we have more lovey-dovey nicknames for each other than any couple out there.  Sure, we had a few fights over the course of our first year, but there were no nights in the "dog house"/couch for either of us.  Victory!

I feel sorry for every other woman in the world because I somehow landed the best man in the world.  Ed is ridiculously great at being a husband.  And I'm not just saying he's great at doing the manly things around the house, like mowing, taking out the trash, paying the bills, or doing the dishes (all of which he does without complaining).  What I am really talking about is how great of an encourager, friend, and confidant he is.  The man was made to love me.  God must have knit an extra gene of patience in his being, for which I am very grateful. 

In honor of our 1 year anniversary, I made this photo montage.  It hits the highlights of our first year as husband and wife.  This is my first attempt at making anything like this, so don't be too critical.  For some reason the uploaded video has horrible quality, so I apologize.  :)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

My Father's Daughter (kinda)

My father wears many hats - family man, surgeon, sports fanatic, and gardener to name a few.  While rotating through the ENT department as part of my surgery course this past spring, all of his residents kept commenting that my father is a workaholic.  I was completely shocked by this, since I feel like he was always around while growing up.  Now I will be the first to admit that my father is a VERY hard worker, but I have always admired how efficient he is with his work.  For him, it's quality, not quantity.  He was able to start up and effectively manage the ENT department at UK, all the while coaching my soccer and basketball teams (along with my brothers'), staying up to date with all the UK basketball news, and traveling with me every weekend to my soccer tournaments.  Furthermore, we always had the most beautiful yard in the neighborhood - unbelievable rose gardens, perfectly trimmed hedges, as well as a pretty substantial vegetable garden.  What can I say, I guess my dad is Superman.  And this now explains why I had such high expectations for my future mate.  Don't worry, Ed meets all of these.  He and my father are eerily similar.

While I unfortunately did not inherit my father's efficiency or intelligence, I did inherit his gardening affinity (and his steady surgical hand, according to some other attendings and residents, hehe).  I planted a few herbs and veggies in my back yard earlier this year and at the time thought little of it.  If they produced, then great, but I wasn't going to get into it like my dad.  I had more important things to do than spend hours in the yard every day.  But then before I knew it, I found myself going out to water the garden every day and marvel in how the plants grew.  They were my own little creations and I started to take ownership.  Then BAM, they started producing veggies, and my life has been turned upside down.  There is something so special about going out to your backyard to pick herbs or veggies and then serving them with dinner a few hours later.  Not only does it save you time and money, but it's as "organic" as you can get - nothing but fresh water and love have touched these.  The only problem I've had so far is my tomato plants are not cooperating with me.  They keep growing taller and stronger, but have no buds on them.  I think I planted them in a spot that doesn't get enough direct sunlight.  Boo.  Anyway, here are some pictures for you to enjoy. 

My garden now (left) compared to at the beginning of the summer (right).
 This is supposed to turn into a red bell pepper.  Mmm mmm.


Green onions, anyone?  Use these to make mapo tofu all the time.

Okra is in bloom.  Ed loves some fried okra.

Parsley, which I always pronounce as "parzley" and it drives my mother crazy.  :)

I have cucumbers growing out of my ears.  Let me know if you want any - they are crisp and delicious.  

Mint - what I use the most from my garden.  Nothing like mama's Sweet Mint Tea recipe for a hot summer day.

Sweet, succulent, to die for basil.  Gosh I love this stuff.
Thyme is delightful.

Oregano.  This is taking over my garden and I barely ever us it.  I need to cook more Italian food I suppose.

Needless to say, I'm hooked to gardening, and all thanks goes to my pops.  Love you, Dad.  You really are the best father in the world.  You're obviously doing something right if people at home think you're always home and people at work think you're always at work.  You need to teach me how to be in two places at once!  :)

Sunday, June 19, 2011

An Ode to Brussels Sprouts

I've been on a real cooking spree lately.  The problem with that is that I am quickly tiring of my side dishes.  You can only eat so much broccoli, spinach, or side salad.  I got adventurous this week when I saw some fresh brussels sprouts at the grocery.  Ed said that his mom used to make them when he was growing up and they were one of his favorite veggies.  I was hesitant, mostly because I remember hating them as a child, but also because I've never made them from "scratch" before.  But I figured hey, I'll give it a shot.  Maybe my taste has matured since I last ate them, which was circa 2003, when I moved out of my parent's house.  My mom made us Jones kids suffer at the dinner table about twice a year when she'd serve them.  I hated walking into the kitchen and having that sulfurous smell smack me in the face, knowing it was going to be a long night before I finally got the courage to eat them and be dismissed.  To make matters worse, my mom would make us drink milk for dinner.  Milk + Brussels Sprouts.  Sick!  And then to top it off, the icing on the cake, my mom never made my dad eat his brussels sprouts.  She'd always put them on his plate, but he'd ignore them and she wouldn't say a word.  I couldn't wait til the day I was a grown up and got to choose what I ate!  Luckily, we had a crazy cat growing up that lived for brussels sprouts night.  When mom wasn't looking, we'd "accidentally" drop one on the ground and our cat would run over and go to town with it.  And once she'd gotten the taste of one, she spent the rest of the dinner trying to jump on the table to steal them off our plates.  It was awesome.

After about an hour of online recipe searching, I decided on what looked like the best way to make them.  Every recipe I read emphasized the importance of not over-cooking them because that is what caused the sulfurous smell to be released.  I was encouraged.  Maybe there was hope for this vegetable after all.  I boiled them in 1/2 inch water for 7 minutes (recipe called for 8 minutes), then threw them into some butter and garlic and let them sizzle for a few minutes.  They smelled heavenly.  Ed kept remarking how great the kitchen smelled.  I was genuinely excited.  This was about to be breakthrough.  I had sworn off brussels sprouts from my diet for the last 8 years. 

Alas, they were just as bad as I had remembered.  The outer layers that had gotten soaked in butter and garlic were pretty tasty, but those inner layers were as bitter and nasty as ever.  Ed, being the sweet heart that he is, acted like he was enjoying them for the first few.  He even threw in a "mmmmmm...delicious!" remark.  By the third one, I was almost gagging.  I told him it was ok, he didn't have to lie, and he slowly let his guard down and agreed that they were repulsive.  We then argued on who had to eat the rest of them since we don't like to waste food.  Luckily, Ed suggested putting some hot sauce on them to mask the flavor, and it worked!  They weren't half bad after that.  Thank goodness I served a delicious pot roast and fruit salad along with those brussels sprouts, or else it would have been my worst failure yet as a wife.

Needless to say, I am not going to make my poor husband or kids suffer through a meal with brussels sprouts.  It's inhumane - cat food, I tell you.  Unfortunately, this just leaves me right where I was before - in dire need of new vegetable side dishes.  Please, help a young wife out!  :)

Friday, June 10, 2011

Momentary Escape

It seems rare these days that I have time to sit and do nothing.  I'm not saying that my schedule is busier than the average person, it's just that if I have a few hours off, I usually entertain myself with movies, eating, or friends/family.   It seems about once or twice a year I find myself alone for an extended period of time, bored of watching TV, having already completed chores that need to be done, and I have time to reflect.

Ed is on psychiatry call at the hospital tonight, and I just spent the last 2 hours cleaning our room (yes, it was that messy).  So, what do I do when I finally sit down to relax?...get on Facebook of course.  Instead of reading the latest status updates, or stalking some friends, I decided to look through some of my old photo albums.  You wouldn't think that would be exciting, considering I have all those pictures saved on my computer, and I was the one that posted them in the first place.  But tonight there was no agenda, no hustle or bustle, so I let my mind take a stroll down memory lane.  Before I knew it, my heart started aching.  Literally, I felt an emotional squeezing sensation in my chest.  Then my stomach started getting hyperactive.  Before I knew it, I was tearing up.  Here I am, sitting on my couch in the dark, all alone, with a computer on my lap, crying.

Why, you ask?  I have no idea. Which is why I decided to blog about it.  Maybe putting something down on paper would clear it up.  So from where did the emotions arise?  Are they happy or sad tears?  I think both.

Happy tears because I look back at all the incredible times I had growing into the woman I am today.  All the fun-loving, energetic, smart, talented people that I have come in contact with throughout my adult life.  I got to travel all over the world with my AIA soccer girls.  I was in the best shape of my life, battling my heart out on the field every Friday night and Sunday afternoon.  I was so proud every time I put on my jersey with either Kentucky or Texas A&M on the front.  Joyfully, I remember how I protected my heart and my body, saving it for my husband.  Happy tears pouring out, each symbolizing a different way I have been blessed with my experiences and friendships.

Sad tears for all the regrets.  Heartache for lost opportunities to share my faith with people I was with every day, but was too afraid they would think I was a freak if I showed them who I really was.  So many of the pictures I look back at from my UK undergraduate days, I can see how much I longed to be accepted.  It brings back the memories of always thinking I wasn't as pretty as my friends or as cool as my teammates.  Also, grief for not keeping up with the friends, especially those at A&M.  People that I love just as much today as when I was with them daily 3+ years ago, but don't talk to nearly as much as I know I should.

Most of all, I believe I cry because I know I can't recreate those times again.  As much as I want to go back to College Station and meet up with my best friends and create new memories, it won't be the same as when we were really in the moment.  I'll never be an Aggie soccer babe again.  I'll never have the hard rock abs and killer legs.  I'll never be single and free to do what I want, when I want.  I'll never get to have that first time "ah ha" moment when my faith became real.  I can't help but ponder, did I really take full advantage of that time in my life?

Where does that leave me now?  Tonight.  June 10, 2011.  I'm now very happily married, less than a year from becoming a doctor.  I have a wonderful home, a supporting family living in the same city, my health, and a future that is beautifully uncertain.  I'm filled with hope for how God will use me - as a wife, mother, physician, and friend.  Will I be moving half way around the world to Hawaii this time next year?  Or maybe I'll be going back to God's country, Texas?   Who knows?  But I do know that in a few years from now, I'll look back at my time during medical school and shed tears of joy and sorrow, much like tonight when I long for my undergraduate days.

My heart is full.  :)