ei·do·lon (-dln)
     n. pl.   Image of an ideal.

Plato believed that we lived in a world of images, three-dimensional shadows of the true one.  What we see with  our eyes is nothing more than a cheap imitation of its true state.  For  example, the chair we see before our eyes is nothing more than a shabby image of the true chair that exists.  We carry on everyday with flawed perceptions of the true ideal form. 


Life After College: Year 3 -  In Transit    

[Sunday, April 23, 2006]

The view from three angles.

Estrogen aids sperm by thinning out the cervical mucus (allows them to swim through it), raising the pH of the vagina (so they survive), and stimulating contractions in the fallopian tube that keep the egg in one place while propelling sperm up towards the egg. Sperm remain fertile for 1-2 days inside the female reproductive tract. 1 out of 10 sperm will make it to the fallopian tube. Fertilization of the ovum usually occurs 6-24 hours after ovulation.

Studying this particular lecture scares me, because I imagine that this is what happens inside me if I have an unintended pregnancy.

Montreal likes this lecture because it makes her think about how her birth control works.

It makes Bedelia think that it's pretty damn hard to get pregnant.

Posted by ink |  6:15 PM

[Saturday, April 22, 2006]

Shut it out. Keep it in.

Earplugs shut everything out, and magnify everything inside. Like a backwards ear cone turned inwards toward your body. I can't hear the construction outside, or my own typing on the keyboard, but I am hyperaware of the sound of my own breathing, and the hollow empty soft whoosh it makes as my lungs inflate and deflate. Chewing gum has become a squishy event, full of juice and little bubbles and squeaks. And drinking water has never been so loud. Sit still and listen - and these are the grasshoppers of your body chirping. It's quite a noisy place. I wonder if the inhabitants of this body ever want to complain to the landlord. "Will she stop chewing gum? We're trying to get some sleep here!!"

I find a strange sort of comfort in earplugs that earbuds and music don't give me. There's a sense of security and cocoon-ness to it. Security that I don't feel when I come home at 2 AM on a Friday night, not because I'm drunk, but because I was studying. To a room that looks like a cyclone hit it. My post-it notes of things to do are dangling - still undone. Fisher's birthday card has been sitting for a week and a half on my desk, still unmailed. The "It's time for your yearly dental appointment" reminder pegged on my corkboard is now almost a full year old. I took it down, as I should be getting another in the mail soon. My band-aid solution to being sick is to pop some Advil, drink water with Airborne (recommended by a friend, we'll see if it works), and rub my nose raw with cheap toilet paper from the library bathroom.

I have 3 cumulative exams next week, and the cumulative wear and tear of the year is coming down on me all at once. The way I see it, if I know all the new material cold, that's 50% of the exam right there. Then I'll really only need to know 20% of the old stuff to pass. Classmates I've never seen before because they don't attend class have crawled out of the woodwork to cram at the library. And yet, the library has a sense of camarederie to it. Because we're all in it together and no one is being competitive. Thank God for the pass/fail system.

Posted by ink |  11:58 AM

[Monday, April 17, 2006]

And Wedding Season 2006 Has Begun.

It began with a squeal.

"INK!!!! It's been so long!!! ...OH MY GOD. I REMEMBER THAT DRESS! 2000 Spring, I was there when you bought it!!!"

I wanted to shrivel up and die. While the rest of my friends have advanced in their careers, been promoted, and grown their salaries to 6-digits, I've changed careers, started over, and grown my student loan debt to 6-digits. I told myself that their misery has grown 6-fold as well, but the glittering diamonds on their fingers were hard to ignore. It's "in" right now in New York for girls to buy themselves diamond rings. Nothing solitaire or remotely engagement ring-like, but a platinum band with some inset design of diamonds. Something that looks glittery and prompts the question, "Oh that's pretty! Where'd you get it from?" The standard answer used to be, "Oh, it's my grandma's," or "My mom gave it to me." Now, the answer is a breezy, "I bought it for myself." As a symbol of the ultimate successful independent woman who is still girly enough to love her best friend - the diamond. Meanwhile, my finger was conspicuously absent of an engagement ring, a family heirloom ring (I lost it last year, to my mother's heartbreaking 3-day-long grieving period), or a "Bling Bling I'm an independent woman" ring. Though weddings a few years after college were a nice college reunion, I'm convinced that at this point (5 years post-graduation), weddings are nothing more than the equivalent of awkward-middle-school-dances for the late 20-some-year-old. But twenty times worse.

Instead of having half a roomful of boys standing on the opposite wall, staring and working up the courage to ask you to dance, you have a roomful of taken boys, with only half a handful single ones who might ask you to dance. And you're not even sure you want them to. Meanwhile, when the slow song comes on, you sit down at a table, feeling slightly idiotic because it's ridiculous to be feeling like an awkward 15 year old at a prom when you're 25 at a wedding. And it's equally ridiculous for this type of situation to be replaying at this point in our lives. And just like 15-years-old, I used my always-trusty solution, the bathroom duck-out. I must've applied and re-applied lip gloss at least 6 times. Whose sadistic idea was it to play that many slow songs at wedding receptions?

The bouquet toss is the worst. I dread it like no other. There is nothing worse than hearing a middle-aged balding wedding DJ cajoling you onto the dance floor through a mike, "COME ON LAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYDEEEEEEES!!!! ALL THE SINGLE LADIES IN THE HOUSE!!" Completely and utterly mortifying. The unmarried girls (did you know the bouquet toss includes girls with boyfriends?) crowd in a reluctant bunch, shifting back and forth self-consciously, feeling slightly uncomfortable at being forced to partake in a tradition that really doesn't have much meaning to most of us anymore. These days, instead of fighting each other for the bouquet, the girls scatter when the bouquet is tossed, leaving it to fall in the middle of a cleared circle, all of us staring at it, until the flower girl or ring-bearer runs into the middle to pick it up. Because a toddler is easy to laugh at, his/her naivete saving the day.

Funny how women these days claim their independence with material goods, flash their glittery strength on their fingers, but are afraid to admit that they'd ever want to get married. I'm not sure whether we've progressed or regressed. Women in the past may not have had the same opportunities that we have now, but at least they weren't embarassed about wanting what they wanted - marriage. One thing hasn't changed even despite our enlightened egalitarian views. We may live our Sex And The City lives, enjoy being free, and play the field as much as boys do, but somehow at a wedding - it's still embarassing for a single girl to remain so in her late 20's.

Posted by ink |  9:17 PM

[Friday, April 14, 2006]

The Long Silence.

I've often asked myself - why have I stopped writing? Not just on blogs, which I've written on for years now (since 2002!), but also in my own personal journal. Part of it I blame on the nature of my latest journal. I decided to splurge on a nice leather one when I got to med school. Thick, heavy, bound prettily. I imagined it would hold 4 years worth of reflective thoughts on the nature on medicine. Instead, it holds about 4 months worth of complaining about schoolwork and is too heavy for me to put in my bag and carry around with me, the way I used to with my other journals. So, it sits on my desk, looking very classy and elegant, but essentially worthless. So what is it that's caused the voice inside my head to stop narrating my every day life with running commentary? I don't know. Maybe I'm too busy. Maybe I'm too tired to spare any energy for running commentary when it's all it takes to simply stay awake. Maybe there's not much left to comment on. Maybe there's not much left of me. So where is me? The pieces of the pie have gone to:

1) school
2) extracurriculars - homeless clinics, mentoring programs, hikes with kids from halfway houses
3) summer plans - rural education in China

My poor parents only get the leftovers. And Eidolon gets even less. I've been meaning to remodel Eidolon for the longest time, give her a new coat of paint and rename her to something more fitting. But I suppose like all the other things in life I've put on hold (finding a boyfriend, starting a family, having a real job, seeing my friends), web page design will also have to wait. Meanwhile, I indulge my creative needs these days by purchasing designer jeans online. What is the world coming to.

Posted by ink |  12:21 AM

[Tuesday, April 04, 2006]

Let's go away for a while, you and I, to a strange and distant land.

I returned from Belize last Friday, to a warm and sunny Philadelphia. It's been a pretty mild winter so far, making me convinced that we're all going to die from global warming. I have to start saving up soon for my hybrid vehicle. Getting away from school has a habit of clearing my head, so I return feeling much more normal somehow. Things in med school have a way of accumulating undeserved overinflated importance. The way cigarettes do in prison. I stopped worrying about whether I had "close" friends here, because I already have close friends - they're just not in Philadelphia. And I quite like them. I'm not sure why I was so stuck on the thought of having med school close friends.

I spent the weekend doing laundry. The most offensive of my clothing were the pants and shirt I went caving in. Caving was hands-down the coolest thing I did in vacation, largely because I've never done anything like it before. I couldn't believe how clean the water in the cave was, and was simultaneously thankful for it, since I spent about 4 hours doing a combination of sloshing, wading, and swimming through portions of it. I clung to limestone along the sides and shimmied my way along, clambered over rock formations while being careful not to stub my toe or slip in the water, and awaiting me at the end of it was a Mayan sacrificial site. Complete with human skeletons. There's something very humbling and unreal about the whole thing. To my own quiet surprise, the skeletons were really small. The Mayans were a small people. I peered at the skulls and the broken hip bones and inspected the broken pottery and fireplaces from ceremonies past. I thought about what it must have felt like to leave this place knowing that you've sacrificed a human being, and I thought about whether the Mayans considered themselves to be bad people. We had a moment of silence in the cave when we sat and turned off our headlamps, listening to the river rush through. And in the darkness, I decided that the Mayans weren't bad people. I imagined myself to be a priestess leaving the sacrificial site and sitting for a moment in the dark to think about what I had done. I felt a little sad, but at the same time resolute - knowing that this was necessary in order to bring the rains and alleviate the drought that was starving the people. I imagine there was a bit of desperation and a little hope mixed in with the sadness, hope that maybe this time - the sacrifices will work.

Actun Tunichil Muknal
Originally uploaded by eidolon Ink.

Posted by ink |  10:29 AM

Why's it so much easier to wake up in 7 am in Belize (or in fact, anywhere else) than at home in Philly? The same irritation happens when I wake up, but instead of honking cars, the garbage truck, or my alarm with the radio morning show, it's the chorus of morning birds and the sound of stray dogs barking. It's easier to wake up to birds and harder to be cranky when you're getting up to cross the border into Guatemala than going to Physiology. Like most places I go, the mornings are my favorite time. Travelling on-the-go is always hard because I bardly have time to breathe and pause, much less write. Montreal and I spend most of our transit time sleeping, and I don't even listen to my ipod because it feels oddly out of place to put on Flaming Lips when I'm travelling through Central America. So, I listen to the Guatemalan music playing on the radio, even though it's generally uniformly awful to my non-guatemalan ears. There's something about Guatemala that feels cleaner and better then Belize. Even despite being ripped off at the border by an old Guatemalan man and his 10 year old son. You can tell the tourism has alreqady pervaded, but unlike Belize, Spanish is still the main language - which makes it harder, but is also why I like it. There's so much more to soak in from everyday things, and I get to practice the 5 years of Spanish I had in high school. It's surprising how quickly it comes back. I've increased my Spanish vocabulary a lot simply by looking at billboards and road signs along the way, though I'm not sure how helpful "Drive Carefully" (Maneje con cuidado) will be to me in a practical sense.

Santa Elena, Guatemala
Originally uploaded by eidolon Ink.

Posted by ink |  10:17 AM

Flores, Guatemala.

Flores is separated from its red-headed stepsister Santa Elena by a bridge that you can walk across. It was a European-style little island town with cobble-stone streets and the like.

Flores, Guatemala
Originally uploaded by eidolon Ink.

Posted by ink |  10:13 AM

Flores, Guatemala.

These little red taxis were everywhere, and run on gasoline instead of electric! Yet I found them strangely charming as they puttered around the curve of the road leading into Flores.

Flores, Guatemala
Originally uploaded by eidolon Ink.

Posted by ink |  10:07 AM

Caye Caulker.

Caye Caulker is definitely more of a tourist destination. It's a tiny island village and you can see the ocean at both sides (it's only about 4 blocks wide). Bikes came with our room (it was painfully hard to find lodging when we first got here), and I forgot how much I liked biking until I got back on one. I sped down the sandy droad, leaving Montreal in the dust because her bike didn't work that well. My own bike's seat is rusted at a backward 30 degree angle, so I feel like I'm sliding backwards, causing me to ride it Harley-style. We like it here, though we've spent a fortune buying fresh water since the water smells like sulfur and brushing your teeth in it makes you gag. There's nothing that can be done about showering, but at least everyone's hair smells like rotten eggs - not just your own.

Caye Caulker
Originally uploaded by eidolon Ink.

Posted by ink |  10:03 AM

Mountains Beyond Mountains.

I read Tracy Kidder's book about Paul Farmer while I was away. I was hoping it would remind me of why I'm doing this whole medicine shebang. Instead, I was dismayed to realize is that I don't have the passion nor the capability of sacrifice that Dr. Farmer does. If I'd been a bit younger when I read this, I would've felt subpar somehow - like I'm a bad person. But now - I realize that it's okay to want things like a family for yourself, and a home to return to, though I admire Paul Farmer for everything he's done. It's still a bit off-putting.

Mountains Beyond Mountains
Originally uploaded by eidolon Ink.

Posted by ink |  10:00 AM



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