March 1.0 - Sisterhood, Spring, Solo Mama
I was lucky enough to meet a group of amazing women last week in Atlanta. There was something magical about being among four other women, from three different countries, who had the same idea as I did, of what to do with their lives. It was so empowering to be among women who had all achieved and were living their dreams. We are in our twenties, well accomplished, and a couple of us were also mothers! Rebecca and Deana are ENT residents from Costa Rica, Mona is a neurosurgery resident from Mexico, and Kuanhui is an ENT resident from Taiwan.
Being from a residency program with only one resident a year, it was especially amazing to bond with other female ENT residents. These girls were so welcoming and being with them felt like being with family. Aside from my group of best friends (who were also my bridesmaids), I have never felt like I belonged to a group of friends more than I felt this past weekend. As an introvert, it takes me time to develop friendships so I am surprised at how fast and naturally this happened.
We explored Atlanta together, talked about our lives and families. We delved into what it is like to be an ENT resident in a foreign country. This gave me perspective on certain luxuries that I take for granted as a resident in the United States. These girls are brilliant and work extremely hard. They were spending their few days of vacation and hard earned money on an optional and expensive course. They do this so that they can become better physicians for their patients. I am inspired by how resourceful these women are.
These women were like my tribe, a sisterhood. We had just met but somehow, we knew who we were and that we belonged. This past week reminded me that being true to oneself is the most important step in forming true relationships. If you do this, your true friends, ‘your tribe’ will find you. And the connections you do form, although few, will mean so much more and enrich you far better than multiple superficial ones.
I left Atlanta excited to go home to see my husband and son, but sad to leave my new friends. We are determined to continue to be in each other’s lives. We have connected on Instagram, Facebook, and we have a WhatsApp group and are sending daily updates. We are already planning future visits. My husband and I plan to visit Costa Rica in January and Mexico soon.
The course itself was great. It was an honor being instructed by the great minds at the Emory University ENT Department. Nothing teaches you the anatomy of the temporal bone like drilling multiple bones for an entire week. I can still hear the phantom buzzing of the drill.
Spring was blooming in Atlanta. There were warm sunny days and I took many flowery pictures. I love spring. More on Atlanta later in a travel post.
Prior to going to Atlanta, I was quite nervous about leaving Tobe but he did well. His dad did an amazing job of handling Tobe by himself. I missed Tobe so much but time away was good for the both of us. I received great advice from fellow mamas on Instagram and Rebecca (one of the ENT residents I met). She is also a mom to a toddler. Her son is three years old. I interviewed her for the blog and she offered me great advice on how to deal with mom guilt and have a balanced life in residency. She has this down, she has conquered mom guilt. I’m excited to share our conversation. More to come in a future post.
This past week in Atlanta was the first time being by myself in three years. Sitting alone in my hotel room, it was difficult to get used to not having a baby on my laps and my husband at my side. It was nice taking time to remember what it is like to be with myself again. The first couple of nights I called my husband like thirty times to share every trivial detail. Then I got in the groove of things and spent this quiet time taking long showers, studying, and tackling my to-do list without distractions.
The weekend before my trip was great. Patrick’s parents came to visit. Tobe has fun with his grandparents. Living far away from family can be difficult. Poor Tobe hardly gets to see my parents because they live in Nigeria and his other grand parents live four hours away. We really enjoyed bonding time with the parents. We played Euchre! Such a Midwest thing. I spent extra deliberate time with Tobe before leaving for my trip. We rode the bus to the downtown market on a Taco run. We played at the library multiple times. I looked away and he was playing with the toys in the yucky bucket! He was hysterical when he realized that I would be leaving on an airplane for a few days.
Now I’m back home for one more week and will be on the road again to Boston for a sinus course at Harvard.