2012 Year in Review

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Happy New Year, everyone! I took a much needed computer fast for a few days and thus left this blog for a little while, but I’m back now. The world didn’t end in 2012, and it was an interesting, productive year. Here are some highlights!

January: I started this blog! In 2011, I started writing for my colleague, Erica’s awesome blog and decided to start my own at the beginning of 2012. Learning the art of blogging can be challenging at times but, so far, this blog has served as a great creative outlet, a means  for practicing the craft of writing, and a way to synthesize the lessons we learn in and out of school while getting in touch with the online global health community. In Art and Practice’s first year, 133 posts were published, drawing in 13,000 site visits. Since starting this blog, I’ve started to get other sites to publish some of my articles. I look forward to where 2013 will take me in the world of blogging!

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February: J, my long-distance boyfriend from Colombia visited Canada for the first time. We’ve officially been apart for more than 2 years and, although we make an effort to see each other a few times a year, no one can argue this simple fact: keeping long-distance alive is hard. Having him come and spend some time with me, my city and my family was an amazing experience for driving our relationship forward and continuing to get to know each other and grow as a couple.

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March: The second semester of a very medical science-heavy second year at CCNM drove me to despair and an utter lack of motivation.

April: Another milestone in naturopathic medical school is achieved as our class completes the second Objective Structured Clinical Exam (OSCE II). Only one left!

May: I take a trip to Cuba and reflect on some cultural differences between Cuba and Canada and critique where our northern country is headed as a society. Having lived for a few years in Latin America, I’m primed for the warm, energetic and dynamic interpersonal relationships that characterize the culture of the region. I wish we Canadians could break through our (sometimes) icy barriers and embrace family and community more often.

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June: I start studying for NPLEX, the first of two naturopathic board exams, do some metaphorical and literal cleansing and sympathize with the protesters in Quebec during the printemps d’erable. It’s sad that we live in a society where we view necessities like health, nourishing, chemical-free food and education as simply market commodities, available to only those who can afford them and are willing to pay for them. I hope that 2013 will bring with it a paradigm shift, making it clear to everyone that our version of “mean capitalism” cannot possibly sustain us forever.

July: More NPLEX studying while working at an English Language School in Toronto.

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August: I write NPLEX (and pass, thank G!) then make the Toronto-Bogota flight with Air Canada for the 4th time. The amazing thing about visiting a country like Colombia is that no matter how many times I go and tour the country as a foreigner, I often feel as if I’m seeing the place for the first time. It truly is an amazing place to experience (and in the summer Air Canada sells round trip direct flights for $600 after taxes, so please go one day!).

September: Back at CCNM for another busy year, my classmates and I spend this month being pushed to our limits – having our eye sockets needled in acupuncture, I volunteer to act as doctor for the first week of Primary Care, and more and more things pile onto our plates. I spend this month tending to the house alone: managing a 3-hour daily commute, caring for my dog, cooking, taking care of school work and cleaning. This busyness makes me hunger for creativity and slowness. Combined with health, those things can usually be found trying out new recipes in the kitchen; Art and Practice gets a bit more foodie.

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October: In order to stay alive and have the energy of a normal person in third year of CCNM, I learn that I have to try to live as impeccably as possible. This means getting to sleep around 10 pm, doing daily moderate exercise and eating as clean as a full-time, broke student can possibly manage. I share some more recipes.

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November: I attend the second naturopathic Gathering in Chicago, help host a mini community medicine panel and plan a medical brigade to Guatemala for February of 2013.

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December: Another semester of naturopathic medical school has come and gone as my classmates and I celebrate the anniversary of our 70th exam in 2.5 years! We only have one semester of class left before we enter our 12-month clinical internship. Gosh, we’ve grown up so fast!

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January 2013: J and I kick off the New Year together when he visits Canada for the second time. We celebrate Christmas and New Year’s together, go to Ottawa, I teach him to snowboard and we plan our goals for the next year.

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Next year brings: our last academic semester at CCNM, a medical brigade, our first clinic shift (working with real patients!), more exams (topping us off at 85), Women’s Health Week, new projects, striving to achieve some personal and professional goals and, hopefully, some more blogging experience.

Thanks to the readers and followers that have sent comments, shared links, followed me and recommended me for blog awards! May 2013 bring you all another great year of health, love and learning!

Happy New Year, everyone!

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