Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Still on the Upper East Side...

...packing and packing and packing!

Packing to move out of an apartment and packing for a year across the world at the same time is the most fun I've had since I went to the dentist a couple of weeks ago. I packed a suitcase (winter/work clothes) Sunday night and felt somewhat accomplished when finished...only to check my email and realize that I have a uniform for school. Awesome. So this morning I unpacked that suitcase and repacked it with fewer work clothes and more white shirts/black bottoms. THEN Adam got the bright idea to weigh our suitcases (which was actually smart because mine was 54 pounds...). So I unpacked AGAIN and he and I have spent this entire day laying out clothes, deciding on Goodwill vs. storing vs. packing, and getting 4 suitcases to weigh 50 lbs or less (we did it!!).

Some packing questions that came up:
--Jeans. Adam is bringing 2 pair. When he said that, my first thought: boys have it so easy! I was thinking about skinny jeans vs. jeans to hang out in vs. nice jeans?? That's 3 pair right there!
--Cardigans. I wear them over dresses/shirts, many seasons of the year. They are quite practical in many colors. Right??
--Nice clothes vs. clothes you don't care about. I thought Adam was brilliant when he said he planned to bring some things he didn't care so much about because then he'll just leave them in China when we leave (more room for souvenirs!). I packed with that in mind, but apparently the pajama pants I packed were just a little too "old." Then I saw Adam's sweaters...oh lord. We had a great time re-organizing (aka throwing out each other's ratty old clothes) after realizing that even though it was a great idea, we will actually be
living in Beijing, not just traveling through. A nice shirt or sweater or pair of pants might be worth our time.

We weighed each of the suitcases only to realize that we're not leaving until Sunday, so at least one of his and one of mine has to be unpacked for use the rest of the week. This is so much fun! (Luckily, we got to have a great dinner downtown with Adam's sister Jennifer, which definitely helped break up the packing monotony).

I think both of us are sad to leave NY but excited to be done with the "in between" of moving, China prep, and packing. If you have any packing advice, please let us know!

Welcome to our blog!

When we tell people we're moving to China, the first response is usually WHAT?!, followed by WHY?!

Since we don't didn't know anymore than the average American about China, we can't really answer the WHAT...yet.

But in terms of the why, here goes...I was in the midst of my 3rd year of med school at Mount Sinai, and Alison was in the middle of her 3rd year teaching 6th grade in the Bronx. Midway through a grueling (yet fun) year, the opportunity came for me to apply for fellowships to do medical research abroad, and we decided to go for it, as long as we could both go to whatever country I was assigned to. Long story short, I will be in Beijing next year as part of the Fogarty International Clinical Research Fellowship--no idea exactly what my research will be on yet, but there are enormous studies about HPV vaccination (Gardasil) going on at the Cancer Institute and Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, so it will probably be something to do with that. It is also pretty cool that my American host university is UNC (Alison's alma mater), so I got to spend all last week there working with my mentor (who is an Amherst grad). Small world, huh?

We chose China partly because of the project and the hospital but partly because Alison would be able to join me and get a job she wanted, not just a random job to kill time while I'm working. After turning down 6 teaching positions at various schools, she accepted a position as "consultant" (lead teacher) at Scholastic Publishing's new kindergartens. The best part about it is that her school is close to my hospital, so we should be able to live within biking distance of our jobs.

For now, we're starting to (try to) learn Chinese. I thought I was doing well until orientation. My Chinese counterpart asked me to tell her how old I was in Mandarin. I said "ershiliu" which means 26...but apparently, my intonation was off, so instead of saying "26," I said "lymph node." Looks like I have my work cut out for me.

Can't wait to see most of you before I leave.