A Short Update & Some Chowder

Well, I’ve certainly failed at posting regular updates about this great adventure.

First semester was a whirl of new experiences, adjustments, and its own fair share of growing pains.  I’ve moved across the city since my last post, and am thoroughly enjoying a quieter neighborhood along Grand Canal.

Grand canal

Walking along the Canal.

I still don’t have my exam results back, though I feel they went well overall.

The viva voces, our oral component of the anatomy exam, was about as terrifying as I figured it would be.  The exam is split into two viva stations and three spotter stations, three minutes per station.  And boy, do those three minutes fly!  You’re given four questions at each spotter: two structures to identify on a bone, an x-ray, or on the donor, a question about a structure’s blood or nerve supply, and a final clinical question.

At the viva stations, you spend your three minutes with a professor or demonstrator trying to answer as many questions as you can about a given body region, starting with disarticulated bones and slowly progressing to clinical applications.  The professors clearly want you to succeed and redirect their questions to keep you talking, but it’s still intimidating knowing how fast you have to come up with your answers.  At my first station I made it to the clinical questions; at the second I made it to identifying structures on the donor, the step right before clinical questions.  It gives me hope I scored well.

So far, second semester is going smoothly.  Some of our classes haven’t started yet, so I have more free time than I did before.  I’m trying to take advantage of that time and work on book edits again, but Friday I took a break and left the city for Howth.


Outskirts of Howth, from the DART.

Howth is only a 30 minute train ride by DART from the biomedical center, so when my mom (currently visiting) and I decided we needed a break from Dublin’s hustle and bustle, it was a clear choice where we’d venture to.  I’ve wanted to see Howth for quite some time – between its cliff walk, castle, and a portal tomb, it’s right up my alley.  But with the late winter’s brisk winds and a definite chill still in the air, we decided to save those sights for another time and track down some seafood chowder.


The ultimate seafood chowder at The Brass Monkey.  Yum!

Seafood chowder is one of my favorite things to eat while traveling near the ocean.  I joke it’s the best way to explore what’s swimming just offshore, but it’s true – when a chowder’s made with locally sourced ingredients, you get a taste of what the area’s like.

The chowder at Howth’s The Brass Monkey didn’t disappoint.  There’s just so much packed into one bowl it’s almost overwhelming, yet it all strikes a perfect, delicious balance.  Between the sweet notes from the shrimp and crab, salmon and mussels’ distinct textures, and scallops that melted away with each bite, we were blown away.  Each spoonful had a different, yet complementary mouthful – we just couldn’t get enough, and have already decided we have to visit Howth again, for this chowder if nothing else.


If this past year has taught me anything, it’s that life is crazy and unpredictable.  But I’m enjoying every minute of this crazy ride, and have no regrets in choosing to study medicine at Trinity.  I’m hoping this current peaceful time continues though, and I’ll be able to slip out of the city for another quick break.

Until then, here’s to more bowls of wonderful chowder!


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