Life at Trinity – Getting into the Flow

I swear, Ireland must be in a time zone all its own, one that runs so much quicker than anywhere else in the world.  I’ve been here for a little over a month and am nearly halfway through my fourth week of classes, yet it feels like I could have arrived just a few nights ago.  There’s never enough time in a day to do all I want to do and have to do – I’m still fighting to find some kind of balance.

But, even though half the time I feel like I can’t catch a breath, I’m loving every moment of this great adventure.

I’ve made some new friends, and get along well with my roommates – primarily other med students from the States, plus a Canadian dentistry student and a Swedish engineer here on exchange (I’ll be abbreviating names for privacy reasons).  We’re all right around the same age, and it’s nice to have a group of other international students to flounder around with.  And boy, has there been some floundering!

From trying to figure out exactly what different things are called (eg: icing sugar, not powdered sugar), to locating where different stores are in the city to get what we need, it’s been quite the undertaking.  So far I haven’t used a taxi or bus since my trip from the airport, so we’ve carried everything we’ve bought on foot.  Even if it meant rolling a suitcase across town with N, the engineering student, to get the pots, pans, and other kitchen essentials needed to get us started.

Class-wise, my schedule’s demanding.  Most of our days start at 9am, going to 4 or 5 with an hour off for lunch.  We don’t even move lecture halls between lectures – We’re given 10 minutes to stretch, go to the bathroom (quite a feat with 180 people in our class), and then the next professor comes in to cover their subject.  Some days we’ll have double doses of lectures – next Monday is a double anatomy, physiology, and biochemistry day, for instance – but some days are a bit lighter, with just two hours of case study work and a lab class every other week.  Those days make for a good time to quickly catch our breaths and prepare for the next round of lectures – there’s always more to learn and more to do because we move so quickly through the material.

Though at times I wish we could slow down a little, I do enjoy the teaching style.  Everything circles back to the patient, to the clinical aspects of what we’re learning, giving it all tangible meaning.  Rather than just name the parts of the bone in anatomy, we’re asked to think about what would happen if it fractured at a specific point – what other structures would be damaged?  How would we test to see if these structures are functioning properly?  The same with biochemistry and physiology – we’re already asked to see how all our subjects interact with one another in a systematic view, both when things are fine in a healthy individual, and what goes wrong in a disease state.

Even our anatomy lab, where we primarily work with donors (not cadavers – donors), it’s stressed to remember the person behind whatever facet we’re studying.  We’re told the names and ages of the donors we work with, and other confidential information, to remind us that even though they’re deceased, they deserve as much respect as a living patient would.  We’re not supposed to distance ourselves from what we’re doing and dehumanize our donors, something I’ve heard is a common aspect of anatomy lab in med school back home.  It’s one of the main differences I treasure most about the class style here.

The other is a more widely seen facet – the lack of competition.  Our first day here, we were told that our goal shouldn’t be to outshine one another.  Instead, we should pool our resources and the many different experiences that have brought us to this point to better one another.  Grades are given based on the amount of knowledge and effort demonstrated, not because we fell on a given section of the bell curve.  So we share our knowledge and study tips freely, both in case study work and outside of it, because we have nothing driving us to focus only on ourselves.. As someone who prefers cooperative work and hates speaking up, for fear of drowning out others, it’s quite refreshing.

Sadly, two things I haven’t had much time for in this month are writing and sight seeing.  I’m hoping to fix both of those soon, what with Nanowrimo and a few short breaks coming up in a few weeks.

I walk almost 5 miles roundtrip to class each day, passing Christ Church and Dublin Castle as I go.  I know there’s more in the area besides just those two places, areas I do want to see, so it seems a shame to walk past them for weeks on end without taking the time to truly enjoy them.  Maybe this weekend, after our first anatomy exam (just an hour or so until that happens!), I’ll make that time.


Apologies for such a long update with no pictures!  I’m going to make an effort to update more regularly and balance these out again.  Once I have a bit more time I’ll try to share some about my one excursion so far, a day at the Phoenix Park Zoo with friends, and include lots of pictures.


Until then,

A New Chapter Looms

Hey everyone!  I’m sorry for the lack of updates here, but my life has turned completely upside down.

If you saw my last post, you know things weren’t going so well for my family back in March.  However, something as far removed from that sadness as you can possibly imagine happened in April:  I was accepted into medical school for the 2017 entering class.

But not here in the United States – I’ve been accepted at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland.

Even almost a full month later, my head is in a tailspin.  I’d applied to Trinity after stumbling upon their admissions requirements back in February, had my application completed by March 31st, and by April 10th, received the news.

Now my life’s a whirl wind of preparations and paperwork.  There’s so much I want to do between now and September, when I’ll be Ireland bound, and it feels like I don’t have near the time I need to get it all done.  But I know somehow I’ll make it.  Somehow I’ll finish everything up and start off on this crazy adventure of a lifetime.

Five to six years.  I’ll be living in Dublin for five to six years for school.  It’s…  Incredible, and something I’ve dreamed of since my first trip to Ireland back in 2011.

I know this adventure will change the face of this blog drastically.  I’ll no longer have to dream endlessly about what I’d do if I had unlimited time over there.  I’ll be there, able to explore whenever there’s a break in my studies and funds to do so.  But I’ll also be more immersed in the culture itself, the day-to-day life that you can’t really experience when you’re only there for 10 days.

I want to keep track of it all.  All the side adventures, the little details of daily life, and the process of medical school overseas as a whole.

Most likely, those stories will end up here, on my blog.  One of my best friends State-side is planning on doing a Vlog Brothers-style video log with me once I’m overseas, so don’t be surprised if some of those videos find there way here.  Or if there’s the occasional prattle about school rather than a new trip destination or bit of folklore.  Writing stuff might crop up occasionally here as well, though I know realistically I’ll need to put most of that on the back burner.

Thank you all for your continued support during this huge transition.  I apologize that this post isn’t once announcing a new content release schedule, but please continue to bear with me.  This is one adventure that’s too big not to talk about whenever I have a chance to catch my breath. 😉



I apologize for having to do this again, especially so soon after getting back into a regular rhythm, but I feel for my own sake it’s necessary to take a step back.

Family matters have come up again, as we prepare for my grandmother’s passing.  It’s a strain on all of us, even though we’ve had a few months now to ready ourselves for the coming moment.

I’ll try to write future posts when I can, to get back on schedule in April most likely, but for now, I need to focus on family, not writing.

Thanks for understanding,

The Best of Plans…

Sometimes, even the best of plans fall to the wayside when things hit the fan.  That’s definitely what happened to me, and to the blog these past few months.

October brought illness – respiratory issues that still haven’t fully cleared, but I’m at least able to breathe somewhat easier and have some strength back.  Turmoil in the personal sphere quickly followed and still clings on, morphing from one form into another in a seemingly endless cycle.  It’s been a hard, hard year for my family, especially this holiday season.

I’ve spent most of the past few months back at the farm with my family as we all try to just hold on until the chaos passes.  Editing and writing aren’t at the forefront of my mind right now, but I feel that’s to be expected – family and holding on to sanity are far more important than a self imposed deadline, or this blog.

So what if I didn’t win NaNoWriMo this year – I had fun, managed to pass 30k even when it seemed impossible, and now know I can write 11k in a single day if I set my mind to it.  So what if I’ve not made more progress on Echoes from the Past, or updated here since September – both will be waiting for me when I can breathe again.

2016 has been a cruel year to many, not just me and mine.  Let’s hope 2017 is kinder, for all of us, and we can somehow fight back against what seems to be coming darkness.


PS – I thank all of you who have stuck with me since this blog started, and everyone who entered the fantasy book gives way.  I’m happy to announce that I do have a winner to announce for an ebook copy of Whispers on the WindTara S, please be on the lookout for an email from me, with your prize attached, and forgive me for taking so long to deliver it to you.

Charity Tweets & Book Giveaways

Charity Tweets & Book Giveaways

For anyone who follows me on twitter, you probably noticed my feed this weekend consisted of nothing but tweets about Zelda and a charity campaign, MoblinsForMatt. I don’t consider myself a true gamer and have never played any of the Zelda games on my own, but this campaign’s success had (and still has) great meaning to me.

MoblinsForMatt was created by Corey Austen, a gamer who lost his younger brother and fellow Zelda fan, Matt, to SUDEP (Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy) in May. Matt was only 23, and his passing has hit everyone who knew him extremely hard, especially because none of them had heard about SUDEP until after his death.

Corey’s story has been shared far and wide across the internet, appearing on ZeldaInformer, Nintendo Life, and GameInformer among countless others. In an attempt to further awareness about SUDEP and raise funds for further research and outreach, Corey and a group of his friends set out on a Zelda marathon, playing some of Matt’s favorite games while asking viewers to donate to the Epilepsy Foundation.


MoblinsForMatt’s banner created by Emmie Rodriguez.

I only knew Matt for a very short period of time. We met at a murder mystery party one of my best friends hosted last November. A number of us from the party ended up hanging out for a while the next morning, playing guitar hero. Matt was one of them. But I’ve heard so much about him from friends, and I’ve seen how lost those friends have been since May.

And so we spent the weekend camped out in my living room floor, cheering Corey and his crew on as they shot for fundraising goal after goal. We watched, stunned, as so many people came together to raise over $5,000 in Matt’s honor. And that is definitely something to tweet about.

Though I won’t be tweeting non-stop about MoblinsForMatt until another charity stream begins, expect frequent tweets about a giveaway my first novel, Whispers on the Wind, is a part of. Multiple indie fantasy authors have come together through Fantasy Emporium to offer a copy or two of their works.

I encourage you to check out the giveaway page by clicking on the banner below (or here, if you’d prefer to enter via facebook) and tell your friends. Entries will be accepted now through October 11th, at which point winners will be selected at random and notified, so it’s a great way to discover new authors you might never hear about otherwise.


Normal blog posts should return again soon, but will include the giveaway banner until the 11th. But as we head towards November, expect some more writing-related content to trickle in – NaNoWriMo draws near.

Editing book two and sending best wishes,