I cannot believe we're getting so close to the end of Pete's three years of family medicine residency. We've been on this journey the entire time we've been together. We met nearly eight years ago when Pete was in the process of interviewing at a handful of medical schools. His hope was to be accepted at the University of Minnesota here in Duluth because of their unique focus on rural family medicine. He knew he wanted to go to the mission field, and Duluth would provide the best training for being in the middle of Africa with minimal resources. I remember when he received his letter of acceptance. We had been dating for about five months. I was in New York visiting one of my best friends, Jessica, just after graduating from college. He called me, we talked while I stood on the back porch of Jess's apartment in Brooklyn, and I cried. I cried because I knew what this meant for our future. We already knew we would be married, and I had longed my entire life to teach abroad. This was Jesus' way of leading both of us down the path of our necessary training so we could get to Africa. It all felt so right.
Pete began medical school in August of 2006. We were married a week after he finished his first year. One year later, we moved to southern Minnesota where he did RPAP, a program for medical students to get a taste of real life doctoring in a small town. I taught there for six months and Ella was born six days before we moved away. That's when we landed in Minneapolis for one year. The year was filled with interviews and dinners across Minnesota and Wisconsin as we attempted to narrow down our list of where he might want to do his three years of residency. Then, on March 17, 2010, during a "match day" ceremony, we received a letter telling us we would be moving back to Duluth for residency, exactly as we had hoped and prayed. It was in that very same room, pictured below, that Pete celebrated his graduation just two weeks ago. We were coming full circle. Three years had come and gone, and a whole lot of life had passed with it.
June 4, a Tuesday afternoon, we jumped on a giant coach bus headed for Minneapolis with the nine other graduating residents in Pete's program as well as a number of the faculty and staff who work with them. It was possibly the last time that some of us would hang out together. Many will be moving away in the next few months to start their first jobs as physicians. One will be in Colorado, one in Alaska, another in Idaho, a couple in Wisconsin, and a few in northern Minnesota. We will be staying in Duluth. I am beyond thrilled about that. Pete signed a two-year contract with a hospital emergency room in Cloquet, a small town about 20 minutes away from us. (The contract is a complete answer to prayer, no question. I'll have more about it in an upcoming post about where we're going from here. )
The graduation ceremony was lovely. Not too solemn or serious. In fact, there were some fairly humorous moments. We were served elaborate hours d'oeuvres and desserts just before it began, which makes any ceremony better. Wine and chocolate? Well, I could sit and listen to just about anything with that placed in front of me.
The event began with a few special awards. My dear friend, Jen, was given one, which made me so proud. She's third from the left in the photo below. Jen is not only a resident but also a wife and mama to two. Her baby girl isn't even a year yet. Amazing! Jen did residency near Minneapolis and will be staying there for her job following graduation. So glad, since I would hate for her to move away.
Here are a few of the residents from the Duluth program along with the program director at the podium. To introduce the Duluth residency, she listed off a number of pretty impressive stats from their three years together. I so wish I had jotted a few down. They were things like the number of marathons completed, number of countries visited, and number of babies born. This was a really great program to be a part of. Super ambitious and made babies like nobody's business. How is there even time for more babies during residency? Well, we certainly did our part to up those numbers, so I was actually very proud.
Doesn't Pete look handsome on stage in his suit?
Speaking of babies, here's little Tate who joined us for the trip! Tate is just a couple months old and was born to my doctor, Maria.
Maria was with me during my pregnancy and Sam's arrival. I had a rock star labor team between Maria and Pete, which gives me very, very good memories of his delivery. She will be moving to Colorado this winter and will be a fantastic doctor in a practice there.
Following the ceremony, each program was lined up for a photo in a back room. I tried to snap a few, but you know how it is when there's a professional photographer? It just feels a bit awkward, like I'm stealing his work. I didn't use my flash, but still. I did my best with these without stepping on his toes.
The faculty and staff joined in on this one.
Seriously, this is such a great group! I will be sad when everyone disburses. The close to a very good part of our lives is just around the corner.
As Pete and I walked out of the building following the festivities, it really hit me that we're nearly at the end of this part of our journey. We stood in the very same place three years ago while calling friends and family to let them know we'd be moving back to Duluth. I had to document it. From here, we move forward, another step toward the place where God has so clearly called our family. The thought of that brings so much joy. I cannot wait to see what is ahead.
As of today, Pete has 41 days remaining of residency. He will finish the last day of July. He will then have the ENTIRE month of August off so we can relax and breathe as a family. We're currently planning a "staycation" with lots of fun things to do in Duluth. We'll also be visiting both sets of Nana & Papas as well as having a short stay at a resort near Brainerd. Fun things to come!