So this break, I am staying in Miami with Irene. She had just moved down here last week to start her Physician Assistant master’s degree program at Barry University (which by the way is the same university that our current Dean of Basic Sciences at AUC, Dr. Testa, came from). She’s very excited to start and I’m very excited for her. I had the pleasure of meeting her roommates and some of her new friends (who are all new first semester PA students like Irene), and they are all very nice and focused on doing well in school. I don’t worry about her… I think she’s going to have a great time here and she’s surrounded by good people.

Enjoying fondue with some new friends at the Melting pot

Irene’s program is quite different from my program. There are two campuses for Barry’s PA program, the main one being in Miami and the smaller one being in St. Petersburg, Florida. Because of this they have the St. Petersburg class teleconferenced with the Miami class during their lectures. 70% of their lectures are given by lecturers here in Miami while 30% are given by lecturers in St. Petersburg. Both locations can hear and see each other and the lecturers. In front of each person’s seat is a button and microphone. Whenever a student wants to ask a question in class in either location, they just press the button and talk, and they can be heard in both Miami and St. Petersburg.

In addition, Barry’s PA program has a strict dress code. Irene and her roommates are required to wear business casual everyday to lectures, which means nice shirts and dresses for girls and button-down shirts, khaki pants, and no tennis shoes for guys. Whereas at AUC, the dress is casual in lectures. I usually go to my lectures wearing T-shirts, shorts, and tennis shoes, except, of course, in the lab where I wear scrubs, or in my ICM classes where I wear white coat (and sometimes formal with white coat).

Art Deco District, South Beach

I am quite impressed at Irene’s new home. She now lives in Aventura, Florida, which is one of the nicest places to live in Miami. Her apartment feels like the Ritz Carlton… It’s spacious, has leather couches that recline, large plasma TV, marble floors, flat-topped stoves, and its own washers and driers. The complex has a gated security, fountain, pool, parking deck, tennis courts, and even its own Yacht club! She lives right by a country club golf course, not that far away from a beach, and also close to a really high-end mall (Aventura Mall). Never have I seen so many BMWs and other shiny cars which I don’t know the names of. It’s like she’s living the life of the rich and famous… except she’s paying almost half of what I pay for rent for a much nicer place.

View from Irene's balcony at night

This week, Irene and her roommates have a week-long orientation and tomorrow (Friday) they will have their White Coat Ceremony. While they go to orientation, I stay at home and work on what I have to do. I’ve completed a radiograph catalog for the Anatomy TA program, worked on my Notes page on my website, answered emails from incoming and prospective students (which so far I’ve been getting everyday while I’m on break… I think it’s that time of the year), doing chores for Irene around the house, and shopping for things I need to take back to St. Maarten. Whenever she and her roommates come back home from orientation, we go out together to go shopping, check out the beach, explore the city, or try new restaurants. I’m having a great time so far in Miami. Usually whenever I have a break from school, I make myself even more busy by traveling a lot and doing as much as I can with the little free time that I have. This break, I feel very relaxed because I’ve made no specific travel plans. My only plan is to come see Irene, that’s all, and I like it.

South Beach!
Bayside Marketplace in Downtown Miami
Versace's Mansion in South Beach
Irene and I dining at Gloria Estefan's restaurant in South Beach. Very good Cuban food!