Earlier this month, my good friends from med school, Arif and Chris, drove down to visit Irene, Lyra, and me here in Georgia. Chris was coming from his pathology residency up in Pennsylvania and Arif was coming from his surgery program up in New York, so it was a lot of driving on their part. If you remember, on the island, they were one of the first people I met, and ever since then, we’ve stuck together. During clinicals, we were separated, but I’d see them both again and again on separate occasions in Miami, New York, and London as we travelled around for our different rotations. With Chris and Arif’s busy work schedules and me and Irene’s own preoccupations with the baby and getting ready to start my own residency training, it hadn’t been easy to find a time when we could all get together again, but we did, and for this, I am thankful.
I was pretty excited to show them around the place where I grew up. While Macon isn’t a town that people normally think of as a travel destination, it has the Southern culture and climate that may come as a culture shock to those not from the South. We got your grits, your fried green tomatoes, and your meat-and-three food joints here. Every day feels like a sauna here, hot and humid, but we got sweet tea to cool us down. The pace of life is a little more relaxed here. Instead of honking, people wave to each other in their cars and on the street. Perhaps that’s why traffic is a little slower here.
Taking Chris and Arif around town was a vacation for me too. We checked out Ocmulgee National Monument, where the native people who lived in this area built monumental mounds more than a thousand years ago. We checked out Mercer University and the Medical Center (Navicent Health) where I will be doing my residency, went fishing in our lake, and ate lunch in Juliette, where they filmed the Southern classic Fried Green Tomatoes. We hiked up Stone Mountain and hiked down High Falls, and checked out the world’s largest aquarium at the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta. I had a lot of fun those four days with them and am happy that we were all able to see each other again.
Things I learn about friendship:
- You got to keep in touch with each other. In this day and age, with messaging, Skype, Facebook, or simply a phone call, this should be easy to do.
- If you care enough about something, you’ll always find the time to do it. This includes time set aside to see friends.
- You don’t have to be just like your friends. Two people can be seemingly polar opposites but still be bounded by friendship. There are several things that could glue friends together: shared interest, shared activities, shared experiences or memories.