Saturday, September 1, 2007


Tonight I had dinner with three friends from college. Although I have two exams on Tuesday, I took the break because it is so rare for all four of us to get together. You see, two of us are in medical school here in Washington, one just moved to the District from Philadelphia for law school, and the other was in Baltimore working on an MBA/MPH and is now working in New Jersey. As you can imagine, coordinating our schedules is quite the challenge.

We met up near the National Zoo on a little strip packed with restaurants. We walked up and down the block, carefully reviewing each restaurant's menu, before selecting a Japanese restaurant. Perfect. I love sushi, and I had my eye on the Chilean sea bass with miso and shitake mushrooms.

We caught up, enjoyed our food, shared some laughs. The waiter arrived to clear our plates, looked at our licked-clean plates and said, "Good job!" We burst out laughing. It was so unexpected and there was something about the way he said it -- he seemed so surprised. One of my friends was laughing so hard, she was having trouble swallowing the water she had been drinking before the waiter's comment. Of course, I tried to make her laugh even more. I could just see the water spraying all over the table. I know, aren't I nice. It didn't work. She somehow managed to calm down enough to swallow the water.

From that point on, we were laughing at everything. We laughed so hard I think we burned off most of the meal's calories. I'm sure everyone around us thought we were insane. For some reason, this always happens whenever we get together. (Yes, both the laughter and being perceived as insane.) I'm glad it does.

Medical school is intense and stressful -- especially during the days leading up to examinations. You have to be able to manage that stress. Social support, good food, and exercise are all key to keeping a level head. Tonight, I had a healthy dose of all three.

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