Last time you heard from me I was packing up my last few things before leaving for my road trip to Chicago, with a stop in Minneapolis along the way. In Minnesota we stopped at the outlet mall in Albertville, but there weren’t too many great sales and we were promptly on our way to our primary destination, the Mall of America. Here I found awesome deals: I got lots of shirts for $5-10 each from places like Banana Republic, Ann Taylor and Club Monaco.
After spending some time in the Mini Apple, we drove down to Schaumburg, a suburb of Chicago. We spent a day just exploring the community and its vibrant downtown, and we also visited the newly opened Chicago Premium Outlets in nearby Rosemont. The mall was filled with upscale shops that I couldn’t afford, but it was fun to look anyway. I enjoyed my last evening with family in Chicago at the Purple Pig on the Magnificent Mile. This place is tons of fun. The patio is tiny, yet they manage to cram so many people in it… let’s just say this isn’t the restaurant to go to if you’re planning on telling your big secrets.
Move-in day quickly arrived and I could barely contain my excitement, although I did drag my heels a little bit at the hotel because I knew I would soon be alone. I arrived at the school and was promptly greeted by some very pleasant second year students ready with their carts to get me moved in. The moving-in part took all of five minutes, and the unpacking and settling-in part took close to three hours. Getting acclimated is an ongoing process. I’ve had to make a few quick trips to Target for little things for the room, and these mini trips are a nice way to get out of the RC and wander the city a bit.
At this point I have stopped feeling guilty about all the ice cream I’ve been eating–I have become addicted to this one parfait called the Zebra at our local ice cream shop. It’s vanilla soft ice cream layered with crushed Oreo bits, melted white chocolate and hot fudge. Hopefully I will be able to find something as good in Chicago that can be my go-to when I have a craving, or just for a treat during a study break.
I have been spending as many weekends as possible out at the cottage. The summers in Winnipeg are short enough as it is, let alone the fact that I will be leaving halfway through it. The cottage is the best place for a long walk along the trans-Canada trail, or just to the campground store for a Saturday newspaper.
Hello again future colleagues!
It’s the end of June–which has flown by a little too fast–and although I am so excited for my first day of classes, I don’t want to forget about what I will be leaving behind: my boyfriend, my best friend, my comfort zone. Despite how much time I still have left before August 1 rolls around, I find my agenda book filling up quickly in an effort to tie up loose ends and visit friends and family before my departure. I really look forward to the third week of July when I’ll get a week off work to just relax and maybe go to the cottage.
One of my “loose ends” that I recently tied up was cancelling my gym membership, which was very sad. I really enjoy going to the gym, seeing the same people each morning in the fitness classes and knowing that we all share the same thoughts about doing another set of squats and lunges. Luckily, ICO has a gym conveniently located on campus for student use. I plan to be an avid user, but I take the laughter of my co-worker–a second year student at ICO–as a subtle hint that I may not have the time.
As I prepare for school, it seems my wardrobe is the most difficult thing to put together. It’s easy to imagine things I might need for my room, but when it comes to what I’ll be wearing every day, it seems to require more effort. And in terms of obtaining the required items, I keep having to remind myself that Chicago might possibly have much better shopping than Winnipeg. I found out about an outlet mall near Chicago that has countless stores where I am sure I could find anything that comes to mind.
As an entering “class of 2017″ student, this summer will serve as a entryway down a rabbit hole full of adventure and new things and people. I’ve been trying to contain my excitement so as not to irritate anyone who has already heard me express it more than once. Although it seems like forever away, I know August will sneak up on me very quickly–so I’m making every effort to enjoy the rest of the time I have before I delve into my studies full steam ahead. I’m very excited about coming to ICO and I’m really looking forward to learning the hands-on practical skills and applying them to my friends, family and anyone with enough patience to sit for me while I practice on them. I have already warned some that they can expect to have retinoscopy done while I am back for Christmas holidays!
I have been spending these last couple months preparing myself for this undertaking and only slowly packing things as they come to mind. In addition to working full-time, I will be volunteering at this year’s Fringe Festival, and KidsFest. I have also been spending lots of time on my hobbies, which include woodworking, painting, and riding my brand new bicycle. I am hoping the bicycle riding will go well, as I plan to sell my car to free up the money for school, and use my bicycle for commutes when I am back at home. I have been spending many evenings sitting outside by the koi pond in my backyard just watching the fish and hoping another bug will fly into it so I can watch the fish fight over it. Despite my greatest efforts to make as much money as possible to save for school, I do have a week booked off near the end of July to get my last few appointments in, have lunch with friends and crack down on the packing.
Working this past year in the optical dispensary has provided me with great skills for working with patients, providing advice regarding frame and lens choices, and discussing the benefits and trade-offs of each and how they affect the wearer. Occasionally the doctors will bring me in to their exam rooms to show me a unique situation or eye condition under the slit lamp. So far, I have been able to observe a conjunctival laceration, macular hemorrhage and the results of “intact” refractive surgery. All are very interesting to me and I was disappointed to find out that we don’t get to use the slit lamp until second year.