Good Food, Great Company and Graduation!

28 Jul

I’m back! Many apologies for the extended hiatus. Things got a little crazy around here with my graduation! The graduation was a complete success though. My speech went well, even though I was so nervous for the entire week leading up to it. I barely slept the night before! Luckily, things went smoothly on the day. My hand was shaking as I was holding the microphone, but no one seemed to notice. People laughed at all the right spots and I even made a few people cry. I’m glad I was able to contribute to the event and tell my fellow students how much I love and respect them! Congratulations to the AIMC class of 2009!!

giving my speech!

giving my speech!


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me with Laura!

me with Laura!

me with Aura!

me with Aura!

me with Sean.

me with Sean.

The best part about the whole weekend was that my parents were able to fly out from Illinois. They arrived late Friday night, and Sean and I picked them up at the airport. They stayed in an adorable rental cottage in Noe Valley, not far from where Sean and I live. It was a nice change from the chaos of downtown, where they usually stay. I made them blueberry parfaits from last weekend to eat for breakfast on Saturday morning. They seemed to enjoy them!

For the most part we stayed around Noe Valley. I was excited to show them some of our favorite spots. We walked around the neighborhood, had coffee, and checked out the Noe Valley Farmer’s Market. I’m very excited about this market and will definitely be writing more about it in upcoming posts. Later, my mom and I had manis and pedis and then met up with my dad and Sean for a beer.

mmm...I love Chimay!

mmm...I love Chimay!

The first night they were in town I decided to cook at home. I knew that we would be eating out a lot, so I wanted to get in at least one night of home cooking. To start we had a caprese salad made with heirloom tomatoes, organic mozzarella, and organic basil!

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For the main course, I decided to keep it simple with a roast chicken, recipe courtesy of my dear friend Laura at pearsandplums. The only change I made was that I put a whole onion in the middle of the bird, along with the rosemary. It was incredibly moist and flavorful. For sides I made mashed, purple, peruvian potatoes. I added roasted garlic and a little rice milk to these. I also roasted some brussel sprouts with a little sea salt. Everything turned out really well.

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love the color!

love the color!

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The best part of the meal was dessert though! Sean surprised me with an amazing raw, vegan pie from cafe gratitude. It was their “I am devoted” pie, which is a coconut cream pie with a delicious date crust. This pie is heavenly. Each bite melts in your mouth! We all loved it. And now, I have tons of leftovers in my fridge. Yum.

heaven in a box.

heaven in a box.

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We also had two meals at Toast, a charming cafe and amazing breakfast spot on 24th street. The first time I ordered their Sicilian omelette with sun dried tomatoes, spinach and onions. The next day I had a bowl of yogurt with fresh fruit and granola. I think this was my favorite, much lighter than the omelette, but still filling.

For my graduation dinner we walked to Firefly, my favorite restaurant! Firefly is such an amazing little spot with great food, wine and service. I had an onion tart with a yellow pepper coulis to start and followed up with artic char, cooked medium rare, over zucchini cakes with a corn sauce and poached cherry tomatoes. It was fantastic! I also had some 20 year tawny port for dessert :).

Firefly!

Firefly!

at dinner.

at dinner.

Last night, Monday, we went to a small, Italian restaurant called Haystack Pizza. It was completely adorable with good Italian fare. I had pasta with marinara sauce, caprese salad, garlic bread and a glass of cabernet. This place is definitely going to become a staple…cozy and delicious.

Oh yeah one other great thing about graduation! Gifts!! Sean bought me a beautiful bracelet, which I have been wearing pretty much non stop since Sunday. In addition, he also had flowers delivered to my school on Friday, which completely caught me off guard. Thanks, babe.

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My parents got me an iphone! I’ve been wanting one forever. When I went to get it, I pulled out my old pink motorola razor phone and the sales guy laughed at it! It cracks me up how technology moves so fast that something from 2006 looks like an ancient artifact. The phone is great though, I’m definitely a big fan. Now I must commence downloading silly apps…

For me the only downside of such an eventful weekend is that I tend to get a little sad afterward. Mostly, I hate saying goodbye to my parents. It’s particularly difficult when I don’t know when I’m going to see them next. Living across the country from the people I love is really, really difficult for me. Last night, after saying goodbye to them, I had a rough time and there were a lot of tears when I got home. I woke up this morning still feeling really sad. I think the only thing to do is just to work through it, get on with my day to day activities, and know that I will see them again very soon! Thanks for all your love and support, Mom and Dad!! I love you!

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Here’s a copy of my speech for anyone who’s interested:

I just want to take a moment to thank all of our friends and family for coming today.

I would especially I would like to thank Dr. Suzanne Friedman, for speaking here for us today. You are truly an inspirational teacher and I know I speak for all of us when I say that it has been an honor to learn from you. You teach with both a knowledge and humor that come from a place of balance and love – it’s something that each of us aspire to achieve, so thank you for setting that example.

Thank you also to the rest of the AIMC faculty, both those who are present and those who are not, for your guidance as teachers and administrators.

When we began we were a class of all women, and then Jun along came and attempted to balance things out, giving some yang to our yin. We came from different places, an aspiring vet and lover of horses, a massage therapist, a paramedic, a mother and executive, a school teacher, a counselor, a farmer, a soldier, a loyal friend, an artist, a chef. Some of us were fresh out of college and others had several degrees already under their belts. The list of our accomplishments before arriving here was vast. But when we came we were united in a common goal

To heal.

And we went through so much together. Through weekly herbs tests, not forgetting those amazing herb songs composed and performed by Hannah and Melinda. And of course those 10 page formulas “quizzes” that we were all so fond of – where we learned the important point that when you screw something up on a test, “screwed it up is wrong.” And let’s not forget Monday morning OCM classes and those endless point location exams where locating GB30 forced us all to quickly become intimate friends.

We’ve crammed enough facts into our heads to literally fill up our Seas of Marrow. We’ve listened carefully; we’ve taken excellent notes (I’m talking about you, Aura). For the most part we’ve followed the rules (although Glenn may be shaking his head no right now). And we’ve arrived at the end of our journey.

Here.

Today.

So, now what?

Well for today I propose that now, we let go.

We let go of our expectations of what happens next.

We go of the demands we’ve placed on ourselves

We put down the knowledge that we have so diligently memorized.

We quiet our minds, we take the kind of deep breaths that would make Suzanne proud, and then we take a moment to just be.

To be in the center of ourselves.

Now…while we’re here, do you remember the kind of healer that you wanted to be all those years ago, when this journey first began?

Do you remember the spark of excitement that you felt the first time you held a needle?

Do you remember your old rebellious self, the part of you that refused to walk the
straight and narrow path and instead decided to veer into the esoteric world of Chinese medicine?

Do you remember when you were in awe of this medicine? Enchanted by the role of the heart, transfixed by the wisdom of the kidneys…confused by what exactly the san jiao was for?

Do you remember that long before the daily ritual of counting and then recounting your clinic hours, that there was a part of you that felt like what you were doing was actually magic?

Return to that place for a moment.

Today I ask all of you to just take a moment and return to that part of yourselves.

The textbooks will still be there, the boards will still be there, your grades will still be there, the anxiety over opening a practice in the current economic climate will still be there.

If you really want, you can pick all of that up again tomorrow.

So, maybe you’re wondering why am I asking you to return to your center, to breathe deep, to remember these things?

Because, someday, you may be somewhere where you have lost someone, a patient, a friend, a loved one. Your life may take a turn that you were not expecting, leaving you feeling confused, alone, frightened. You may realize that you have lost some of your ideals or a part of yourself.

But, if you can remember, during these difficult times, to return to your center – aligning yourself between heaven and earth – to deepen your breath and to recall the things that you love, then you will retain your purpose, navigating through the difficult times and emerging not only stronger but also much wiser.

The Sufi Poet Rumi says, “Let the beauty we love be what we do.”
And this is what you have achieved today.

You are all truly amazing practitioners. I have been lucky enough to receive treatments from almost all of you and I know that this is an incredibly gifted group of individuals. Each of you brings something beautiful and unique to the practice of this medicine. I feel privileged to call each of you a colleague and honored to know you as my friends.

So, today, know that all of your hard work and your determination have brought you to a place, where you can look into your core, and feel not only a sense of propriety because what you do is truly valuable but also joy because, as Rumi said, the beauty you love really is what you do. Thank you.

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4 Responses to “Good Food, Great Company and Graduation!”

  1. pearsandplums July 28, 2009 at 6:05 pm #

    so cute! im glad you liked the chicken! what a good, bittersweet graduation. your speech will be remembered for many many years =)

  2. Chx July 29, 2009 at 7:41 am #

    I love the new look!

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