Our son Nick graduated from UNC in May of 2009 with a degree in Biomedical Engineering. He planned to work for a year, save some money, do some traveling and eventually take the Dental Admission Test (DAT) in late 2010. He shipped his car out and off he went to Oakland, CA in August, to get a taste of West Coast living:
|Arches National Park, UT|
...that is until his dad was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma in January of 2010. Back home he came to be with our family and help out in any way he could...which ended up being ALOT this year as EZ (and I) had a month long unexpected hospital stay, rehab at home, untold numbers of doctors appointments and a stem cell transplant.
Nick formulated a plan to begin diligent preparation for the DAT when we moved to Durham for Stem Cell Transplant at Duke, and that is exactly what he did. Work, study, help at home, work, study, help at home, work, study...that has pretty much been his schedule for 4 months except for a few travel breaks to see friends. After one last night of review for the DAT, he headed for bed.
On December 22nd he took the DAT and DOMINATED IT! With the test being electronic, he received his scores right away and came home with a signed, sealed Score Report. Here he is, looking spent, but victorious!
Now he can concentrate on his next venture...International Volunteer HQ (IVHQ) - Cuzco, Peru - January 1st to April 2nd - 10,912 ft. above sea level! He will be volunteering in a Dental Clinic and staying in either The Family House, or traditional home-stay with a host family and 5 other volunteers. Spanish courses in the afternoon are strongly encouraged and Nick hopes to be pretty proficient when he returns to NC. Weekends are free to sight see and he has plans to hike the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. He will remain in country for 2 weeks after his assignment ends, just to travel.
|Note how coincidentally close Cuzco is to Macchu Picchu.|
I cannot put into words what Nick's presence here has meant to me and to his father. He has unselfishly done it all this past year, from taking care of things at home, to stepping in to do those tasks EZ couldn't do, to helping with four nieces and nephews, to hospital visits, to home repairs, to walking dogs, to organizing and working yard sales, to just being a shoulder I could lean on and a loving son his dad enjoyed being around. We will miss him like crazy, but are so excited that he can now move on with his plans to get experience in the dental world and explore a new country.
He has promised to get his blog up and running again to keep us informed about life in Peru. Anyone who has read his writing knows it can be quite entertaining...I can't wait! We will provide the link when the time comes. Please keep him in your prayers until he returns home in April!