When Dr. P and I started dating things were simple. He was here, I was near, and things just kept on going. But looming in the distance we were well aware of that monster known as "the match." The match is the magical process by which medical students are paired with the residency programs where they are destined to spend the next three to six years of their lives training for the specialty of their choice.

For years it was simply a daydream, like naming future children that you may or may-not have. One day I'd say, "When we have a daughter, let's name her tumbleweed," and the next would be "If you become a plastic surgeon do I get free botox?" Then one year turned to three, and all of a sudden residency wasn't so much a fairytale as a fact. 

In September the invitations for interviews started rolling in. Instead of the amorphous dream we had manipulated for the past years, a solid map of possibilities formed. Many of the cities that had incubated our love were first on the list; DC, Baltimore, Boston. Then came more foreign stomping grounds in New York, Chicago and Jacksonville. A few tugged at my heart strings, namely Denver and Cleveland. And Burlington Vt. was simply dreamy. 

Dr. P--and sometimes I--worked down the list, visiting, surveying, judging (not to mention being judged), and finally in January we sat down together and made a list, 1-15 of where we saw ourselves living, learning, loving and growing. Knowing that each residency program was doing the same with each of the 100 or so students they had interviewed. Every city and program had wonderful aspects, but the task was terrifying, because once the list was submitted, we were locked in. 

But submit the list we did. And then, we waited. For six long weeks, filled with nightmares, anxiety attacks, and plain old emotional messiness. Until finally we filed into a room filled with all of Dr. P's classmates to open the letters that held their destinies. 

Dr. P--darling man that he is--let me do the honors, and I have to admit I had never felt the same sense of nervous anticipation in my life. But as he held me, and I held our future in my hands, I knew that wherever we went, be it Baltimore or Boston, Denver or DC, we would be okay because we'd have each other. 

And when I saw our number one choice on the paper within, the shouts, and cries, and squeals, and sighs faded, and all I saw was Dr. P, and all I felt was joy.

totally unrelated, but swoon!