A long time ago, before this blog was in existence, there lived a girl named Frances.

Frances was like many undergraduate students aspiring to have their dreams come true. She worked hard, played hard, and believed she was invincible. In particular, she wanted to become a doctor. She endured many difficult courses in biology, chemistry, and physics of medicine. She transferred to another school and fell in love with Philosophy, which she majored in. She made many great friends and wonderful memories, all while maintaining an excellent academic record.

Then the unthinkable happened, leading us to what you might think is the climax of our story. But no friends, this isn’t even the rising action. I am only setting the stage.

Frances applied to her top choice medical school, never imagining that she wouldn’t be accepted. After all, she was a great catch; she certainly had put in the work and had the statistics to prove it.

But Frances soon realized that many wonderful people, people that would someday be her colleagues, cared for the medical profession in the same way she did. In fact, thousands of qualified applicants across the United States genuinely wanted to live out a life serving patients through the intriguing means of the science of the body and for the incomparable human connection found between a doctor and their patients.

And so, Frances found herself denied application from medical school. She decided to delay graduation, despite the comments from her benefactors. She worked hard to bulk up her resume. She spent hundreds more hours studying, taking additional science classes, and not just shadowing, volunteering, and participating in a medical mission trip, but making relationships with patients and observing their relationship with their doctor. Leading her to more solidly understand this intimate relationship, the humility and responsibility that makes the doctor we’d all insist our mother be taken care of by.

She reapplied. And not just to that state school, but more schools than you can count on your fingers and toes combined. And maybe even more than you can also count on someone else’s set of phalanges.

But what to do with an whole semester of waiting to here about those very applications?

Now, keep in mind, we are still setting the stage. The story contained in this blog has yet to begin, hence the dark ages days title. But we both know you are a very smart individual and already knew that.

Frances realized that something was missing in her life. Something HUGE. She also began to realize she was about to commit around ten years of her life to training, which although she was ready for tomorrow, convinced her she really needed to use the time she had left wisely.

She thought long, hard, longer, harder; until she realized what was missing. She needed to know Spanish. Not just need-to-know-to-get-a-better-job etc etc type of thing, but genuinely needed to be able to express herself in another language and cultural context.

She also realized she needed to see more of the world. She could look at photos and watch the travel channel twenty-four hours a day but it wouldn’t even come close to actually traveling to Italy and indulging in fresh pasta, in swimming in the secluded beaches off Thailand… she needed to see the world.

And so she decided to study abroad.

And that, my friends, is where our story begins.