Archive for the ‘romance’ category

12 Resolutions for 2012

January 2, 2012

So, I was just talking with my dad and my little bro about New Years’ Resolutions and I realized that I wasn’t so great last year about keeping mine (especially the one about being a more faithful blogger, sorry!!) so I think I should try to aim for at least 90% adherence to the resolutions for the upcoming year. That means that I should stick to 10.8 (let’s round up to 11) of the following 12:

1. Read something to do with medicine and/or health care every single day

One of the things that stuck with me from surgery rotation was Dr. C’s admonishment that as medical professionals, we should be reading at least an hour a day, no matter what. I probably spend over an hour reading every day but romance novels, blogs and amateur fiction probably aren’t going to make me more valuable to my patients. Hopefully, one of my other resolutions will help me stick to this endeavor.

2. Be ready to take to Step 3 by May 30th

Step 3 is the final USMLE required before one is eligible for an official medical license. Once can’t apply for it until after one receives a medical degree but since only a portion of this exam is devoted to pediatrics, it would be nice to get it out of the way before the start of residency so that I can spend my intern year focusing on the good stuff. Studying for this exam will also help me stick with resolution one since it will make sure that I’m reading something medical (and learning something new or reinforcing something I already know) every day.

3. Strengthen my language skills

On my past few rotations, I’ve been one of the few people who was able to communicate well with Spanish-speaking patients and that has garnered me praise from the attendings and residents, not to mention interest from residency program directors. However, I find I’ve been coasting by on my above-average español and I’d like to push past the plateau and become fully fluent. The trouble is, it’s tough to find resources (especially free ones) at my level. I’d welcome any suggestions. Meanwhile, my 日本語 has fallen from 上手 to まあまあ from lack of use. I’d really like to get it back up to speed. If that means making time for manga, dramas and anime, so be it.


Christmas Cake

June 20, 2008

As far as most people are concerned, 26 isn’t one of the big birthdays. There are no milestones attached to becoming one year older than a quarter century – the best you get is maybe some nice cards and money from your parents and less hassle when you try to rent a car. However, there is a sort of significance to turning 26 in Japan – when a woman turns 26, she becomes what is known as a “christmas cake.”

Still tasty on the 26th?
Before I explain exactly what a Christmas cake is, I’ll have to explain a bit about how the Japanese observe “Western” holidays. It’s kinda trendy to celebrate Western holidays in Japan and some of the commercial biggies like Valentine’s Day, Christmas and more recently, Halloween, are pretty popular. The funny thing is, cultural significance sometimes gets lost on the way across the ocean and without the reason for the ritual, the ways in which the holidays are observed can seem a bit strange/wacky/hilarious to expats. One year when I was living in Hyogo prefecture, I saw Lovely Halloween Pocky at my local supermarket and was practically rolling on the floor because on the packaging for the pumpkin-flavored ones, a scary-looking jack-o-lantern was featured (okay) but on the strawberry ones, there was a strawberry with a jack-o-lantern face (um…) and on the melon ones, there was a cantaloupe with a jack-o-lantern face 😀 . They’ve since replaced melon with milk-flavored pocky and the package has a little ghost holding a pitcher of milk, so I guess they’re getting it.

Anyway, Christmas in Japan has absolutely nothing to do with Christ and everything to do with love and romance. Strangely enough, December 25th is one of the most popular days for visiting love hotels. There are even Christmas-themed love hotels – people can enjoy a little holiday spirit when they tryst all year long. For the most part, on Christmas, people generally snuggle up with their sweethearts and eat a delicious Christmas cake. The thing about a Christmas cake is that although it looks great, who wants one on the 26th?

Although antiquated, there still exists the view that a young lady should be married (or at least engaged) by 25 and that once she turns 26, no matter how lovely, successful or intelligent she may be, she’s starting to get stale (if she’s still unmarried and childless at 30, she’s a loser dog). 25 seems a bit young for matrimony to me, but I suppose I have begun to consider getting married and having a family a bit more seriously. I’m a person who likes to make plans and I always planned on being married by 30 and being a mom by 35 (before the maternal and paternal age effect risks spike). Of course now, considering my future medical career, I’ll have to squeeze wedding vows and childbirth in while completing my residency (although according to a pal here who shares the same birthday, the best time to get married and have children for med students is right before the beginning of clinical rotations. It also helps to marry a person whose work will allow him/her to take paternity/maternity leave). While I’m not quite ready to start perusing bridal magazines and picking out floral arrangements (well…the plan is to have white roses and ivy), I suppose I wouldn’t be opposed to an acceptable suit, were one presented by an acceptable young man.

Even though my cake has 26 candles, thanks to my lovely parents, most of the time, people assume that I’m around 19 or 20. If I continue to age so gracefully, when I actually am 30, I’ll still look 25, so I’ll be a loser dog in disguise!

頭にくる Part 3

June 5, 2008

Here’s a quick Japanese lesson –

頭にくる [atama ni kuru] is an expression used to denote anger, aggravation or annoyance. It focuses on the moment or occurrence of anger and is often used in reference to an event or situation. It is used the way English speakers use the expression ‘ticks me off’ or ‘pisses me off’, so if for example, you wanted to say “Dr. Martin forgot about this morning’s 10 o’clock lecture so now they’re doing it at 11?! Man, that really ticks me off! I had plans to study…”, in Japanese, it’d be something like this:


<<Martinsensei ga kesa no jûji no kôgi o wasureta no de jûichiji ni suru?! Mô, hônto ni atama ni kuru! Benkyô suru yotei ga atta no ni…>>

Literally, the expression translates as ‘comes to [my] head’. I love Japanese phrases and figures of speech. There’s another one for anger, 腹が立つ [hara ga tatsu], which literally translates as ‘[my] stomach stands up’. Haven’t you ever been so mad that your stomach just stood up? Anyway, I was thinking about the former expression, both literally and figuratively, because of the things that came to my head today.



June 3, 2008

While walking from the ATM at the campus center yesterday, I found two adorable little mangoes that had fallen from a tree near the seaside deck. They were perfectly ripe, plump and blushing, so I picked them up and took them with me to classroom 1, where I spent the bulk of my day, trying to make sense of all the histology lectures we’ve had over the past three weeks. Prior to that, I spent 2 hours in the anatomy lab, going over the muscles, nerves, arteries and clinical correlates we’d covered since the beginning of the semester. Foolishly, I hadn’t worn my scrubs and while I was poking around the muscles of the erector spinae, some body juice splashed down the leg of my favorite pair of jeans. I can still smell it. Guess these are the breaks…

Having been here for a month, I find myself occasionally reflecting on the good and bad of being at Ross. Attending med school on Dominica is kind of like being at a nature retreat. The beach is literally right in our backyard. Walking to and from campus and the annex provides good exercise. Succulent tropical fruit is available in abundance (and is cheaper than less-healthy snacks). Discounting the sleep-deprivation, caffeine consumption and other bad habits of typical med school students, it’s almost impossible not to live a healthier life. Unlike some Caribbean islands, Dominica isn’t overrun by tourists. It’s peaceful, quiet, isolated – a perfect study environment. Air conditioning and electricity on campus are free. Most apartments provide cleaning and laundry services so really, all students have to do is get up, get dressed, go to school and hit the books.

However, idyllic as it sounds, sometimes I find myself thinking what I thought that rainy February night as I walked home from the Ross information seminar at MIT. It almost seems too good to be true. And it is.


Going Natural

May 20, 2008

Warning – what follows is a quirky quarterlife issue that has absolutely nothing to do with medicine. If you are only here for the info and updates about med school, feel free to skip this one.

Those of you who have seen my updated Facebook profile (or read the previous entry) may be quite alarmed. What happened to your hair?! No, I didn’t cut it. What happened to the magic of the flatiron??? Well, the flatiron, magical though it may be, isn’t going to cut it in the heat and humidity of Dominica. So, what was once a lovely, long, luxurious mane has shrunk into a coily, curly coif that is a cross between Sister, Sister and Sideshow Bob. Ladies and lads, I have gone natural.


Things I Will Not Miss

April 22, 2008

Back in Queens, trying to squeeze a month’s worth of catching up with friends and family into my 8 remaining days. Though I managed to move on short notice with very little incident, I was surprised by how reluctant I was to leave Boston. From the beginning, I had only considered it a place I was passing through and with that in mind, deliberately tried not to form attachments. There were times that I hated living in Boston and couldn’t wait to leave.  But on my last night, I kept wishing for another week, a few more days, one more chocolate chip cookie from Paradise Cafe, one more ride on the Red Line at sunset, one more moonlit stroll along the river…


April is the cruellest month (for med school applicants)…

April 16, 2008

One of my pals from HCP wrote me the other day to congratulate me on my acceptance to Ross. I thanked him and cheerfully asked, “Where are you headed this fall?”

His reply: “No acceptances so far. Crazy huh?”

My brain: …….what?!?!?

This pal is one of the smartest people I know. He was my lifeline in physics and a go-to-guy during help sessions before orgo lecture. Not only is he ridiculously intelligent, he’s delightfully quirky and he got interviews at ALL the top schools, schools I didn’t even bother applying to because I knew I’d be competing with guys like him. And he’s still waiting????

Sometimes I forget that there is no justice in this world.

April is when everyone starts getting antsy. If they haven’t called you yet or plucked you from the wait lists, you have to face the possibility of reapplication – going through everything all over again, having to wait another year to finally start on your path.

Even though the logical part of your brain knows that rejection isn’t the end of the world and even if every time you’ve has been asked “What will you do if you don’t get in?”, you matter-of-factly respond, “I’ll reapply next cycle”, reapplication is a scary prospect. The self-doubt can be crippling and for some reason, advisors love to chirp, “Well, why don’t you consider a career in one of the other health professions?”

It’s like asking a groom who was stood up at the alter if he wouldn’t prefer to marry one of the bridesmaids instead.


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April 7, 2008

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