The Beginning

I’ve been meaning to write about med school orientation from last week, but it was just so hectic then.

Sunday: Moved in.  My room is a studio single, so I have my own place with a kitchen. I didn’t feel like dealing with a roommate. Especially now that I wear hijab, in case she’s got a boyfriend, it’d be really annoying to have to cover up in my house. So I’m really on my own now, which felt really weird. I’ve been living with my crazy family for the year, and then it just got dead quiet. I didn’t know anyone yet then either so I felt anxious about meeting people. Later that afternoon though, all the dorm people met up for pizza and dessert. That’s when I first made new friends, so I felt a tad better by the end of it.

Monday: Monday was a really long day. It was basically just a day filled with speeches by administrative departments. Made more new friends though.

Tuesday: The big event on Tuesday was our service learning project. Each of us chose a project on Monday to do. I signed up for one that was supposed to be a women’s shelter. My whole group was just girls. We took the train out to Borough Hall, which was a really nice area. I saw Starbucks and other big food places and stores. I was thinking “This is definitely my kind of place.” The Downstate area is not exactly developed so I’m looking out for cooler areas.

So when we got to the place, we realized it wasn’t a women’s shelter. It was more a social services center, where people could come get help for jobs, take health classes etc. Many of the people there have a history of mental illness or are from low-income families. Basically they’ve all have rough lives, so it was cool they had this center to go to. We all first gave a presentation on stress. Everyone talked about the social aspects of stress, but then I saw that my slide was about all this biological brain stuff. I was like “Great I had to get this complicated brain waves thingie.” But I somehow pulled it off, and one of the people there said that he really liked mine the best surprisingly.

After that we played Food Jeopardy, which had questions about nutrition and food facts. That was really enjoyable, they all had fun playing it. I was keeping score.  Many of them left afterward because they had a class, but three stayed with us and played bingo. God I haven’t played bingo since I was like 6! I did win at one point. The winners had to talk about a talent, and I have no talents, so I was like “sorry guys, I got no talent!” I hate it when I have to talk about a talent I have or what I did over the summer.

After a number of games, we left. Overall, it was a really great experience. On the way, we made a pitstop at Starbucks. Had to grab a mocha cookie crumble frapuccinoo!

Wednesday: The first main activity we did was get into groups to discuss cultural competency/power and privilege issues. Before we got into groups, we watched clips from Friends, which made me sooooo happy. I had just finished the series on Saturday, so it was soo nice seeing an old clip! The clip was the from the episode in which Rachel, Phoebe, and Joey were feeling resentful that Ross, Monica, and Chandler had more money, who were assuming that the other three could spend as much as they could. Man I miss that crew.

Anyway, we got into different groups and just talked about various race issues. It was a really interesting discussion.

Later in the day, we got into our Problem-Based Learning (or PBL) groups, which is the group we will be working with the rest of the year. We did a little mock case, which was really interesting. I liked how we were already delving into clinical cases. Afterward, we went to our anatomy orientation.

After all that, we all went to different restaurants that we had signed up for on Monday. I chose a Thai place (duh), called Mee Thai, not too far from Barclay’s Center. There were maybe like 12 of us. I had a really great time. At one point, a lady had brought out another thai iced tea to a friend. He was confused because he didn’t order a second thai iced tea. Turns out, that restaurant gives FREE thai iced tea refills. We flipped out. That’s such an amazing deal. No place gives free thai iced tea refills!! I also got a refill but I actually couldn’t finish it in the end because I needed to use the bathroom and did not go in the restaurant, and I was stuffed full.

Thursday: In the morning we signed a little Honor Code thing saying we won’t cheat and stuff. Then a couple hours later we had our white coat ceremony. The school restricted each student for only two guests because they didn’t have enough room for way more people. Extra people would have to go to another room where it would be video streamed. That pissed me off because obviously I want my parents and Sajid to be together. Ma opted to go to the overflow room because she wanted my brother to see it. That made me really anxious because I really wanted her to be there. If anybody had to see it, it was her. She did give up her whole livelihood and chance to become a doctor so she could raise us, so this was the moment she was waiting for. My new friend Mary said she would probably not need her tickets in the end because her parents had moved away to Pennsylvania and would have difficulty getting there in the midst of the moving. Everyone else was also busy with work, so she did let me have a ticket! Which I am eternally grateful for. Student Affairs then told me that people aren’t allowed to give out tickets like that, which pissed me off again because that makes no sense. I was worried I’d have to somehow smuggle Ma in. But it turns out, they didn’t even look at tickets so everything worked out.

During the ceremony we had a an alum give a keynote speech, which was pretty good, albeit though, I wanted a little something more. I wasn’t really thinking of any of this emotionally, but when we started reciting the Hippocratic Oath, my eyes were swelling up. I was like “crappp don’t cry!!” Maybe somewhere down in my subconscious, these inexplicable feelings came up to the surface. Afterwards we all took pictures outside.

A couple hours later, we went on a cruise, which was so so so amazing. We had gone down to South Street Seaport via bus. Before we got on, some of us walked to McDonald’s to grab some food, as the cruise wouldn’t have main course dinner. Around 7 we got on the boat. The boat traveled up and the East River, then around the tip of Manhattan, up and down the Hudson, a little far into the Harbor, passing by the Statue of Liberty, and then returned back to South Street around 9:30. This was a photographer’s heaven. I am a diehard lover of the Manhattan skyline so it was just so amazing to see all the skyscrapers up so close, so beautifully. At one point after passing by the Statue of Liberty, I saw fireworks on the other side in Jersey. That was my first time seeing a fireworks show live, ever, so it was a great way to wrap up the night. I also spent time talking to my new friends, making new ones, and seeing old faces.

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After that, a lot of people were going to an after party somewhere in the city. My friends and I just went back to the dorm and talked for another good hour. All in all it was a good week to orientation. It was finally hitting me that med school was really happening.

Friday I had to deal with bursar/tuition stuff. And then I went home, making a pit stop at Chipotle at 14th St and 6th. And now it’s already my third day of med school. So far, so good.

 

I wasn’t supporting the US in the world cup before yesterday, but I eventually started cheering for them. It got exciting by the end, and they were so close, but…it wasn’t meant to be. What a heartbreaker. Tim Howard has been labeled the hero of the game, no doubt he was amazing. It sucks that he has to lose for all his hard work.

I found these pictures this morning and my heart melted. I love it when I see rival players act really nice to one another. Granted Howard knew Fellaini and Mirallas from club sports (Mirallas is actually his teammate at Everton and Fellaini is at Manchester United so they meet at English games), but still such a sweet gesture for them to go congratulate and console him. He definitely game them a run for their money.

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The Pastures of Heaven

I finished my latest John Steinbeck read last night. The book is about a beautiful area in California, near Salinas and Monterey, called the Pasturas del Cielo, or the Pastures of Heaven. Each chapter is about a particular family or character living there. I liked how all the characters were interrelated. You might find that a secondary character in one story is the main character in another.

The Salinas Valley

The Salinas Valley

As usual, Steinbeck doesn’t disappoint with his words. All the stories were very interesting, with sad/poignant twists of fortune.

After the bare requisites to living and reproducing, man wants most to leave some record of himself, a proof, perhaps, that he has really existed. He leaves his proof on wood, on stone or on the lives of other people. This deep desire exists in everyone, from the boy who writes dirty words in a public toilet to the Buddha who etches his image in the race mind. Life is so unreal. I think that we seriously doubt that we exist and go about trying to prove that we do.

 

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It’s hard to leave, Mr. Allen. It’s a thing you’ll sometimes want to remember, and other times you’ll want to forget it, I guess. But it’s hard to leave because then you know it’s all over – forever.

There were two parts that interested me especially. One was about a man who hated his old home because it brought back memories of old age. His parents always complained about how old they were and despised how young he was. He was later inspired by a girl to renovate the house, so he completely changed the house on his own. I loved how he was taking into his own hands to bring an idea to life. Sadly at the end though, when he is about to invite the girl over, he learned she has just gotten engaged.

The next story was about the grandfather of the guy the girl in the previous story got engaged to. The grandfather came to the Pastures of Heaven hoping to recreate a family home. He dreamed of having many kids, who would have many kids and so on. He loved the idea of creating the seat for a dynasty. I absolutely loved that idea. I love family lineages and I appreciate that this man was thinking so into the future, thinking of posterity. The sad part of this story is that neither he nor his son created such a dynasty, as they could only get one son each. The house is eventually burned down in an accident. The dream of a family home  is never fulfilled.

The grandfather mentioned once to his wife (a distant cousin) that their ancestors once lived in the same home. I’ve always found that idea so interesting. Every nuclear family eventually breaks off into so many branches causing relations to grow distant. For instance, let’s say a great-great-great grandmother of mine had a family. She could have had a few sisters and brothers. They lived together under the same roof. Then a few hundreds years later, I have all these distant cousins I don’t even know about. Yet if you trace back enough, we will share a common household.

Metal City

So people know I’m obsessed with Avatar. But today even I surprised myself. I ended up watching the next three episodes (that were leaked in Mexico) in Spanish. I didn’t really understand everything, but you can tell what’s going on. Also read spoilers after each scene so I got what was going on. I’m happy I did watch them so now I won’t go crazy for the next two weeks.

These episodes showed exactly why I love Avatar. The world they live in is so damn cool. This episode revealed Sau Fu, home of the Metal Clan, a city full of metalbenders. This city was just wow. Such a beautiful city. Reminded me of Krypton without the space stuff. It is such a high tech, sophisticated place. During the night, the city becomes covered with metal domes, and in the morning, the city opens up. How awesome!!

Picture 3We get introduced to a new character, who is revealed to be Lin’s half-sister (ohh damn Toph got with two men, the women have never even met their fathers!). I think that was an interesting plot point for the creators to take. A nontraditional family, having a single working mother raise two daughters on her own.

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Lin’s gorgeous younger sister, Su Jin.

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Cloisters

I went to the Cloisters/ Fort Tyron Park yesterday and God was it beautiful. I couldn’t believe I was still in Manhattan. There was such peace and freshness in the air. I wish I could have stayed longer. It was nice to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city. DSC02394 DSC02393 DSC02440 DSC02451 DSC02453 DSC02462

Cleaning Tasks

One of the things I need to wrap up this last month of freedom is to completely tidy up the house. The apartment has been disheveled for years, so I have spent a lot of time organizing. But with such little space, it’s hard to properly organize when we have so much crap.

Monday I finally was able to buy these plastic drawers from Bed Bath and Beyond for Ma and Abbu’s clothes. They’ve been living out of laundry bins for the past few years because it’s so easy to take out clothes. But it makes them look like peasants, so I got them real drawers that are not difficult to open up. We currently have wooden drawers, which do take a little bit of force to open, but it’s painful for Ma to even do just that. So thank God, that is out of the way. It made their room look so bad.

Same day, I also organized a storage closet.

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after

I cleaned up the bathroom mirror cabinet months ago, but I totally forgot to take before and after pics. Now that was breathtaking to see. I scrubbed off every inch of gooey crap and cleaned it out. The cabinet became so nice and pristine.