We ain’t no sheeple–we listen to Google! (SB 2017: Iceland)

M1 spring break is one for the books! Michelle and I met up in Iceland for a week and explored the Southern and Western parts of the country. I was unable to fulfill my compulsive planning habits on account of school and therefore didn’t plan much of an itinerary before the trip. We booked hostels and a car in advance, but did everything else on the fly. It was pretty fun and way less stress-inducing than I originally thought it would be. On my next trip to Iceland, I’m definitely going to book a 4 wheel drive car though. Side note: Iceland is expensive!! Hostel beds, groceries, eating out, gas, etc. required “multilevel” money! And, Icelandic people don’t wear shoes in the house. My kind of people!

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2016 Book List

Time for the annual book list. Reading pace slowed down quite a bit on account of a little side endeavor (school). Hopefully I’ll find my new study groove in the new year and pick up the reading pace again.

  • (F) The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman, 4 stars
  • (F) The Subtle Knife by Philip Pullman, 4 stars
  • (F) The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman, 3 stars
    • Got kind of tired of the storyline and just wanted to hear the resolution
  • (NF) In a Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson, 5 stars
    • Wildly hilarious travelogue
  • (F) The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams, 5 stars
  • (F) The Restaurant at the End of the Universe by Douglas Adams, 5 stars
  • (F) Life, the Universe and Everything by Douglas Adams, 5 stars
  • (F) So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish by Douglas Adams, 4 stars
  • (F) Mostly Harmless by Douglas Adams, 4 stars
  • (F) Jurassic Park: A Novel by Michael Crichton, 5 stars
    • Y’all have you read this?? Lexie recommended the book so I picked it up. LOVED it and loved Crichton’s references to the scientific/research world
  • (F) The Lost World: A Novel (Jurassic Park Book 2) by Michael Crichton, 5 stars
  • (F) Sphere by Michael Crichton, 3 stars
    • Liked the premise of the book, but became a “meh” read later in the book
  • (F) The Great Train Robbery by Michael Crichton, 5 stars
    • LOVED this book. It’s a classic robbery story set with interesting characters with tons of trickery
  • (F) The Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton, 4 stars
    • Classic scific. It’s even easier to envision a situation like this given our capabilities in biological manipulation. Don’t even get me started on CRISPR tech…
  • (F) Timeline by Michael Crichton, 3 stars
  • (NF) When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi, 5 stars
    • Heartbreaking book addressing life and death. Read it first as a library book but am going to purchase a copy for my own bookshelf.
  • (F) Cat’s Paws and Catapults by Steven Vogel, 4 stars
    • Great insights on how man-made and nature-made things are similar/different
  • (F) The Martian by Andy Weir, 5 stars
    • Recommended by Lexie. Even if you’ve seen the movie, the book is out-of-this-world good
  • (NF) How We Die by Sherwin Nuland, 4 stars
  • (F) LOTR Trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien, 5 stars
    • Obsessed with Tolkien!!
  • (F) My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante, 3 stars
    • I had pretty high expectations for this book because of all the press it received but was disappointed. An average story about two girls growing up and their love/hate relationship
  • (F) A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab, 4 stars
    • Loved this fantasy tale about 3 Londons, wizards, and magic. An all around fun story and an escape from med school
  • (F) A Gathering of Shadows (ADSOM Book 2) by V.E. Schwab, 4 stars
    • The fantasy continues with the second book in the trilogy! Schwab keeps you turning the pages !! But the book ends with a GIANT CLIFFHANGER and the third (and last) book doesn’t come out until February :/
  • (F) A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman, 4 stars
    • Sad yet beautiful tale

Mail and procrastination

My good friend Alba is going through a tough time so I decided to mail her a care package. My parents were in town last weekend, so we went shopping for the care package goodies. Dad brought the package back home to FL to mail so I didn’t have to deal with the post office during the holiday season.

I just checked on the package status and it made me inordinately happy to see its path from FL to CH. It boggles my mind how interconnected our world has become. At a higher level, I know that globalization has connected the world both in space and time. But seeing the path of the package somehow makes that more real.

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Also, I’m majorly procrastinating for next week’s exam. There’s so much to learn and I am paralyzed by the amount I need to memorize.

Nostalgia

I had a moment on Friday. It was a feeling of nostalgia for a moment that I was currently experiencing. In the moment, I thought to myself, “in the future, I will feel nostalgic for this moment in time.”

After the genetics and evolution exam, Kristin, Sara, Bonnie, Kaki, and I went to Cacao in Virginia Highland for hot chocolate. The store reminded me of a European chocolate store. Clean walls. A glass display with beautiful handmade chocolates. A long bar with seating. The lights glowed a warm yellow and big windows faced the street. The windows framed the gray day. Autumn clouds hid the sun such that only a cool gray light snuck through the sky. The trees were on fire: golden and chestnut. Inside the chocolate boutique enveloped us in a feeling of warmth, highlighted by the grayness of the world outside. The warmth came from both the yellow lighting and the company of good friends. It was a feeling of fullness in spending time with good people, good conversation, and (of course) good chocolate. I wanted to freeze that moment, that autumn afternoon, that feeling. I wanted to save it like a clip from a movie so that I could revisit it (watch it from an out-of-body experience if you will) in later years.

Capture, save, revisit. Like a “feeling vault.” I’m imagining a hall (like the hall of prophecies in Harry Potter). The hall would have little orbs glowing all sorts of colors. The orbs would be lined neatly on shelves and there would be rows and rows of shelves. Each orb would hold a memory and it would be labeled with a feeling. And when I need to feel that feeling again, I could pick up the orb and revisit that moment in time.

Why medicine?

Friends, it’s been a rough week. The election really threw me off and I’m still in a stage of denial. Given the past week’s events, I want to take a moment to reflect on something unrelated to politics and something positive.

One of my favorite parts of Emory’s curriculum is what we call the “Patient Interview.” For every module we study, we have a patient interview during which an Emory physician brings in a patient who has a condition relevant to the unit we’re studying. The physician interviews their patient in front of the class, the patient describes what it’s like to live with their disease, and we are allowed to ask the patient questions. It’s a good reminder as to why I spend the large part of my day on my butt instead of outside exploring. This week, a patient came in to talk to us about living with a genetic condition called Fabry disease. It’s a condition that affects many systems. The patient said during the interview, “finding a doctor who was interested enough to find out what’s wrong with me was the most important thing.” And even if we don’t know what’s wrong, at least be willing to try different things.

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Whitewater kayaking as a metaphor for life

Life has been so good these past two weeks. My small group came over for dinner on Friday night, friends came over for homemade yogurt on Saturday, I FINALLY climbed at Stone Summit, went on some runs (the weather is a bit cooler in the AM), heard the Vega Quartet play Beethoven’s String Quartet No. 7 and (last but not least) spent some quality time with Neil Gaiman on Friday and Saturday night.

But that’s not what I want to focus on for the rest of the blog post. I want to rewind to last weekend. I’ve been itching to write about last weekend’s trip to Bryson City, NC where I went whitewater kayaking with some other med students. Seven M1s and two M2s went on the trip. Right after our exam, we left for NC. Three hours later, we pulled up to our cabin. That night, Maddie and I slept in her tent. It was a wonderfully clear night so we didn’t put the fly up and we could see the sky and stars.

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