Jul 31

Touchdown in Edinburgh!

I think this would be my only time taking a cab because it’s so late at night and so ex! T.T

Wasn’t very hard to find Wei Nien’s house and man, I was so tired I literally unpacked and crashed!

Then the next morning I took a bus and went to meet with Samantha Sii! It’s been so long since I’ve seen her and it was an awesome full day just catching up with her. In the morning, she made breakfast for me and then her friend and her brought me up to Arthur’s Seat, which the view was spectacular. Then took me around in the city and then in the evening we went to North Berwick (a beach). Ooo I love beaches, but there was nothing that spectacular compared to Ireland’s beaches. Still, lovely lovely place. Then we almost thought we missed the last train back! But *phew* it was fine. It was night by then, so after walking Samantha home, I headed back too, which I almost missed my bus!

The next day I met with Mun Chung in the morning, which so coincidentally we were both in Edinburgh at the same time. Then I did the all famous Sandesman free walking tour. As good as all the ones I’ve did before and this one had a quite a few references to Game of Thrones scene locations and author inspirations! After that I walked around then met up with Samantha and had early dinner with her. And finally tried the haggis, which is pretty good! Better when fried! And then we walked up Carlton Hill which had another amazing scenery. I am so going to climb up Carlton Hill and Arthur’s Seat again and just, chill.

Adventure begins again the next day, as I got the explorer pass and from Monday to Wednesday I’ll be travelling to different parts of Scotland!

So Monday I went to Aberdeen and then down to St Andrew. Both had beautiful though relatively common, coastal sights. But weather was really just so amazing, thank God! At both places I walked (and sometimes ran) so much, that every time I got onto the bus I could feel my legs giving a sigh of relieve. Haha

Then Tuesday went to Glasgow and got to have a quick peek into the commonwealth “green zone” where they have tons of activities, huge stage, one big live screen and loads of food stalls! What an atmosphere. Then I headed to Oban. The view on the way was just so calming with lakes and mountains together, all around the road, so beautiful. And the whole journey looks so uninhabited then suddenly, a little cozy town out of nowhere! They also had a structure that looked like a colosseum on top of a hill, and the view from there was just as awesome. Headed back to Glasgow earlier to catch more commonwealth action! And then back to Edinburgh.

Wednesday! Went to Inverness. The town itself didn’t have much, though the river was more beautiful than any I’ve ever seen so far. But to really experience it’s awesomeness, I would need to have taken a small boat ride and go all the way down to Fort William and unfortunately I didn’t have the time. Still, peaceful little city. I headed back to Edinburgh, so in terms of travelling, nothing exciting today. I headed back earlier also because I needed to pack up! So that I can wake up early and climb up Arthur’s Seat again before I head back to London.

Edinburgh is a really a beautiful place. Too bad I didn’t stay long enough to experience the festival. Nonetheless, I can consider coming back here, for holiday, maybe even for work? Hehe cause someone mentioned that paeds training here is quite good too. Hmmm.. So after soaking it in from Arthur’s Seat, I was ready to head off. Had lunch and Samantha sent me off to Edinburgh Waverly Station.

Byeeee Edinburgh!
London, I’m back!

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Jul 26

This Sunday was a little different. In that everyone was busy with their stuffs and because most were gonna watch the World Cup finals together, so no lunch was happening. So I walked home, had to grab my own lunch, alone :( not blaming them or anything, and I mean, I did have a good time on my own to rest after a tiring 3 straight days of traveling, but it just reminded me to always keep after church free, as much as possible. We’d never know who we’re gonna meet every week, or that one person that needs a friend to talk to right after church. I do it not just because I have to send people back, but really because of the fellowship that goes with it.

This week wasn’t really anything cool. I mean, I did see even more rare stuff in the hospital which was cool, but in terms of my research writing, since it’s more or less done, it’s pretty much just sitting there! Nonetheless, still learning loads each day.

On Friday I was chilling and getting ready for tomorrow, when, I saw Hannah’s message. Lost her phone in a foreign country, I quickly went and met her and good thing I have an extra phone she could use. Still it was good to see a familiar face.

This week I also didn’t plan to go anywhere. I lot of my time spent after work before home was just sitting by a bench beside River Liffey and just soaking in the last bits of Dublin. And in an effort to save money and since I’ve seen most of Ireland, I just decided to stay back. Oh and hey! I actually bought a tour of Howth that I haven’t used, so might as well!

To my surprise, on a Saturday tour, there was only me and Marian (if that’s how it’s spelt. Norwegian girl, same age as me! Works at NATO but also have been traveling around the world for 2 years! At 19-21 years old! Jealous much) and our tour guide, Conor. 3 people on a tour? How awesome could that be! I expected a large crowd and myself to just hide behind everyone and just enjoy the view but more than that, because of the small group, we actually got to know each other! 2 very very pleasant people, definitely enjoyed my time with them aside from the awesome view from Howth.

Then on the way back, I had to jump off the train earlier. Why? Worship practice! Man, I never expected I would ever say that word or even be a part of a church’s worship team here in Dublin! But I’m coming on as a “guest worshipper” cause one day about 3 weeks ago they were talking about insufficient musicians as all the students went back home to their different countries and how some were tired and all. Then they asked me whether I played and of course I said yes and then they jokingly said “you should play!” I laughed, paused and went like “I mean, if you are really short of people, I wouldn’t mind stepping in to give someone a break, only if your church and pastor is ok with it” “yeah sure! I’ll check with pastor and get back to you!” And now, my last Sunday here, I get to play piano for them. I miss playing, but more than that, it’s such an awesome feeling to be able to just bless and be a part of another church you’ve only been attending for 4 weeks.

I also stayed at a friend’s place which is like an old Georgian house design. It’s cool because like I’m experiencing so many different types of houses which you’ll never see in Malaysia.

And so it was Sunday. I, for sure, wasn’t perfect, wasn’t always hitting all the right notes, wasn’t making awesome music or anything, but just playing as how I normally would. And beautiful enough, it was interesting to hear 2 older men, come up to me and say they want to start playing too! I don’t know whether that was to encourage me or whether they genuinely wanted to, and hope they do! Plus I mean, there’s another guy who plays piano there who is like 10-20x better than me and I’m sure he can teach.

After lunch, just 3 of us stopped at St Stephens Green and just played the guitar and sang songs. It’s nothing new for them but definitely something new for me! And it was a great time just chillin until.. Some sort of guard came up and said, “no playing!” And we were like.. werttt. Apparently some ambiguous rule that no “musical performance” in the park. Gah oh well.

My last week here. I’m really going to miss this place! I don’t know whether I’ll ever be back here, but I sure hope so one day. Every time I finish early from the hospital, I’ll just plug in some music, and sit by the bench along or over the river, and just soak in the atmosphere. Sometimes I’ll just pray over Ireland, sometimes I’ll just worship, sometimes I’ll just sit in silence. Everything that happens this week is my last of everything. Last time for this or that meeting, last time entering the wards or labs, last time meeting these people.. I went back to Howth, climbed the hill and again just spend about 2 hours just admiring it’s beauty. And also my last time in Stephens Green lying on grass and wind wiping my face.

And then Thursday! By far probably the most interesting day this week, when in the morning I got a little momento from the Rotunda librarian, and then had lunch with Dr Richard, Marion, Alva and Patrick, and got another little momento from them, reminding/hinting to me what I’m to do when I’m a consultant/professor.. Haha. Left the hospital and met with Erika, Caryn and Julia for an extremely early dinner, then realized we could make it in time for a movie! These and many others were those who made me feel at home here in Dublin. And after that, went home, and my final packing begins.

Friday, usually hospital stuffs but saying my goodbyes and giving tokens of appreciation to groups of people and another present from Dr Richard! I headed back home, took bath, changed and Pat and David dropped me at the airport.

2 months of Dublin happened way too fast. But it’s a close of a chapter, these 2 months was worth 1 chapter of my life, because I can assure you, future chapters will refer back to something I did here, something I learnt here, or the simple the connections with people I’ve made here.

Goodbye, Dublin.
Here I Come, Edinburgh!

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Jul 14

Sunday! same time, some places and more new faces! But it wasn’t as eventful as many went to watch the tennis finals and I followed the few who didn’t go and watch. Still, pleasant time to just chill with them and I had more time this Sunday to just.. Rest!

I sort of finished my edits to my abstract poster for my research and I was hoping to just rewrite while my doctor guides me through it. Then come Wednesday, I got the shock of my life. He rewrote it and sent it back to me to “discuss”. It’s one thing to read what someone rewrote and agree it was a better piece, it’s another thing to read it and praise him as if he’s a master at it, and then it’s another totally feel utterly embarrassing because it was just so way unimaginably beyond what I wrote. It actually sounded like what I would have read if I was finding journals, but I don’t know why I couldn’t have written the same way. I put mine and his side by side and just kept comparing and learning from there. And when I told him about it he just went, “Mehhhh don’t worry, I’ve written like 40+ of these, you’ll get there one day.” I sure hope so!

So what is “a whole lot of places”?

This week I didn’t just take the weekend off, I took Thursday and Friday to travel too! And this time no tour! (well, only one, which later I found out I didn’t need to also :( ) and just bought an “open travel pass” which allows me to take any bus for 3 days travel out of 6 days. So I used it consecutively. So basically the route was as follow (places I stopped at, some for a long time, some short periods. * is for the places I stayed my nights at):
Cork-Kinsale-Cork-Killarney*-Ring of Kerry-Tralee-Dingle*-Tralee-Limerick-Ennis-Cliffs of Moher-Galway-Dublin

I planned all these only on Wednesday after work and the best of all, I didn’t know where I was gonna stay! (I mean I researched it but didn’t book anything)

So I headed off from Busaras (Dublin central bus station) feeling so excited! My first real destination was Kinsale. I made a mistake in that I thought I could reach a place called “Old Head of Kinsale” by walking. Good thing I figured it out not entirely too late so I still had time to walk to other places for other views! *phew* a very peaceful, quiet and beautiful place. Then I caught a bus back to Cork and spend a 2 hours there. Pretty huge city and hard to cover everything if it’s the first time being there. But I found out a place that overlooks most of Cork on top of some cathedral, like Killkenny, I headed there first to grab a bird eye view! (Something like doing a synchronization in Assassins Creed except I don’t jump off into hay.. Lol) got to see just a little bit of Cork University and saw their hospitals! Aside from that, a bustling city nonetheless.

Then I headed to Killarney! Lovely city, not huge but full of people as it’s the main starting point for other famous landmarks and tours. I found a place I saw online and *phew* they had a vacancy. I went into the room and realized it was empty except for one bed. So yay! Would be a relatively quiet room, or so I thought. I just dropped my bags and headed off into the city to explore it! Because it wasn’t very big so I managed to cover most of it and before I headed back, I ended the day with some pub food! And live music! Lovely. Anyway so I headed back to the hostel and as I imagined, my roommate was a girl named Anna (I guessed because I saw purple umbrellas and a pink iPod earlier). Started a friendly conversation which in the end turned out pretty cool. From Austria but speaks fluent English with a Londoner accent due to her background. So it wasn’t a quiet room! But it was a pleasant chat about various things and also Game of Thrones. Haha..

Next morning I went to the famous Killarney National Park. Walked around, and got lost a bit because the signs were so confusing! Tried to selfie with some deers but they all ran away :( I walked pretty far hoping to do a circular walk around the lake but I realized it was too huge and I had limited time, so I had to turn back. Still, beautiful place! As generally all National Park are. Then after taking my bags from the hostel, I began my Ring of Kerry tour! I think because too many people it’s so awesome so that’s why it wasn’t as like, crazy amazing like I imagined, also because there was a heavy fog that was around today, which disrupted out view in some places. Nonetheless it was really really beautiful. Again, beaches and coastline, mmmm.. Suh-weeeeet! Well, the mountains were cool too. Haha

After the tour, back to Killarney and then bus to Tralee. I had like 1 hour and I quickly walked into the city and out! Just enough time to see the city centre, which is enough I guess. Because though the largest city in the county, it’s very quiet because the population is all concentrated at Killarney. On to the bus again and to Dingle! The view during the journey was pretty awesome this time too, with fields and farms in the distance next to the coastline, very scenic indeed. So, upon reaching dingle, I went to the place I found on the Internet, and once I reached, the guy opened the door and smiled, “sorry, we’re full” oh. Er ok. Go to the second one I found online. “Ohno we’re so sorry, we’re full too” whee, isn’t this exciting. I had no where else to go. So I walked and looked out for places and every place (literally) had like “no vacancy” signs outside their doors or stuck at the window panes. I was so willing to sleep on the road already. Then I went to this B&B which didn’t have any signs because it was up a hill and I went to the reception. “Sorry! We’re pack out, no more free rooms” but unlike the others, she went a step further. “Have you been finding awhile already?” “Yes” “come let’s see what I can do.” And she went on her computer and searched for places online. Then if something popped up, she’ll call and help me ask the rates, but most came back with no vacancy. Then she found one but couldn’t get through but it was nearby, so she asked me to try! And if failed, to come back! What I loved was more than the help she already gave, she asked me to come if it didn’t work out to help me further. It was just so, wow! So I went and sure enough, no vacancy again. So I didn’t want to go back to trouble her but it’s very late already and really no place to stay. So I went back and the moment I did and told her what happened, she said “Oh I’ve found one already! It’s a sister B&B…..” The first that came to my mind was, she continued searching for it even when I left to look at the other one. That to me, was like, wow. Then she took it a step further, “it will take about 20-30min walk (because it was quite a distance) can you wait? I’ll drop you off there” I did the whole usual, “you sure” “no I don’t want to trouble you” “is it on the way for you?” “You VERY sure?” And she was sure to send me there. Clonda (I don’t know how it’s spelt but it sounded like that) was her name and really, she did what I would have done and then more! So challenged by her act of kindness and very thankful for it. Of course, it wasn’t as cheap as would a hostel, but I learnt my lesson. If it comes to a Friday and Saturday night, I MUST book, otherwise I can play around.

Woke up early and did a quick walk around Dingle and then had to catch the first bus out of there. From there to Tralee to Limerick to Ennis and then to Moher, tiring! But worth it. I had my own little adventure at the cliffs and it began with it being so so foggy there was no point taking pictures. I honestly got a bit worried with my sight when I saw people actually stop by the side and look out into the.. Mist, and take out their phones to take picture! What was there to take pic of? :O anyway, then I walked and went a bit ambitious to walk the “coastal route” to another town. But for whatever reason, I didn’t see the signs and I ended up walking a route that sort of exist but it was literally at the edge of the cliffs! And I still thought I was on the right track. I just walking and walking and walked into mud and water and almost cow shit until.. I reached a dead end! There was a stone wall right in front of me and I didn’t know where to go! Then I turned around, ready to walk back until, I suddenly saw people (which btw, from the time I went off course, I never saw a person, which did get me freaked out a bit). *phew* ask for directions and headed back. By the time I got back, yay! The fog was much less and I could actually see the cliffs! But I was so tired and so dirty I just admired a bit and went straight to the toilet to change and clean up. Nonetheless, adventure!

Then I was ready to head home following my schedule until, another *yay*! Because I found out another route back home which is only one change of bus and more importantly, based on the schedule, I’ll reach in time to take the train back! (Initially the plan was that I would reach Dublin too late so I would have to take a cab)

It was a wonderful and tiring 3 days, but totally worth it. The adventure, the meeting strangers, the bus rides and the views, mmmm :)

19 HOURS on bus

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Jul 12

4th Sunday! I think I’ll stop visiting churches la. I’m just going to settle myself down here at Every Nation Dublin. After church, we hanged out at one of the church member’s house and we were just BBQ-ing, chillin, table tennis-ing, singing, and playing Saboteur. Though I was a Saboteur for all 3 rounds and we lost all 3 times, but we just didn’t get the right cards! :( But lovely playing with them. And I got to play Ping Pong! AHHH! At least I had a dose of Football and a dose of Ping Pong, #satisfied haha!

Well, this week nothing really much happened. Wasn’t too involved in temple street this week, so much less ward rounds and running from hospital to hospital. Nonetheless, still some pretty interesting cases.

My research is going on the right course! Well, though nothing statistically significant came up, still, like what my doctor says (and Prof Mary likewise), “nothing should go to waste!”. So having all my analysis done, its time for me to start writing! Errr. How to write a research paper leh? This was really the thing that just kept bugging me from now till I guess I’m done. I mean, I haven’t written an essay in years and the longest piece I’ve written since (aside from blogging which is a whole different thing) was my answers in exams. Then again, some of the answers though long, I wrote some of them in point form. That was as close as ‘scientific’ of a writing that I’ve done. Well fortunately, I remembered a book being recommeded when I did my RCSI research class on “How to Write a Paper”. Literally. And good thing Rotunda library has a copy, though different author but same thing. So thus begins my writing!

I guess the writing isn’t so much the exciting bit, but more of the fact that I’m aiming to send it for a poster presentation for ESPID (European Society of Pediatrics Infectious Diseases) and to find a journal that will publish it. Now THAT is exciting. Hopefully it will all turn out well!

I met Prof Mary again! And again didn’t take a picture with her. But it was so good to see her, to catch up on what’s happening in uni back home and for her to just make sure I’m all alright, alive, well and kicking. Without her, I really wouldn’t have been able to experience the things I’ve been experiencing and this whole journey is really all thanks to her! And you just know that while she was working at Rotunda and Temple Street, that her influence and impact was so great, when you see people just walking by, stopping, gasping, shouting hello, hugging her, some even come out of the labs just to see her, and what was funny was that the consultants fight over who gets to see her first. Haha! I mean, if this is not influential, what is? Someone in terms of character that I definitely aspire to be like.

And so Saturday, I’m off to The Giant’s Causeway! Up in Northern Ireland. It was S.P.E.C.T.A.C.U.L.A.R. If I’d know earlier, I might not have gone for any others and just going there. Such a wonder that God has created. And 2 hours was so not enough! If I have the chance I would totally go back again. Plus my batt died nearing the end because my wire is faulty :( but it was just stunning lah, especially if you’re the type that prefers beaches/coast over mountains/hills.

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