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 :)

3 DAYS 2 NIGHTS
12 BUSES
19 HOURS on bus
1166km TRAVELLED

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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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Jun 30

This is my third Sunday here in Dublin, and I decided to go to a friend’s church. Every Nation Dublin.

Ahh, compared to the previous one I’ve been to, definitely feels more like home. Younger crowd, similar style of service compared with SIBKL, in fact, the atmosphere felt like when I was in SIB KEC (in Kuching). Truly really lovely people to hang out with. And so I did! After service, went for lunch with them, and got some ice-cream too! Will I go back? Surely!

Then come weekdays, back to the hospitals! Every day something different, every day something new, every day something exciting and always, well, unfortunately, someone sick. But I’m still learning heaps and just soaking in everything I can with my doctor. He gave me my “first case”. So that means I acted (note: ACTED) like a SHO (senior house officer), and I then have to look at the charts beforehand, check/chase lab results and all these before his rounds begin. And when it comes to my patient, I’ll explain what has been going on, and has been done, and maybe if I can, suggest things to do. So it was amazing! Because I had my first real patient examination and then it was a slightly complicated case but with a change of antibiotics, she got better! and then we got to decide, how long more does she have to stay, what drugs to give, why those drugs, and how it may affect the baby. And by Thursday, she was discharged, case closed! Though legally not my case, but it felt really awesome.

On Wednesday I had a bit of adventure. I had the opportunity to join a couple of friends’ at a meeting for the campus ministry at Every Nation Dublin. I mean, meeting? Haha yes! Meeting! Because I’ve always loved to know and be inspired but what other campus ministries are doing all around the world and maybe grab some ideas from them for CF! But the adventure was that, it took me 2 hours to get to the house, and I was like.. 1 and a half hours late. Well, long story short was that I didn’t know it was that far away, and google gave me a place that had the same street name but so much nearer. So I thought, walk only lah! By the time I got there, I couldn’t find the house, so I had to find a place with internet and googled it again. Then it came up another same street name but it was to the north of Dublin and I was like “Oh, okay! Grab a bus” Well, thank God I somehow remember that the place was south of Dublin just before the bus came. So I went to find another bus and though that particular bus won’t bring me to where I needed to be, he directed me how to go. So there I went, hopped onto another bus and was now on the right track. I was using bus wifi to track where I was so that I knew where to stop, but by the time I realized that the wifi wasn’t working and managed to get down from the bus, I was like 4 stops further than where I should have been. Then I had to walk and walk again, oh and all this was under the rain! Such an adventure to the south side of Dublin!

And then on Friday, while doing my rounds and when I just about to finish, guess who showed up! Prof Mary Cafferkey and Dr Anne! Awh, it felt so good to see someone close to home. I knew they were coming but I didn’t know they have already been in Dublin for almost a week! And most of them are going back soon! I would have totally met up with them if I could. But it was so nice to see them, and for them to see me, not in a uni setting, rather in a hospital. Gahhh! So happy!

Saturday! Tour day! This week, I chose Galway!

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Jun 30

If you haven’t read Part 1, read it here!

So what made the starting of Part 2 a surprise?

Well, long story short, I was supposed to shift the next day to another house, but then the day before, complications happened and I couldn’t go over. Technically then, I GOT NOWHERE TO LIVEEEEE :O But no lah, so my initial host, the young family, said “of course you could stay longer, definitely not gonna kick you out onto the streets” THANK YOUUUU :’) So while I stay here, I had to still look for places to move to, don’t wanna be a burden to them!

But meanwhile, that Saturday after I found out of the freaky news, I followed the family to do some shopping. And it was a shopping mall! Ohmy, it felt like (close to) home. It was only 2 storeys and the size of one level as compared to lets say, 1 Utama, is like only 1 quarter or less of the size of 1U. Still! A shopping mall! And instead of going because the weather was hot outside, it was the other way round! So much warmer inside than out in the cold wind!

And then the next day, Sunday, I followed them to church once again. But what was slightly different was that for this week the church had a picnic! And I joined in and it was.. haha culturally different. Like how someone puts it, “The style here is, this is my space, my food. Mmm. Rather, back in Malaysia (and I’m guessing other Asian countries too), its this is food I’ve prepared for everyone, come dig in!” What was interesting also is, its not that they are selfish or what, but even if someone offers food, the other person could and can sometimes be..”you are offering me food? *gasp*” Okay maybe I exaggerated it a bit, but it was something like that which was quite interesting. (I obviously like the old way cause.. I GET TO EAT OTHER PEOPLE’S FOOD! πŸ˜› ) Then the best part, they were playing football! (or they call it soccer) YEAHHHH. So so so happy, got my dose of football here in Ireland. Hoping for more!

Monday and Tuesday I had an RCSI Research Class, and that marks my first time stepping into my “mother university”. The feeling was awesome! But its not like that much grander than PU. Haha. Managed to meet some Malaysians there, and as usual, sure somehow got mutual friends. And it was nice! Just spending some time with the people there and the lectures were helpful. Cool part was that some of those lecturers are those who writes the lectures and sends them over to Malaysia. So it was quite cool to finally get to hear them in person! And on a side note, my picture is on their “International Medical Universities” (RCSI Affiliations) noticeboard! YEAHHHH πŸ˜€

THE DAY. After 2 weeks plus in Dublin, finally, on Wednesday, I get to meet my doctor who is behind all these. Dr Richard Drew, Consultant Microbiologist. (Prof Mary’s successor) I mean, obviously I didn’t know what to expect except for the fact that he’s very young for a consultant. And so the moment I began to talk to him, I knew its going to work out well. Such a decent, humble and wholehearted man. The way he interacts with the people around him, the way he handles his team, and the way he teaches me. Wow. Its really an awesome experience because he doesn’t just tell you about medicine and micro stuff, but he even breaks down the whole dynamics of being a consultant, and from his point of view, a YOUNG consultant, where every other consultant in the hospital is so much older, is truly truly amazing. And more so, through that, you can just see how humble he is. There are people in your life that inspire you and their inspiration pushes you or act as stepping stones to reach your goal. But then there are some people just like my doctor who just blows your mind and at the end of it, all I can say is “I wanna just be like him”. Not so much the fact of being a microbiologist, but just the way he carries himself as a consultant. Wow, just so.. Wow.

So then from here on, I spent time going around the hospitals, seeing patients and reading a lot of charts and trying to understand heaps on info thrown at me. Of course then, is also the other most important thing – my research. Now I’m sorry, initially I mentioned that I’ll be doing Group B Strep infection, but then actually I’m doing something else now. Its regarding S. aureus colonisation in Children. So I also began work on that to see where it’ll take us! But its quite obvious I’m more excited of how I’m doing rounds and analysing patient’s problems than the research itself. I mean, it is really more exciting!

I also got to spent a little time at RCPI (Royal College of Physicians in Ireland) because my doctor was asked to speak to SpRs on ethics. I felt so small, cause everyone there were all doctors, training in their various specialities and the rest of them were professors. Nonetheless, the things discussed, though on the topic of ethics, was actually so much more interesting than what I’ve been doing because the examples given were real life cases, some even happen very recently!

So to cap it all off, this weekend, usually a Saturday, I’ve decided to go on tours and explore Ireland! I woke up early early on the Saturday morning to catch my tour bus and first my first trip, I’m headed to Glendalough, Wicklow and Kilkenny! I mean, I don’t know how to describe it, but all I can say is, BEAUTIFULLL. Such pleasantly calming and pretty sceneries that they have. And at Kilkenny there is this Round Tower that people can climb to the top, and the view of the city from there, splendid.

Well, below are some of the pics! Enjoy!

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Jun 15

My journey started once I got onto the tube from Canada Water station to Euston and there take a train to Crewe, then to Holyhead, then ferry to Dublin port!

Virgin Trains
Nice and really comfortable. ESPECIALLY IF EVERYONE TAKES THEY’RE ALLOCATED SEATS *grrrrr*. My first train to Crewe I sat on my allocated seat and it was good cause it had a table! Then my next train ALSO had a table BUT someone decided to hijack it. So I ended up with a normal seat type. Still, the view from the train of the countryside of UK, AMAZING. I love the view, the landscape, Mmm! Sweet! Plus saw so many cows and sheep and horses. That’s where all the food comes from!

Irish Ferries
My last leg of this journey to Dublin is on a ferry! But ohmygosh, it felt like.. a CRUISE! But apparently all “ferries” are like that here. I couldn’t believe myself, I walked around the whole ship (I mean, obviously except the restricted areas) like 2 to 3 times just to sink it all in. Haha! Unfortunately, unlike a real cruise, no free food :/ But it was a comfortable ride, and for whatever reason, time passed quite quickly! About another half an hour left, we could see the port and Dublin from a distance. Beautiful. If only I had a better view, would have been able to take a nice panorama. Instead, I took a selfie!

So my stay in Ireland begins with 2 weeks at a lovely family’s crib! It was a blessing that they relatively recently just moved to Dublin, and have very willingly opened up their place for me to bunk. And they have a little baby boy that I can play with everyday! YAY!

Since Monday was a public holiday, I went to check out where my hospitals (Rotunda & Temple Street) are located. And that was my first time hitting the streets of Dublin! Mmm beautiful place. It was COLD too! Then I was photographing places and shops into my memory and trying to understand their public transportation. (All their public transport here has WIFI! πŸ˜€ )

Along the next 2 weeks I was just like setting up myself at the 2 different hospitals, paperwork, ID badges, passwords, bla bla bla. But at the same time, I managed to get to join some doctors on their ward rounds on some days (and I think I’ve embarrassed myself and PU :( ) But it was an awesome learning experience because unlike last year’s hospital attachment, this time round it was all on microbiology which I’ve just recently learned and it was nice to put everything into context. And I have to mention, the doctors here? AWESOME. Ok not all lah, but also not just the doctors, the staff as well! I guess maybe its their culture or just the way they do things, but my my, such level of friendliness, helpfulness and just the way they conduct themselves, amazing! Oh and for PU people, this is quite amazing, though no surprise, but when every time I’m introduced and the moment they say, “Prof Mary sent him over!” Literally, immediately the other person/people’s faces light up! “Oh really? She’s such a lovely woman isn’t she?” I cannot agree more. But I didn’t know she had such an impact! And she left it all and came to teach us! :’)

Anyway, of course it wasn’t all hospital and work and bla bla, I had some fun of my own! πŸ˜€ Alone. :(

So just like London, I signed up for the Sandemans Free tour of Dublin. Again, I had a really really good guide, and since this time it was a 3 hour tour, they had actually had a short break in between. And guess what? While I was buying tickets to another tour, then after I bought it and looked up, everyone was GONE. Haih.. Such fail pls. So I left, did try to come back another day but I wanted the same guide! So.. probably will try out another day. But anyway, Dublin is so full of stories!

Then there were other days I just walked around myself, went passed RCSI (mehh :P) and quite literally walked without much thought of where I was going. Except for one place which I was very sure I was headed. Guiness Storehouse. Don’t judge me. Haha.. But it was coooool! Pretty much like a museum and at the end of it, I got to pour my own pint of beer! And from the “Gravity Bar” it had an amazing view of Dublin city, being one of the tallest buildings there. Plus, people there were all going a wee bit crazy. It was quite funny cause a staff had to announce, “Mr XXX, your wife is waiting for you downstairs” And the whole place burst into laughter, then some were booing some cheering, but it was all just so funny. They also announced 2 people’s birthdays and everyone on the count of 3 just sang their hearts out. Ohmy, what beer can do.

The 2 weekends here was also my first time trying out Irish churches. 1 was quite traditional, though not entirely, and the other was much more younger and modern. Still, neither of it felt like home. Haha! Out of all the songs sang at both churches, I only knew.. 3, out of.. 10? But it was a really nice experience to be at both (and more to come!). One thing that felt familiar was that at both places, they had coffee/tea and refreshments after the service, which reminded me of SIB KEC (in Kuching).

And finally then, aside from all these, since I stayed at Portmarnock, I had to at least visit the beach! So on a Friday, I did work and research from home then once I was done, I did what I always wanted to try to do. Jog. I mean like.. what so cool about it? Nothing really, but just wanted to experience jogging in a cold weather and I mean, I’ve never jogged having to wear a sweater! AND STILL FEEL COLD! But the beach, SPLENDID. So beautifullll and pictures really can’t describe it. I’ve actually never seen such a beach before, with such a diverse landscape.

Anyway, so this is just Part 1. Part 2 is gonna look more exciting as my doctor is coming back and my research is then really gonna begin! Plus, I’m also gonna start going off on day tours to different parts of Ireland which looks sooooo AMAZING! Stay tuned! And Part 2 starts off with a surprise!

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Jun 04

Flew by Qatar Airways, it was good! Would recommend it to anyone.

Landed in Heathrow at about 1.30pm Tuesday and the first person I met who fetched me from the airport was Jo Fan! Of all places to meet up, it was London. Awesomes.

Then obviously, first time stepping into the tube (London Underground), experience was surreal. Having to see all this on TV and movies, and now being able to experience it, cooooools! But actually after having to sit on it so many times, it just becomes like an LRT experience lah.. no biggy.

But to realize that I’m in London, AHHHH still couldn’t believe it then.

Day 1 – so I took the tube almost from one end to another and I stayed the first night with Jo Fan somewhere near Camden Town. It was cool cause when I stepped out of the station, I could actually see Emirates (Arsenal Stadium) not too far off! Where I was at, the whole area, was Arsenal territory yo! Didn’t do much that day, ate at an award winning Fish & Chips place then walked around that area and the whole way was really just Jo Fan breaking down to me how it all works in London. But it was just what I needed to understand whatever I saw or did for the next 4 days

Day 2 – Jo Fan and I started off with a Sandersman tour of London! This group of people are really amazing. The tour guide I got was a political science student and good knowledge of history and so the tour was really nice. The way he explained and describe events that happened that lead to the result we see today, was very nicely done. (Paul, is his name) But he did talk a lot to a point that the tour was supposed to be 2 hours ended up becoming 3 hours. Haha! Then just before he finished, we had to leave slightly earlier and we headed for some lunch at Burger & Lobster. I mean, I don’t even remember when was the last time I ate lobster! But the lobster was pretty awesome lah! (And ex, but its ok, once in a lifetime!) After makan, we rushed off to Emirates cause it was getting late and I really wanted to do the stadium tour. But when we got there, there was notice that some parts were closed for maintenance though the price was cheaper. But NOOOOOO if I’m there I definitely want to see EVERYTHING! So I didn’t take up the offer, we left. But of course, didn’t leave without taking pictures outside! But again, so surreal, I was actually at EMIRATES! So so awesome. πŸ˜€ After that we headed back, rested for awhile and Goldmine! Here we come. Accordingly, Goldmine is like this place that every Malaysian (or Asian) must go if in London for… Roast Duck! Haha of all things. But oh my, the duck is really that awesome. Like.. AWESOME. I think like what my friend say, it may not be the cook lah, its the duck lah. So much nicer. haha.. But after dinner, here I said goodbye to Jo Fan and Rebecca, as they headed off to Liverpool the next day, and I jumped over to Yee Chia’s place for the rest of the nights. It was good to finally meet her in London!

Day 3 – Yee Chia had exams so I was left alone, and Wei Nien was only coming in the afternoon and so what did I do in my free time? GO TO Emirates! I made sure this time that no more closing of whatever was happening and everything was open, so YAY! Stadium TOUR! It was truly something. We started off at a small gallery and short history lesson which was cool, but the moment they let you step out from the directors box to see the field, WOW, simply WOW. A wave of awe just swept everyone who stepped out for the first time. Beautiful, truly beautiful stadium. Anyway, so then after the tour, I rushed back to meet Yee Chia and Wei Nien. We were all hungry and so we went to Borough Market, grab some food there and then started walking towards London Bridge and then along the river. We saw HMS Belfast but didn’t go on it because the queue was just too long, nonetheless, huge beautiful battleship, especially to see up close. Then we walked and reached the London Eye. Again, didn’t sit on it, only saw people sitting on it -.- Then we just kept walking and walking and somehow ended up at Chinatown and Yee Chia brought us into the shop (Loon Fung) that sells most of the chinese stuff that most of us Chinese would want to get. PRior to this, Jo Fan said that one of the things that help ease to home sicknesses is the fact that they cook malaysian food, and most times, ingredients are obtained from these shops. When I stepped in, I immediately understood it. Its nice and good that shops like these exist, if I was studying there, that will definitely the place I would go and get all my cooking stuffs! Then we headed back, bought some stuff from Sainsbury and Yee Chia cooked dinner for us. Finally get to eat her cooking! After which, we went out and walked more! I don’t know how much we walked, but it was definitely A LOT! I guess the objective was to get onto Waterloo Bridge and walked on it. Which was beautiful, not the bridge but the view. Night time view of London is actually quite splendid! We also saw places like the Sommerset house along the way.

Day 4 – We woke up to Yee Chia’s breakfast! Used whatever leftover from yesterday’s ingredients to make us something simple. Then we headed to the expensive place – South Kensington. But before we got there, I happen to meet Azwa! Of all times, stations, tubes, coaches and all, met here in London! haha.. Anyway, so the first place was the National History Museum, which was HUGE! and SO PACKED! Other than the museum I was facinated by the amount of people who actually crowded up the whole museum. WOW! From old uncles and aunties to little babies, all were there! Beautiful sight. But because it was just too big, we didn’t finish walking not even half of the place. Then we went to Oxford Street, again it was crazy packed! Went to Harrods (for some reason its a tourist thing to do, i don’t know why) Then to places like Primark, Nike Town and all. Then we chilled at Soho park. Again still so many people just sitting there and chillin together with us. What was cool was that there were 2 ping pong tables planted into the ground and people just came and bringing their bats and balls and playing! I was so so tempted to play with them. But play it that weather? My hands were soooooo cold! We went 4 seasons for dinner cause someone was craving for some duck. And yea, not much difference as Goldmine leh, but it was still goooood! After dinner we chilled at Hyde & Kensington Park. It. Is. HUGE. like.. HUGEEE. But Huge and BEAUTIFUL! Oh how I wish Malaysia had such parks! Saw some statues and more swans and pigeons but it was just beautiful lah. After walking so much, we eventually got tired and we all headed home!

Day 5 – Today Wei Nien is going back to Edinburgh :( So we went back to Borough market to try more food we didn’t get to try 2 days before. Yum! Then I sent Wei Nien off at Kings Cross Station. Yee Chia was busy with her brother-in-law so what did I do? I cannot believe it myself. I wanted to take a bit more time and looked inside Primark and other shops to see whether I wanted to get anything and this was all at Oxford Street. So, take train? Meh too mainstream, I walked. Then after my shopping I didn’t really have anywhere else to go, so I’d thought, go home lah. Train? Meh. WALK AGAIN. I told Yee Chia the day before that what I really love to do aside from all the tourist destinations, is that when I am in one place, I just wanna walk the streets, see the life of a normal commoner as if I would have been living there for many years. So I did! I just walked and walked. Saw so many things, too many things I couldn’t capture them all in pictures. From people rolling a cigarette, street side market and 2nd hand book sales, to people uhm, asking me whether I wanna spend some time in a strip club, some more promised me got nudity. Oh my, dodgy. I walked at least more than 15km easily. Of course, got lost a bit, but it was cool. By the time I got back to Yee Chia’s place, ate a bit food and played some COD zombies with her and then I wanted to take a nap. Nap, but I ended up sleeping until 4am! yikes. I then spent 2 hours packing up, read the bible, and got ready to head off.

Day 6 – Early morning I head off to Dublin! so check out Wander 2014 – Dublin. But what was scary was, of all mornings, the Canada Water station that I was to begin at, opened later than usual. Then the first train came like another 20+ minutes later. I actually became scared I might actually miss my train to Crewe. Yikes! But *phew* ok lah, I still made it in time.

It was an awesome time, and I’ll be back in London somewhere in August! Thank you everyone who spent time with me and allowed me to stay with you at your place.
These people were: Jo Fan, Rebecca, Yee Chia, Wei Nien

“Thank you !! for letting me stay at your place, dear friend from London” – my friend thanking herself

Just some pics here, but FB will have more!

 

 

 

 

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Jun 04

The last time I was in a long haul flight, when I was like, 2 and 4 years old! I hardly remembered anything so I don’t count it. Then ever since, the longest I’ve ever had was a 3 hour flight to Bali.. Mehh that’s hardly long. But this time.. LONDON! Plus, I’m all ALONE!

Its cool because I’ve never travelled so far, all alone, for relatively such a long time (2 months plus) to a place I hardly know, or ever been. Some of you may wonder, why how come so suddenly I ciao away one? Well, more than just a holiday, it was an opportunity. This year, after applying for an overseas placement for a summer research project, it was a miracle and I truly thank God that I managed to obtain a place (the only place) in Dublin, Ireland!

So since I’m already in that part of the world, why not travel a bit? Yay!

Wander 2014, will detail my journey as I travel to different places, experience different things, cultures, lifestyles and also things regarding my research. This gonna be exciting! πŸ˜€

In fact more than that, “Wander” series from here on, will detail my travels to anywhere I go, whether in or out of Malaysia.

Excited? CAUSE I AMMMMM!

Stay tuned!

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May 18

“to hold in respect, esteem,Β to confer distinction upon” – Honour, dictionary.com

On the 28th of February, 2014. My medical program has this ceremony, called the White Coat Ceremony, that marks a transition from Junior Cycles, to the Intermediate Cycles. What is so significant about it? Its because Junior Cycles is all about fundamentals and basics and so they say “Toughest” (yeah right). Coming into Intermediate Cycles are totally different, more exciting and way harder than Junior Cycles!

But I’m talking about this because something happened that day, something beautiful.

Out of the many speeches and lectures held that day, out of all the “robing” ceremony (robe you with a new white (lab) coat), aside from all the performances, they always award 4 different awards: 2 Anatomy Awards, 1 Vice Chancellor’s Award, and 1 Dean’s Award. 3 of which are academic based, and only 1, the Dean’s Award, is by voting.

The Dean’s Award is simply, “the student (whom the class thinks) has done the most outstanding contribution to student life”.

How it went was a few weeks before the ceremony, the whole class would sit down, take a piece of paper, and put 2 names. Any 2 names that 1 feels has given the most to student life. And then after tabulating, the 2 students which have the highest will be named, and the whole class will vote again between these 2. Unless if between the 2 students, the gap is already that big, then, there will not be any second voting.

This year, there was no 2nd voting.

I’m not boasting.Β I know some definitely didn’t vote for me, and some are probably jealous of me because they did a lot too. And I agree! I don’t exactly know what I did or how much I did, yet I was awarded, by my class! So there is really nothing to boast. But to think that something like that happened, its so awesome! And I felt nothing but, honoured.

To me, being voted to win an award, is really the greatest honour at that point, one could have been given. I really don’t know exactly what I did, how I did things or what really made my class confer me this honour, but yet, they did. And I’m utterly grateful for it.

I was respected, esteemed and given that distinction from the rest, I was honoured.

Then I asked myself, how have we, respected, esteemed and given distinction to God? How have we, in our lives, honoured God? In my case, it was the people, writing my name on a piece of paper, but what does it mean to honour God? Then it struck me, if I know what it takes to feel honoured, I should then know how to honour.

I really thank God for such an opportunity, such an honour, such a pleasure, that He and my classmates has given me. Truly, once in a lifetime.

Awarded by the Dean

Awarded by the Dean

The Plaque

The Plaque

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