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October 19, 2018

Essaouira

Essaouira was one of my favourite stops on my Morrocco trip earlier this year. It's a walled city by the sea, battered by the waves of the Atlantic Ocean. It's my favourite kind of not-too-big, not-too-small kind of town. It is indeed quite touristy and bustling, but not crazy like Marrakesh or Fes.


October 10, 2018

Days off

Things I have been doing and eating... mostly eating.


October 7, 2018

September 24, 2018

Ait Benhaddou

I never actually finished posting about my Morocco trip in March before I slid into job-application-induced despair. So here is some more Morocco.

Our next stop after Todra Gorge was to see Ait Benhaddou. It's an amazing fortified village, famous for being a filming location for a lot of movies (such as The Mummy). We only spent one afternoon here, but I think I could've spent another day exploring it.


September 19, 2018

Some good news


Unrelated photo of when I wore my interview suit to go day drinking and my friends made fun of me.

Guess who got her dream job!

A week on, I'm still waiting for an email to tell me there was some kind of mistake, but it's starting to sink in now. Next year I'll be doing an senior resident year in critical care, which for me will involve intensive care and anaesthetics. My long term plan is to train in intensive care, so it's pretty much the perfect year.

This does mean I will be leaving my current hospital. It absolutely kills me to do so, as a lot of my friends are staying to start their physicians or surgical training, and I would've loved to see them grow. I'm also kind of (read: extremely) terrified of having to start anew. But as I like to say when I'm talking big - if it scares you, then it's more reason to do it. So it's time to walk the walk, I guess! My new hospital will be on the other side of town, but a straightforward one hour commute on the train, so I'm probably going to stay in my current apartment and see how that goes.

People who have read this blog for a while, especially those in medicine, might vaguely remember me saying that I wanted to pursue surgery at the end of medical school. I guess I liked the idea of a procedural specialty, and assisting in theatre as a student is super exciting. But when I started working as a doctor, I realised that my favourite part of medicine is when you sit down to figure something out about the patient's condition; the diagnostics and the detective work (while surgery is more about the thrill of the fix). At the same time, I didn't have any specific interest in a particular organ system or disease group, and also found myself more interested in acute conditions over chronic ones. So after a long process of elimination, I started thinking about intensive care. The medicine is acute and complex, there are a lot of different conditions, and there are enough procedures to keep me happy. And when I did ICU last term, I finally realised what it feels like to be doing something you want to do.

So it's bittersweet, but I think I've made the right decision. I'm excited that I have a career slowly emerging. Onwards!

September 12, 2018

HIDDEN '18

It is now officially a spring tradition for me to visit Rookwood Cemetery to see the yearly HIDDEN sculpture exhibition. I haven't enjoyed the exhibit as much as the first one I visited two years ago, and again this year's wasn't as good as the last, but due to my baseline fascination with cemeteries (and the word "necropolis"), I'll always enjoy a sunny morning tripping over gravestones. Plus, I think the trees in Rookwood are my favourite features - you'll see what I mean.


September 9, 2018

Back from the dead

So for the almost eight (!) years I've had this blog, I don't think I've ever taken a hiatus for this long. As I mentioned in my last post before I disappeared, I've been busy doing applications and interviews for a job next year. Because of the way medical training is structured, recruitment only really happens once a year, so it's a lot of pressure and very soul crushing. But it's over now, and I'm waiting on official offers to come out on Thursday. I feel like my life has been on hold for the last two months!


H&M blazer and pants / Uniqlo shirt / Cole Haan loafers / Kikki K bag.

And this was my interview suit! After about two years of looking for one, including in other countries, and being prepared to pay hundreds of dollars, I found mine in bloody H&M Sydney. It is synthetic, but the best-fitting one I managed to find on time. The shirt is my silk Uniqlo one, which is a tiny bit sheer but fine with a nude bra and jacket over the top. The suit made me feel like a boss, not gonna lie. I think I'm going to have to wear it everywhere from now on.

July 18, 2018

July 1, 2018

Vivid '18

Vivid ended a while ago now but better late than never right? I've been going every year for a while now so I hated to miss it, but to be honest with the crowds it's getting quite hard to navigate, and I'm not liking the installations as much with every year.


June 17, 2018

Brisbane

I was in Brisbane over last weekend with a friend, doing a radiology course. Despite the boring reason for it, a change of scenery is always fun and nice. I'd not been to Brisbane before so it was fun to explore in the time we had off.


June 9, 2018

Todra Gorge

Next stop after the Sahara was Todra Gorge.


June 4, 2018

Sahara

We left the snow topped mountains of the Middle Atlas for the dry heat of the Sahara, which was one of the things I was most looking forward to during my time in Morocco.


May 26, 2018

New (but the same)

I had to replace some old favourites in my wardrobe last month.


May 20, 2018

Midelt

I knew I was going at the tail end of winter, but snow is not the first thing I was thinking of when planning my trip to Morocco. But that's exactly what we saw when driving through the Middle Atlas mountains to Midelt, a little village where we spent the night. I was just on this side of being too cold - if I hadn't had to pack for London on the same trip, I may have died from hypothermia.


May 15, 2018

21st Biennale: Cockatoo Island and MCA

It's a Biennale year again! The Sunday before the last (when it was still warm and sunny) I went to check out Cockatoo Island and the MCA.


May 6, 2018

Fes

I'd heard mixed things about Fes before going. People had said it was unfriendly and overwhelming. But it's also one of the more important cities of Morocco historically, so I was looking forward to it. Most significantly, the old town, called Fes el Bali, is the largest medina in the country, and apparently the biggest car-free urban area in the world.


April 29, 2018

Wearing and eating

Some shots off my phone from the last two months or so.


April 23, 2018

Meknes and Volubilis

After Rabat, we moved onto Meknes. I'd never heard of it before booking the trip but apparently it's one of the imperial cities of Morocco.


April 17, 2018

Rabat

Time to launch into the Morocco posts! I spent two weeks in Morocco last month, with an Intrepid tour. I decided to go on a tour cause I wasn't sure about being a woman travelling alone there, and I had a really good time. Our first stop (after meeting up the night before in Casablanca) was Rabat, the capital. It's a smallish city, not that touristy, so it was a nice introduction to the country. And as you can see, the weather was a lot gloomier than you would associate with Morocco.


April 5, 2018

On my love/hate relationship with travel


Stuck halfway up a sand dune in the Sahara.

I'm an extremely anxious traveller. I always forget this and get carried away when dreaming up my next trip. Invariably, by the time it comes to executing my sometimes far-fetched ideas, I'm a mess.

Trying to mentally sit myself down and figure out why I get so worked up never helps, because there are usually no good reasons for my anxiety. I'll be worried about things that I know aren't true, like whether I've booked flights for the wrong dates or wrong airports. Things that I can only take so many steps to prevent, like being robbed or losing my passport. Things that I cannot personally control, like flight delays. Or problems that simple money can solve, for example, getting a taxi if I get totally lost. But even then, my thoughts spiral. What if I find myself both lost and pickpocketed and I don't have money and there are no taxis around and no one speaks English? I would have to stay there forever. Next thing I know, I'm planning the rest of my life in the suburbs of Mexico City.

Honestly speaking though, my brain never seems to need a valid reason to run away with itself, even with the tamest of plans. Which is how I ended up close to tears and unable to breathe on the streets of London the day before I was to fly to Morocco. I considered cancelling. I swore to myself that after this trip I would never leave Australia again. There was not a single good reason for why I felt that way. I was going on a tour, and even getting picked up at the airport, after a straightforward direct flight from Gatwick. Hardly an expedition into the unknown, but my overactive imagination had other ideas.

Of course, once I hit the ground, everything turned out fine. I loved the country, the tour, and my fellow trip-mates. I dodged donkeys on the cramped streets of the craziest old town in the world in Fes, camped overnight in the Sahara, and was chased by a man with a snake in Marrakesh. And I remembered why I do this to myself at least once a year. To marvel at grand architecture from centuries ago. To hike to villages balanced precariously in the mountains, snow in the background. To feel the wind in my hair while watching the waves of the Atlantic crashing onto the rocks below the walls of Essaouira's medina, seagulls wheeling against the blue sky.

Reminders that, despite despair and pain and suffering on the news, at work, at home, there is so much beauty in this world. That despite being so intent on destroying each other, humans can somehow still create the most amazing of things. It gives me a reason to live, and to keep doing what I do.

So now I'm back in Sydney. I've used up my annual leave for this year, but I'm already brainstorming where to go next. Patagonia is on the bucketlist, but that requires time - not only to spend there, but to get myself into an acceptable physical condition for hiking. I would love to see Greece, or Turkey. The opportunity to take a whole month off at once might become difficult from here on, but that's what I've been saving Asia (closer to home) for. We'll see!

March 14, 2018

Edinburgh

This is a scheduled post - I'm currently travelling!

I realised I never ended up posting about Edinburgh, which was the last stop on my Europe trip last year. It sounds like the most random destination to choose after going to Moscow, St Petersburg, Vienna and Budapest, but I'd signed up for a surgical skills course there (medical courses in the UK are equivalent to those in Australia but somehow much cheaper). I'd been there a few years before, but the weather had been absolutely terrible that time so I was happy to revisit.


March 5, 2018

3 weeks in a gym bag

You guys didn't think you'd get away without another long-ass packing post from me did you? As some of you might know, I have this bizarre love of packing as lightly as possible for trips. So here is the latest edition, with even more detail than usual.


February 24, 2018

Dead


The last few months have been a killer. In fact, in the last four weeks, there have only been two days where I haven't stepped foot inside a hospital. Two days. So you will understand when I say I'm now more or less deceased.

Good news is that I now have five (much needed) weeks off for annual leave! We get four weeks a year, but I had lots of days off that I didn't take from last year saved up, hence the five whole weeks. I haven't even been around here enough to tell you guys what I'm getting up to - I'm going to Morocco for two weeks, and will also be in (outer) London for a few days to do yet another work-related course (ATLS this time). Honestly speaking, I'm so exhausted that I kind of just want to stay in bed the whole time instead, but everything is booked and paid for so I guess I'll just have to bear it. For the first time ever I'm not looking forward to packing for this trip. Why is it still so cold in London?? I was hoping to not have to pack a coat. I'll let you guys know how it goes.

February 14, 2018

Melbourne

I was in Melbourne for a few days last week for an intensive care course at one of the hospitals down there. I only managed to squeeze it in - I left the same morning I finished up a night shift, and returned the same afternoon I was starting another - so I didn’t have much time to explore. I’ve been to Melbourne before, but not recently, and like I’ve said in the past it’s my city equivalent of that friend of a friend you always see by chance and really like, but never hang out with properly. For anyone who’s not been, it’s pretty much Sydney’s nicer, cooler younger sister.


February 8, 2018

Cocktail party


Uniqlo silk shirt / Grana silk pants / Cole Haan loafers / Fossil bag / Daniel Wellington cuff.

The outfit I wore last Saturday to our work end of term/clinical year cocktail party, the components of which you may have seen here and there if you've been reading this blog for a while! I'm starting to get kicks out of seeing how much further I could stretch my usual wardrobe in an effort not to buy new/proper formal clothes for events. I usually dress more on the casual side for most things, but I do have a friend's wedding later in the year and I'd want to adhere to the dress code out of respect for her - we'll see how we go!

February 4, 2018

January 24, 2018

Hot chocolate and a good book


One of my favourite things to do is to spend an afternoon reading in a cafe. Unfortunately, my bank balance is telling me to stop spending upwards of $6 on drinks, so I've been improvising at home and have come up with my own next-level hot chocolate, in an effort to use up several blocks of 86% dark chocolate my dad bought me (way too dark for me to eat on its own). I just put a cup of milk in a saucepan, heat it, and whisk in about 20-30g of the chocolate, a piece of sweeter milk or white chocolate, add honey to taste, and then a tiny bit of salt and chilli powder. It's pretty damn good, if I say so myself. I need to pick up some cinnamon to add to it next time. Marshmallows and whipped cream would be nice but I'm, uh, trying to be healthy.

Anyway, onto books. Last year wasn't the greatest reading year. I was almost always feeling tense about work, and when I'm stressed I find it difficult to concentrate on new or more heavy-duty books. Here are a couple I read since my last reading roundup - there have been others, but I honestly don't remember enough about them to say much.

Strange Practice by Vivian Shaw. About a doctor named Greta Helsing who treats supernatural creatures like vampires and mummies in London. It was a fun light read, nothing I'd re-read, but I'm keen for the next book in the series only cause I like the premise (of course).

Men Explain Things To Me by Rebecca Solnit. A short collection of feminist essays you've probably heard of. It's really good, and some of them brought up interesting ideas, e.g. how opposition to marriage equality stems from misogyny, as same-sex marriage threatens the traditional gender role of a wife (female) being subservient to her husband (male).

The Bedlam Stacks by Natasha Pulley. I don't remember how I came across this book but I loved it. It's magical realism set in the 19th century, a British man is sent to Peru on a dangerous expedition to collect quinine trees. He and his companion arrive in a mysterious town on the edge of a forest that the locals don't dare venture into. The imagery is beautiful.

The Watchmaker of Filigree Street by Natasha Pulley. I gave this one a try as I loved The Bedlam Stacks, but wasn't as into this book. It's about a watchmaker who's able to foresee the future. To be honest, I found the ending kind of confusing.

Exit West by Mohsin Hamid. It's about a couple who flee their home city because of civil unrest, using magical doors to travel to other places around the world. It's beautifully written and really bittersweet.

Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado. This is a collection of short stories with feminist themes, all a bit dark and strange. They were a little hit-and-miss; I enjoyed a few of them, but not enough to re-read the whole collection.

This is Going to Hurt by Adam Kay. A hilarious account of the author's time spent working as a junior doctor in the NHS (he since quit and has become a comedian). It's tragically relatable, and I've been recommending it to all my medical friends.

Bone White by Ronald Malfi. A horror/thriller type book set in Alaska, not the kind I usually go for, but it was a fun ride. I did feel a little bit nervous getting out of bed to go to the bathroom when I finished the book.

Dublin Murder Squad series by Tana French. I've been totally sucked into this series, which is about Murder detectives in Dublin, and you guys know I love a good detective novel. I'm up to book five, and while the later books aren't as good as the first two, I'm not intending to stop until I finish the next one (which is the last published so far). After which I'm not sure what I'll do with my life...

January 18, 2018

Summer uniform


Dickies scrubs.

I decided to embrace the utilitarian look with this workwear-inspired matching two piece set... wait, hang on, these are just my scrubs, i.e. my literal work uniform. As you might've heard, I'm currently working in ED, where you're allowed to wear scrubs (on ward jobs you're expected to wear smart casual proper clothes). I'm actually enjoying wearing them every day, they're pretty comfortable and they have so many pockets. I get a lot of questions about why I wear boots (most people wear sneakers), but it's pretty simple - these boots are worn in to the point that they're actually more comfortable (for activities other than sports and exercise). I'm constantly running late too so no laces to mess around with.

I find that I haven't been browsing for clothes as aggressively as I used to. My wardrobe is technically complete and there's really no reason why I should buy anything else. Although I see that Uniqlo is coming out with the kind of blush pink t-shirt that I've been wanting in their next Uniqlo U collection, so I might make an exception for that.