This Christmas was more laid back than usual. We don’t usually do all the Christmas things that Canadians do so it was almost like there wasn’t a Christmas at our house.

My sister was away on a trip with her friends so it was just me, my brother, mom, dad and Skylar. Only my mom and my brother went to church while dad, Skylar and I stayed home. We didn’t have a tree and some gifts that we exchanged weren’t even wrapped. We didn’t do our gifts until mid-afternoon on Christmas day. I got a nice tea thermos that I wanted quite a bit from David’s tea from my sister, a nice thin hoodie (you can never have too many of these, just like you can never have too many PJ pants) from my brother and a bunch of Coach bags and clothes from my parents from when we went to Lighthouse outlet in Michigan.

A few days ago, our family took an overnight road trip (probably a first in the last decade and a half) to Chicago where we spent time in King Sauna jimjilbang and stopped at Michigan for shopping. My dad drove in the nighttime for 9 hours straight and seeing him talk, count, sing and do these things to stay awake made me feel bad. When he goes to work, that must be what he does too. It makes me nervous because it is dangerous as well. The sauna experience was weird because in a gender-segregated bathing areas, you had to be fully naked in front of everyone. But I survived. Different sauna rooms were pretty cool and relaxing. I really enjoyed the time there and it was a very good family trip.

This morning, my dad left for work and I won’t get to see him until probably next year. For Christmas, I wrote my parents long letters and they were both very touched by them. The more I get to know, the more I realize how much they are doing for the family. I am really grateful for them and I hope they stay healthy and happy for a long time so I can be a good daughter for them. I am looking forward to helping them out and sending them on trips once I start making money. I just really hope everything stays afloat until then.

Not so big sister

My brother came home from uni yesterday and when he asked for a medium-size sweater for Christmas, I wasn’t sure that he would be big enough for it. When my mom told me that when my brother holds Skylar while she cuts his nails because Skylar can feel the man-grip, I laughed. I can clearly remember when my brother was a tiny little thing on the floor sleeping.

But yesterday when my brother came home, it was absurd. He is so much bigger now, even compared to this time last year. He is actually taller than me but not just lanky. It was expected but surprising to me that he has grown so much.

Since I promised him that I would, I baked pizzas for him (and my mom) from scratch and baked some ginger mini-cakes that were supposed to be ginger cookies but came out poofy. I’m glad to see my brother again and see him growing up. He’s doing way better in uni than I ever did and as long as he doesn’t burn out, I am sure things will work out for him.🙂

I’m going to jimjilbang in Chicago in a few days for a family road trip. It’s going to be on Skylar’s birthday and we will be gone for 24 hours so I am worried about Skylar but hopefully it will be okay. I will just have to put out food and water here and there for him to find throughout the 24 hours. It’s sad to leave him alone on his birthday but I guess I don’t have a choice…😦


Or more like not thinking.

My parents tell me that there’s a lot for me to think about.  That this point of my life is a very important time for many reasons – working on a good career, people that I meet, financial planning, and thinking about having my own family. It’s probably all true but I don’t have many thoughts or concrete plans.

I will see what areas interest me and make career decisions that way, I will hire a good accountant once I start making money, I will meet whoever I come across and I will eventually get married and have kids. Maybe I just want to appreciate what I have now – lots of free time on my holidays and my Skylar by my side to take care of. My biggest issue of the moment is what I want to eat next and I want to enjoy this luxury while it lasts. And even when I try to think about stuff, I really cannot come up with anything. Brain shutdown.

Annoying news: an old friend who apparently wants to catch up with me and misses me a lot doesn’t make any effort to contact me and forgets making plans with me. I’ve been looking forward to seeing him and I wait when he tells me that he will call but he doesn’t. It’s pretty clear that he doesn’t really want to meet up. I’m not happy to be treated this way and pretty annoyed with him.

Already the end of 2011

Back to my old habits of blogging only on holidays…I will be happy if I write even one sentence every few days.

Second year med is done and I’m just enjoying my time off in Toronto. While it’s relaxing to not have anything to do, it’s hard to understand how stressful I can get around my family.

I am busy rehabilitating my dog back to reasonable health. He suffers from food allergies and a bacterial infection. Planning on taking him to the vet tomorrow.

Last Night at Home Before 2nd Year

Tonight is the last night that I get to sleep in my bed in Toronto in a house filled with family, homemade Korean food and 3 packed luggages. I’ve been fortunate to be home for almost 2 months but time really has passed very fast. Tomorrow, I will fly to Adelaide and I will be disoriented by the journey again.

Looking back, it’s been a productive break. I did observerships at Sick Kids Hospital, Toronto General Hospital, University Health Network and Sunnybrook Hospital. I met some helpful people, got to see lots of things, and learned some things along the way as well. I caught up on some west coast swing and took some dance classes that my sister got me coupons for. Also went shopping for clothes, tea and biscuits. I did some catching up with friends from high school, church and university.

I find it harder to leave home this time than last time. I guess I missed my family more than I realized. I really love them. I feel sorry for so many things to each of them. I am so grateful for many things to each of them too, especially to my parents. I have so many things that I want to do for them. I am going to keep in touch with them better in 2011 than I did in 2010. Already I am looking forward to coming back to visit my family next winter.

My plans for tomorrow – clean my room and around the house, give my love Skylar a shower, maybe go to Shoppers to see if I need to pick up anything else, and eat food that my mom made before going to the airport. Tomorrow at the airport will be the most difficult time I’ve had in the past year. I love you, Appa, Umma, Julia, Albert, and Skylar.

Racism in Australia

In speaking to people who are not in Australia, one of the comments/questions that come up about it other than “Oh, it’s a beautiful place” and “How hot does it get there?” is a string of words said hesitantly and carefully about racism in Australia. I haven’t even been in Australia for a year and during that period, I’ve only been a student living in Adelaide. While my Australian knowledge is limited, I can comment on what I have experienced so far.

I understand that Australia is a country and you will get all sorts of people thinking all sorts of things with all sorts of attitudes. But a few things about it makes me uncomfortable to think about and because I don’t know enough about them yet, I am hesitant to go into detail here. By first impressions…general Australian attitudes and actions toward its Indigenous people confuses me; I don’t understand the harsh “love it or leave it” attitude about newcomers to Australia; it seems like there’s a lack of strong & persistent infrastructure to support Indigenous and refugee initiatives; and how Australia seems to be behind its time – surgical specialties are still very much the boy’s club and I have had too many instances when white people patronize me (or worse) even before I say a word, based on the colour of my skin.

I enjoy living in Australia. But coming back home to Toronto and being immersed in its environment, I realize how much potential my local Adelaide neighbourhood can realize when it comes to acceptance and commitment to change.

Wednesday ,January 26th is Australia Day. Like I said earlier, I don’t know much about Australia. But I know that it confuses me and makes me feel iffy sometimes. This is an interesting article by Michael Brull, “Why I Won’t Be Celebrating Australia Day”.

One Year of Gratitude (in 90 Seconds)

In Korea, newborn babies are considered to be 1 year old. I guess they count gestational age and round up. From what I remember, when the new year begins (e.g. changing over from 2010 to 2011) everyone adds a year to their age. They celebrate their birthday but their age increases on January 1st of the new year. That makes me 27 years old in Korean, which is 2 years more than my Canadian age. I’ve never been older. :S

Being caught between first and second year of medical school and enjoying my holidays at home with family, I think I’ve learned a lot in 2010. There were probably more lessons to be had outside the school than at school…not to say that first year has been a cakewalk.🙂

Going on a slight tangent – I am a fan of Jason Mraz and one of his Facebook notes in early January was called “10-years of Gratitude (in 90 seconds)”. I want to attempt to do something similar here but for 2010 only. While there have been some difficulties, I have a lot more to be grateful for than to be bitter for. So I’m setting the watch.

I am grateful for:

  • my parents for stoney solid support and love
  • my brother for taking care of my parents and still taking homemade lunches…in grade 12
  • my sister for being independent and having determination
  • my Skylar (dog) for his gentle soul
  • natural beauty products – korres, ole henriksen, some Australian brand I can’t remember
  • fitness – gym, Jilliam Michaels
  • my passion for learning that I rediscovered at school
  • losing my apathy when it comes to global health issues
  • gaining a broader perspective and desire to do something re: global health issues
  • trip to tasmania
  • west coast swing – toronto crew & adelaide
  • frisbee social league with friends
  • topical steroids for mosquito bites
  • responsibilities
  • great friends at school with whom I know I will keep in touch for the rest of my life
  • matcha powder
  • tea
  • bubble tea
  • hoi nam chicken
  • Italian coffee
  • oysters
  • dark chocolate that got me through swotvac (studying week before the exams)
  • lightbulb moments when my thoughts are racing and heart is pounding
  • friends who are family
  • coconut milk & coconut cream & coconut water
  • sharing great recipes
  • courage
  • farmer’s markets
  • mangos mangos mangos. i love mangos. mangos. yum.
  • watermelon juice on rundle mall
  • g-market
  • ginger beer
  • bush tucker
  • glasses to help me see better
  • the truth
  • skype
  • catching up with old friends
  • forgiveness
  • continuing love
  • blister-preventing stick
  • opportunities

That went beyond 90 seconds but I just couldn’t stop at “topical steroids”. There are more, I am sure…and there will be lots more to come in 2011.

I take off for Australia on Monday. More adventures to come and I will try to keep a log here as best as I can.🙂

Oh wow

I can’t believe that during my time of inactivity on this blog, there have been visitors here. Most are from Googling key words but I still find it amusing.

My time has been spent on a couple of things lately. So here are my list of updates.

1) School. It’s lots of work and exams are sooner than I thought.

2) Health and Human Rights Group. We’ve had a few events (speaker series, fairtrade coffee break) and there are more coming up! Networking through this group has been great.

3) Frisbee – social, training and league. Two nights a week is turning out to be too much and the league can get stressful, mostly because I am hard on myself. So as much as I would like there to be 50 hrs in a day to do it all, I will need to cut this down next semester.

4) Fun stuffs with school buddies – house parties, med ball, city outings.

5) Visiting the farmer’s market on Sundays. I bought a membership at Adelaide Showground Farmer’s Market to get 10% off at all the stalls.

6) Watching (almost) weekly shoes of How I Met Your Mother, Big Bang Theory, Lost, Grey’s Anatomy, Glee.

7) Hanging out with the Boyfriend.

8) Some video games but not really. Mostly watching Shawn play video games but he gets me to try them all. Only 6-ish months to go until Fable III! My heads hurts from excitement when I read about it and think about it.

9) Cooking and baking too many sweets and treats. Some for my own enjoyment and some for my lovely PBL group, to whom I am becoming pretty attached to.

Wine-o In Training

Today was the long awaited trip to the Barossa valley for wineri visits!!! Kortnie, Gajen, Jaein and I left nice and early around 9am and ended up making it back after 6pm. It was a day full of epicureanism – wine tastings, fine food, and pretty countryside views.

We first went to Seppeltsfield winery, which had lots of merchandise including clothes, wine racks, chocolate and beer. It was one of the bigger ones we went to today and although we paid $5 for a wine tasting, we tasted probably a dozen quality wines. They specialize in fortified wines but I didn’t end up getting any. We made a stop at Maggie Beer’s Farm Shop, which had lots of food for tasting on display. I tried fruit paste, jam, olive oils, balsamic vinegar, tomato sauce, chutney, pate, biscuits, dukkah, etc. and ended up buying a package of kalamata olive biscuit. Peter Lehmann winery was our next stop and it was a gorgeous property. But there were a lot of people and the lunch platter that we were looking forward to was too small portion for us. So we went into Tanunda for some lunch before continuing on with wine tastings.

After wolfing down a traditional german roll, we headed to Langmeil winery, which was on top of my list because it was highly recommended by Tripadvisor for Barossa. It did not disappoint and I bought a 4-year old Barossa Tawny which was on sale for $10! It had the most wonderful nutty, hazelnut aftertaste! I can’t wait to open that bottle one day. We then went to the top one on Jaein’s list, Rockfords winery. They had a food tasting with different jams, preserves, chutney and pastes and I was very tempted to buy a few but luckily, they only took cash. At the cellar door, we did a tasting off of their rather short menu but all walked away with a bottle of Frontignac each.

Our last winery stop was Bethany winery, which was built in a quarry. By this point, I’d had enough to drink that it was a waste of wine for me to do tastings, although they had a really good sweet white wine that I will probably return to buy one day.

On our way back, we stopped at Menglers Hill for a panoramic view of the Barossa wine region, as well as the whispering wall, which was (as Eunice had talked about it) pretty impressive!! Kortnie had a stressful drive back into the city because the roads that we were on were very twisty through the hills and cars were impatient…but it was all good in the end.🙂

And as if I didn’t have enough wine today, I opened my Lion Heart from Leconfield tonight after leftover Easter ham dinner…I think I am starting to get an idea of wines and acquiring the palate for it? I’m not sure so I’ll just keep drinking and planning for the next trip into Barossa valley, which has more than 70 wineries…

Single Ladies

Hooray to the start of mid-semester break! Hopefully I’ll get lots of studying, playing, cooking, and baking done!!

I’m going to Barossa Valley on Monday with some Canadians for fine wine and countryside R&R. I’m beginning to think that my life will be impossible without all this great food and wine around me. This past week, I bought liquid gold (70% apple juice, 30% pear juice, vit C – juiced from pulp, not cooked) from the local McLaren Vale Orchards, a pack of Willabrand figs, and organic, biodynamic milk and natural yogurt from B.D. Farm Paris Creek of Adelaide Hills (30 mins away!). And the most delicious, full, crisp head of cauliflower for $2 from a garden produce. I can go on and on about the food here. I love going grocery shopping.

And here is the reason for the title of this post.