Month: January, 2011

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.ย 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. ๐Ÿ™‚

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. ๐Ÿ™‚