Things I Have Lost

The ability to come up with better blog titles is definitely one of them, as you can see.

It’s taken me longer than the average person, but after slightly more than 3 years, I’m done with being a house officer.

In the past three years, I feel like I’ve pretty much lost everything that makes me who I am, but there are a few things I’ve lost that make me go, ” why did I have to go and like medicine so much?”

Here’s the few:

1.Proper sleep

Since I began working, I can count the number of times I’ve slept without dreaming about work, or without waking up in the middle of the night, thinking that I’ve forgotten to do something at work or that I’m late for work.

The only times I have proper (i.e. dreamless) sleep is when I’m exhausted or have recruited the assistance of alcohol or Tramadol.

2. The ability to wear high heels

I love shoes, because no matter how many tubs of ice cream I gobble up or slices of pizza I inhale, feet don’t get fat. And legs look pretty damn nice in heels.

Along comes housemanship, where your tasks include being every single staff member of the ward and my 3 inch yellow espadrille heels with the cute bow on top will NOT cut it as sensible footwear. As a result, most of my days are spent in flats or even worse, black Bata school shoes. This bad habit of wearing shitty looking shoes has encroached into my life and now I’m never fully dressed. Fuck you, Sia, the smile doesn’t help when you’re wearing a gorgeous floral dress and brown flats.

3. A sense of style

It starts with shoes. Then it moves up. I start my morning by thinking about all the work that I potentially have to do in a day. That by itself usually eliminates skirts (no one wants to commence CPR in a skirt, trust me.) So, trousers it is. Everything else doesn’t matter because we have our white coats on anyway. By the end of my final rotation, my wardrobe consisted of stretchable trousers (no need to iron) and anything that fit.

I’m not saying that I used to be some super stylish chick who was at the helm of the fashion train, but at least I didn’t feel embarrassed about my clothes when taking pictures. These days, I look so bad that friends choose not to tag me in pictures out of the kindness of their hearts.

4. Hair

So. Much. Hair. Gone.

I’m sorry. This one’s too painful to talk about.

5. Life outside work.

My phone is flooded with pictures of x-rays, wounds and patient details. All my conversations are about cases, jobs to carry out and the like. My messages to my mum only consist of, “I reached work already” and ” leaving work now.”

The occasional invitations to go out just to chill and relax are met with, “Nah la, it’s ok. I work double shift tomorrow.” or ” No, I don’t have a full off day this weekend.”

 

I don’t expect these things to all return to me once I start life as a medical officer, but I hope whatever force that’s keeping them away from me allows visits.

 

He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not

It’s been a while since I had a proper crush. By proper crush, I mean I like the guy but I don’t want to pounce him. I think the last time that happened, I was still wearing a school uniform.

THEN

When I liked a guy in school, I went through a period of self-loathing. I have no idea why, but I was convinced that liking a guy whilst in school was a bad idea. In my head, liking boys meant that I was neglecting my studies and forgetting my priorities. I used to beat myself up a lot about it. I would do my best to try and forget the object of my affections. Stupid, I know. Who was I to go against raging hormones? It didn’t stop me from trying, though.

Most of you may know this, but to those who don’t, I was far from attractive in school. My plan was to get by with my brains and wit. Not my best plan, but that’s another story. Back to not being attractive. Glasses, braces, overweight and some inexplicable belief that I’d never find jeans that could fit me made me hide behind cargo pants, baggy t-shirts and boots. Till today, my cousin will never let me forget that I bought men’s shoes once. To 16-year old me, my (lack of) style made perfect sense. My personality and my taste in music were married. People were supposed to “get” me by knowing what sort of music I listened to. I was into bands like The Smashing Pumpkins, Bush and Garbage. The fact that rock chicks did not dress up like Gavin Rossdale or even Kurt Cobain totally escaped me. Don’t ask me how I didn’t notice that Shirley Manson wore short dresses and looked totally hot while singing “Only Happy When It Rains.” It also didn’t occur to me that the guys I liked were at that age where they might be confused about their sexuality and if they had any sort of attraction to a girl who looked like she could skin a moose in 2 minutes, this could leave some pretty bad scars.

The guy I liked studied at the school my mom worked in. My mom worked in a library and with the sort of curriculum the students had, trips to the library were frequent. Back then, there was no Friendster, Facebook or broadband internet and stalking was done physically. So I’d miss school and follow my mom to work to study in that library. I missed a total of 25 days of school in an academic year, but my grades were fucking awesome. How did that work out? I kept telling myself that if I studied, God would reward me with a glimpse of my crush. Lame, I know. I never said I wasn’t.

NOW

One gorgeous afternoon, while I was berating myself for liking someone, my friend Farina stopped me and said, “Being in love is nice, you idiot. Why can’t you just enjoy the feeling?” I’m pretty sure my answer was, “but but but..” and nothing more, but it got me thinking. Why CAN’T I enjoy it? Liking a person makes me all warm and happy inside, and being happy is good, right? Why was I denying myself happiness? Since then, I stopped getting on my case about liking a guy. Nowadays, I only stop short of throwing glitter at people on the streets and farting rainbows when I like someone.

On the fashion front, I discovered plus-size clothes that are stylish and feminine. Not only that, I’ve learned that dressing up like I’m part of the Vans Warped Tour ain’t gonna get me any sugar, if you get what I mean. This doesn’t mean I’ve sacrificed any part of my identity by changing the way I dress up. I just know how to look (somewhat) appealing now and on a good day when I think I may see the object of my affection, I even make an effort. You know, with makeup, earrings and high heels.

You’d think that with the avalanche of social networking sites and the awesome Internet speed here in Moscow, I wouldn’t even have to leave my room to check out what been going on with the apple of my eye. Fat chance. I have to like the one guy who only has an account on a Russian site and rarely does anything there. On the bright side, my class attendance has never been this good. I keep going to class with hopes I’ll see him at the bus stop in the morning, or maybe we’ll be in the same hospital. To make things even better, I still maintain the belief that if I study, God will let me catch a glimpse of him, so my work isn’t suffering, either.

Clearly, I’m much better at this crush thing now. :-)

Summer of Sobriety

Without realizing it, I’ve kept to my promise of not blogging till the 20th of June. I was done with my exams 5 days ago, but was busy lazing about trying to remember how to do nothing.

With these papers done, I am officially in my final year at med school. I’ve been living in Moscow for six years now and I think it’s taking a toll on me,as well as on many others. My guess is six years is the limit for any foreigner living here. I’m pretty sure that if I can make it through one more year without going nuts (clearly a tough feat, seeing some of the people here), I will earn the right to walk around like a smug ass who thinks she deserves to be worshiped.

With exams done and no obligations set in stone, I’m free to do all sorts of things till I head back to Malaysia. At the top of my list is shopping, because I still owe my mom two presents. I’ve mentioned before how much I dislike shopping, so this task is a bit like swallowing the frog. Thankfully, I’ve recruited Abilash to accompany me. He’s fun to go shopping with because he takes just the right amount of time in each store, doesn’t make fun of me when I want to have a drink in Starbucks (SOME people I know claim it’s just overpriced coffee) and he’s tall, so he can help me get things I can’t reach. That last bit is the most important because when I’m alone, 90% of my purchases are made based on whether I can reach an item or not.

There’s also plans for a detox, because I’ve been terribly cruel to my body. For three weeks my diet has been dominated by Lay’s potato chips, instant noodles with mussels and pretty much anything that goes well with this Chinese chili paste I bought from the Vietnamese shop. I’m convinced that the paste may not even be approved by the FDA of some countries, but it tastes bloody awesome. Either way, my tummy decided to retaliate yesterday and it wasn’t pretty to any of the senses. My gastrointestinal tract has seen one too many nasty things and survived, so things must be really bad for me to realise that I may have done something wrong to it.

Speaking of dirty things that need to be cleaned, there’s also a matter of….um….everything I own. I’m not the cleanest person in the world, I’ll readily admit to that. But running out of dishes, clothes and table space is unacceptable. The way I’ve ignored my chores, you’d think that I spent every waking moment studying my little heart out. Twitter and Facebook will prove otherwise. Now that I have no excuse to shirk from my responsibilities, I will just have to face the mountain of mess I’ve created. This should take up a large bulk of my time here, which isn’t a bad thing.

With so much to do, what the heck am I doing here, blogging?

I Am Woman, Hear Me Roar!

Or at the very least, watch me grit my teeth while trying to mask the urge to grunt like a wounded wild boar.

(Now would be a good time to warn you that the details of this post are explicit and may cause great discomfort)

Ever since I turned 19, I’ve had an issue with hair. The strands on my head began dropping and the ones on the rest of my body were becoming more obvious. I’m not saying that I’m part lycan or anything extreme like that. In fact, I can safely say that I’m more fortunate than many women.

My problem/insecurities regarding body hair stems from the fact that the females from the maternal side of my family are a head of hair away from being this:

I was left to my own devices when it came to learning about wearing a skirt without making the general population cower in fear, since my mother knew close to nothing about it. Countless hours of research and copies of girly magazines later, I settled on using depilatory creams to solve my issue.

After five years of using the same old method, I decided to try something new. Give the follicles a bit of excitement, you could say. I was against the idea of shaving because I knew myself too well; there would be too many nicks and too little Band-aids in the world to save me from bleeding to death. Laser treatment was a bit much for the bank balance, so that one got tossed out the window as well.

That left me with waxing. I wasn’t really worried about the pain. I just figured it would take too much time to heat up the wax, and there was this paper thingy that is put on the wax-covered limb…all in all, it seemed like too much work.

Either way, I headed for the store that sold girly stuff and parked myself in the hair removal section. As soon as I got there, something caught my eye:

The Lazy Chick's Blessing

The box said everything I needed to see: no heat formula, perfect for first time users…caramel. I have NO idea why the thought of caramel scented wax appealed to me, but it did. Needless to say, I was sold. I skipped along to buy this miracle wax and rushed home to try it.

When I got home, I picked a spot on my body that no one gets a view of (in case of mistakes) and should be able to handle hair being ripped off. Armpits were the clear winner here.

Mistake #1: Putting on the wax BEFORE reading the instructions. Apparently, I was supposed to apply the numbing solution that was provided. While I am an advocate of manual reading, I got excited when I opened the jar. Not only DID it smell like caramel, it looked like this:

Yummy!

Oh well, what’s a little numbing solution? I slapped on the wax and put the so-called muslin strip on the wax. Finally, with manual in hand, I saw that it said there was no need to wait after putting the paper strip. Oh, joys! This is supposed to be fast, too? Excellent. One hand raised in the air, I yanked the bugger off my pits. There was no pain, and..there was no hair on the paper either. I was pretty sure that cold wax or not, this attempt was not successful.

Not about to be defeated by mere wax, I attacked my underarms again by slathering on the wax, plastered the paper and this time, I waited. After a few minutes, I yanked the paper off. I figured that I must have done it right this time around, because the pain was EXCRUCIATING. After I wiped my tears, I inspected my paper. There were about three measly strands of hair and a small patch of blood.

You’d think that something like blood would deter me, but noooooooo. I’m nothing if not stubborn, so I went for attempt #3. Since the waiting thing made a few hairs come off, I concluded that waiting longer, and letting the wax really bond to the hair would be the clincher. So, there I was, arms raised in the air, standing in front of my fan trying to marry off caramel wax with pit hair. I waited ten whole minutes and pulled. There were more tears, hairs and ( what I started to believe was obligatory) blood. Can you say, “epic failure”?

No way is that stuff making its way to my bikini area.