Pudding And Pools

This summer held a lot of promise. While in Moscow, I was told that I would be living in a new place, and not only did this new place have an air-conditioned room for me, it even had a swimming pool. Needless to say, I was really looking forward to coming home.

You see,  my fifth year in med school was nothing less than a bitch in heat that no dog wants to fuck. It was so hectic, I don’t even want to talk about it. You would need to hypnotise me if you wanted to listen to my traumatic experiences. Okay, maybe it wasn’t that bad. It was stressful, which made me eat a lot. When I say, “a lot” what I mean is, “I only stopped short of raiding my guninea pig’s cage for snacks.” Eating a lot made me put on quite a bit of weight. In fact, it’s the weight gain that I find traumatising.

What does my weight have to do with summer, you ask? Everything. A summer in Malaysia usually ends only in one way: with people leaving as proud owners of a second chin. Food is good, cheap and available everywhere. In other words, the chances of the numbers on the scale going down were very, very low.

Now that I live in a condo which has a swimming pool and since I love swimming, you’d think that I’d make full use of the pool and lose all my exam weight. Yeah, sure. Not even my toe has seen the cool, chlorinated water that I had great plans of splashing around in.

Note How I'm Not In The Photo

To make matters worse, I have an uncle who doesn’t snack between meals; one meal just blends in with the next. He doesn’t want to eat alone, so I’m roped in to keep him company. My stomach has forgotten what it feels like to be empty. Poor bastard sure is gonna suffer when I’m back in Moscow.

If you’re wondering whether my uncle is overweight, let me assure you that he is not. He does enough exercise to keep 3 middle-aged women fit. What he fails to understand is that I barely do enough exercise to keep myself fit. In fact, I probably do just enough to not get a heart attack.

This awful combination of minimal exercise and obscene amounts of food has led to the fastest weight gain I have ever experienced in my life, and I am quite the expert when it comes to..ahem..excess baggage. I’ve only been home for 24 days. Shorts that fit me when I arrived can’t go past my bum anymore and the loose T-shirts that I bought last week show off a pretty revolting bulge where my hip bones used to be ( I prodded and poked, I can’t find them anymore.) There’s only so much shrinkage I can blame on my clothes’ dryer.

That said, I sadly admit defeat and accept that getting into a size-10 dress is a bit like riding a pink and turquoise talking unicorn to Narnia.

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 Don’t Believe In “FML”

Today is a real bitchfit. It’s sad, really. I was drafting out an entry about the joys of being a woman. Pinky swear. Today was supposed to be a good day, almost joyous. Then a raven decided to take a crap on it. I’m not talking a normal, routine poop. I’m talking a huge-explosive-after-a-Mexican-all-you-can-eat kinda poop.

  1. My practicals are supposed to end today. Six weeks ago, that’s what my curator said. It’s not turning out the way I expected. Apparently, doing what one is supposed to do pales in comparison to blatant lying and sloth.
  2. Today is my late uncle’s birthday, making today one of those days I wish I had a crappy memory.
  3. I tried going to church today (imagine how lousy I must be feeling) and it was closed. How about that?!!
  4. I attempted at pursuing my favourite distraction, but it eluded me. On the bright side, I have a new high score for Bubble Spinner.
  5. Moscow is hot and now, there’s haze. I want to fling myself off the 14th floor just so I can feel breeze on the way down.

It really could be worse, so I’m hoping the clock strikes midnight soon.

Metro, Scrubs and Summer

Truth be told, I’m not out of the slump yet, but I’m running out of things to do. Well, things that I want to do, that is. I figured I’d give blogging about my summer practicals another shot.

So far, I’m only two weeks into it, but it roughly follows the same formula everyday.

9.00 a.m. I sit in for the morning conference while looking at my watch. Six hours left. Look at all the doctors pretty much not paying attention or dozing off, signs that they’re normal humans I suppose. The doctors on-call report new admissions and whatever needs to be mentioned. The doctors chairing the conference may or may not screw the reporting doctors. My conclusion is, in Russia life is a never-ending series of colloquiums. I try to pay attention, but it’s easy to give up when you’re right at the back.

10.00 a.m. Go to the department I’ve been assigned to, which just has to be Traumatology. Can you say, “dull as fucking a marshmallow?” I change into my scrubs and sit in the doctors’ office with another student, a Russian girl who uses any reflecting surface to check her hair and makeup. We don’t speak much, due to our poor understanding of each other’s language. If I’m lucky, some patient is either getting metal plates and screws either put in or removed from some limb. I’ve decided that to be an orthopaedic surgeon, you just need vodka and an IKEA toolset. While in the OT, I alternate between staring at whatever extremity which is being man-handled and the clock.

11.00 a.m. The surgeons have expertly done their work in 90 minutes, even minor setbacks have been accounted for. Damn. Four hours left. My pseudo-friend and I return to the office and get back to our task of sitting on the sofa, staring blankly at the doctors working. Occassionally, they look at us and make feeble attempts at conversation. After about half an hour of staring, I take out my book to read. If I’m lucky, Anna SMSes me from the General Surgery department to tell me there’s an operation going on. When joyous moments like that come about, I ask permission from my “supervisor” (inverted commas here because I eyeball her more than she does me). Naturally, she’s eager to get rid of me and lets me go. I mean, who wants some kid staring at them do work, right? So I put on my lead face and crash whatever procedure taking place.

1.00 p.m. Back in the office, now staring at doctors eating. They usually offer tea, but I politely decline. As they have their lunch that consists mostly of ice-cream and junk food, us students eavesdrop on whatever they’re talking about. Clock check; two hours left.

Some of you may be wondering why we’re wasting time in the office. Might as well go home if there’s nothing else to do, right? If you recall, I’ve mentioned the head of practicals that gets to 5th base with prickly sea creatures. She insists that we only leave at 3 p.m.

1.30 p.m. Read my book, and hope I get a message from Anna, or that someone is injured enough to perk my interest. Okay, hope that someone is injured enough for the doctors to say, “Come along, it’s an interesting case.” Seeing that this hospital is almost at the border of Moscow city, not much really happens. Clock check; 90 minutes left.

2.45 p.m. Slowly move toward the cupboard where my bag is kept. My supervisor looks almost relieved that I’m ready to get out of her territory. I say goodbye and almost break into a run to change my clothes. Then I begin my 70 minute journey home.

I’ll be honest, it could be worse. I could be with other students who pretend I don’t exist, I could be with racist doctors who don’t think I deserve to be educated, I could be without reading materials. Either way, I’ve got another four weeks to go, and at the rate things are going, I’ll be in Kuala Lumpur before I know it.

Where’s My Patbingsu?!

Apparently, if I can’t get to Malaysia for a bulk of my summer, the Malaysian weather will get to me in Moscow. The heat here is madness, and not having a fan is nothing short of torture. Get this, the hot water came back with the heat wave. How useful is that?

Unfortunately for me, I have nothing skimpy and comfortable to wear here, owing to the fact that my figure is not skimpy-wear worthy. Russians in general have no concept of sleeves nowadays. The women…Oh my God.  Bras nowhere to be found. I can’t BELIEVE I’m saying this, but if they’re not firm, round implants, do NOT skip on the bra. Really.

Summer practicals are weird. Everyone has something different to say about it. My hospital has this woman with a female angler fish stuck up her butt as the head of practicals. On the bright side, I have five days in this hospital before getting two weeks in another place and then  returning to this God-forsaken hospital. I’m hoping the next five weeks will breeze by.

All is not lost though. I don’t have to study my ass off for anything for now, so I’m free to bum around and gallivant without worrying too much about time. That is the ideal situation, of course. The truth is to date I’ve only been to one park and had lunch at a Korean restaurant which is walking distance from my hostel. So much for bumming and gallivanting, eh?

Well, that’s about it for now. Hopefully, I’ll get out of this crap-writing slump and produce better results.