Anna Karenina, rooftops—ah, it must be summer break


I spent most of the day at home, alternating between designing the camp kit for the church's upcoming summer youth camp and reading Tolstoy's Anna Karenina, a thick book I'm thoroughly enjoying because Russians are such interesting people—and, believe it or not, reading a chapter is like watching an episode of soap opera. So if you like the present adaptation of Mula Sa Puso, you'll like this one better.

Jogging along Manila Bay

To mark the end of the sem, I woke up early this morning to try out jogging. My roommates have been egging me to go. My friends have been talking about it. So I figured, "Why not?" I did it alone, of course, and I didn't really jog—I strolled, occasionally taking pictures here and there, much to the curiosity of the passersby. Manila is beautiful in the morning, when the sun isn't in full blast yet, when the people are still reeling from a restful sleep.

When I reached the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) Complex, I was too tired from all the walking. I grabbed a breakfast at the nearest Jollibee and started with Leo Tolstoy's Anna Karenina. It was—and still is—a glorious day. I'm sharing photos from that trip.

The (second) year that was

After a tough exam this morning, one that covered practically everything we studied in second year, the class was asked to evaluate the academic year that was. The first question in the survey form couldn't have been more appropriate: "Do you still want to be a doctor?"

I think the question hinged on the assumption that one's motivation to finish the medical degree is affected greatly by what one experiences in school. And the running joke was that, given the things we had gone through in arguably one of the toughest years in our medical education, the survey results were going to be skewed in the "No" side: "I don't want to be a doctor anymore."

Week 12: End of the Semester

Week in Photos

Today I'm beginning an ambitious blog project called A Week in Photos. I'm twelve weeks late, I know, but it's better late than never.

Every Saturday, I'm posting seven pictures taken by any camera on any given day, within that week. I'm largely inspired by Heather Champ's Polaroid 366 Project and my classmate Gino Gomez's Project 365, to name a few. I don't know how I'm going to go about this, but I'll do my best.

Netherlands (Part 1)

I excused myself from my afternoon Pathology classes to pack. I still had a big exam the other night, so I didn't know that I lacked one white undershirt, which I had to buy at the nearest mall. I still had a few hours, but I was all over the place: I didn't want to forget anything, my travel documents, especially. The flight was in the evening: I would take Cathay Pacific to Hong Kong, and from there, go on to my connecting flight to Amsterdam. I was to travel alone.

Thankfully, my brother, Ralph, came over to help me arrange my things. He took me to the airport and, during the cab ride, gave me a how-to-tie-your-neck-tie demo. It was a hot, sunny afternoon.

Manila

While checking in my luggage, the two questions I often got asked were: "Are you travelling alone?" and "How old are you?" It dawned on me again that I still look young for my age, and if people mistake me for a sixth grader in the Philippines, they'd probably call me a toddler in Europe. I am 23, and I am well past my puberty.

Back in Manila

Condiments

I've safely landed in Manila at lunchtime, together with some hundred other OFWs I met in the connecting flight in Hong Kong. Praise God for the safe trip—some fourteen hours of napping, watching movies (I got teary-eyed in The Shawshank Redemption), and going to the bathroom to and fro. Beside me was a large Dutchman who had to stand up just so I could walk to the aisle.

I was just in time to rush to the catheterization workshop, and when I heard my classmates' voices, I knew I was home. The trip abroad is officially over. I have so many things to say, so many pictures to share, and I truly appreciate your greetings and well-wishes. But for now I have to study. I shall post the photos and write more extensively next time.

There's truly no place like home—even if it feels like an oven sometimes.

Europe



It's chilling outside. The sky is bleak, and everything looks gray. I walk past the train station and head to the University building, a ten-minute walk from my hotel. It's 8 am, and a thick fog cloaks my vision.


I pass by busy people dressed in thick coats and gloves, making their way through a sea of people to get to school, work, or leisure. The streets are full of bicycles or walking people, and hardly do I see cars. It's expensive to own a car in Leiden.

All set to the Netherlands

Today I'm flying to the Netherlands to present our A(H1N1) paper at the Leiden International Medical Students Conference (LIMSC). My flight is at 8pm, I'll have a two-hour stop-over at Hong Kong, and I should be in Amsterdam by 6am tomorrow.

This is my first trip to Europe (and abroad), and I'm excited. I know the Dutch are the tallest people in the world, so I have a feeling I'll look like a midget there—I am, after all, small even for Filipino standards.

Role models

We listened to a lecture by Dr. Raymond Alonzo Alonso, a distinguished nephrologist in the country and a member of our faculty. He happens to be one of the most eloquent, inspiring, and sensible people who has lectured in class, and he is a personal favorite. He simply drives the point home. He always carries a can of Coke Zero—or is it Lite?—sipping on it when his throat runs dry, and hardly does he ever look at his notes, as if he has everything stored from memory.

Congratulations, UP College of Medicine Class of 2016!

Lately I've been getting a number of page views from people searching for the results of the UP College of Medicine admission for academic year 2011-2012.


Yesterday, the administration posted the list of the official qualifiers for the UP College of Medicine Class of 2016. Let me refer you to this list compiled by a fraternity.

If you made it, congratulations! If you have time, here are a few tips for the UP Medicine freshmen that I wrote some time ago: what books to buy, how to listen to long lectures, and how to study for exams.

For your uniforms, do get in touch with my friends, Marvyn Chan (0917340755) and Jonas Bico (09228242639) from Class 2014. They make pretty decent uniforms, those that actually fit. From the number of orders they've been getting, they'll probably end up as millionaires by the end of the summer. (I expect a free pair of uniform for this ad.)

I hope I bump into you next sem!

Staying home

Bamboo

Last Sunday, I met up with Shean Chiva, an old friend, my classmate since second grade. She's flying back to Koronadal to stay there for good. Industrial engineering work is awaiting her in the all too familiar company that supplies electricity to South Cotabato. Who'd have thought she'd work in SOCOTECO?

Going back to the province is something she had always wanted to do; it had been right at the back of her mind before she even started her work in Manila.

Fruits

In season

For the past two nights, I've met good, old friends I haven't seen in a long time, and I thank God for orchestrating the reunion because I needed people to talk to. I've been feeling a bit under the weather recently—an admixture of anxiety, worry, and fear perhaps—and the joyful reunion was just what the Lord had provided for comfort. Interestingly, though, the meeting took place in a private hospital room because  one two of them was were ill.

On my way back to my apartment, I was given a bag full of fruits. And then I remembered this photo I took last Sunday. Thank You, Lord, for my friends and the little gifts you give.