Archive for November, 2008

Home, sweet, home.

November 25, 2008

huis

Today I reached the holy grail of rental searching. I’d been denied the keys to a certain property by the StrictReceptionist but when I came back to return my first round of keys, StrictReceptionist was on lunch. I, innocently, asked SmileyReceptionist if the keys were available and she passed them over and said “Yeah, you’re supposed to have an agent with you, but, y’know. Whatever.” Act cool, act cool, I thought as I gleefully did a little happy dance in my head.

The perceived inaccessibility of the apartment gave me high expectations. However, the keys only opened the door slightly and it was stuck so hard that I was ready to give up…until I noticed the ground floor window open. Halfway through the climbing in (which my skinny jeans made a tad difficult), I pondered whether I really wanted to live in a place where the window would be my main access. As it was, it turned out to be dungeon, so, that solved that dilemma. 

The next few places weren’t much better. I was *almost* going to ring my boyfriend and ask if he wanted to upgrade our price range from ‘cheap & nasty’ to ‘barely livable’. Until I found The Place. It’s old. It’s cheap. It’s spacious. It’s extremely close to uni. I want. I want. I want. 

Now we play the waiting game.

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Moving on up

November 23, 2008

Cinque Terre hikeI worried about what to say in my medical interview about ‘what led me to want to be a doctor’ because my experiences haven’t been medically related. When I was at uni studying for my undergraduate degree, my resume looked like that of a commitment-phobe with a personality disorder. But every job, no matter how strange, illegal or tormenting, taught me valuable lessons about people.

I went to an advertising industry function where the speaker said the golden rule of success is to “broaden your experience”. I agree. Regardless of aspirations or fields of study, a solid foundation of diverse experiences is important because you never know when someone is going to say “MY GOD! IS THERE SOMEONE WITH FAIRY FLOSS VENDOR EXPERIENCE IN THE ROOM???!! WE HAVE A URGENT NEED FOR SPUN-SUGAR!”

So here is a short selection of my previous jobs and the lessons I have learnt.

C’s RESUME

 

  • McDonald’s front of house/cleaner. I learnt it is not beneath me to clean vomit, poo, pickles off ceilings or scrape chewing gum from underneath tables for $5.50 an hour. I learnt that some people have a dependance on fast food chains for regular meals. As in, breakfast, lunch and dinner. Most days of the week. Those people have children. Child abuse comes in many forms.
  • Head waitress in cafe owned by depressed, corrupt ex-private detective with heavy-weight enemies and huge debts. I learnt not to get into debt & how to negotiate with re-possessors of unpaid takeaway pizza boxes.
  • Waitress in turkish restaurant. I learnt that immigration is a difficult, humbling process. My boss, in a kindly way, made a habit of hiring those who needed work to stay in the country. Our dishies were all tertiary educated, successful men in their home countries (some with families still overseas), reduced to washing dishes to earn some money, improve their english and bide time while their visa status was approved. It really p*ssed me off that hardly any of the restaurant staff took the time to speak to them and just assumed they were no-hopers. Talk to your local dishie! They’re people too. 
  • Door-to-Door salesperson. I learnt that, while I hated lying to people to make a sale, I was really good at it. Not all natural talents should be celebrated.
  • Door-to-Door salesperson AGAIN! I learnt to trust my instincts. Why would I like it this time when it was so heinous before? On a positive note, I did reaffirm my knack for talking to older people for hours about this, that & the weather. I now kick ass at small talk with the elderly.
  • Jumping Castle supervisor. I learnt to speak the languages of the two categories of parents: those who disappear immediately at the offer of free babysitting & those who stick around to monitor the castle buoyancy to ensure the optimal safety of their precious bundle of DNA. I like the disappearing ones. 
  • Call centre operator. I acquired the ability to understand thick accents, and perfected the art of tact. “…and why would your daughter like to be taken off our mailing list, ma’am?” “Because she’s dead, if you must know” *clunk*
  • Fairy Floss/popcorn operator. I learnt nostalgia is a power tool. If you can create a nostalgic moment for someone they’re instantly fond of you. Fairy floss is nostalgic crack. People. cannot. get. enough. Seriously. I’m out of sugar, okay? You need to step away from the booth.

These may not be years worth of volunteering at nursing homes, or time spent in labs doing research work but I believe my run-ins with the general public have been worth it. I wouldn’t take back any one of them. I feel like I’m slowly moving on up but I hope I’m never too ‘good’ to clean a toilet.

Rocket Pasta Salad

November 20, 2008

rocketIngredients

  • 2 handfuls of rocket leaves
  • diced avocado
  • 2 cups of cooked spiral pasta
  • Juice of 1 or 2 lemons
  • splash of olive oil
  • salt & pepper
  • nuts or seeds (eg. sunflower seeds, slivered almonds)

 

Method

Toss all ingredients together in a bowl. Stuff face.

Third time lucky

November 20, 2008

When choosing my preferences for medical school I remember clearly having this joyous, naive optimism that my first choice would be where I would actually go and the other two choices were just…well…they were for filling in space. I was blissfully unaware of the gravity, difficulty and seriousness of “getting into med school”. The one friend I had who was studying med was (is) a drunken, fabulous loon so how hard could it be? My partner & I talked about Melbourne University as if I was already accepted,  and discussed what we’d do “when we get to Melbourne”. 

My mum was the only sane one who suggested I take a bit of care in choosing my other two preferences, and only to put down uni’s in places we would actually consider moving to. Pfft! Mothers! What do they know? 

 

A lot, apparently. 

 

I felt absolutely gutted when I received an email from my second choice university telling me that they’d like to offer me an opportunity to be a part of their application pool. After briefly imagining swimming awkwardly in a lukewarm pool with 400 other hopefuls, the fact that I had been passed on by my number 1 choice really hit me. I didn’t want to go to this other uni. I’d studied there briefly and hated it. I was unashamedly shallow about wanting to move to Melbourne. Melbourne University had pretty buildings and you could walk to the city, have coffee and browse through laneways whilst dragging a red ball of string behind you…

Victorian tourism had me hooked. 

Futhermore, my partner had his heart set on Melbourne. And he re-he-heally likes coffee. So, we threw a tantrum together. Then, we slowly came to terms with, possibly, maybe, living in the second choice city and I hurriedly filled out the ‘application pool’ whatsit dooby and forgot about it.

 

Until…

 

A few weeks later I received an email from my third choice university. My treading water in the imaginary application pool of second-choice-uni was over. I had accidently not opted for a BMP, and had forgotten to note my rural status. I found out on Paging Dr that BMP’s were given to those with lower GAMSAT scores and that I’d obviously been passed on. But this time I was like a puppy dog, ready to sit, shake hands, lie down and roll over for who ever wanted me. 

 

When I went for the interview at my third-choice-uni I was struck by the feeling that everything does happen for a reason. If I hadn’t have stuffed up application pool stuff for second-choice-uni, I wouldn’t have been passed on to such a great school, (nor realised the importance of a BMP).  I really loved the location, the people at the front desk, the staff, the building, and the cafe (did I mention I’m shallow?). This was the school that my Mum & Dad suggested I preference first, the school closest to my family and the school I, begrudgingly, put down third because I had to fill in the space. 

 

So I concede again that Mum is (nearly) always right.

Thoughtful Blogs

November 20, 2008

I have been following the blog of Leo from Zen Habits for over a year now. His articles are always informative, reflective and thoughtful. It’s a positive read with the genuine aim to improve the reader’s life. I find writing like his preferable to the generic whining “I had the woooorse day EVA (sic) today!!!” blogs. Of course, a healthy dose of sarcasm is always good value but I love to read blogs that are give you an insight into a different situation, a different culture, or a different way of thinking and leave you feeling better than when you started reading.

Leo occasionally blogs about his vegan lifestyle. His writing, amongst other things, influenced me to read further. I had started cutting out dairy, meat and animal products slowly but went pretty much cold turkey (ha…ha…*cough*) when I read these books:

  • The China Study by Dr T. Colin Campbell
  • The Ethics of What We Eat by Peter Singer & Jim Mason

I also check in and read Drink, Eat & be Vegan, The Post Punk Kitchen site, veggieway.blogspot.com and other vegan food blogs (which, strangely, all seem to have a parenting bent). It’s strange to think I’ve been influenced so strongly by people whom I’m never likely to meet. I like that I can hold them up in my mind as an example, though. We can be changed so much by reading a novel, or watching a film. I guess, I find blogs influential in the same way.

Immunity & different reactions

November 18, 2008

Being vaccinated doesn’t mean you are immune. This I learnt from my GP when I went to get my pre-enrollment vaccinations. After I mentally ticked off most of the required vaccinations thinking I’d only need one jab, she broke my shiny little bubble with: “Um, I have your blood test results here and it seems you aren’t actually immune to anything”

Needles don’t bother me. This does, however:

WellMeaningNurse: so you need these jabs to start medical school? wow! so what did you study before?

Me: Advertising and Film production

WellMeaningNurse: Oh

*Silence*

WellMeaningNurse: That’s a BIG change, isn’t it?

Me: Yup

WellMeaningNurse: Big, big change. Different change. Very different. Wow. *nervous chuckles and clucking*

 

I’m getting used to these awkward conversations. I avoid mentioning it when possible, because I get this: 

“Omg. Why? That’s so weird. Blood is gross.”

“Are you sure you want to do another four years of study or are you just scared to start your career?”

“Are you insane? *groan*” (that one was from a doctor…)

“You aren’t going to make the same amount of money as you will if you stay in business. I’d advise against it.” (My ‘career mentor’)

Bonjour

November 18, 2008

This blog name is a homage to a movie that captures my decision to enter medical school. Not the whole “To get my boyfriend back I’m going to get into Harvard Law School and show him I’m smart” bit necessarily but the scene where Reese Witherspoon’s character, Elle Woods, hands her professor her pink, scented resume and he says to his colleague incredulously “Do you think she just woke up one day and thought ‘I think I’ll go to law school’?”

I was feeling directionless at the end of my degree. I’d decided I didn’t want to work in advertising, or watch advertising, or even think about purchasing anything that had been advertised. Ever. In my infinite wisdom (that came from being awake at 2am and googling “How to get into medicine” whilst sitting on the cold bathroom floor with the door closed as the cranky boyfriend had kicked me and my laptop out of bed) I surmised that trying to get into med school would make me feel better. So far it has.

When I found out I got in a close nurse friend was really supportive and said, “Well, at least you know basic anatomy”

Me: Yeah…*smiling deviantly*

Nursefriend: Er, not that. Like, everyone knows where the tibia is!

Me: *blank stare*

Nursefriend: well you know the femur?

Me: *blank stare*

Nursefriend: The TIBIA? The FEMUR? seriously? Come on. You know what the humerus is?

Me: *singing* Heads and shoulders, knees and toes, knees and toes, knees and toes…

Nursefriend: Oh. God. 

I start in a few months. Oh God, indeed.