8.07.2017

07/08/2017, RSCM

I have observed hydrocephalus in a neonate at my first visit ever to the Perinatology today.

Nobody remembers their first 28 days of their lives (aka the neonatal period). Yet, even when memory and immunology haven't fully developed, we already have primitive reflexes that act as our initial defense to anything that threats us; crying, arm grasping and feet kicking. It's like ever since we were first born into this world, we were determined to fight.

(I have drank my first cappuccino in 2 years without experiencing caffeine side effects)

8.05.2017

05/08/2017, RSCM

Today I saw the distinctive feature of thalassemia's Cooley's face in a twelve year-old patient. Also for the first time, I felt like I was part of the pediatric resuscitation team trying to manage respiratory distress in a 7 months-old patient with Down syndrome.

I haven't always been that enthusiastic about night shifts, but the thing about children is that in the midst of the frustrating search for diagnosis and the eyes longing for sleep, they can still effortlessly make you smile. I also learned, that it is good to make peace with uncertainty and to not postpone an act just because of the everly unpredictable conclusion of whether I'm ready for something or not.

7.11.2017

Tonight my tears fall down. A sign of waivering a white flag following a long inner battle between anger, frustration and confusion.

It is not that I'm ungrateful, dear God. I have abundant things to be grateful for at this moment. Yet, I am wondering, how can a place of comfort turn into a muted place? The only sounds produced are doubt and accusations.

I am so certain that we were happy, each of us, us together. I am certain I had felt free; being who I was and the words and emotions I expressed. They were all real.

Many times, I did think I'm the dead weight. Both of us sailed to the different poles frequently that it was him who always had to adjust the wheels. And while he does that, I tell the oceans to set their waves strong and big that they gave you an obstacle. And only when the sea has become calm again that you can sail to me.

But I think I have sent too much waves that you have become so distant. And now you have lost and given up on finding your way to me again.


6.26.2017

RESEMBLANCE

I'm in Universitas Indonesia in Depok. It is raining and I'm listening to Endah N Rhesa's Blue Day. These bits are enough to remind me of those days when we spent our time together knowing each other. It feels long ago.

It feels deeply familiar. It feels comfortable.

The more I get to know you, the clearer I see things that made me feel attracted to you in the first place. But lately, I have noticed something utterly surprising.

I see you talking to an uber driver, a gojek driver, a cashier, friends of mine you have never met, complete strangers. I see you initiate and engage in conversations lightly.

And then, I see resemblance of my father in you. Just like that, everything feels like it makes sense.

5.04.2017

SOMETIMES

Sometimes, I wish there's just somebody brave enough to pull me out of my evil zone with great determination.

4.13.2017

Update on Emotions

As you can see, right now I've been caught up with my life as a medical student undergoing clinical rotation in Jakarta. I've left Newcastle 6 months ago, and it still aches to remember the day when my roommates helped me pack my suitcase until the next morning I really had to get to the airport. I still remember it rained that day, and I recall the mixed emotions I had between sadness on leaving the city and excitement on meeting my family in London (for only two days). But I was pretty sure the sadness weighed more, because I did not have the slightest interest to return to Jakarta (except to obligingly continue my studies and spend more time with Afdal). I was pretty much settled on living with the girls, it was comfortable, and I did not have to pretend anything. It is weird that in the midst of diversity and foreignness, I found true comfort and genuine acceptance.

Today, I can honestly say I haven't felt that emotional comfort for awhile. I meet Afdal or a few of my best friends once or twice a week during the weekends, and in those times I pretty much feel content. But the rest of the weekdays I spent at the hospital with a majority of people whom are just difficult to deal with just drains me emotionally. I don't even find studying an issue, nor the examiners. But meeting these people everyday and constantly going through conversations that just seem superficial (cause lots of the talks are just about digging into other people's lives) just sickens me. I just don't meet people with any sincerity or integrity at all, and I end up with people who get cranky when they're provided constructive criticism and go on bitching behind your back.

I've decided to write this in here, because writing has always provided me relief. I've also decided that it is better to keep this to myself, because opening up to people just invites offers of solutions. It's really hard to find somebody to just sit and listen to what you're saying and really just accept it without trying to fix things as if I need to be fixed. Emotions are real, they do not need to be mended nor forced to be looked at from different angles cause they're real just the way they are.

So, my plan right now is to just finish what I'm going through. Get my medical degree. Get USMLE. And finally, get out of here. :)

10.09.2016

The dream

My dream today was of losing an important part of me. A vital piece of which had I not dreamt of losing, I would have not felt it's meaningful existence and extreme painful sorrow upon the loss.

A dream that reminded me, loving a person requires great courage, for either by infinite mysteries of life or death, they will eventually be taken away.

7.28.2016

Trying to Make Sense of Things

The world is small, someone once claimed.

At this moment, I completely disagree with that statement. There are multiple incidents happening in this world we're living. There are bombs dropped in cities, there are families with children floating on the mediterranean sea, there are people dying from starvation, and other heartbreaking stories. 

Stories?

Yes, they seem to sound like stories to me. For I just cannot put my finger on why these stories don't feel real when the world is small? People around me seem to be okay. There are people spending money to get themselves drunk and high to feel entertained. There are others entirely absorbed with their own personal love affairs, and regard them as the most problematic event happening in this small world. I, for one, may be included in the latter category.

But just imagine, in a small world, people are feeling pain and insecurity, but some of them have to feel that while their lives are at risk. How frivolous my own problem is! The moment when our ears hear the blast of explosions and the children's screams, how will I ever feel concerned about my problems? I can't pinpoint exactly whether those stories are factual and I'm just a blissfully ignorant young woman, or are they just stories exaggerated by the media? I'm having endless questions in my head right now, because it's probably more likely that I've been ignorant. 

I feel a pang of guilt when any close friend of mine tells me about their problem, and I instead think that 'you have no idea how your obstacle is negligible compared to what the other side of the world is facing right now'. There are two reasons why I'm overwhelmed with guilt: 

1) They are my friends, and they have the right to expect and receive support and encouragement.
2) I, myself, would be in need of support if i were in their place.

Yes, you see, Karina, people do not have to go through life-threatening events, to have someone feel concerned about their matters. As a famous saying goes, 'everyone is facing a different battle'.

Indeed, it is a small world. An era of globalization. It seems very easy for someone to pack their high-end camera and get a footage from a deserted part of the globe. But when everything is behind the screen, it feels like everything can be fabricated. After all, we are living in a small world full of conspiracies too. People with power, who intend to stay powerful as long as they can, construct these conspiracies to increase power. On the other hand, some others do not desire power, not because they are pure at heart, but because they are too coward to face challenges of having power. Power is good, you see. Power, in fact, can terminate these horrid scenes.

But that's the thing. I'm powerless. And I live in societies that seem oblivious to the problems of this small world we're living in. And it feels so useless, this being of mine.

I feel incredibly pathetic whenever an issue of love gets me so agitated. It feels selfish to not have this same intensity of agitation towards what is happening to humanity today. It feels overly wrong in every way.





7.22.2016

MOMENTS IN NEWCASTLE


So, I know I haven't posted anything for ages (and I realize this is how I always start my post, by pathetically admitting it and not doing anything for improvement).

The above picture sums up my day today with these two girls, Haya and Paniz. Ila, another precious flatmate of mine, was not there to share the joy as she was showing her parents around the city.

I have never experienced this kind of friendship before (please don't interpret it negatively, I have yet to clarify my point). I'm aware that I'm a person who can make a really good first impression when it comes to meeting new people. But when it's concerning long term friendship, I just tend to disappear. I indeed admit that (and not attempting any improvement as well). Actually, I can even disappear sooner. Disappear, as in, suddenly not responding in the group, or not showing up as frequently as I did in casual hangouts. I'm half introverted (as much as how people disagree with this, it's true really), so sometimes I feel like I need to spend time by myself. But I don't like the idea of not doing anything. Sometimes too much socialising has me feeling like I haven't done anything productive or gained any skill. So being alone is a compensation, it's my time to learn a new language (currently it's French), read random medical chapter, or any other constructive activity.

And in life, it is very rare to find someone who respects that personal space, let alone understand it. Until these people came along.

Actually, they usually complain when I'm momentarily gone out of the circle. Hahahahahah. Maybe the first reason why I decided to write this post was to tell about today. Just fyi, I'm currently in an urgent state of being sleep-deprived. My master dissertation submission deadline is two days from now, and I have been spending sleepless nights working on finishing and polishing it. I should actually proceed doing that, but I'm experiencing burnout at the moment.

I have been up since 6 (I slept at 4 am), and been awake eversince. I've been writing since then to submit my discussion part to my post doc who refuses to receive any emails on weekends (which is tomorrow). It's been sent and it's been commented and I should actually be opening it again and rewrite things according to the feedbacks I've been given. But guys, I'm burnt out. Anyways, at two-ish, I joined Haya at Quilliams, a tea shop in Newcastle that has been our favorite spot, one that I'll definitely miss when I go back home. Haya is a great person to study with, because she understands that silence is a must to share if two people agree to study together. So I spent hours with her at Quilliams, us busy with our own stuff, until Paniz came around at 6-ish and the place started to get crowded anyways (with other group of Indonesians). Me and Haya went home, while Paniz decided to attend an invitation somewhere, in which she was half-hearted about going.

Anyways, 30 minutes after I arrived in my room, Haya texted in the group saying she was preparing burgers and anyone who's hungry should come to her kitchen quick. So without further ado, I raced to her kitchen while shouting in the hallway, 'I'm coming....!!!!!'. And I watched her prepare the burgers (yes, I was pointless, as always).

Soon after, Paniz came back too early from that place she was going (because she failed to see John Mauree, haha) and joined us in the kitchen. And that moment was just a regular moment that we're privileged with almost everyday, as we're (technically) living under the same roof. But now that it's almost time for us to part ways, I feel like I can't take advantage of these moments anymore, and I need to write it down.

I already forgot what we talked about while I was eating the delicious burger-in-a-wrap that Haya prepared for me. But I remember it was filled with laughter and really, just lame jokes.

I recall Paniz mentioning how Alberto thinks nobody is having sex in this building and how it bothered him. And we were like, 'how is he supposted to know that? People don't walk around and write a message on their forehead that says 'I've just had sex in my dorm room'.'

And the conversation continued, 'yeah, well he's obviously oblivious to his neighbor's personal activity.' (bearing in mind that his Indonesian neighbor always has this girl who visits his room in irregular hours)

'Actually I never hear any weird sounds from his room,' claimed Paniz, who was also living next door to the guy being gossiped about. 'I think he does it very quietly. I can clearly hear him when plays guitar! Or maybe I do hear it but I have no idea they're making love because it's in Indonesian!'

And I was like, 'I don't think you have to understand the words when people are basically half moaning all the time'.

Paniz crazily asked, 'Okay! Maybe you can tell me how it sounds like in Indonesian!'. She was actually being serious... and of course I said no way.

I remember we shifted the topic to talking about desserts, and then suddenly Haya was like,

'have you guys tried that honeycomb dessert in Pizza Express?!'

And Paniz, who was planning to go to the Botanist (a pub) that night, enthusiastially said, 'OH! LET'S GO! I can go while I'm wearing this outfit!' (she was wearing a shirt and a pair of shirts, mind you, it's not something you can frequently wear in Newcastle [if you're not wearing a hijab], because summer here is very transient and is mostly not sunny or warm, except a few rare days like nowadays).

So, I got very excited because I really preferred tasting desserts rather than going to a place that smells like sweat and alcohol. But eventually, she was like, 'Ughhh no, please, Karina, not today. I know I will regret it afterwards.'

Paniz is on a strict diet, even though, to me, she doesn't look like she needs it anyways. I responded with a disappointed face, like a kid who was promised to be given a candy but was tricked into not having anything in the end. Paniz started to feel a pang of guilt at the sight of my facial expression, so she suggested, 'Okay, look, how about we look up how much calories it contains? Can we find that information, Haya?'

By this time, we were already sitting at the kitchen's couch, and Haya casually answered, 'yeah just look it up on the internet'.

I thought they were joking about it, until Paniz grabbed her phone and said with a typical tone of hers, 'Okay! Let's google it!' And Haya approached with sincere interest. They were really doing it.

'Okay just see the picture first!' Haya said, when Google just callously shows you the relevant images when you're actually looking for a web link.

My God, the picture of this honeycomb thingy was so appetizing. We all reacted like sad kids. And I was utterly surprised when Pizza Express actually had their own PDF-format table on Google page where they list all their meals along with the amount of calories they contain. Seriously, what kind of world is this??

'Ok, honeycomb honeycomb honeycomb *while scrolling down the table rows*...... HA! OMG! I'M GONNA DIE. It's 750! (If I remember correctly)'. That's like two meals..!!!' shouted Paniz.

 And I suggested, 'Okay how about we go eat it and then after that we do squats in front of Haya? (who's the athlete among us)'.

And Paniz was like, 'it's not gonna work!'.

Then Haya came up with another suggestion, 'how about you accompany Karina and you don't eat?'.

We laughed at this, seriously.

'I'll be the one looking like a bad friend, who seems to be eating a treat and refuses to share it with her,' I said.

'Yes! It's gonna be like a torture to me! Witnessing her eating with pleasure while I sit there!' exclaimed Paniz. And we just laughed like crazy.

This whole dessert conversation was really making us crave for sweet things, so Haya said, 'I really want to eat something sweet but not heavy.' So she stood up and opened the fridge..... only to grab an apricot, which to me, tastes sour.

'What the hell, Haya? That's sour, not sweet! I want pure dessert!' I protested.

'Karina, that's not sour. You're unbelievable,' said Paniz. She's been teasing me when it comes to fruits, because most fruits taste sour to me. 'Do you want oranges with honey?' asked Paniz. Of course, she was teasing me again because I tend to add honey to everything that was too sour.

'Hey, I have that ice-cream that was randomly put in my drawer in the fridge!' shouted Paniz when Haya was about to bite her apricot, and our faces lit up. Somebody mistakenly put their ice-cream in Paniz's designated drawer in the fridge. And yes, she did not ask who it belonged to in our kitchenmates group. Honestly, who would do that?!

'Nobody has claimed it yet?!' asked Haya. 'Then bring it over!' (While she put her sour apricot back in the fridge). Haya passed me a spoon while Paniz ran to the other kitchen to get the bloody ice-cream, which was Haagen dasz in strawberry cheesecake flavour. Jackpot.

We squeezed together in that couch while we eat ice-cream and contemplated who might be the original owner of this edible guilty (this term applies to Haya and Paniz only) pleasure.

'I suspect it's Vera's,' started Paniz.

'It's okay if it's hers. She has done bad things, this is the least harmful revenge you can do,' replied Haya. And we giggled like crazy again. Vera, our Chinese flatmate who has been smoking in her room and caused the corridor to reek with tobacco smell.

When the bucket of the ice cream was spotless clean, Paniz said, 'just wait until she asks in the group, 'Has anyone seen my Haagen Dasz ice-cream?''. And we laughed so loud again.

'Okay now throw it deep down inside the bin, out of sight,' Haya suggested.

'Hahaha! It doesn't have her name on it, so just act cool,' I said.

And basically. That's how our day ended. We did not go anywhere on that Friday night. Ice cream and stupid sense of humor were all that we needed to satisfy ourselves that moment. It was just random and sincere. And certainly, these kinds of moments had been taken for granted.

I also don't want to forget that day when there was me, Paniz, Haya, Ila and Mary (a Taiwanese flatmate who happens to be an awesome traveling companion) were negotiating on a day to hike in Lake District. We had two options: Saturday or Sunday. But Paniz and Mary could not make it to one of those days because each had their own plan. Paniz had a fancy dinner to attend to on Saturday, and Mary attends church on Sundays. So we were just there, trying to find another date, but Haya made a clear point that if we postponed it, it will forever be delayed. I completely agreed with her. So we had to kind of choose one of these two days without any of these two people feel like they're being favored over the other.

So I suggested, 'let's toss a coin!'. They were all surprised when I proposed this idea, but they were also thinking (at that time) that there's no other fair solution to make this decision.

At first, they we were all muttering 'I don't have a coin' at the same time. And then there was a random single coin spotted on our kitchen table, 'coin'cidentally. Paniz and Mary picked their head and tail, and the funniest thing happened when Haya tossed the coin: the coin got stuck on the round kitchen ceiling lamp that was hanging above us. And we all just cracked. It. Was. Hilarious.

'Ok guys. That's a bad omen. It means we have to go together,' said Ila, while Haya was standing on a chair to take a look at the ceiling lamp and said, 'it's a head!'.. which was Mary's side.

And even though the coin has made the decision for us, we were still hesitating about leaving anyone behind. So Haya gathered her courage to ask, 'what if one of you just sacrifices their plan?'

..which was the solution that was there all the time in front of our face but none of us dared to ask them. And in the end, Paniz gave up on her fancy dinner. HAHAH.

So we immediately rented a car, and Haya drove us to Lake District the next morning :)




I will certainly never forget these people :)


3.14.2016

The Best People in Newcastle

Hello. I realize that I have been posting feelings that sound depressing and hopeless. What can I say, I did and still am going through a phase of heartbreak, one which I wouldn't discuss in this particular post. As life has its ups and downs, I need to focus and write more about the 'ups'. 

I have to say, that I'm amazed about how people, who were previously complete strangers, can deeply and sincerely care about you. And I'm extremely grateful that I met such people. Frankly, it has been awhile that I've experienced girl friendship of which feels secure and trustworthy. Because as some of you might have experienced it, it can be dramatic most of the time with all the gossips, backstabbing, and envy spirit. 

But I met these girls, Ilaria the Italian and Paniz the Iranian, and they are simply two of the best people in my life. Ones that fill my days with endless stories of how they spent their day, ones that accompany me during the meal times, ones that have seen me in my dirtiest, hopeless, saddest, happiest, exciting moments in my life, ones that made me feel that a group of girls can wholly trust each other without all the drama, and ones that don't give me a chance to question their sincerity at all, and I tell you, it's one of the best feelings ever.

Even though they don't share the same belief and have a different lifestyle in terms of interest and relationships, I'm very much thankful that God had sent them to take care of me during my stay in Newcastle. It wasn't just the countless support that they have given to me, but they trusted me enough to share their personal perspectives on things in life of which have opened my mind and helped me to love and appreciate myself better than I used to, and at the same time they happen to be great listeners. 

 It's incredible that they never hesitate to give a helping hand, on whether I need to borrow money, a waterproof jacket, or a shoulder to cry on. And it's surprising how they can read through me when I am feeling shitty and decide to keep everything bottled up inside because of my trust issues I have with people. But these people particularly, they were able to break that wall of distrust.

Instead of feeling envious of others' unique abilities, these girls really know how to encourage me and my potentials. They actually had me believe that I have potentials.


Do you ever wonder, if that friend of yours would do an extra mile to draw a smile on your face? Paniz and ila, they would do sweet little things, only to make me feel special and that I belong somewhere, that I mean something to them.

Even though the time hasn't come yet, I dread the day when I have to leave Newcastle. I couldn't imagine a single day without them as they were part of my routines and not being able to joke around with mean and dirty Persian and Italian phrases, and gossip about the American girl living next door to me. I couldn't imagine no more of the late night talks in either one of our rooms, while Ila brushes and irons my hair. I couldn't imagine no more nights of watching movies and Grey's anatomy in our living room, and spending more time talking. I couldn't imagine the special feeling of them hearing me sing and play guitar and their faces of genuine awe and appreciation. You are one of the few people in my life that will leave a significant place in my heart that feels like home. A home that I will always miss, and will return to one day time after time (once I have the money to visit Italy and the UK).

Maybe for the first time ever, I feel that I'm blessed with a mature friendship, that was built for less than a year but would last a lifetime.

Grazie, Ila. Merci, Paniz.