Monday, January 31, 2005


Yes, that is the new nickname that has been given to me by a sizeable group of Aussies in my class. Well, let me go back and talk about the rest of the first week of uni.

Well, Monday was the first day of medical school and it was great! I met heaps of people and the stuff that we are learning in the lectures, expert tutorials, and the practical sessions are basic/clinical sciences. Normally, I would be groaning about what the point of studying all of that would be (I did groan a lot during my undergraduate degree). However, the basic information is made relevant to the study of medicine.

Tuesday was off to an interesting start as the first lecture was on celebrating life and confronting death. We learned about how the gross anatomy labs will be set up. We also learned about how we get the bodies; that being said, there is a Thanksgiving Service for those people and their families that have donated their bodies for our studies. The next lecture was on occupational health and safety, more specifically, in the labs and practicals that we will have over the course of the next two years. After that, we had our first lecture in anatomy. Even though it was an introduction, I realized that anatomy will be a course that will require some painstaking attention. The most fun lecture of the day was the medical communications course. All the information is common sense, for example, if you are in a patient’s hospital room and there is no chair, then you must ask the patient’s permission to sit on their bed. Also, we watched videos on the don’ts and do’s of medical communication. The video was made by a Canadian doctor, with a very dense British accent, who is the leading expert on medical communication.

That evening was going to be a good one because the next day was Australia Day. Some of my new friends (a healthy mixture of Australians and internationals [Canadians and Singaporeans]) and I headed to the medical students’ watering hole (it is by no means an exclusive place for us), called the Regatta Hotel (commonly known as the Regatta). Most bars (not clubs) in Brisbane have the word ‘hotel’ in it’s name, for example, Exchange Hotel, Victory Hotel, Royal Exchange Hotel, and Regatta Hotel. I asked a few local students why that is the case, still waiting for an answer to that question. Several drinks and laughs later, I knew that Australia Day would be a very low key one.

Wednesday arrived and I woke up at 12:30pm, while many other people I know went to see the cockroach races and other things in Brisbane. Cam and I stayed inside the entire day and watched two great matches played at the Australian Open (Davenport vs Molik and Hewitt vs some Argentine bloke) and Australia vs West Indies in a cricket match. The weather was real crap, so spending it inside wasn’t a bad option (NOTE: I am sure that people are going to flame me on not having gone out on that day and experiencing things around the city. In my defense, many Australians have told me that watching cricket and tennis are very Australian things to do).

Thursday was all about the Problem-Based Learning (PBL) that UQ (and all other graduate entry medicine courses) uses to teach its students. We have only 5 lectures (each lecture is 1 hour and we may have more depending on the week; each week we have a different schedule) in a week, which is the only didactic learning we will be doing. The remainder of the time will be spent on PBL groups, self-directed learning, practicals, and expert tutorials. We were told that the minimum amount of time that we will be in classes, PBL sessions, practicals and self study will be at least 50 hours a week.

Friday was a day that I don’t think that I will be able to forget. It started with a lecture on the duty of care and the legal and ethical questions surrounding the issue. We also had a lecture on homeostasis (the maintenance of relatively stable internal physiological conditions), which was followed by a two-hour session by the University of Queensland Medical Society. They talked about what sort of things the UQMS do and what benefits we would have. After having an arse numbing experience (we didn’t have any breaks, thus no getting up from our seats, until the end which was 5 hours), the UQMS held a barbeque for the first years. It was held near the lakes that are on campus. A miniature beer garden was set up. The heat mixed with copious amounts of beer/wine made everyone quite ‘happy’. (At the time I didn't know him) Dave came up behind me and screamed “V-MAN! I was told that you are the person that knows everyone!” I was like, “what the hell?” Apparently, there is a large following of V-MAN supporters in the back of theatre. At first, I reckoned that they were taking the piss out on me but it seems that these people really think that I am the person that people should get to know. My friend Dave (a Sydneysider) introduce me to a huge crew of people as V-MAN and that is what I am known as in a few circles. HAHAHAHAHAHA…V-MAN…oh god. Okay, back to the story. I participated in boat races against the upper years. Myself, this Canadian girl named Renee, and 6 Aussie guys (Dave was one of them) were unbeatable! For those of you that don’t know what boat racing is, it is a very popular drinking game. The object of the game is to have your team skull (the Australian term for ‘chugging”) their beer the fastest. You have to place both of your thumbs and your chin on the table before the game starts. The referee will let the first two people know when they can start. Once the first person finishes skulling their beer (and placing the glass upside down on their head – this means that you have to finish everything in your glass or else you will have beer running down your hair, face and neck), then the next person skulls, so and so forth. I didn’t think that I would be able to do it. In doing so, I made a number of friends. I met a number of Daves (there were 5 and it reminded me of the song, “these are the Daves I know I know, these are the Daves I know by Kids in the Hall), and they invited me to play touch footy (touch rugby). I have never played, so they were trying to teach me how to throw the ball (which is much harder than most people would reckon). It was great; so great, that I am thinking of joining the UQ Med Rugby team, which is sanctioned by the state of Queensland as a official team (as opposed to being only sanctioned by the uni). The beer gardens were shut down just before 6pm. I made myself back to Claire’s flat and waited for her. She was going to drive the rest of my belongings to my new place. After getting dropped off and having all my belongings all over the place, I quickly unpacked and leaving all others things off to the side. Now, all I have had to eat today was a bowl of yoghurt and granola for breakfast and a veggie burger for lunch. I knew that I had to make dinner or else I will be brutalised by the end of the night. I made noodles/spaghetti. It wasn't too bad, considering that I don't have my spices and things set up.

Regardless, I had to get ready and meet up with the first years at…yes…the Regatta. Upon my entrance to the place, I can hear this cacophony of “V-MAN”. I had quite a difficult time staying in one place – it’s not always a good thing to be a social butterfly. Nonetheless, I met some new people (Aussies) and danced some good Indian style dancing even though there was no Indian beats being played. HAHAHAHA. People got a great kick out of it. My reward for this awkward display was that a number of people come up to me and told me that I had a great sense of dancing style. A couple of girls came up to me afterwards and asked if my hair was naturally curly – they ran their fingers through my hair…so good. :) The night, unfortunately, had to come to end. I walked home with Graeme, a Sydneysider, who is also a competitor for the Iron Man Triathlon. This is the great thing about being in this sort of class – everyone is from a different background and most of the fun will be getting to know these people and what sort of strengths they have brought to the Class of 2008.

Then Saturday came...and that will have to be another update as it requires my full attention. At the moment, I need to finish up my presention to my PBL group on the legalities and ethics of Duty of Care.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Once again, congratulations!

That was the theme for the first day of medical school. Almost every presenter was congratulating the class on passing the rigors of the GAMSAT (Graduate Australian Medical School Admissions Test) and the interviews. We were reminded of the roles and responsibilities that we have chosen to undertake over the next four years and beyond. Congratulations, congratulations and congratulations.

Last night, I didn't get much sleep as I was waking up every hour on the hour - I didn't want to miss the first session. Regardless, I made it 30 minutes before the day-long session started. I met some really nice people (in the beginning they are all very nice) and listened to presenters talk about certain programmes.

The very first presenter was the Dean of the School of Medicine. He was quite serious whilst telling us to enjoy the next four years of becoming a doctor. He said that there were 310 students in the class and of that, 300 will graduate and continue to do post-graduate medical training. We were becoming apprentices of this noble profession, we should be proud of where we have come and where we will be going. Furthermore, we should be prepared to undertake a very vigorous and demanding programme, while learning more about our learning styles and integrating the knowledge that we will be learning.

There were sessions on the bonded medical programme and rural medical scholarships (both of which are only meant for Australian/New Zealander citizens and premanent residents). The highlight of the day was having the introduction to Population and Preventive Health domain (we have four domains in which the course is being presented: Basic and Clinical Sciences; Interpersonal and Clinical Skills, Clinical Reasoning and Practice; Population and Preventive Health; and Ethics, Personal and Professional Development). We had our first lecture in the Population and Preventive Health domain and it was quite informative. The lecture was on how to assess, epidemiologically, the health needs of a community. It was quite basic but it was indeed a foreshadowing of something great that is still to come.

Of the 310 students, there are a number of international students. Half of them are Canadian students, the remainder (of those that I have met) come from the USA, Brunei, and Singapore.

Wow...I cannot believe that I have started medical school.

On that note of medical school, one of my best friends, Ruth, told me something that deeply resonatated within me (and there are some things that I will be adding to this). She said that the biggest piece needs to be placed first. I reckon that some of you are scratching your heads and thinking, "what the hell does that mean?" Well, it's quite simple actually. Your life needs to be viewed as if it were a glass jar. The biggest piece (let's say a large rock) represents the most important thing in your life right now. For me, it is my performace and commitment to medical school (for some people it might be a combination of medical school and their relationship with a significant other, etc). Then, the littlier pieces of rocks are to be placed. These rocks symbolise the extra-curricular/other social things that are important to you. For me, it is NMUN (which will be finished by the end of March - thank God), the Nuclear Weapons Inheritance Programme , and keeping healthy and active. Then, you place in the sand (which can represent different things for different people). In my case, it is all the other things (for the exception of my relationships) such as maintaining my home, social outings and functions and the like. The last thing that is filled is water. Water fills all the remaining holes and prevents the other items in the jar to 'hurt' the other things. For me, water represents my relationship with friends and family. They are the people that keep me afloat, they affirm my reasons for being the type of person that I am, and they will be the source of never ending support. The reason why this conversation came up between Ruth and I was that I know that I (and people like myself) have the tendencies of taking on too many extra-curriculars and making it more important than other things. Quite frankly, that has to stop here. I have arrived in Australia and my focus in on my medical education. That being said, I am going to New York for the NMUN conference in March, there is a possibility that I might be doing a medically related trip to South Asia in August, a 4-week international elective in November, and then I will be going to Calgary for the Christmas holidays. Yes, all this travelling is fun but I have to remember that I am here to embark on this journey of becoming something that I have always wanted to become. My extra-curriculars are important but they should not be more important than the reason why I am came to Australia. That was more intense than I wanted it to seem but I thought that it was necessary.

Alright, it's almost 5pm and I reckon that I should get going. I am still waiting to hear back from one lessor about the amazing flat. If I hear back tonight, then I will be able to set up tonight and realign my focus.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

House hunting...

sucks. But after seeing the one house that I saw yesterday evening, my faith in the University of Queensland Accommodations Database has been restored. I saw a lovely Queenslander (this is a type of house that is built up off the ground - very much like a house built on stilts), which had hard wood polished floors, good lighting, close to a shopping centre and a major train stop. The room that I would be renting is quite nice and bright, 12 ft ceilings and two big windows. So, you must be thinking, "well, that's all nice Veevek but what did you manage to pick out that was so wrong?" The kitchen. The kitchen looked as if it should belong in a cabin, as it was so rustic. The sink is smaller than my mum's chai tepalu (pot for those non-gujju folk)! I know that I won't be able to do as much cooking now but I would like to have the option of having a potentially well-stocked kitchen. The stove was extremely small - look as if it were a heavy paper weight.

The next day, I looked at another flat, which was pretty much across the way from uni. It was a two bedroom and two bathroom place. The kitchen was much better and the person that I would be living with was a 21 year old woman that was finishing up her degree in environmental science. Her father was there to help set up her desk. My room was spacious and the wardrobe (aka closet) was huge! I would have no problem fitting all my stuff in there. It was a little far, but definitely within walking distance, to Coles (one of the two major grocery chains here, the other being Woolworth's). If I were to choose between this one and the queenslander, I reckon that I would have to choose this one as it would be close to uni.

This day was probably the hottest day since I have been in Brisbane. It was hovering around 34 degrees Centigrade. I was sweating bullets - I mean all the water that I drank ended up pouring out of my pores. I have a sunburn on my nose and my pasty brown skin colour has started to transform into this 'honey-wheatish' complexion. :) wheatish complexion = awesome biodata report! I can see my mum say, "oh Veevek, you have come back so thin and black. I will make you some food and make sure you scrub your face hard with the Fair & Lovely soap that I have placed in your bathroom." HAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Seriously.

Okay, back to the house hunting saga...

That same day, I also looked at another place that was in the same apartment complex as Claire's. I knew that it would be good because Claire's flat is quite nice - all modern amenities (except the showerhead must have been ordered from Hell's Catalogue of Household Furnishings). The place indeed had all the modern amenities but the bedroom that was being rented out was actually the study! It was a windowless room that had no storage space whatsoever. I was quite disappointed - oh well. My eyes were set on the two bedroom/two bathroom flat that was close to uni.

By this time, I was getting a bit frantic. Uni starts on Monday and I don't have a place to live yet. I reckon that most of the med students (well, the ones that I have talked to) have all found places and will have finished setting up by the time Monday rolls around. I had two more places to check out and both were looking promising.

On Saturday morning, I saw a place that was absolutely AMASING (yes, that's how amazing is spelt in Australia)! It was a three bedroom flat that overlooked the Brisbane River and had a great view of the CBD. I was shown my bedroom, which had an ensuite bathroom. It was everything that I was looking for in a place (well, the carpet was a bit grungy but that can be easily overlooked in this situation)! It had several windows (none of which faced the afternoon sun, which is good or else the flat would have its very own tandoori oven), a queen size bed, good lighting and a large enough wardrobe to fit most of the clothes that I would need on a regular basis. The flat was 100m from the bus stop to uni, 100m to the major train stop, 200m to the RE (Royal Exchange - a very popular student bar) and Toowong Square (a major suburb shopping centre). The two other people living there were older than me - late 20s. The bloke was a Kiwi and he does IT work at a local newspaper and the sheila was a Aussie, who just finished a degree in applied science and education and is teaching science courses at a local school and coaching a couple of sports (I don't know which ones). They will let me know by Monday/Tuesday. Now that I have seen this place, I don't want to look any more but I have this feeling that I won't be getting the room. I have one more place to check out tomorrow morning at 9am. Fun fun.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

How right was this!

So, it has been a few days since I have arrived in Brisbane and I can’t imagine myself anywhere else in the world. :)

I arrived to Brisbane on Saturday night after an 8 hour flight. I sat beside a young and very friendly Australian, who was coming back from an 8-week holiday to Canada and Europe. We were the types of passengers that other people hate – the ones that are laughing, enjoying the meals (and the great Australian wine, rum & coke, and bailey's with coffee) and watching the funniest/scariest movies that were offered.

Australian immigration was quite an ordeal…ohmigod. My flight arrived in Brisbane at 7pm, along with two other flights – one from London and the other from Jakarta. Needless to say, Australian Immigration would be processing many people. There were three people processing “All Other Passports” and three people processing “Australian Passport Holders and their families”. The queue was long and the waiting time wasn’t so good either. I got my passport stamped and right away, this immigration official, with a very thick Eastern European accent, started questioning me for several minutes. She asked everything from where I was born, how my parents met, why Canada, what I was doing in the United Arab Emirates, why do I have a work visa for Kenya, and what I was doing in Australia. After trying to answer her questions without sounding the least bit sarcastic (or else, she might have had me kicked out the country at my expense), I was escorted by this gentlemen to a room on the side. I had ticked off on my immigration card that I had goods to declare (medicines, food items and articles made of wood). The declaration of medicines is in the same category as prohibited goods such as weapons, ammunitions, and illicit drugs. Now, do I look like a drug smuggler? (don't answer that) A few officials were looking at my passport and some other documents that I had to show. They poked and prodded the biggest suitcase I had (which was 39 kilos…good god). I opened it and showed them all the declared items. While I was packing, I made sure to have all my declared items in one suitcase (this is a great tip for those people that are, one day, coming to Australia). After approving my goods, I went out and met my friend Claire who had waiting, very patiently, for almost an hour. It was great to see her again! Oh, before I forget, the point of this little immigration story is that Australian immigration officials don’t mess around – they mean business…hardcore.

Claire is brilliant…right now. HAHAHAHA (She is sitting in front of me as I am typing this). I am staying with my friend Claire. She came to Calgary for one semester in the beginning of 2003 (She really is a brilliant, sexy, fun, did I mention brilliant, always smiling – except when she is at work). We have been in touch ever since and now I am staying with her for the next few days until I get adjusted to my surroundings. When I arrived, I went back to Claire’s place – freshened up and then we went to one of her co-worker’s party (Barbara – she has quite a funky personality, not a bad looker but was utterly trashed at the party). On the way to Barbara’s place, Claire and I stopped at a…get this…a drive thru liquor store! This concept would make millions in Canada. So, we get to this party and people have been drinking for a number of hours (we arrived around 11pm and the party started around 8ish). I realized that Australians, both men and women, are quite image conscience even when they are pissed drunk! Perhaps this feeling of being conscience about one’s appearance is not necessarily a bad thing since I reckon that that will get me into shape faster. We only stayed an hour because we were just too good for that place – seriously. We came back to the flat and ordered…get this…a barbeque sauce based vegetarian pizza from Domino’s! What a novel concept – if we can put this sauce on meat for the barbeque, then why not for pizza. It was schmecktyo (good). We talked for a few hours and then went to bed…in separate places of course. The next morning, we got up, had some breakfast and then went out to get my SIM card for my mobile phone. The one thing that Brisbane has that Calgary doesn’t…is the heat and the humidity! Oh mother of Mary! I don’t remember a time when I ever got pit stains from being in the heat. My hair has never been so frizzy – it looks like a steel wool scouring pad.

Apart from that, I have been actively looking for a decent place to live. I saw a couple of places to rent. Claire was so disgusted by one of them, that she had to disinfect herself in the shower! It was like being environmentally raped…it was brutal. NASTY. Some of the other places haven't been too bad. I am being really picky about what I want and rightfully so. I don't want to settle for a place due to time constraints. I want to make sure that I can find the best place for the budget that I have set out for myself.

Okay, on that note, I am actually heading out to see another place. I will definitely let you know how it turns out!

Cheers :)

Sunday, January 16, 2005

When in Singapore...

...You have to use the free Internet that is provided at Changi International Airport! The last couple of days has been an incredible rollarcoaster ride! I left Calgary on Wednesday afternoon and it was one of the hardest things I have done in a long time. My friends Ruth and Tim came out to see me off. Bhavisha, Vinay, and my aunt and uncle dropped me off at the airport. We waited in the queue for the Air Canada flights to the US. The lady at the counter (Merilee) was a bit confused about all the luggage that I had (3 big ass pieces of luggage: 20, 36 and 39 kilos). I paid the $175 for the extra piece of luggage and totally fibbed the weight of them (I told her that they were all 30 kilos or less...opps). Before going into US Customs, I gave everyone a hug and when it came to hugging Vinay and Bhavisha, I cried. I couldn't do anything but. Bhavisha gave me a letter that I had to open on the plane. I couldn't stop crying - I am going to miss V & B so much. US Customs was a breeze and I boarded my flight without any problems. En route to LA, I read Bhavisha's letter and a card given to me by my friend, Trisha. The card and the 4-page letter with pictures were enough to bring me to tears for almost the entire flight! The person beside me was quite worried (perhaps shocked as well) at the level of duress that I was under. He asked if he should move and I said yes. Even the two stewardess were quite worried that I was going to pass out or something. Needless to say, I was well-attended to on the YYC- LAX flight.

In LA, I met up with Sara, a friend and colleague from the National Model United Nations Conference. It was nice to see a familiar face. Now, a word of caution: the Tom Bradley International Terminal at LAX is a whole new world. I mean, I felt as if I were in South East Asia or Chattarapati Shivaji International Airport in Mumbai. There was this smell and feel of 'ethnicity' (that is how Sara put it). I am not claustophobic but this place would turn me into one! While I was getting my boarding pass for the flight from LAX to Singapore, I asked the steward how long the layover was going to be in Tokyo. He gave me this quizzical look and said, "This flight does not go to Japan. It will be stopping in Taipei." I almost jumped in glee! (Good god...I used the word 'glee') Good thing I didn't make concrete plans to meet Rakhee in Tokyo or else she would have been pissed off. The flight from LAX to Taipei was the LONGEST flight I have ever been on - 14 hours. And in terms of life experiences, I can say that I have never seen to experience nor enjoy January 13th, 2o05. I am sure that I would have won the lottery or something like that on that I am shaking my fist! Okay, back to the story...You can only watch so many movies and solve Super Mario Brothers 2. :) The seat beside me was empty and the one beside that was occupied by a younger Singaporean lady, whose family lives in Taipei and she commutes between LAX and Singapore. We arrived in Taipei and what would a person do for 3 hours? Most people would have stayed in the airport waiting to board for the next flight. I was invited by the lady that sat beside me (Thindart was her name) to come over to her family's house and have something to eat/drink and shower before heading off to Singapore. It was great! My experiences in South East/East Asian are practically nill - so this was a great way to broaden my horizons in a part of the world that I have not been to. So, after eating, drinking and making merry, Thindart and I were dropped off at the airport and we left for Singapore. It was 29 degrees (36 with the humidity) when I arrived at 11am. I was taken away to my hotel (Hotel Royal), which is the middle of nowhere. Now, for those of you that are aware of your Singaporean geography - Singapore is a city-state and an island; it takes 45 minutes to drive from one end to the other. But this hotel was near nothing! I spent more money on the transit fares than anything else. Regardless, Singapore was a beautiful city that has all the amenities that we would find in New York City (shopping, nightlife, leisure & tourism, and diverse population). I saw all the main highlights of the city - Little India, ChinaTown, Arab Street, Marina/Habour Front, Sentosa Island, and the Parliament buildings. I missed having afternoon tea at Raffles Hotel but I will leave that for when I return to Singapore, en route to Calgary, in December. Alright, I should be off as my flight to Brisbane is boarding now! See you all in Australia!

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

And then there were none...

It is the early morning of January 12th, 2005. This is a day that I have waited for so long, yet there are quite a bit of butterflies and other things going through my stomach and mind, respectively.

I spent most of Tuesday with friends and my cousins. It was a hard day, knowing that my friends and I are going through another trial to test the bounds of friendship. I hope that they will stay strong, and for most of them, I know that they will. I guess the one thing that I am not looking forward to about Brisbane is having to build the history that comes with friendships. More specifically, the friends that I have, I don't have to go back into the history books and tell them about a part of my life. These were things that were found out/told long ago. In Brisbane, I will have to rebuild my history with new people (hmm...repetition isn't always a good thing). On the other hand, there are potentially 19 million (of who I know 4) people that I can be friends with!

The house is so empty - no one is here. And after I leave, it truly will be like something out of Ten Little Indians (however, there were only 4 here to begin with, 5 if you count Gopal). :)

Wow...I cannot believe that my room is the cleanest that it has been since this house was built! I didn't think that I would get everything done in time. I guess the notion of having my parents come back home and seeing that things aren't left they way they expect it is something that is inspiring me to make it as spic-n-span as possible.

Alright, I am done for the night. My head is starting to make weird noises - I reckon that it's telling me that I should be off to bed.

It's odd - I really do feel as if I am moving to the end of the Earth. I know that for my friends that live in Europe and other parts of the world outside of Canada, my move to Australia will be nothing different (except for the fact that I am anywhere between 1o to 18 hours time difference depending on where they are living). Sure, they will have to come to know new numbers and contact information, but the distance will still be there. However, with some of my friends in Calgary, it seems a bit hard to leave behind such a good crew. I guess we all have to leave behind a bit of ourselves in order to find another part of ourselves elsewhere.

I reckon this Calgary chapter of Veevek's life is coming to a close. Fortunately, the characters keep moving from one chapter to the next. :)

Monday, January 10, 2005


...yes, this post is about Raghav - the new Indo-Canadian sensation that has been breaking the charts in Asian influenced music in the UK and around the world. (Thanks Anita for bringing me out of the 'Raghav' closet - I am definitely going to need your support)

Raghav Mathur, otherwise known as Raghav in the music world, is someone that I knew when I was much younger. My cousin, Neha, and I used to sing bhajans (devotional songs) at the Calgary Hindu Mandir. Raghav used to sing there as well. In fact, there were a number of competitions where Raghav and I competed side-by-side. I remember reciting the Gayatri Mantra and Shanti Path. Raghav came in first for the Gayatri Mantra (I came in second) and I came in first for Shanti Path (he came in second). We also had the same Indian classical music guru, Nishi Kant Bali. I never really thought that I would make a career out of classical music (or in Raghav's case, music in general). I still see his parents' at the Mandir - very simple people. Everytime I see his video on B4U or some other desi channel or BBC UK music, I think of how much work he has done to get where he is now. That aside, he needs to work on his dancing - he has the same move over and over again. Then again, he isn't getting the big bucks to dance. My good friend, Rabia, sent me Raghav's CD "Storyteller". It's a pretty good album - my favourite song on it is "Ain't Nobody". It has this definite gujju beat which is always a good thing. Yes, I am a part of the "che-che" linguistic group - are you happy Anita?

Sunday, January 09, 2005

Why does it snow?

I am looking out my window and it seems as if the gods are shaking their heads and all dandruff is falling towards to the ground (ewww). It's absolutely miserable outside - I guess it means that staying inside (which isn't a bad thing) is the next best thing. I ask myself, "why does it snow?" Well, Veevek, snow falls from clouds that contain enough cloud droplets and ice crystals for precipitation to form. In order for snow to reach the ground without melting, the wet bulb temperature of the air near the ground must be below freezing. The wet bulb temperature is the temperature measured by a thermometer that has a little wet sock covering the bulb before it is swung in a circle in the air. Thus, you can have snow fall reaching the ground even when the air temperature is slightly above freezing. Yes, thanks Veevek. Now I can see why people think thta I drone on about things that really don't matter or things that just so insignificant. The next "fun fact" will be about how vacuum cleaners work.

Okay, I am stepping away slowly from the previous line of thought. Hopefully, it will jilt my brain into a more coherent thought process.

The house has been feeling full for the past couple of days because of Hasit's presence. It's great to have everyone back under one roof, even though it is only for a few days. When I picked up Hasit, it was great to see his big smile again. His presence is something that really picks me up. We have spent the morning listening to music, catching up on each other lives', and planning what sort of trouble we will be making this weekend. MUAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

Seriously, my brother's arrival is a Swan's Song, so to speak. His arrival means that the entire family is back together under one roof; the sad thing is that it will be a very long time till the 4 of us are back together. The arrival of this weekend has always been in my head - thinking of what will happen, will the tension in the house go away, or will it increase as there are a bit of unsaid emotions and things to be said and discussed. But for the time being, I am trying to enjoy what little time remains, as Hasit leaves for Ottawa tomorrow morning at 10:10am.

God damn...I hate winter. Hmm, let me clarify. I hate the ugly side of winter - the brown snow accumulating on the roads, the intensified levels of road rage, the inability for a relatively new car to stay heated, and how I seem to be the only shoveling the snow from the driveway and sidewalk. On the other hand, winter has its good points - skiing (which I wasn't able to do last year as I was living in Kenya, and this year because I wasn't able to manage my time wisely between the things that I wanted to do on the weekends), warm beverages, great foods that are high in carbohydrates and fats, and wearing clothes that just feel oh-so gooooooood!

Thursday, January 06, 2005

'Twas a week before leaving, when all through the house not a creature was stirring, not even Gopal...

It's 11:28pm and I finally decided to put up that blog that I have been meaning to do for such a long time. I guess there is no time like the present. I have also just awoken from a three-hour nap, something which I won't be able to do much of pretty soon. I have all this energy (not to mention that my eyes are so itchy due to allergies that are acting up), so why not spend it on something as productive as writing my first post, right (which will attempt to take my mind off the idea of gouging my eyes out with something dull and then dousing them with a soothing liquid)?

This upcoming week, up until January 12th, is going to be one of the most hectic that I have had in quite some time. My brother, Hasit, comes tomorrow at 9:25am from Ottawa. He will be here in Calgary until Sunday morning. A whirlwind of a trip for him. It will be nice to see him again, as I don't know when I will be seeing him again (why is that the case? Read on a bit...). My parents are leaving on a 2-month sojourn that will take them to the United Arab Emirates, East Africa, and India. And I am moving to Brisbane, Australia on January 12th!

This is the final week of spending time with my close friends and family. God, I am going to miss my two younger cousins, Vinay and Bhavisha. I remember when I was growing up, my brother and I didn't have anyone else but each other. I know the importance of having an older sibling - and I don't want those two kids to miss out on that. I don't even know how I am going to be able to say goodbye. As for my friends that are still in the city, they have come to expect that I will never be quite satisfied by staying in one location. That being said, I guess I would be considered having commitment issues towards residing in one location (I am sure that Freud would have a field day with that one!). My friendships with these people are incredible. They are the sort of relationships that can be left unattended for long periods of time and when you do see each other, it's as if you haven't spent a single day apart. As for the family, I realized that I have too many. :) To say the least, these next few days will be a very tight balancing act between spending time with close friends and family. the way, Gopal is the family pet. He is an African Grey Parrot - is too smart for his own good. :)

The past few days (and the couple of weeks leading up to this one) have been filled with running errands (got my international driver's license today, among other things), packing up my entire life in boxes so that my room can forever be a reminder of what it once was (oh god...why am I writing such melodrama?), and trying to sane during the process. Moreover, my parents are having a difficult time with my departure (fair enough, their youngest child is moving half way around the world). Since I am leaving after they are, their (this is to read as my dad's) level of stress is just a little more higher than it should be. As a result, there are times when the air in the house is filled with tension.

Not only that, but I am trying to get my head around why I am moving to Australia. Ever since I was 15, I have wanted to be a doctor. After having an interesting undergraduate university education and a couple of years of attempting to enter the Canadian medical school system - I am almost gave up hope...almost. I had realized (during my trip to Europe in August of 2003) that giving up on something that is such a big part of who am I really means giving up on myself...and I was not going to let that happen. After realizing what it most important to me in terms of a medical education and how I see myself within the field of medicine , I applied to universities in Australia. And now, it is no longer a matter of if but when. I am one of 250+ students at the University of Queensland School of Medicine for the 2005 intake. I am leaving on January 12th, and, by way of Los Angeles, Tokyo and Singapore, I will be in Brisbane on the 15th (may I just say that Singapore Airlines kicks ass!). I am scheduled to return back to Canada (as my ticket is a one year open ticket) on October 8th but I will have to change that to December.

Hmm...this seems to be quite a lot for a first post. Perhaps I should quit while I am ahead. Besides, I need to clean up the bathroom, put out the garbage, and packed up some more things in my room. What else is a person to do at 12:21am?