March Quickie!

I haven’t blogged in over a month now, and I suddenly realized that it’s one day from the end of March! So here’s a quick recap of some parts of my March in classic point form (because I like posts in point forms).

  • I celebrated my 22nd birthday this month! :D It seems like after my 20th birthday, I just feel perpetually old. It’s slightly ridiculous, but ah well. I see every birthday as a chance to be actively reminded of just how blessed I am to have people who love love loooove me and whom I love, too! It’s a great thing, you know. As Oscar Wilde said, “Who, being loved, is poor?
The Twin wrote this for me. It's to the tune of the oh-so-popular "Do You Wanna Build A Snowman?" Here are the words: Do you wanna draw a stickman? Could also be a fat man Because it's your birthday now And also mine And stickmen seem just right I'm not sure what I'm writing I just know I am And I think it sounds alright! So do you wanna draw a stickman? Way funner than building snowmen ... or so I say

The Twin wrote this for me. It’s to the tune of the oh-so-popular “Do You Wanna Build A Snowman?”
Here are the words:
Do you wanna draw a stickman?
Could also be a fat man
Because it’s your birthday now
And also mine
And stickmen seem just right
I’m not sure what I’m writing
I just know I am
And I think it sounds alright!
So do you wanna draw a stickman?
Way funner than building snowmen … or so I say

This is just one of the photos I took of the things my friends made/got me for my birthday! Lotsa love for them <3

This is just one of the photos I took of the things my friends made/got me for my birthday! Lotsa love for them <3 * There were some other things too, but I like this photo best (and based on Instagram, you guys did, too!)

 

  • This one’s a quick shoutout to a friend (who I know reads every post here) who came from Warsaw to Krakow and paid me a visit, among other things. Thanks!
  • I’ve been much too busy. Exams, tests, the usual. Pray for sustenance, please! It does drain you out a little, all that reading and memorizing and stuffing facts in my noggin’. Some days I just want to give up, but it’s those days that remind me to seek rest in God and work from within His peace and rest.
  • Not proud of this, but I failed my first anything in 3 years? More or less. I’m not sure how best to react to it, but to acknowledge that it was a weakness on my end that I need to correct. Definitely not proud of it. Surprisingly, I’m not upset by it, either. And no, I don’t want to hear any of the “you’re in medical school, failing’s normal” talk. I decided long ago that that has no place with me if I want to excel.
  • I realized that I like “girly” things a lot more now *blushblush* (that was unwarranted, sorry). For the unacquainted, I’m not a typical girly girl who walks around with makeup and skirts and what-have-you. I suppose, now you could say I’m growing slowly into it? I still enjoy my jeans tons, but makeup brushes and fragrances, anyone? (Jeans are still in first place, though)
  • MH370. Need I say more? If you’re unaware, it’s the number of the Malaysian Airlines flight that went missing on March 8, 2014. It’s all terribly heartbreaking. A few days ago, the Prime Minister of Malaysia announced that they firmly believe that the plane crashed into the Southern Indian Ocean and that all on board were assumed dead. I think most of us are hoping for a miracle, or at least, some form of definitive answer to all the questions surrounding the disappearance of the plane. I’ve been primarily upset that people persist in spreading rumours about the people aboard that flight and what may have happened to it. Just do keep the families of those on board that flight in your prayers. I believe they need it most.
  • need caffeine. Meaning coffee. Even theophylline (meaning tea), doesn’t cut it well enough. I ran out of Nescafe (the only coffee powder I know how to work with) last weekend, and then I kept forgetting to pick it up when I go past grocery stores. Also, small kiosks and grocery stores do not stock Nescafe in Krakow, so I had to visit a proper hypermarket. Three days without caffeine was difficult, what with the lack of sleep.
  • Spring is here! Quite properly, too. We had mildly erratic weather, but now it seems like Mr Sun’s here to stay! I wish I had a picture of the pretty white flowers blooming all over to show you, but I don’t! I hope I will soon! My camera needs to go for a walk!
  • With regards to spring being here, I think I’m developing hay fever for the first time. Self-diagnosing here, but I’m pretty sure I have allergic rhinitis to all the pollen being stirred up by the billowing winds. Why I’ve never developed hay fever my first two springs in Poland is beyond me.

That’s about it, I think. I hope you’ll all keep well! Here’s a bonus pic of me reacting to a toy cat a couple of friends surprised me with. God bless you loads and loads :)

Me reacting to cat soft toy

What Chips Are For

Chips, crisps, whatever you call ‘em. You know what they’re made for?

Stress eating. Yep.

Mmm *crunchcrunch*

Mmm *crunchcrunch*

 

Let’s be real here. Those little round potato pieces are much too noisy to be eaten when you’re watching Sherlock or football (both of which are things I highly recommend watching. COYG!) I don’t think they make for particularly good snacks either because they are so salty!

But as stress food? Good golly, they rock.

I kind of envy medical students in schools that only hold tests/exams at the end of each semester, because we have them all year round, and when we do, my brain goes nuts and tells me to start binge-eating chips. (Someone in my group counted, and I think we’ll have 12 tests/exams this semester. Nuts.)

I think I’m on averagely 4 packs of 150gm chips every month? More or less (mostly more, heh). Which I know isn’t healthy but it’s something I find very hard to shake off! I’ll be smack in the middle of studying, and my mind will start saying “So hey, some chips now would be good ey.” And it won’t shut up. Ridiculous.

In an attempt to control that habit, I have decided to stop buying chips when I get my groceries. So if I ever crave them, I would have to walk down to the grocery store to get just one pack and come right back. It seems to be working a little, because 1. I really don’t want to pull on warmer clothes to go out for a pack of chips; 2. Chips at the nearby store costs more than at Carrefour! and 3. If my cravings hit late at night, the store won’t be open anyway.

Let’s hope this system works out for me. I don’t understand why I have such little self-control when it comes to chips, but yeah. Here’s to a less chips-y semester.

EDIT: I saw this post today about eating too many chips, and perhaps I should use that as my phone wallpaper hmm.

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You got to read that post above because I saw this Daily Prompt this morning, and thought “Oh yeah, like me and Lay’s” and couldn’t shake it off my brain. Thoroughly aware that the original point of the prompt was for you to talk about others’ vices though, but eh. *shrugs*

A Love That Just Keeps Giving

Tonight was my very first prayer meeting in Poland. I don’t know why I waited so long, but I am so thankful that I have a friend who cared enough to ask if I was going. And I am glad I did.

Going to church is one thing, but a prayer meeting is quite something else. A prayer meeting where you can just not worry about what anyone thinks about you, or if you’re worshiping too loudly, too softly, if you’re saying the right words, is just so lifting and incredibly edifying.

And a prayer meeting where you know the love and presence of your beloved Father is just right there all around you is even more incredible.

Sunrise

New mercies every day

Personally, the one thing that speaks to me the most in being a Christian is knowing that Christianity isn’t a set of rules, but an immensely fulfilling relationship with a God who is so holy, but who can love me, a sinner, so much. There’s a never-ending flow of unconditional love that keeps pouring out, all over me.

But tonight, I just suddenly realized that, hey, where would I be without the mercy and grace and forgiveness and redemption that I have through Christ? Sure, I’ve been taught that many times, but do you know what it feels like to have an acute comprehension of the magnitude of grace that you and I are standing in?

It’s earth-shattering.

To be made so aware of the sin that is in my life, but to still have the privilege to call my God Father, is simply too much. I did nothing to deserve it. I have not loved enough, cared enough, been gentle enough, shown compassion and forgiveness. On top of that all, I still do things I shouldn’t. In the truest sense of the word, I have not been good.

And yet, through the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ, I am whole. Accepted. Loved. A child of God. And so graciously forgiven.

Just. Wow.

His love. Just. Keeps. Giving.

And that is, the greatest love of all.

Despondence

My year currently has Pediatrics postings at the Polish-American Children’s Hospital in Krakow. and I have learned so much more than I thought I would. I enjoy every minute of it even though I have to be up at 6am every morning just to get ready and travel there. It’s such a great experience.

At the same time, it’s so difficult to be in that hospital. It’s one of the best paeds hospitals in Poland, and we receive some of the saddest cases. Yesterday, my group was shown a CT of an 11-year-old girl whose entire chest cavity was filled with cancerous nodules. Her liver, lungs, kidneys – all ravaged by cancer. Prognosis: 5-10% chance of survival.

Today, it was a 3-day-old newborn with Patau Syndrome. He had congenital heart defects, kidney failure, respiratory failure, the typical polydactyly (extra toes and fingers), low set ears. And he was expected to die later today. Seeing his parents and grandmother come in and decide to stop treatment was, well, horrible. But that was the best course of action to take.

After great pain, a formal feeling comes - The Nerves sit ceremonious, like Tombs - The stiff heart questions 'was it He, that bore' And 'Yesterday, or Centuries before?'                                                                                               - Emily Dickinson

After great pain, a formal feeling comes -
The Nerves sit ceremonious, like Tombs -
The stiff heart questions ‘was it He, that bore’
And ‘Yesterday, or Centuries before?’
                                                                                               - Emily Dickinson

It’s so heartbreaking. I can scarcely imagine what the children’s families must feel. And that’s just a tiny portion of some of the kids we see.

Sure, there are happy cases too, but it’s just. Those kids are so young, so precious. And they’ve had more needles in them than I’ve ever had in my 21-odd years.

I simply can’t put into words what I feel. What I can express is how thankful I am to have what I have, I suppose. Things we take for granted much too often.

Sick Food!

Aaand I’m sick. Or was. I think “was” fits better, because I feel almost normal now.

A little after midnight on Saturday, I came down with a horrible bout of food poisoning, which stopped after 10 minutes and continued at 4.30am that same day. And then caused me to throw up every 15 minutes for the next 2 hours. TMI, I know, but :P

The last time I suffered from food poisoning was in college, and that was a nightmare. I lost around 5 kilos in 2 days, and was so weak I’m not sure how I attended classes. I’ve been slightly paranoid about food poisoning since, and promptly dragged myself to a doctor who insisted I get an anti-emetic jab in my gluteus stat so that I could at least drink water without vomiting all of it (plus some more bile. TMI again, I know). Then I proceeded to spend the rest of my day sleeping. I must have only been properly awake for a grand total of 5 hours that Saturday.

Now I’ve stopped throwing up, which I suspect is, in a small way, because I’m still on anti-emetics. But my appetite’s all gone! I would get all hungry and then the moment I start eating, I don’t want food anymore. 

I suppose I’m probably still sick-ish? So naturally, sick and sick-ish people eat sick food, which in my book is Chinese porridge, or congee, if you want to be completely accurate about it. But let’s go with porridge.

Lemme just say that I loooove porridge. A LOT. I honestly don’t even care if it’s entirely plain rice broth; I will eat that thing. You know what’s better than being sick-ish and having to eat porridge?

Eating porridge with Marmite (!!!)

Image

Had this brought from Malaysia because that’s how much I like that stuff. Costs RM14.80, according to the price tag I left on it. (Ignore the clutter in the background, that’s just how we roll here)

If you have no idea what Marmite is, Google it! I’m much too lazy to place a hyperlink for you. Basically, Marmite is like the salty equivalent of Nutella. And when you throw it in a bowl of porridge, it makes your food ten times better. Even if you think that it’s no longer possible to better said bowl of porridge. It pretty much works the way Nutella works when you mix it with oat porridge. 

* At this point, I’m very inclined to place links to the definitions of “porridge” and “congee”, then rewrite some parts of this post, but I couldn’t be bothered.

There’s a small chance I may have overdosed on Marmite. Or maybe not. Either ways this thing is awesome. None of your Bovril baloney for me! (this is likely not how you use the word ‘baloney’). 

3rd New Year in Krakow

I’m sitting in my room typing this, listening to what seems like a multitude of fireworks go off. My camera’s right next to me, but honestly, I’m not sure I want to look for the fireworks. This year, they sound even more like gunshots and explosions, which terrifies me a little, so I’m staying away and listening to Sara Bareilles instead.

New Year's Eve 2013 Krakow, Poland

It’s midnight here in Krakow, so Happy New Year! First off, congratulations on surviving 2013! You may have had a horrible year, or a perfectly pleasant one, but regardless, I’m sure there are things to be thankful for. Often, they come in the smallest ways, but life isn’t just about the big moments – they also comprise the seemingly insignificant. :)

I’m not one for wishing that a certain year or month will be better to you, but I do believe each person has an innate desire to achieve the best of their abilities, so I hope that 2014 carries you closer to that! And if you have any resolutions, may you properly strive to complete them. But if you find yourself abandoning those resolutions, then hey, don’t look backwards with regret. Fall forward with anticipation.

God bless you and all you hold dear this year :)

Chasing Signs

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Two days ago, my friends asked me, “Jing, what has your year been like?” And I didn’t really have an answer to that, because naturally there are various events in a year, some good, some not so much, but nothing to drastic, I’d say. But I had to make a 40 minute walk in the chilly wind today and it gave me some time to reflect. And that 40 minutes led to this.

I come from a charismatic church back in BP, Malaysia, and in my early years with the church, I somehow came under the impression that asking God for signs is kind of a normal – even necessary – thing to do. Don’t know if you should be doing this? Ask God for a sign. Not sure if you should choose this career path or another? Ask God for yet another sign. I myself have given that very same advice to friends who have told me that they don’t know what to do about a situation. Ask God for a sign.

Yet, as I was thinking, I realized that there is barely any need for us to ask for signs that many times. It’s almost as if we’ve reduced God to some variant of a fairy godmother – we’ve made Him our personal palm-reader.

I’m not denying that, yes, sometimes God does indeed choose to give us signs. I know of people who have said that God has given them a scripture just as they open the Bible, or shown them some sort of occurrence, or sent someone to speak to them. He can work in all those ways (and more!), yes.

But how often do we bother checking those against what we know from the Bible? If any of those “signs” directly contradict the Bible, then why are we still chasing them? Why are we insisting that they are true? Because they tickle our ears and make us feel happy? Is that it?

Does being a Christian mean pursuing God and His truth, or just His signs? And are those signs supposed to be ones that make us happy, that are in accordance with our secret desires? Or should they be in accordance with His Word (even if they contradict what we want)?

The Bible isn’t some sort of rule book, no, but it does tell us who God is. It lends a better understanding of an infinite, transcendent God, whom we serve. And it is in the Bible where we can find the answers to many of our questions. Is the life you’ve chosen for yourself right for you? Does it involve lying to people and hurting them? Yes? Then walk away. Is your relationship right for you? Is it biblical? No? Walk away.

Things like that are all easier said than done, but at the end of the day, you have to ask yourself, whom do you love more, your Creator or yourself and your (selfish) desires.

And I came to the understanding, that while 2013 has been good in many ways, I have found myself struggling with asking God if I should do this or that and God where are my signs?! when all the answers are right in front of my eyes. It’s just a matter of letting Him into your heart and allowing Him to take over, then it’s not so difficult anymore :)