Friday, March 13, 2009

Last night at KL

My flight to Sydney departs tomorrow night at 10:40pm KL time so this is my last night officially at home. As I am writing this, my heart is filled with a tinge of sorrow and remorse as no doubt, I am going to miss KL and my beloved home. To be frankly honest, I am not looking forward to returning to Sydney to start afresh a new year that is bursting with upcoming challenges and face a 6 month period of pure brutal slavery before my dreaded FINAL EXAMINATIONS that will determine whether or not I graduate as a doctor. Not to mention having to make very important decisions this year that can shape the next few years of my life such as the location of my internship, contemplating whether or not I should take a year off before internship for a well deserved vacation, applying for a PR in Australia etc. I am turning 24 this year (I already feel very old but not that wise) which means that I should more or less have the decency to think like a mature and logical adult and make these decisions as they come...and be willing to face the consequences. Our thoughts determine our actions and one should never 'cry over spilt milk' as we only have ourselves to blame unlike 'a bad carpenter who blames his tools'. Often when we fail in something, we look for alternative explainations to why we did not succeed but in reality, these are just mere deceptions in attempt to divert the 'blame' away from ourselves and rest it on a fellow object/person. Certainly if one does not have the resources in the first place, then one cannot expect to have such high hopes of achieving the task but in my case I feel quite blessed that I AM equipped with such valuable resources. I am grateful that my parents have sacrificed a lot of their earnings, savings and investments in my education (Medicine is not cheap!!!) and providing me with an exclusive apartment in Sydney (that not many interntational students would be willing to pay for a one bedroom unit) that is modern, comfortable, convenient and well located.

I can recall how happy I was when I shifted out of my former old, rather filty, gloomy apartment at Kennedy Street whom I shared with two other IMU medical students. Every day, I would have to trudge my way up the steep slope after buying groceries/food/appliances at Kingsford or carry all the heavy items by hand from Randwick back to my apartment which street is very dimly litted and has an eerie atmosphere especially when you walk back during the late evenings/nights. Oh and that's not the ending; I am forced to walk another six flight of stairs before I finally reach my apartment since it is located on the top floor. In terms of security, Kennedy street is not an ideal place for any girl or even boy to walk alone back to the apartment past 8' o clock as the alley is dark and Kingsford is notoriously known for crime and vandalism. Plus the room I stayed in was absolutely 'tiny' as compared to my current apartment with hardly any ample place for a study desk, cupboard, bed and dressing table. The pipes perpetually in the bathroom was c leaking so the plumber was constantly at our place and there was one time when the water from the shower nozzle actually seeped through the walls and entered my bedroom! I remember sticking stacks of old newspaper to try and bandage/cement off the dripping water and my entire carpet next to the wall facing the bathroom (my room was directly beside the toilet) was drenched which eventually started to give off a rather stale and nasty odour a few days later. The kitchen area was not equipped with good appliances either so it only housed the neccessary ones such as a small fridge, sink, an electric stove and a kettle. This meant that my food back in those days were all bought either from shops or Coles/IGA supermarket which I kept in large containers or tupperwares in my room. Apparently there wasn't even enough room in the cupboaords or fridge to store our personal food. So you can imagine what sort of food I survived on; namely bread, cereal, biscuits, crackers buns, instant cup noodles and canned foods like salmon/sardines/baked beans/tuna/soup with the occasional take-away foods from shops/cafes/restaurants. During that time, I had absolutely zero cooking skills and I didn't have the initiative to whip up something simple in the kitchen where my housemate is already boiling her usual chicken soup with tons of Chinese herbs and wolfberries with a few added meat/fish balls in her own personal slow cooker (which I believe she ate on a daily basis). I rarely saw my other housemate on the other hand eat as she ate her meals in the solitary confinement of her own room but in the morning I was a bit astonished in the morning to find a garbage disposal bag in full to the brim with Tim Tam chocolate biscuit wrappers, cake leftover boxes, jars of peanut butter and jelly or hazelnut hocolate smear, instant noodle packets, candy and jelly beans wrappers, bags of potato chips and empty, discarded cereal boxes. I guess she must be surviving on these snacks/food which is the most convenient but probably the most un-nutritious. When you are pressed for time coupled with the fact that your kitchen area is not blessed with the neccessary and adequate equipment and that it is far too small an area for three people to cook their separate meals (except probably salads which you just have to slice and dice the vegetables) simultaneously. Another con about the apartment was the fact that the majority of the time, I was cooped up in my room left to entertain or busy myself with my books, internet, borrowed dvds and skype. Do not get me wrong, the people whom I stayed with are by no means nasty or irresponsible, but its just that sometimes one simply cannot connect or bond well with others no matter how hard one tries. Its something like karma. We are still on talking terms and if we do bump into another at the hospital or any other venue, a conversation will definitely be exchanged but we did not enter the zone of 'bosom friends' or 'buddiness'. I've heard endearing tales from friends relating to their sacred relationship with their room/housemates on how countless hours were spent chatting or gossiping away in each other's rooms, watching tv series together till their eyes began to turn red and watery, lending a ear to listen in on the recollection of the day's events and throwing harmless yet playful pranks or jokes on one another. In fact, the three of us mostly spent our time in our own rooms and we rarely had a get-together-session in the kitchen/dining area. Maybe we were more solitary creatures, like most medical students are.

Another negative aspect about the apartment was that it was bloody freezing cold during the Winter and excruciatingly scalding hot in the Spring/Summer. This was because none of us bought a shared fan and electric heater (unless you bought one for your own personal use in your room). The lack of ventilation drove me to either perspire heavily during the hot Summer nights where sleep was often disturbed or bury under the covers trying to seek warmth during Winter. Another complaint was the washing machine and dryer which seemed to always gather dust balls and the long, entangled wires meant that you had to be extra careful not to trip over them during the night. Oh and don't even mention about having a televison set in the living room or even a radio; the only probable electrical source of entertainment was from our laptops which were wired to the internet cable that functioned at a snail-like pace.

One of the only pros about my previous apartment at Kennedy street was that it was nearby located to the UNSW campus where we spent three days of the week attending lectures, tutorials and workshops and the Prince of Wales hospital which was the posting of my primary hospital. It was all within walking distance which saved a lot of time having to get up super early in the morning and also walking back to catch a quick nap or break back at the apartment in between classes. And we were also situated very close to two other IMU students in our batch who lived in another shared apartment on Meeks street.

You probably might think that I am being very critical of my previous apartment. I mean, I could have stayed at a better place which would have saved me unneccessary suffering even if the cost was a bit higher. But I must say that it was in my opinion, a very good learning experience to stay in that apartment and also with three strangers who I barely knew beforehand except that they were also from IMU. It has made me appreciate my current apartment and learn not to take the simple things for granted.

Note: The above pictures are a few snapshots from my room in the apartment at Kennedy street.

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