3DS Games I Need to Play

So recently, I caved and became an owner of a brand new Nintendo 3DS, only just adding to the family of Nintendo handheld consoles within my family, which include the original Game Boy, Game Boy Colour, Game Boy Advance, Game Boy Advance SP, and Nintendo DS Lite.When the 3DS first came out, I believed that I would never purchase it, and therefore gave up my dreams of being able to play new games from my favourite series, namely Professor Layton, Phoenix Wright/Apollo Justice, and Pokemon. However, there was a deal last month where I just couldn’t pass up…and here I am today, a proud Pokemon trainer who has defeated the Elite Four.

Before I forget, I just wanted to quickly document a few games that I am extremely excited about playing sometime in the very near future….very near.

1) Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Dual Destinies

  • Release Date:Oct 24, 2013
  • Price:$29.99

2) Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy

  • Release Date:Feb 28, 2014
  • Price:$39.99

3) Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask

  • Release Date:Oct 28, 2012
  • Price:$39.99

4) Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright :Ace Attorney

  • Release Date:TBA, 2014 (already released in March in other parts of the world)

Time to keep an eye open for some deals!

We Are Stardust

When I was in grade 5, I wanted to be a mathematician.

When I was in grade 7, I wanted to be an architect.

When I was in grade 9, I wanted to be a pianist.

When I was in grade 11, I wanted to be a pediatrician, although pharmacy also came under my radar.

When I was in first year university at UBC, I wanted to get into pharmacy for good, and abandoned the medicine idea.

When I was in fourth year pharmacy, I wanted to be a hospital pharmacist.

***

We are stardust. I believe that our very existence in this universe is the product of a next-level series of events that happened just so, and that each of our purposes in life is also designed by our fate. Along our paths towards finding that purpose, we often become distracted by benign attractions or malignant temptations that present themselves at different stages in our lives. However, although unbeknownst to us at the time, I believe that each choice we make and every step we take is with a purpose in our personal Goldberg Machines. One thing leads to the next, and sometimes we look back and wonder how did everything fall so perfectly into place. Some may argue that things were not perfect at all; however, I believe that even negative or traumatic experiences are meant to be part of the journey, and are vital pieces of the mosaic that represents our identity at any given time.

Looking back at all my youth’s aspirations as outlined above, I am amused by how scattered and distracted I was. In grade 5, I thought that I wanted to be a mathematician because I could finish my Mad Minutes in 10 seconds. In grade 7, I thought that I wanted to be an architect because I had started taking art classes and loved to draw, and wanted to find a way to put it to use. In grade 9, I thought that I wanted to be a professional pianist because I was completely submerged in the beautiful depths of classical music while preparing for my performer’s diploma exams. In grade 11, I thought that I wanted to be a pediatrician because being a medical doctor seemed like what everyone else interested in healthcare wanted to be. Furthermore, I loved children, so being a pediatrician seemed to be the perfect fit. That same year, I was introduced to the world of pharmacy through a work experience, and I believe that was one of the most steps to where I am today.

During first year university, I spent the year feeling very out of place in a room full of crème de la crème keen students, and I had many conversations with my classmates about what they wanted to major in. I was surprised by the proportion of people who had plans to go into pharmacy/pharmacology/biochem/physiology and then apply for medicine. The more I heard, and the more I talked, the more I realized that I was not really cut out for medicine. And so I began my pilgrimage to the field that I now call my home, pharmacy. I was absolutely elated when I found out that I was accepted into pharmacy, and somehow I just knew that I was on track. I remember very distinctly during a gathering with my first year classmates, I was engaged in a conversation with two other girls about what we our plans were for the following year. I mentioned to them that I had declined my pharmacology offer and accepted pharmacy. Much to my surprise, instead of congratulating me, they both stared at me incredulously and questioned why I did not go for pharmacology. Then and now, that is a question that I never hesitate to answer: quite simply, because I chose pharmacy. (I could go into all the reasons why, but that is not the point here.)

However, even after I was in pharmacy, I was lost for a bit. I was blind-folded by the limits of my school curriculum and by my own ignorance, and did not even think to explore the realm of hospital pharmacy in my first 3 years. But something awoke within me at the end of my third year, and I began to make up for lost time. Every single person I had met, shadowed, talked to, or worked with has been instrumental in the process of my personal growth. Now, as I look back on the last few years, it is unbelievable how nicely things fell in place for me, and I can almost forget the inner turmoil and anxiety I felt throughout the whole process. This year of residency has truly been a defining and landmarking time of my life, and it is now such an important part of my identity that I can’t imagine who I would be if I had not decided to do a residency. Hospital practice is something I have discovered that I am passionate about, and I feel that I have found one of the main purposes in life for which I was created for.

On another note, I believe that love is also governed by fate. A series of events happen just so, and two unlikely individuals may be brought together to discover a soul mate in one another. Although times during this journey may be uncertain, confusing, or deleterious, I believe that each step we take has a purpose, and will lead us to finding that person with the most perfect of imperfections who will love us as much as we adore them, if not more.

Hugs & Kisses

I never usually tolerate kisses in any shape or form from people who I have just met, but today I received countless affectionate pecks on the cheek that I could neither avoid nor wish to wipe away.

As this week is my vacation week,  I have had a bit more time on my hands to do some non-residency things. While I still have been going in to St. Paul’s every day to work on my project, I have also purchased and starting playing Pokemon Y on my brand new Nintendo 3DS, gone for a run, gone shopping, run errands, and taken an on-call volunteer shift at my favourite place in Shaughnessy, Canuck Place Children’s Hospice. Every shift brings different challenges and tasks, not to mention that I had not been back at CP for a few months and I have never taken a weekday morning shift before, so I was very much looking forward to it.

This morning, I became the ultimate companion to a 2-going-on-3-year-old little girl, who is the sibling of one of the kids on the program. I’m not sure if it was because I am super likeable, or because she finds it very easy to warm up to others, but the second I knelt down beside her to say hi while she was watching Sleeping Beauty in her cozy armchair, she gave me the sweetest smile and giggle, and we were instant pals. Throughout the rest of the shift (and thank goodness the movie took up a good hour-and-a-half), I spent time with her all over the house, minutes at a time. We went down to the Volcano Room to play with the giant blocks, attempted to get into the Sand Room but it was locked, went up to 3rd floor to squish around some Playdo, ran around in the hallway, settled down in the Snoezelen Room for a few minutes, went down to the main floor Sun Room to play with the trains, went to the kitchen to have a snack (she had a yoghurt tube and pretty much a WHOLE orange, while I had a coffee and a cookie), went back up to 3rd floor to draw, then went over again to the Snoezelen Room, then went outside to play in the play house and draw with chalk on the pavement, then it was finally time for lunch. I was exhausted, to say the least. It was so amazing how much of an energy ball she was, completely tireless and neverending desire to go do something else.

However, what amazed me the most was the amount of love that this little one possesses. While I was thinking of other options of getting her to places without having to chase after her all the time, I decided to pick her up and carry her around. At first, I thought this was a bad decision because she reached for me on multiple occasions afterwards to pick her up. However, much to my surprise, she began to hold onto me tightly with her chubby little arms, and alternatively press her soft little cheek against mine and pepper my cheek with affectionate little smoochies while I carried her around. Initially, I almost wanted to pull away because I was taken aback by all the kisses, but it was physically impossible as I held her with her face at a level just beside mine. I was (and still am) touched by the amount of affection that she showed me, her temporary companion for the morning. She gives her love and affection so freely and with such endearing innocence, and her family is so lucky to have her as an unwavering beacon of light during their darker times. This was yet again another example of how much children never fail to surprise me, and I feel so privileged to have had the opportunity to spend time with her.

The experience I had during my shift today made me wish that I had time to commit to regular shifts as I once did a few years ago, but perhaps the magic is that much more beautiful to me because I don’t see it so often now. Regardless, I am going to continue looking out for on-call shifts to pick-up, so that I can continue to make even a small difference in some little ones’ day, as they often make insurmountable differences in mine.

Tone-setting Gifts

I didn’t specifically set any New Year’s resolutions this year. It was partly because I didn’t want to be associated with the hoard of hopefuls who set lofty goals every single New Year’s Day but never see them through, but mostly because I already had so much going on that I didn’t have time to think about it. Ironically, this whirlwind of events that I have already lived through during these first 2 weeks of 2014 has indirectly caused me to realize a few things that I am promising myself to be more mindful of this year.

Life’s Gift #1: A much anticipated vacation to Taiwan and Hong Kong at the end of 2013.
My Realization: I truly love residency and the work that I do, because by the end of the trip I could not wait to return home to start the second half of my residency and go back to work.
My Promise: To cherish every moment and seize every opportunity to learn, on-wards to the rest of my residency and beyond.

Life’s Gift #2: A viral infection and secondary bacterial infection of the sinuses, eyes, and throat, with which I was out and under the weather for a whole week, and had to call in sick for the first day of my ICU rotation.
My Realization: I too often take my health for granted.
My Promise: To be more aware of when I am stretching myself too thin, and how to take better care of myself (which includes getting enough sleep, keeping up with exercise, and eating well) so that I can continue to do everything that I love doing.

Life’s Gift #3: A friend who loves me enough to tell me the truth, even if it may be the painful truth.
My Realization: I have been a fool.
My Promise: To spend more time thinking of myself, and less of certain others. As well, to live in the present. It’s okay to learn from the past, plan for the future, but I need to limit the time that I spend wishing for the future in my mind to come now, because the future will come soon enough, but it is never of the same substance as we may predict.

Life’s Gift #4: A friend who loves me enough to help me through an inner turmoil that was at risk of overflowing.
My Realization: I am so blessed to have such caring friends in my life.
My Promise: To reciprocate all the love I have received, and to make a more concerted effort to show that I care very much about and appreciate each of my friends.

DTP: Caffeine Withdrawal (just for funzies, but sort of srs too)

Joan is at risk of experiencing symptoms of caffeine withdrawal (e.g. headache, irritability) secondary to abrupt discontinuation of coffee and caffeine pill intake, and would benefit from counselling on slow tapering.

Goals of Therapy: Improve quality of life, relieve/prevent symptoms of caffeine withdrawal (headache, irritability), prevent adverse effects of caffeine (palpitations, tremors).

Therapeutic Options:

  1. Stop cold turkey.
  2. Decrease gradually by 1/2-1 cup or 1 pill per day every 1-2 days until 0.
  3. Go on vacation and utilize the art of distraction to dampen the withdrawal symptoms.

 

Recommendation: A combination of 2 + 3.

Follow-up: Patient accepted recommendation. She usually drinks 2 coffees a day + 1-2 caffeine pills; yesterday she only drank 1 coffee and 2 caffeine pills, and today she managed with just a single coffee. She is also leaving tonight to go on vacation to Taipei and Hong Kong for a week and a bit, which will most likely be an effective adjunctive therapy.

****

All jokes aside, it is finally vacation time. It is quite surreal how half of residency is now over, and I’m still a living, breathing, laughing, and sane human being! I have completed each of my rotations with progressive improvement in process and knowledge, with positive and constructive feedback from my preceptors, and my progress was just validated yesterday when I passed my oral assessment, which I had been especially preparing for over the last couple of months. Now I can relax for a teensy bit, and finally be able to look forward to my trip to Taipei and Hong Kong – leaving tonight around midnight! This is also an opportune time to go through a bit of caffeine withdrawal – when I return, my caffeine tolerance will have gone down and I will be in a better place to begin caffeination again when my rotations begin.

This past 24 hours has been crazy – I hadn’t been able to fully embrace my excitement for vacation until I learned the results of my oral assessment, so it’s been quite the frenzy with seeing my best friend, packing, running errands, and getting in my last workout before my week of gluttony in Asia. Putting my graduation photo into a nice picture frame to gift to my Grandma in Hong Kong made me realize how excited I am to get to see her and to spend Christmas with her. Needless to say, I am also extremely excited for the food, shopping, and sight-seeing in Taipei and Hong Kong! However, it’s not all play, and no work – in whatever spare time I have during my trip, I will be doing readings and preparing for my Academic Day Seminar, as well as other residency things.

I will also attempt to write a travel blog every day to document all the memorable things that I will have seen and done! My experience with travel blogging is that I am usually not compliant, but given that this time, I will have my tablet and a keyboard, it should be easier for me to keep it rolling. 🙂

Blood, sweat, and more sweat.

Approximately this time last year, I had just completed 2 months of community pharmacy rotation with some of my favourite people in Victoria, and they had not only taught me many things in terms of pharmaceutical care in the community, but also that leading a balanced lifestyle should always be a priority in staying healthy and whole. Funnily enough, I didn’t do much exercise except play badminton once a week while I was in Victoria, but after I returned home, my friends got me some Bob Harper and Jillian Michaels DVDs for my birthday, and I began to make conscious changes in my lifestyle.

My first attempt at the Bob Harper: Ultimate Cardio Body one-hour workout (which is now my go-to workout) was quite discouraging. I had to stop after only 20 minutes of the workout because I was already exhausted and ready to pass out. But I thought to myself, “This is just the beginning, and I will have to keep working at it to see improvement.”

Then I started running again in January. Previously, I had gone out for short jogs on and off, but never fully committed to the activity, nor did I really make an effort to fit it into my routine. However, I had always liked the idea of running, and how the only competitor out there is yourself, nobody else. At first, I was also disappointed in my performance. But I kept at it, gradually made an effort to run at least 2-3 times per week, and by April I was able to run 5k without breaks. I discovered that I really enjoyed running, and it only kept getting better from there; by August I had run my fastest 5k in just under 28 minutes. Before I knew it, running became a big part of my life, so much so that if I didn’t go out for more than 4-5 days, my legs would start getting restless and pester me to go do some sort of physical activity.

More recently, residency has been taking up more time, and the seasons have been taking away sunlight and warmth, but I have found other activities to engage in at least one a week even if I don’t have time to run: badminton, ultimate frisbee, and/or volleyball. I pulled my right ankle posterior lateral ligament playing ultimate, and I only realized how much running and these sports meant to me when I was devastated by my doctors advice to avoid weight-bearing sports for one month. I felt so uneasy and restless that I even went to the community pool for a swim after a week of not doing anything (and I hadn’t swam in years). Thankfully, it healed quickly, and as the horrible patient that I am, I started exercising against medical advice after 2 weeks.

Today, I did my favourite Bob Harper one-hour workout again, and it was the first time that I felt in control and was able to follow all the exercises *almost* completely (except for the mountain climbers). I knew that my fitness level had improved since the beginning of the year as I saw my run times and distances improve, but it was not until today that I was able to see such a measurable improvement. I went from feeling like shit even after just 20 minutes approximately one year ago, to feeling awesome after one hour of the work-out today.

Looking back, I think the most difficult part was figuring out a way to fit exercise in my weekly routines, and re-prioritizing it in my mind as a necessity, not just a choice. I now feel stronger, healthier, and more confident in my body. It has definitely taken some blood (namely from harsh new cleats), sweat, and copious more amounts of sweat to get here, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

The Neglected Department

My joints are aching, nose is stuffed, and brain is fuzzy as the dust balls underneath my dresser. Yet another ruthless virus snuck up on me so stealthily that all I felt yesterday was general malaise, attention deficit, and the constant nagging thought that I should have gone out for a run. But I should have known; I slept before midnight (which is virtually unheard of in my habits), and this morning the virus said hello. “Well, hello right back at you,” I said. “Even though I can’t get rid of you this minute, I’m taking some acetaminophen, ibuprofen, and pseudoephedrine to foil your plans. Oh, and a couple of caffeine too.” I managed to get through the day gracefully, but by the end of the day, I was starting to feel like death again. The joys of working in a hospital.

Maybe it’s my sickness, or maybe it’s almost that time of month again, but in the midst of my brain fuzz growth and general “je ne suis pas dans mon assiette” disposition, I’ve been thinking a lot (too much) about me in the serious relationship department, and some things are surfacing clearer than ever (and has seemingly put me in a creative writing mode, as you shall see below).

This relationship department of mine is rather unkempt. From past code reds, break-ins, and more rewarding markets in the friendship, academic, and career departments, I’ve had this part of me shut down and locked up for several years. The key to this door’s lock is stored somewhere only I can locate. There is an inch-thick layer of dust that covers the shelves, spider webs that decorate every wall’s corners, and rusty spots that adorn the door handles and lighting fixtures. Deep within, located in a secret room with a hidden password-controlled door, secured within a bullet proof box, is my heart.

Recently, my friendship department has been flourishing alongside my career department.  I have been getting a lot of traffic and successful transactions in these areas, and the effect of that has trickled up to central headquarters, and I have been very busy and happy. One day, I found a couple of handsomely wrapped gift boxes sitting in my mailbox while I was getting some work done in the office of my friendship department. Surprised, I opened them both up quickly, only to find that they were empty. Although I felt a pang of disappointment at first, I was suddenly washed over and overwhelmed by a feeling of hope that I last experienced many years ago. At first, I closed both boxes, and set them aside.

But then, I couldn’t stop coming back to these magical boxes. There’s just a warm and inviting aura that radiates from within, and it makes me feel giddy and forget my worries every time I open them up. In the beginning, I kept opening them both at the same time, peering with interest into each one’s empty interior, wondering what I could fill them with, and I became accustomed to the comfortable feeling of having both boxes’ mysterious effects on me. The more time I got exposed to these boxes, the more I kept thinking about my neglected relationship department, and whether I should open its doors again and clean it up for operation once more.

Later, I became interested in seeing what it felt like to open each box individually. Both boxes emitted very similar auras that I could not differentiate them at first, but soon I came to tell the difference between them. I started to prefer the first box over the second box primarily because it caught my eye first, despite the fact that I was more accustomed to the second box as it fits easier in my hand.

One day, when I opened the boxes one-by-one again, I noticed something inside the second box that was not there before. It was a small, carefully wrapped rectangle package, with clear tape around all the edges and openings so that it was completely sealed. With some difficulty, I got it to open, and I found a key inside that looked very familiar, along with an invitation letter to re-open the relationship department for business. This invitation was not  only without addressee, it also did not have a deadline for response. The key must be the one for my relationship department’s lock, which I thought that I had so securely hidden, but was somehow found without my knowing. I carried this second box, opened, with the key lying inside, walked to the locked door of my relationship department, and paced outside. I debated with myself whether or not I should use the key, and I became confused as to why I suddenly felt an affinity to this second box, but I decided to replace the key within and leave it for now.

These days, every time I open these two boxes, I am curious and reflective of the contents within; one remains empty, while one contains the key and an invitation letter that does not even have my name on it. I have come to notice and appreciate all the nuances of the second box more. I continue to consider opening my relationship department, but I cannot yet bring myself to do so. To put it simply, I am scared. I cannot go in there alone. There is a lot of work to do to clean up, repair, and make presentable again. I have not worked there for so long, there are many things I would have to brush up on and learn. There are many rooms that I have never actually ventured in to, and I am afraid of what they might contain. Most importantly, I am worried that as business grows in this department again, I will become more eager to open my secret room, and thus breach the security around my heart. I don’t want it to get hurt again, and that is what is so clear to me now.

The only way I might be swayed to open this department again would be if a further motivating item appears in either of these boxes. I still open them daily to bathe in their auras, and I now more often experience longing for business to be up and running again, but I still await the day for something new will appear inside these boxes. Anyway, my academic and career departments are still booming, and they should remain my main priority until a proposal with good opportunity for return and reward comes up for my most neglected department.

strangers

There are some people from my past who I’ve almost forgotten, until we meet again somewhere in this small city, and I can’t help but walk away feeling bleak. It’s as if a sudden flood of bitter memories wells up inside me, strewn with things that seem to have happened a lifetime ago, had taken up too much of my invaluable effort and time without reward, and were supposed to be locked away forever.

Those people were once close to me, but are now far enough to be strangers.

But it’s okay. Life goes on, and Time isn’t known to wait, so I can’t let this weigh me down as I steadily inch my determined way towards the next fork in the road.