I’m Going on an Adventure!

September 15, 2017: A day that I have been waiting since May of this year when I first ordered my Formula 1 (hereafter F1) tickets for the Singapore Grand Prix weekend. I always exclaimed that September 15 can never come sooner, and now it is just a few hours away and my flight to Singapore will take off.

Let’s recall up where this all began and up to this point where I am quite excited and tensed for my first ever trip outside the country alone (I have been out of the country, of course, but I was always with family or with friends).

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Original Photo: http://www.redbullracing.com/article/singapore-gp-track-essentials

“…you deserve it”

The words my sister and fellow physician, Debbie, told me when we first vacationed at Singapore last March 31, along with our other friends/colleagues from the medical world (Tidbit: they are her colleagues, I treat them as my mentors, because I’m still the youngest and I have yet to train for a specialization just yet. So they are far and away, more brilliant than I can ever aspire to be. But aspire I will), when I was contemplating whether I should visit the beautiful country of Singapore again, this time, for the race to add along the beauty of my visit. She uttered the words, “Why not, you deserve it”, referencing the fact I chose not to have a thanksgiving party after I passed my Physician Licensure Exam the year prior, nor did I ask for any real prize from my family. I didn’t even think of vacations as I was immediately hired, or asked to be hired (I was lucky to have a lot of sources and a lot of people endorsing me as a good physician and would be a perfect fit for their institution), by a number of Universities (both as their University Physician and Faculty in their School of Medicine), clinics as their general physician, teaching hospitals to hire me as their resident in various specialties; all that made me not think of vacations, prizes, etc., but immediately started to think about work and my future training.

So, when my sister said those words, I can’t help but seriously think of treating myself to a race, a plane to ticket too look around Singapore a second time around (trust me, Singapore should be visited many times… It is just beautiful), book a hotel room for my own, and just have the whole trip paid with my own hard earned cash, where no guilt is involved, and I can go to the places I want to go and that I missed in my first visit.

I was still at the cusp of deciding to go to Singapore again for the race, until it came to my attention that this year’s Singapore GP may be the last one held there for F1 in the foreseeable future. Thus, I decided to go back.

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                                         Original Photo: memecrunch.com                                           Copyright: Warner Brothers

“I’m going on an adventure!”

As metioned multiple times above, this isn’t my first time going to Singapore; I was there last March 31, because, apparently, my sister needed a chaperone, otherwise my parents won’t let her go (take note, she is older than me by 7 years – I am 28), so she can join her colleagues (my mentors) to watch Coldplay. I like Coldplay, I respect them as a band, and I love a lot of their songs, but I am not a fan enough of them to actually watch them in concert. Thus, while I became the chaperone, I told her, in exchange, I will explore the city while they all watch the concert; I don’t want to watch the concert. She agreed.

So, now I will be coming back for my version of their Coldplay concert: the Singapore GP!

I will also explore a lot more this time around, since I was only able to explore on my own last March 31, but the subsequent day, I was with the group and wasn’t able to decide on the places to visit. Now that I am alone on this trip, sure I might meet up with a couple of friends (1 of which is another fellow physician, whom I consider a mentor, Dr. Noe), but I will be checking places like Gardens by the Bay, Merlion Park, etc.; the places I failed to visit last time.

The main point of going here is the race, but like I said many times: Singapore is such a beautiful place, that it is a MUST to explore.

And this is my first time traveling out of the country all by myself. I am excited and tensed. But really looking forward to the overall experience.

Twenty-One Years in the Making

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Copyright: Formula 1

I first fell in love with F1 at 1996, where I saw Michael Schumacher in the Ferrari, seemingly flying through the Circuit de Catalunya in the Spanish GP in horrid wet weather condition.

I was enthralled by the overall discipline of the sport since then. The passion of speed and technology. And of course, I became a fan of Michael and Ferrari. Up to this day, I still support Ferrari, win or lose, I bleed red.

I have been a fan of this wonderful sport that literally changed my life for 21 years; I have religiously watched every season. Sure, later on in my life, especially during my medical school days, there are some races that I missed, but overall, each season, I am in the know.

Some people may call it obsession, but to me, it is just pure passion. I am that kid that didn’t understand the value of money, so my parents would trick me into thinking they can’t afford F1 toys and such, that I made one out of paper. Not the best as you can imagine, but I was satisfied as my imagination took care of the lack of details. I then started making F1 cars in Lego, and was proud of its accuracy (I use this word with caution as “accuracy” in basic Lego parts, is really not accurate, but I got close – I will provide a photo of that Lego build once I clean it) and still have it with me, never broken down since, proudly displayed with my actual die-cast F1 cars – why yes, as I finally gotten older, I was able to get my hands on F1 toys and merchandise.

My passion also sent into apparels, where each year from 2002-2007, I ordered Scuderia Ferrari hats to support the team (I have stopped ordering hats from 2008-2016 due to my supplier stopped selling F1 merchandise), and proudly wearing that hat while watching a race even if I was not in the actual stands.

Thanks to F1, I also got into cars in general, to the point where I am like most guys that love cars, that can tell the make, the model, the year, a particular car is.

Thanks to F1, I also became a fan of racing simulators, where my first taste of a “simulator” was Gran Turismo; this further fueled my love for F1 and now different types of racing disciplines. With Gran Turismo, and the other games I played in that series, I learned the parts of a car, and what different setups will cause the car to behave. And my passion for the sport shows as I have a racing simulator rig set up for games such as Assetto Corsa, Codemasters’ F1 series, etc.

As you can see, F1 opened a whole new world for me. It is more than a hobby; more than a sport I love; it is a PASSION.

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“…all my bags are packed…”

Yesterday, I started packing my things up, but not before my mom and I met each other at the local mall after my clinic duty to buy some more necessary travel accessories and maybe a new luggage for my own. Previously, I simply thought of borrowing my sister’s small luggage for the trip, but I thought of maybe buying my own, to call my own, for a relatively good price. The go-to luggage nowadays seem to be Samsonite, but I was always distraught with the price. Not to sound arrogant, but I can afford them, but the practical side of me thinks bags/clothes/shoes, should not be too expensive; for electronics, I don’t mind spending a premium, because I feel it is proper to have a more expensive prices for better quality electronics and such. But when I saw this one Samsonite luggage, it spoke to me. It is strange, but I treat my items as living objects, I take good care of them, and sometimes I talk to them; it is strange indeed, but this is how I get to keep most of my items in tip-top shape and last much longer than they are advertised to be. Thus, when this bag spoke to me, I didn’t care about the price and just bought it… well, with a little persistence from my mom to buy it. Otherwise, I would still be thinking about the purchase even if the luggage spoke to me.

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Impulse buy?

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Reppin’ the U.N. Spacy!

Since this bag is going to be checked-in, I decided to remove the Razer “Remove Before Fight” tag from my key chain and attached it to the bag. I also added some U.N. Spacy logos on the tag. Afterall, this Samsonite bag is not exclusive to me, someone out there, may be traveling to Singapore on the same flight with a similar bag, so I might as well place some stickers, tags, etc., to make it easily identifiable. I will not, however, copy what others are doing like printing a huge picture of themselves on the bag. Maybe next time…

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             Original Photo: http://www.carmag.co.za/singapore-f1-grand-prix-2017/               Copyright: Formula 1

“…and that is 5 red lights and away we go!”

Now, I am just waiting for tomorrow, September 15, 2017, for my flight. I will leave home around 2am, since Manila is unpredictable if there will be a traffic jam like last time we went to the airport. Plus, it is far better to wait in the airport, fully checked-in and such, rather than panicking trying to make the cut-off. This is afterall, my first trip overseas alone.

I am tensed, but excited. And I am sure this trip back to Singapore will be a wonderful experience that will supersede the previous visit as this is my first ever trip overseas alone, add the fact I will watch my first F1 race in person after being a fan for 21 years, this adventure will be a memorable one indeed.

Til my next post when I touch down in Singapore! PEACE!


 

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Less Than Three

It is time I seriously jot down a proper article; my usual writings as of late are about my recent adventures, and although there is nothing wrong with writing, or blogging, about those shenanigans, I felt I am starting to stray away from my roots as a writer.

Anyone can write about their day, and it has been far too long, eons even, since I wrote something that I would be proud of publishing back in the days where I was still an Editor in Chief for various school papers.

With that, the inquisitive amongst you readers might ask, with a title like that, what in the world would he write about pouring his heart and soul into it like his past articles when he was still an active member of a school paper?

Well, you have the answer right there, somewhere, devoured by other words in the previous sentence: I will write about my “heart” and my “soul”.

Much like every other human being that is a prisoner to one’s own emotions, I too, sadly and unfortunately, succumb to these humanly emotions, and I look down on my own brain for submitting to these neurotransmitters that dictate these emotions. I always thought I would be far more effective if I were not susceptible to these emotions; that I would be able to reach far reaching places without anything idiotic like falling in love get in my way. I was wrong. I am still wrong. I will probably never be right.

Of course, before the pheromones of the opposite sex caused me to have transient mental dysfunction, there was a time when I was immune to these emotions.

There I was, a young lad, with bright eyes; everything he sees, he questions. I would rather study, even at a young age, I would rather read and do my homework, if need be. I would also rather play games that use little to no physical prowess and more of the intellect, thus, I rather play games like Chess and lots of video games that makes me think. I had the family’s encyclopedia collection in my room and when I am tired of reading for school or even playing games, I would grab a volume and read some more. Clearly, I knew my physical short comings, and would rather hone my skills in the intellectual world. Going as far as coining up the term “Intellectual Intercourse”; I would rather have an intellectual intercourse with a girl than to really have a normal lustful relationship – a modern day Platonic love, if you will.

Falling in love was the least of my concerns when I was much younger, and for that, I admired my younger self and felt he was the smarter form, and far better form, of myself. Back then I only had a clear-cut goal and I will stop at nothing, not even the aforementioned pheromones, to attain my goals. I always wanted to be deemed smart, thus I toiled away, day in and day out, sacrificing my overall physique, in order to concentrate on my studies and future career. I made sure I would know something about most things, and even though I may not know all of the aspects of a certain subject being discussed, I will make sure I know enough to stay relevant. And for the things I do know, I know them well.

I had and still have a lot of friends, but truth be told, I wasn’t always popular among anyone, because I was just shy of being a teacher’s pet; a little more, I would become Randall from Recess, minus the snitching of course. I always loved my studies, and as a friend, I will only be there when you need me, not when you want me; never expect me to be there for your birthday party, but expect me there if your life depended on it.

I am sheltered, to no fault of my parents, but I was sheltered most of my life due to my inherent want to just distance myself of the social norm; I am more old-fashioned, so forcing myself to the norm of today takes a great toll on me and made me hate people in general for their idiocy, fickleness, hypocrisy, and the list goes on.

As John McAfee once said: “People will be people, you can trust no one. It’s not a bad thing/cynical. I trust people to be people, to act in their own self-interests”, and I lived by this… Maybe I still do. But of course, there will come a time where I have to rub shoulders with other people and that of the opposite sex, as I continue my studies and my valiant attempt to reach my goals.

Needless to say, I started to lower down my guard about other people, I started to have my walls that sheltered me crumble as I started to understand the quirks and the things I hate about other people. Albeit, I still don’t like going to parties and the like, but I am slowly finding myself longing to hang out with my friends in the malls and whatnot. I may not accept the social norm of present day, but I was flexible enough to have my old-fashioned beliefs coincide in harmony.

Then it happened, I was still in high school then, but I felt something that I always heard about and dreaded about; what is this fleeting feeling in my chest? Why do I want to smile and chuckle without anyone talking to me or cracking a joke? Why do I feel like dancing with no music playing? And why do I not want to go home and be sheltered and surrounded by my books anymore?

I had my first crush. I was probably falling in love for the first time.

All rational and logical thinking is thrown out of the hypothetical windows when you find that someone that makes your heart skip a beat. And even if I had no intentions of really falling in love before, I, like everyone else, would always have a list of the ideal significant other ranging from looks to personality, yet sometimes, or most of the time, you make exceptions to the rule and fall for that person that didn’t tick off one box, let alone all the boxes, of your list of traits you’d want in your ideal significant other.

But maybe that is why we “fall”; we don’t choose to fall in the very definition of the word, as falling down you may graze your knees, as well as, your elbows; you’d end up with skid marks and skinned knees, as they say, and seriously, falling down in general hurts. But when the time calls to fall down, such as the case of sports like baseball, American football, and soccer, to name a few, where either catching the ball or defending the goal, you’d literally thrust your body and end up falling to the ground, bruised physically, but when the attempt succeeds, you can stand triumphantly. The very thought is you take the chance to catch or defend, where you end up hurt, but with a good outcome, you feel elated. And that is exactly what falling in love is: you take the risk, you may get hurt along the way falling, but if you succeed and someone is waiting to catch you, then you feel elated; yet if there is nothing in between you and the pavement, falling, in this case, heart first, will hurt. Get up, try again. Or can you?

In retrospect, I have crushes on a lot of girls, some I know personally, some that are celebrities; others being real, and the rest being, well, gaming or anime characters. But out of the real girls I know personally, I only really liked 4 of them. And out of those 4, I only really fell in love with 2 of them. And with 2 of them, I really thought I’d end up with 1 of them.

Sadly, she was a star far too bright for my own galaxy…

I fell in love one too many times for me to really care for, but being the hopeless romantic I am, on those 2 times that I did fall in love, I loved a bit too much. It is probably hilarious to hear this from a guy, because let’s face it, all those romantic movies and what mothers would usually tell their daughters, it is us men that end up breaking their hearts, but believe me, much like falling in love one too many times, I got my heart broken just as many times for me to really care for.

Breaking of hearts is not simply the other person saying they don’t like you, it won’t work out, or something along those lines. More often than not, it is letting go of something that you know won’t be realized in fruition. But whatever the case may be, as hard as it is for women, it is just as hard for us men, especially a hopeless romantic like myself.

The hardest part is that, whether your relationship came into realization or wasn’t even given the chance to take off, once that person becomes your everyday, your ever hour, your ever minute, your every second, all the way down to a thousandth of a second, the moment you have to let go, and you are struck with the thought the very next day, that very waking moment, and that they are less of your everyday now and you are no longer theirs either, if at all, in the first place.

The thought someone else ultimately making her smile from ear to ear; someone else ultimately making her laugh with stupid jokes; and that someone else ultimately saying “he loves her” and she will say she “loves him back”; those thoughts gnaw and eat my very insides ‘til there is really nothing left.

But the heart still beats, though broken, yet do you really feel it beating?

Each time those heartbreaks occurred, I pined. I pined a little longer than most guys whose relationships end or didn’t even have the chance to blossom. I pined and everyone around me could see that I was pining. But like any soldier, I mustered up the courage to go on, dodging all the bullets and taking a few, jumping over hurdles and tripping on a few; and it was making me become someone else, someone that I loathed to be, someone that was not Christian.

My labyrinthine mind usually filled with science and whatnot, now started to entertain rhetorical questions like “was I missing something?”, “where did I mess up”, “was I, simply, not good enough…?”.

I was becoming just like anyone else. I was not that special person, that strong person I thought I was, with a clear-cut goal and will have at nothing to get in his way of achieving them. I was finally becoming human.

And I hated each and every time I fall and there is no one in the other end to soften that free fall.

So, why was I always eager to fall again? All knowing what it does to me mentally and physically? Because like all other human beings, I was just plain stupid – I was just not as smart as I first thought I was.

I am just stupid.

The old saying, “It is better to have loved and lost, than to have never loved at all”, finally makes sense to me. Back when I was much younger, without knowing an ounce of truth of what love really entails, I always thought falling in love was easy; I always thought if you loved someone, and you showed them that you can make it to whatever ends of the world there is to prove it, that they’d love you back. Why would I lose? But alas, the naivety shows in my younger self. Love may be a many-splendored thing, but it can also be lackluster, confusing, and painful.

And it is true, now that I’m older, that it is far better to have loved and lost, than to have never loved at all. I know the highs of falling in love and the harsh lows of either falling out of it, or simply, not having been reciprocated for it. I have seen the immense beauty of it and I have seen the hideous side of it. I have been falling in and out of the idea of love that I can now easily tell whether the pain that I feel in my chest was because I fell for someone, that someone never loved me back, or something less stupid and something more real, like muscle pain.

I have loved. I have lost. That is good enough for me.

Whatever awaits me in this lopsided game called love, I will see it through. Whether that means love is truly worth waiting for or just something worth experiencing at least once in one’s lifetime – time will tell. And even if it doesn’t, time will, nonetheless, heal all wounds.


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Cooling Off

I have decided to take the time off from my preparation of the USMLE because I finally lost it, I finally burnt out, I am finally tired at the thought of picking up my notes.

As the saying goes, “rest if you must, but don’t you quit”, thus here I am taking the week off until August 1, 2017, to resume my readings.

And it just so happened that my best friend from my B.S. Biology and Medical school days, and fellow physician, Dr. Lee, visiting the Philippines as he has a short vacation from his military training. In fact, he is down to his last month of training in the military and he and I will be focusing on our preparation for the USMLE as we plan to tackle it together.

Dr. Lee and I have been best of friends for more than 12 years now; he was 1 year my senior during our B.S. Biology years and we became classmates during Medical school days. And as they say, any friendship that lasts more than 7 years will most likely last a lifetime – it certainly seems that way.

Glad he came back and as per usual, I am usually the first person he contacts when he is back and we hang out like old times.

He is quite close to my family as I am with his family, so I was happy, but not so surprised, when his mother, who is still in Korea, got me a gift; I too will give his family a gift before he returns to Korea, because, apart from reciprocity, even if I hadn’t had a gift from his mother, it is just right and almost like an unwritten rule for us to always do such gestures.

Each time he returns here for his short vacations, we usually end up hanging out most of the days he is here; that eventually leads me to saying, “Man, Lee, I see nearly everyday that each time I close my eyes to sleep, I see your face and I end up getting scared to sleep at all.”

Anyways, it is great he is back even for a few days as it coincided with my decision to just take a break from my readings; it really helped me cool off my burnt out demeanor.

Come August 1, I feel I would have found a new sense of vigor when reading.

Til next time! PEACE!

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Burning Out?

It is no secret that I am studying again for yet another licensure exam; heck, even if I wasn’t preparing to tackle another licensure exam, as a physician, I will still be studying, day in and day out, nonetheless.

Anyways, the exam I am talking about is the USMLE. I am originally an American Citizen, but has since become a dual citizen, adding my Filipino Citizenship into the mix in order to be able to take the license here locally and maybe train here.

Since passing the licensure exam here in the Philippines, I have been a bit confused as to where I should go next: Should I train immediately? Should I moonlight? Should I go on vacation?

A year went by and then I suddenly decided to move back to the States and tackle the USMLE so I can also be a licensed physician in the States, as well as being a licensed physician here in the Philippines.

It took a year to decide because I really didn’t know where my heart is… As much as I want to stay here and train and eventually have my private practice here, I feel as though I will not be able to live up to my full potential as a physician here. I feel that the language barrier, although I am able to speak a lot better Tagalog now than I ever thought I would be, is gonna be a huge factor in my training. Something as shallow as that is a real fear because in the world of medicine, there are no compromises… Not having to know the translation of a phrase and missing out on the diagnosis, no matter how benign the diagnosis is, is not a valid reason. And I want to train without having to worry about silly matters.

Thus, I decided, it is high time I move back home. My real home.

I have been studying leisurely since April just to get the hang of studying again, and come September, I will go full on study mode like when I was still a student. However, I have been losing interest in reading lately… I feel worn down… I feel burnt out.

Nothing can see to make me smile lately as my mind is always about USMLE and studying. Even when my heart is not into it, I force myself to read, and force myself to stay up in order to finish a certain number of chapters.

This is not really a good strategy as I am already feeling the effects of burning out and my exam date is nowhere near just yet.

As much as I want to cool down on some days like today, I end up feeling very guilty and then I start reading again.

I just wish I can read without feeling brunt out and I also wish that I can take a few days off reading, just playing games or whatnot, and not feel the guilt of skipping a few days or even a week.

I am in a very fragile complicated state right now and I thought of putting into words to let off some steam.

Did it help? I can’t say… But it feels good enough just to type some of these stresses of mine.

As always, I will just have to breathe in and breathe out… and pray. Better things are in store for me… I just can’t really see it or feel it just yet… but I just have to relax somehow and believe.

Til next time! PEACE!

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Lost in the Suburbs or so I Think

I may not have that many friends in total, but the number of friends that I do have, I feel are the most real and closest friends I can ever have.

Most of my close friends are from my college days and my post graduate days in medical school. Just yesterday, I finally got to catch up with my closest friend, my brother, in medical school, and obviously, fellow physician, Doc Joed.

This was a long time coming as we have made plans to hang out for months on end, but things happened to make us cancel it all the time.

He is my brother in medical school as we both we from B.S. Biology (though different universities), and we share the same passion for research (experimental more than descriptive), and finally, the 1st letter of our surnames are close to each other in the alphabet that we usually land in the same group for the 4-5 years we were in medical school (5 years if we include post graduate internship), thus it is no surprise we are close like brothers.

Such is life in that planned activities never push through, but spontaneous plans seem to push through by way of sheer adrenaline, hence, when we just decided to hang out in the country’s capital just to roam around the city and malls, we made it happen albeit the gloomy skies that opened up and rained pretty heavy.

Braving the rain, we arrived at our stop, SM North EDSA…

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Yes, I look like a mess.

After lunch, we decided to shop around; as usual, my number 1 priority in shopping would be for my hobbies… action figures, PC parts, etc. The least of my priorities was shopping for new attire, which was Doc Joed’s main priority apparently. Needless to say, he bought a lot of new clothes and such, then with out really thinking much, I bought some clothes too that I found were nice… something you don’t here me say everyday, “I bought new clothes”, as I seldom really do so; I let my mom or sisters take care of that for me as they know my fashion style (or the lack thereof).

After looking around some more the mall, we had the chance to hang out and catch up with one of over very 1st residents that took good care of us and taught us well during our clerkship days, Doc Anna!

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Next was perusing the mall again and also its neighboring mall, Trinoma, looking for at everything and anything we may actually purchase; not to be outdone by my brother, I was on the hunt for a Logitech Driving Force Shifter to add to my ever growing passion of Sim Racing (we can’t have him just spending alone now would we?) and to pair it with my Logitech G920 Driving Force Wheel and Pedals.

Having bought the things we want, fairly satisfied going around the malls, and having caught up with everything that needs to be caught up, we decided it is time to head back home.

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The humble haul: some clothes from Perry Ellis and a Logitech Driving Force Shifter

Honestly didn’t get nearly all the things I was planning to get in this trip, but what matters to me was that I got to see my former mentor/resident, Doc Anna, and finally got to hang out with my bro, Doc Joed. Things like just talking about anything under the sun without having to pretend you’re someone else makes it quite liberating especially in this world right now where you have to think twice what you say (I usually don’t care about thinking twice anyways) lest you want to insult someone.

Looking forward to another hangout/trip like this in the near future; a geek like me, though truly an introspective and less outgoing, should consider seeing more of the world… helps to de-stress…

Anyways, I will most likely make another post about the Logitech Driving Force Shifter just to give my thoughts on it. I will no longer be reviewing my peripherals as in dept as I used to as it is now time consuming and I don’t have the luxury of time since I need to prepare for USMLE and I still have jobs as a physician to give more of my time to.

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Getting knee deep into racing simulators

Alright then!

Til next time! PEACE!

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Recovery

Last Saturday, I twisted my left knee, now let us go back in time and remind you guys that my original injury was my right knee. My right knee also was operated on. So, why is my left knee twisting similarly to my right? Well, truth be told, both my knee are not in top shape since high school, where my right knee took most of the beating. Having to rely mostly on my left knee thru the years made it just as bad as the right, and last Saturday it showed how tired it was of being relied on.

Thankfully, it is starting to feel a lot better and I no longer need to use my cane. However, with that said, I haven’t had a real check up yet with my orthopedic surgeon to rule out the possibility of ligamental or miniscal taear, I will do that some other time. All I did was skip a few days of work, for which I’m returning tomorrow and quite excited to be a doctor again. Staying at home and just relaxing did the trick.

What else did the trick other than meds as well?

Well, this!

Wednesday Drive
A Drive Around Monaco

This is a good rehab for my knee in a way; sure it is not like the real rehab nor is it similar to riding a bike or doing my squats, but hey, it is giving my legs a workout in a way and in time I can return to my usual home exercises for my knees to truly recover.

This is just a short post, where I wanted to share my recent injury and a glamour shot of my racing in Monaco in F1 2015 (Waiting for F1 2017 so I skipped on F1 2016).

Til next time! PEACE!

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There and Back Again: A Trip to Singapore

Truth be told, it has been 11 years since my last air travel; it was way back in 2006 when I last traveled to and from America, so I was definitely excited, and a bit confused, while travelling to Singapore a few days back.

I was excited, simply because it has been 11 years since I boarded a plane, and excited because Singapore is one of the countries I have yet to visit, and by golly, I heard great things about it.

I was confused, since I don’t remember how to travel; I don’t remember where to go, what stations to pass by in the airport, and I don’t know the process for me to travel nowadays since I have a dual citizenship (I am both American and Filipino citizen, but only had a U.S. Passport). Luckily, my sister, who is also a physician, and also dual citizen, happened to have traveled to Thailand a month ago, and she got first hand experience when it comes to the extra paper works we needed as dual citizens.

Now, skipping the boring airport procedures, let us begin with me waiting to be board the plane: like I mentioned above it has been 11 years since I boarded a plane, let alone be in another country entirely, and with that thought, I guess I was a little too excited for my own good and wasn’t able to sleep the night before. This lead me to be a bit off the day of the flight, unsure if I can really stay awake during the duration of the flight. It also didn’t help that the trip to the airport didn’t help me sleep either, so here I am, being a wake for effectively 36 hours since I had work the day before, trying valiantly to enjoy my first air flight in 11 years.

Singapore Trip 2017
The waiting game…

When it is finally time to board the plane, I was right smack down in the middle of the plan, the middlemost seat, which in theory is the best as most people would say that you’d feel less of the effects of the flight there, of course, I would rather have the aisle seats, more specifically, next to the window, even if in fact, by the time you take flight, you’d see nothing but clouds and the body of water, but hey, I am easily entertained.

Thankfully I sat next to one of our friends also on the trip, who happens to also be my mentor during medschool, so it was cool that I had him next to me for the flight.

Overall, I am happy with the trip, it helped that it was just a short flight of 3 hours, so it was a perfect reintroduction to air flight as I plan to either visit Japan later this year or visit back home in America, also sometime later this year.

My only qualm from my first flight in 11 years is simply I ordered a certain breakfast in flight meal, and they got it wrong, it was tough to have it switched to the right one seeing that I am seated in the middle of the flight, so I let it go, but I made sure on the flight back home, I will have the right meal.

Singapore Trip 2017
At Changi International Airport with my sister

And so, we landed in Changi International Airport, and I know that most airports are better than NAIA, but wow, I was impressed by Changi, and all the more impressed when we were on the road; the lack thereof of traffic jams, the cleanliness, the overall beauty of Singapore, scream everywhere. I was blown away.

Singapore Trip 2017
Doc Jap showing the way to our chosen hotel as Doc Edwin looks unto the distance

Right off the bat, I will mention that we are here only for 3 days; the main reason we all went here is that my sister and our 2 other friends wanted to catch Coldplay in concert. I, on the other hand, just wanted to go around so I didn’t bother with a ticket. That is not to say I don’t like Coldplay, I do, I have a lot of songs that I like from them, but I am not a concert kind of guy. If it were The Cure, however, I will definitely watch them. I digress.

Being obviously a tourist hot spot, most people understand English, thus making it very easy for me to order food and whatnot, and feel very confident when the time for my sister and friends will inevitably will leave me for the concert. My confidence is further increased when the area, overall, seems to be a safe place, unlike here in the Philippines when the sun goes down, you have to constantly look over you shoulder and be vigilant. I am not trying to ruin the Philippines in terms of safety, but come on, people that live here will know what I mean… don’t pretend you don’t know what I mean.

Singapore Trip 2017
Looking for food
Singapore Trip 2017
A complete stranger… But I like her getup
Singapore Trip 2017
Lunch at the nearby Hawker with Doc Edwin

As the trio set off to line up for Coldplay, I decided to explore. I don’t plan on using the Taxi or anything of the like seeing that I wanna spend less on the commute and more on items, plus it makes it easy for me to see the actual sights and sounds, so to speak.

Singapore Trip 2017

Since I play lots of video games that are open world, I was not to worried about getting lost, and again, it helps that everyone speaks English very well. What worried me most was my knee; as you all know by now, I had surgery nearly 3 years ago and I still have difficulty longing long distances and standing for long periods of time. It was just the sheer adrenaline of being somewhere new that kept me going really.

Singapore Trip 2017
The weary travelling physician

Sure, I succumbed to fatigue, going in and out of the hotel I was staying in, Premier Inn Hotel, and then heading towards the nearest coffee shop to get a sugar rush in order to resume my exploration; I am a big Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf fan, but sadly, I can’t find any nearby, so I settled for Starbucks, my former love.

Singapore Trip 2017
Sugar rush!

After the much needed sugar rush, I am back on the road, exploring on my own. I was this close in getting to Merlion Park by myself, but having air traveled just in the morning and not having enough sleep to back it up, I reached the end of my energy tank, and had to call it a day and head back to the hotel. Overall, I had so much fun exploring on my own, tomorrow surely will be even better.

Singapore Trip 2017
Back at it again after my sugar rush

Next day… it started a bit slow, cos we all woke up late. Having washed up and ready to go exploring again, we waited for my former Resident/Mentor when I was but a wee medical clerk, Doc Noe, who has moved to Singapore and is a physician there, so who better to show us around than him, while my sister and 2 other friends, who are also physicians and my mentors, catch up with their colleague. Just 5 physicians hanging out in Singapore.

Singapore Trip 2017

Singapore Trip 2017
Singapore Trip 2017

Singapore Trip 2017
Five Physicians in Singapore

Doc Noe then treated us to a nice hearty meal, and as the afternoon was ending, a photo of the former AUFMC IM residents along with their boss/mentor is definitely a must.

Singapore Trip 2017
Doc Noe!
Singapore Trip 2017
Jollibee!?

Singapore Trip 2017

Singapore Trip 2017
Doc Chan’s Glare
Singapore Trip 2017
The gang after shopping at Samsonite since they had a sale
Singapore Trip 2017
From L-R: The Boss: Doc Edwin, along with the former IM residents: Doc Deb (my sis), Doc Noe, and Doc Jap

At the evening, we managed to meet up with Doc Jap’s high school classmate who happened to also have moved to Singapore; he also treated us to a delicious dinner and then showed us around.

Singapore Trip 2017

Singapore Trip 2017

Singapore Trip 2017

Singapore Trip 2017

Singapore Trip 2017

Singapore Trip 2017

Though we didn’t get to visit places like Merlion Park and the like, Orchard Road was pretty neat by itself; lot’s of places to eat, shop, or simply look around. I was on the lookout for some action figures so it isn’t surprising that when I arrived in Singapure I would go straight to the action figure shops, sadly, no Macross figures in stock at that time. Maybe next time…

Singapore Trip 2017

Singapore Trip 2017

Singapore Trip 2017

Singapore Trip 2017
Doc Deb, my sis!
Singapore Trip 2017
Doc Chan… Me… obviously

Singapore Trip 2017

Singapore Trip 2017

Singapore Trip 2017

Singapore Trip 2017
The doctor…  the otaku
Singapore Trip 2017
Looking for my waifu

As the night turned into early morning, we wanted to see Mustafa since it is supposedly a 24 hour lot for electronics and whatnot, but we were just too tired already; we headed back to the hotel and of course, the packing comes next. Now since I didn’t really get to buy anything interesting this time around during my visit, it was relatively easy packing, especially when my sister bought herself a Samsonite luggage as pictured above. For my friends’ souvenirs, I decided to just buy a lot of souvenirs in the airport later in the morning.

Finally, had just about enough sleep for the trip back home. After a quick bite to eat, it is straight to the airport and on the way back home to the Philippines. After 2 and a half days away from home, I must say, I was already getting home sick, hence, I was very eager to hop on that plane and get home.

Singapore Trip 2017
Manila bound… isn’t it obvious by my happy face?

Upon arriving back home, the first thing that greeted me was the wall of humidity and heat; Singapore wasn’t really at its coldest at that time we visited, but boy oh boy, nothing can beat the heat of the Philippines. The next thing I immediately miss about Singapore is the free flowing traffic; back here, man, the traffic jams are a stuff of legend.

Singapore Trip 2017
HOME… One of my fave pics my sis took of me

I don’t know if it was apparent in the post, but I was slightly hinting that I am planning to go back to Singapore later this year, for I am a Formula 1 fan for 21 years now, and I heard that it may be the last Singapore GP in F1 for the foreseeable future (not yet sure), I jumped at the chance of finally watching a race live in person. I will also be traveling on my won for the first time in my life, so it all the more, it will be a special experience.

I have yet to book my flight, book a hotel, or even buy a ticket for F1, but I’m pretty much sure about this trip, just have to finalize the seating (gotta find good seats, of course) and ask Doc Jap’s friends what hotel to book into, and we are ready for the race!

Anyways, overall, my 1st flight in 11 years, thankfully a short one, and thankfully a beautiful place like Singapore to visit, was a fun and well worthwhile one. I am not much of a traveler, but honestly, apart from going back to Singapore for the race and going to the States to see my home again, I plan to go to Taiwan, South Korea, and Japan in the near future. Somehow, visiting Singapore whet my appetite for traveling. Maybe this geek should see more of what the world has to offer…

Singapore Trip 2017
After 11 years, I got to travel again…

Til next time! PEACE!

P.S.

I will add a few of my favorite shots I took with my DSLR (you can click on the title/caption to be linked to my Flickr:

The Other Side
The Other Side
The Daily Grind
The Daily Grind
The Light on Route 76
Light on Route 76
One Small Step
One Small Step
The Connection
The Connection

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