Saturday, June 23, 2012

The First Two Weeks of LU4

The first two weeks of 2nd year med proper have passed, which means we have about thirty-four left to hurdle. The past week, we've done basic pathology, plus a day on nutrition (where we learned to do food exchanges) and two on pedagogy (or how to make a lesson plan - college level). Week 1 was a chill week; week 2 saw me studying every night from Sunday to Thursday (applause). 

Last weekend was a party weekend for me - three consecutive nights beginning Friday. It doesn't come close to my six-night party week last December, but this is just the start of the school year, so that makes it quite an achievement. 

On Friday, we had Fridate - the interclass party between our class (2016) and the freshmen (2017) - at Aquasphere along Roxas Boulevard near Malate Church. Ending: Wild drunken med school freshies in the pool. (Yes, there's a pool - and dress code was "beach attire," which, of course, I and many others didn't follow.)

On Saturday, we had Mednight - sort of like Prom, but only in med school - at the penthouse of Marc 2000 Tower in front of the Quirino Avenue LRT station. The last Mednight (then called MedBall) was more than a dozen years ago. Guess what - I was nominated for Mednight King (a great follow-up to my Best Hairstyle Award during prom of 4th year). Ending: Intoxicated Intarmed freshmen and sophomores, and med proper citizens. Drunken gathering at the fire escape stairwell. The best closing remarks I've ever delivered. 

It should be noted that there was free-flowing alcohol on both nights. And that medical students are one of the best party people in the world. 

Fridate. Photo by Terence Kua.
On Sunday, my godfather's daughter got married. Nothing significant, except that this is his second daughter to be married off within seven months.

The weekdays that followed were marked by some really interesting lectures from the most amusing lecturers. 

"It's not you who can't stand it anymore, it's meeeee." - Dr. Geraldino, immunopathologist, after rushing through his slides on the pathology of viral diseases to finally end the Monday morning. You know you have great teachers when even they act like students.

As of yesterday morning, all original dates for the four-weekend run of Atlantis Productions' Rock of Ages were virtually sold out. That has to be one for the books. So they opened two new shows, and yesterday afternoon, I tried to get a ticket. Guess what - no more good, reasonably priced loge center seats; they only had orchestra seats left. Heck, there's no way I'm paying P2000 for a show that hasn't yet received a genuine rave (meaning, from the Brantleys and Isherwoods of the local theater scene).

Instead, I paid P200 for a digital 2D screening of Rock of Ages the film. Guess what - I had a surprisingly and genuinely good time this afternoon. I think this awards season should at least consider nominating Tom Cruise and Catherine Zeta-Jones for their deliriously captivating supporting performances. And then there's Paul Giamatti playing the type he played in Big Fat Liar and The Ides of March.

You know, I actually don't understand why Rock of Ages sold out. It confuses me, if you must know.  

During class this afternoon, I killed a mosquito just by grabbing for it midair.  

Tomorrow is Saturday and I am so excited: I will be having both left third molars extracted!

Mednight. Photo by Jenn Gargar.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Life Is No Fairy Tale

The following was published in The Chain, June-July 2007, under the 'Student's Soul' section. The by-line read, "Vivian Q., a freshman." The story: We still had this vertical space in the op-ed section left and we were beating the deadline and someone had to move fast. So. (Forgive us our sins, for we were young and foolish.)

When I was younger, it was a world of damsels and princesses, knights and princes, towering castles and faraway lands, magic carpets and magic lamps, poisoned apples and enchanted spindles, glass slippers and royal balls, evil stepsisters and wicked witches, true love's kiss, dwarfs, genies, mermaids, fairies, and other fantasies. I delved myself into horizons unseen and unbelievable. It was only I who recognized the beauty and reality of such things.

It was like that for my elementary days. I always believed that I would pass my subjects without much difficulty no matter what, that I would continue to excel even in the most stressful of times, and that I would always be safe and protected anywhere, anytime. In other words, I lived my life as though it were a fairy tale, believing that there is always a Prince Charming and a happily ever after for everyone.

But entering the gates of this institution last June changed that outlook of mine. Reality was banged onto my head. By setting foot on the grounds of this ninety-five year old institution, I discovered a whole new world and a brand new horizon.

The sea of faces that surrounds me is unfamiliar. I am virtually an unknown here in school, totally just an ordinary clueless freshman. Five times a week, I attend classes in an environment filled with strangers – people whom I barely know. Everywhere I go, there is always a different person to meet and pass by.

It is also quite the same with the school itself – an entirely different strange complex of white and red that I am yet to be familiar with. Rooms and their facilities are scattered all over this five-storey labyrinth, some of which I am yet to be able to locate.

Then, there are the people behind this school. There are the teachers and the administrators, most of whom I do not know. Sometimes, I would hear the old students in our class talk about this renowned institution’s “famous and infamous” personalities. And while they laugh, I just keep to myself, unable to go with the flow. There are the employees – the janitors, the canteen girls, drivers, etc. They have been quite friendly and helpful to me, even though I do not know some of them.

And lastly, there is the reality of spending ten months in a totally different school on a different part of the island. A lot of people have told me that high school is the most enjoyable stage of life. But then, for me, there is the prospect of change – lots of it – as well as visions of struggles with academic grades, difficulties with subjects, misunderstandings with teachers, fights with classmates, and a lot more that make this part of life seem so complicated and scary.

However convoluted and dreadful these times may be, I know that I will still have to brave the storms whether I like it or not. And this is a challenge not everyone in life accepts. Whatever changes I may encounter, whatever pains and sufferings I may undergo, I know that I will still have to face them. I guess life is no fantasy at all. This is reality.

I am now witness to the beginning of a new fairy tale, a story which I myself will write. Only this time, there are no genies coming out of magic lamps, no kisses that will save me from doom, no fairies that will transform my physical appearance, no dwarfs that will take care of me when I am abandoned, no magic carpet that will take me wherever I want to go, and certainly no dashing Prince Charming who will rescue me from my tower. And this time, there is no certain happy ending.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

The Monkey of Bohol

The town of Baclayon in Bohol is famous for a python sanctuary housing "Prony," one of the largest and longest snakes in captivity. Read more about that here:

But if you visit the place now, you'd know there are two bigger stars there than the humongous python - both of them, I must say, full-blown agaw-eksenas (scene stealers). The first one is the cross-dressing assistant of the woman who, I surmise, is Prony's carer (pardon the Never Let Me Go lingo). This 'carer' sits inside the enclosure with the snake (or at least, that's where she was when we went - it was molting season). But the assistant, in full-blown tropical beach dress get-up and fancy make-up, sits amongst the line of tourists waiting to enter the enclosure for their 'close encounter' with the snake. This assistant flirts with foreigners and, as I recall, said that Prony is "a virgin, never been kissed, never been touched." I think the place would be boring without her.   

The second agaw-eksena is the monkey after which this post is named.

There I was, intently gazing at the python from the opposite end of the enclosure, my face almost touching the bars.

Then, my eyeglasses took themselves off my face.

In a matter of seconds, I was the fourth big star of the place. 

People were pointing at me. Whispering. Pointing at the monkey clutching my glasses. Speaking audibly. Middle-aged white guy with bear belly bellowing, "Oh no, no, no." Mothers telling their kids what just happened. Mothers and fathers convening amongst themselves what could or would happen next. Friendly, amused, and consoling stares thrown at me from every direction.

And, as one should do in these kinds of situations, I smiled, laughed a bit. Ah, the kind of training you get from LadyMed.

The carer saw what had happened and nonchalantly threw her fan at the monkey, which then dropped my glasses to the ground. 

Fresh from the spotlight, I left the area and mingled with the free-roaming geese instead. Minutes later, a clueless girl's sunglasses were in the hands of the monkey.

P.S. Guess what my zodiac sign is.