Thursday, September 27, 2007

First steps

I only believed I was finally a medical student in Nottingham when I stepped into Queen's Medical Centre for the first time on Monday morning. Then my companions and I tried to find our way from the South Entrance of the hospital to the medical school. We had to thread through numerous corridors and pass by many doors, some of which, from the nameplates on them, housed our future lecturers.

Since then, the pace of life is speeding up. We were bombarded with more and more things to do and in particular read, as reading lists and timetables came, followed by lecture notes. I have several modules to complete over the academic year.

Behavioural Sciences
Clinical Laboratory Skills I
Cardiovascular System, Respiratory System and Haematology
Communication Skills
Structure function and pharmacology of Excitable Tissues
Human Development and Tissue Differentiation
Molecular Basis of Medicine
Early Clinical and Professional Development I
Public Health and Evidence Based Medicine
Human Development Structure and Function I

I've also met my personal tutor, Dr Victoria Tischler. She's a psychologist and works in the Department of Psychiatry. She's a very nice person, and I'm waiting to see what her Comm Skills lectures are like.

Today also granted me a small revelation.... that of how well Hwa Chong's Bio department had prepared me. I had the opportunity of explaining what the cytoskeleton was, as apparently my fellow medic did not understand it even after the lecturer was done. My reward.... Being called a geek, aka nerd. Damn.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Flat 37 Madison Court

Well, that's my new room in Flat 37, Madison Court, Raleigh Park. Had to wait in a long queue to collect my keys because many international students live on this site and many of them moved in today.
I'm still unpacking, so the room is a superb mess. I'll only think about another photograph once I'm fully unpacked and my room does not look like it belongs to a perfect slob.
Right now I've got 4 flatmates: 1 from China, 2 Malaysians and 1 Bruneian. And the total of 3 Malaysians represent the 3 main races in Malaysia. Cool, isn't it? But I must admit I'm missing the friends I made in Cripps Hall the first week. It felt so nice hanging out with them that I wish I could continue to do so. Sadly, we all moved into separate accommodations.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Pictures from overseas

These pictures are taken in Dubai airport. The cars are a Porsche 911 Carrera GT whereas I cannot remember the exact model name of the Merc. The bike is a Harley Davidson. And by the way, they're the prizes of a lucky draw.

What the transit wing of the airport looks like:

Views from inside the B777-300 cabin:

After Glasgow I sat through a whole lot of countryside on the motorway down through England, but I couldn't get pictures of cows and sheep because by the time my camera reacted, the sheep had passed us. And being on the motorway, I couldn't well ask my cousin to slow down.

As luck would have it, I saw Sheffield before seeing Nottingham.

However, I soon reached the university that I was eternally thankful to for accepting me.

This is the Queen's Medical Centre, largest hospital in England, maybe even Europe. It has 28 miles of corridors and 1100 toilets. The inside joke is that the 1100 toilets are there for those who have problems finding their way through the 28 miles of corridor. No surprise. This photo shows only about 2 blocks out of 4 that make up the medical centre, and then, not even those two blocks in their entirety.

This pic isn't mine, i picked it off the net to emphasise the size of QMC.

Most of those who did not take the university coach from Heathrow to Notts (like me) were put into Cripps Hall first as their temporary accomodation, resulting in me being separated from most of the other Malaysian first year medics. This is what Cripps Hall looks like.

Fields of Gold.... full of duck and goose crap too...

Fact File #1: The university campus measures 330 acres.
Fact File #2: The place is full of birds. Colour Key: White-swan, black head-goose, green head-male duck, brown-female duck.

Fact File #3: They know how to cross the road! Well, the geese at least.
Now I'm not sure how well you can see it, but I suggest opening it with Windows Picture and Fax Viewer and click on the button for actual size. In fact, I think just clicking on the picture will show you a huge actual one. There's actually one goose leading half the flock across the road, and cars stop for them! They stop for me, of course, but... them?
Squirrel I spotted outside Hugh Stewart, next to Cripps. It's cute, and some of us want to keep them as pets.
Today I went to Nottingham City Centre for a short while. In England you hardly have to worry about time if you're on the streets. The church bell towers remind you of the hour. I love hearing the bells toll. It almost seems to remind me that I'm in England for real. The coffee and hot chocolate are from Costa Coffee and cost about 2 pounds for a medium, which is the glass's size.

Right, that's as far as I will go. I'm tired, and I skipped visiting a famous student club venue tonight in favour of a movie and beauty sleep, so good night!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

New Beginnings

I hardly have any time to sit down and blog, so I'm posting a sort of diary that I kept when I did not have internet, ie. the past one or two days.

19th September

It feels great being here, despite the cold which landed me with, it seems, a small bout of flu. Woke up before my alarm rang this morning in Cripps Hall. Recalling yesterday, I arrived with my relatives in the afternoon and got the key to my room. Checking in, I found the room adequate, old but reasonably comfortable. HCIBS was new, Raleigh Park is fairly new, but this is like the standard old brick building with windows that are opened by pushing up, not out. Trekking a bit around the grounds later saw loads of grass, interspersed with what appears to be goose poo. It's no rarity to see squirrels scurrying across the road or the grass. Mixed around a bit before and during dinner with a bunch of Americans and Canadians, but found more agreeable companions later on in the Portland ballroom at the karaoke. Sitting with me were a Kenyan (Bora), a Thai (Raghav), 2-4 Chinese (Iris, Yang Chi, Pan Jiang etc.) and another girl whose country of origin I could not remember (Thelma). We didn't sing, but certainly had good fun. Many students from China and India here, really. Supposedly the same for the Malaysian campus, but it is less easy to run into them. Those I ask are usually from China, whether the Ningbo campus or just here for the whole degree. All the others I know from Malaysia are in Derby Hall, tough luck, but I get to meet more people! It feels really cool.

Submitted the form to open my bank account yesterday, thankfully, but discovered an error in my student ID, so will have to trek back to get it amended, hopefully won't take long. Will try to explore Portland a bit further today maybe. I plan to find the travel centre to ask about bus routes.

2nd entry

This morning I met David from Hong Kong and Irene from Brunei. Turns out, they stuck with me for a fair bit of the day, Irene especially, and Yang Chi too. We try to crack jokes all the time. David is an interesting person, seemingly full of experiences to share. Irene is a bit quiet but very friendly, and so is Yang Chi. We four watched Casino Royale together tonight. Free movie screening, so might as well. Finally got some bank business done with and explored some bits of Portland. Had shepherd's pie and some dessert made from apples at dinner today. People are complaining about the food, but I see nothing to grumble about.

Other new acquaintances include May from the Philippines, Jenna from Malaysia and Ling from China. Only Jenna is a medic I think.

I need my sleep, it's 11 pm. Gotta run. Tomorrow has more stuff to do!

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Walking in Putrajaya

I took one of my days in KL to visit the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and submit my application for a Certificate of Good Conduct. Waste of my time, really. After doing so, I made a mad spur-of-the-moment decision to take a walk.

A walk? In Putrajaya, at noon in bright sunlight? No map, no taxis? I kid you not. I did it.

This is the building next to the MOFA... I dunno what it is exactly.
For what I think is the very first time, I walk without an idea of how to get where I'm going. I was like, where's that mosque?

I was amused when I saw this sign... The arrow on the sign, which is not shown here, points toward my left.

After walking past this, I called my mum and asked her, "Guess where I am?"

Again, where am i going?
I swear I was the only person, aside from the gardeners and roadsweepers, who was on foot. All around there were cars, especially those with Putrajaya number plates.
I don't know what on earth all those buildings are!
This fountain was, I think, on the backside of the PM's office.
At long last, after almost an hour of walking, I finally found the mosque.
When I stepped closer to the PM's office building, I was surprised to find the area packed with cars, and people. Then I realised yet again that it was but a few days before Merdeka celebrations.

I had wanted to step onto the space they call Dataran Putra, which sits right in front of Perdana Putra (PM's office) and Masjid Putra, but a National Day rehearsal was taking place, and as you can see, my way was blocked by row upon row of cars, buses, taxis... Beats me why they were there...
And believe you me, it can be very hard to catch the correct bus in Putrajaya. I tried, and ended up taking a cab driven by, apparently, a cousin of Tan Sri Dr Ismail Merican.