Still Waiting…

Does anyone else feel like they’re still waiting for things to get better?

Remember how we were all like “YES BRING ON 2021 GOODBYE 2020 THINGS WILL BE SO MUCH BETTER!!” ?

Has anyone gotten what they were expecting?

I don’t think I have.

NZ is still flitting in and out of lockdown, still waiting on the vaccine, still has closed borders to the rest of the world. People still making noise about masks, still seeing covid news everywhere, still not improved.

Personally, I feel like the other things in my life have also not improved as I had hoped. It’s March already. ALREADY.

I have been studying. I am planning to sit my physicians college exams in 2022. Yep you really do have to start studying a year early. There really is that much content.

But it’s more than that. I guess I was hoping beyond hope that something would change.. you know?

Like I would experience something new, people would understand me better, I would understand people better, I would come in to my role as a registrar and it would feel different and I would feel different… just…something.

I thought at least things would feel more.. fixed. More sure? I guess? But everything is still as fluffy as it always was. Every time there is a disagreement or confusion, everything seems so broken and without solution. And it continues to feel this way. I’m not sure what I was hoping for.

Ahh what a bleak train of thought. But seriously, shouldn’t something have happened by now?

I’m not sure.. But I’m still waiting…

The Last Day Of 2020

So I thought about writing my annual year in review post. But I’m struggling to do so. Can Anyone really write a good summary post about 2020? Probably not. Mostly because it seems like the perils of 2020 are not yet over.

I usually say there’s always something to be grateful for every year. I guess that’s true. I mean, this year I thought was going to be awful for a bunch of other reasons. But as it turned out, that stuff was less awful and kind of turned out okay as collateral damage to the whole covid business.

Some things were broken beyond repair this year. But other things were built. Nobody has ever had an experience quite like this around the world. It was unique. It brought people together in a way while also ripping them apart. Lockdown was hard. Working through it in hospital for me was hard. But I imagine it would have been way harder for people at home.

For me personally, stuff happened this year that kind of broke who I thought I was. And the relationships I have with others. But there were also times that solidified who I am and certain relationships.

But I hadn’t achieved any personal goals this year. I had a few of them. I had visions to improve certain aspects of my life. But all is not lost. As always, when things don’t turn out the way you want them to, they inevitably turn out the way they’re meant to. And at the end of the day, that will be what was best for you and everyone. Even if it doesn’t seem that way at the time.

I believe that.

So. Going forward, I can’t really picture 2021 being loads better. Because as we all know, this covid thing hasn’t yet gone away. Of course there is the vaccine which gives lots of people hope. Myself included. But in the time that it takes for most of the world’s population to be vaccinated or immune, things will be rather different. Travel will take a long time to go back to how it was.

But we can surely hope it will be better in that everyone is prepared for these changes. And everyone, will go with the flow. As will I.

So on the last day of 2020, I decided to do my favourite thing – watch the sunset. May the setting sun on the last day of 2020 bode well for the sunrise of 2021

The Burnout Ended

Finally my week off arrived! And let me tell you, it was a long time coming.

Prior to my week off I had a set of night shifts which were pretty awful and draining. Made me worry a bit for the coming years and whether I would even have the energy for night shifts. It’s just not natural. Eugh.

But something else that happened in the weeks leading up to my week off is that I was asked to step up to be a registrar 2months earlier than everyone else.

Our employers in Auckland, being as useless with admin as they usually are, realised much too late that they do not have enough medical registrars for the coming year and especially for the transition period in November. So their last-ditch attempt was to ask those of us who are going to be registrars in February, to start in December. I was one of them.

Initially the whole thing freaked me out because I was still in my burnout spell and I didn’t think I could tolerate more responsibility and a more difficult roster (being a registrar is nothing glamorous, let me tell you.) So I was super scared. Every one I talked to thought I was ready. Except me.

I didn’t quite know what I should do but I kept telling myself it’s the burnout talking. Because I knew I wanted to be a reg and I knew if I did it early, my senior regs who I know and who like me will still be around to support me before they move on to their next rotation. So that’s a bonus.

But on the other hand, it was more responsibility when others at my level were still House officers and I sure as hell won’t get the week of leave I had asked for around Christmas time and what if I screw up? How do I just step up early?

Well as someone who just recently read The Subtle Art of not giving a f*ck, I guess the answer to that question is, you just do it. If you haven’t read that book, I recommend it. Helped me through my burnout stages.

I guess the point is I knew I was gonna do this so I guess, just do it. (In the most non-Nike way possible).

There was no real point to being scared. I mean of course I have to be a bit scared and make sure I do a good job and not screw up, but there’s no point in being so scared that I go backwards from progress that I need to have.

So anyway, during my week off, I reflected, and agreed to go ahead and take the job starting in December. Only time will tell how thing shall turn out.

I went to Tauranga on my week off, a city in the East Coast of the North Island. Famous for the beaches and nature trails. Climbed up a mountain and took some pics as I do.

It’s been a good week off. Much needed, tried to be productive, reflective, get back into photography, reading, writing and being some version of happy.

And the weather was just gorgeous! Here are some pictures of the Tauranga coastline from Mt. Maunganui

2020

A friend of mine wished me a happy new year

But when he sent the message, it came out as “Happy New Year?” With a question mark. 

I laughed and he told me it was a typo but it seemed oddly appropriate. 

He followed it up with a sheepish “I mean, who knows what will happen this year” 

And I agreed with him. I have no idea what 2020 will bring. But hopefully a lot of nice photos.

Like this one that I took in Adelaide on Christmas. 

Hope 2020 brings you what you want. ­čÖé 

Photography: Art, But Not Really

So the other day I was talking to one of my friends about cameras. He had just upgraded from his Samsung Galaxy S9 phone to a 1+ phone. He boasted about how fabulous the camera is on this new model of phone. He told me his photography skills were about to improve ten-fold.

I laughed openly.

I told him the camera doesn’t decide how good you are at photography. He countered my argument by saying that with a good camera, anything captured can be made to look fabulous.

We continued to discuss this. It got me thinking about whether photography is even a valid art form. My interest in photography began back when I was in school. A couple of my science teachers ran a photography club and taught some of us the techniques and practice of being a good photographer. They thought I was pretty good. My parents thought I was pretty good. So I went out and bought myself a DSLR.

My DSLR is super amateur level. I’ve been using the same 2 lenses that came free with the camera 6 years ago. But I still put up some decent photos.

But honestly, I know I’m not very good. I don’t have what I perceive to be good photography skills. For example, my idea of angles is pretty amateur. I’ve seen lots of people take photos from angles I wouldn’t have thought of looking in. I also don’t care much about lighting. I need my subject to be visible with as much detail as possible. But I’ve seen people toggle with lighting for ages before even taking a picture.

But I take photos and people tell me they are good. But am I just lucky?

When I go on instagram, the people I follow usually put up pretty mundane photos. But every so often, some of them will put up something that makes me go “Oooh”. Does that make them “good” at photography? Or does it just make them lucky to have been in the right place and the right time with their camera lined up accurately enough to capture something fantastic?

A few people I know have opened their own photography “companies”. Not one of them is super impressive to me. They deal a lot in portrait photography of people they know. I can’t say they’re very good. Even edited, none of them made me go “ooh”. I have a sneaking suspicion that these people were also told by their family/friends that they’re super good at photography and so they should have their own company. Or in the case of one of my friends, he has all the camera tech possible and just went for it. Needless to say, he didn’t get very far.

One of the people I know who does professional real estate photography, had trouble capturing some people in good lighting at a house party. But that’s not to say that his real estate photos are bad…

I think landscape photography and wildlife photography, and to a certain extent, portrait photography requires a whole lot of luck. The landscape never changes. But at that point when You visit the landscape (sunset/sunrise/dry/raining) changes how your photo will look. Same with wildlife photography (is the animal moving/sleeping/positioned correctly, etc). When I see the Natural Geographic photo competition winners who have captured a bird flying or a herd of animals running, yes you need a good camera and a good position, but you didn’t ask those animals to charge into your frame to capture. That was all them. Portrait photography requires luck because even though you can have models, capturing that exact expression you want requires some luck.

Macro photography is probably a bit different. It requires a lot more thought and skill. You need to see the special in the mundane and go close enough to see it and draw attention to it. That is one field of photography that I truly think needs skill. Because you can’t just zoom into anything and expect it to look good or convey a message you want it to.

So on the whole, is photography an art form? Or can any idiot with a good camera capture something stunning from time to time?

I think it’s a mixture of both.

I think you can’t take good photos without some luck. And I think anybody can be a photographer. But skill in photography is a very specialised subject. But I still think it has very little to do with what kind of camera you have.

Interesting topic. Does anyone have any thoughts on this?

End Of PGY1

On the 20th of November, was my last day at Middlemore Hospital and my last day as a first year house officer.

I cannot believe it’s gone by so fast. To hear from my friends who are just graduating medical school that I’ve been doing this for a year now, is just bizarre.

How do I feel? Well, unsure. But ready to move on I suppose.

I guess now I have that goal in mind to keep progressing and moving up until I’m consultant. Starting Monday, I’ll be doing gastroenterology as a house officer in Auckland City hospital.

I need to join the College of Physicians sometime before the end of the year. I need to study for my exam which will be in a couple of years. I need to plan to step up as registrar at the end of next year.

Gosh.

I don’t know if I am prepared. I’m trying to reflect on my skills and what I’ve learned during my first year. The honest truth is, I’m not sure. I’ve not killed anyone, thank God for that. I’ve picked up a few unwell patients and helped look after them. I’ve made good friends (like actual friends, not just “colleagues”. Who knew?) I’ve met some pretty awesome registrars and consultants who I’ve learnt a lot from.

So I guess it’s been a good year overall.

I just hope it has prepared me in some respect for what is to come.

In the wake of finishing my first year as house officer, I had another quick getaway trip.

This time to Queenstown in the South Island of New Zealand. Everyone always hypes up the south island. As though it’s completely different to the north. I’ve got to say, it’s not really all that different. The landscape is beautiful, no doubt. But not breathtaking.

But I took some decent photos.

The mood of these photos is what I shall project onwards from Monday.

Lake wanaka sceneMilford sound 2Milford sound waterfallPSX_20191122_141654PSX_20191122_195246Queenstown skylineThat Wanaka Tree

 

Hidden Treasures

Auckland is really big.  There are parts of it I never even knew existed after 16 years of living here. 

And you never discover them until you’re dragged there by someone else on a day where you had planned to just relax at home. 

Even halfway through the exploring when you want to turn back because you’re tired and hungry but they drag you along a new path anyway and you arrive by some glorious happenstance, here.

You wouldn’t believe this was in my city would you? But it is. 

Life’s been super rough lately. But treasures like this still offer a pick-me-up when needed. 

Passage To India 

Sorry I have been quiet for a while. 

I had been swamped at work and then had a 10 day break during which time we had a family trip to India!

It was supposed to be a spiritual getaway to Varanasi, a city in North India where the Ganges river runs. It’s believed in Hindu culture that you must atleast once in your lifetime go to Varanasi and visit the Ganges river to absolve yourself of your sins and feel the presence of God.

For me it meant a photography getaway ofcourse!
Here is the Ganges river in all its glory! Well actually it’s flooded. It’s apparently been extra rainy in Varanasi this year meaning the boats stationary on the side of the pic cannot sail on the river as they usually do. I didn’t get to cruise down the Ganges.

The local Varanasi dwellers pray to the Ganges river every evening and offer gifts and sacred flames to the Goddess of the river. Quite a lovely experience.

This is a place ccalled Sarnath. It contains the ruins of a great kingdom and the temple which is still intact.

Varanasi is quite an ancient city. Every corner had something that was atleast 2000 years old. And that was pretty amazing. 

We then spent a day in Delhi 

Where I caught the India Gate at golden hour. 
It was much too hot and busy in India but it was quite an experience! 

But now I have to go back to work on Monday to surgery with a cold I caught as a souvenir from India. 

Oh well atleast the pictures are good!

Expected And Unexpected 

Life is full of the expected and unexpected. 

Like how unexpected it was that my registrar shared something so personal with me and it made me feel so great.

But then expecting a friend who has known me for years to understand my feelings, only to have that thrown in my face.

But then the same friend saying something I was absolutely not expecting and which continued to haunt me all day.

All the surgical house officers anxious and expecting the worst for tomorrow on the first day of general surgery. 

Sometimes it all becomes too much. 

I had to disappear. And reflect. And take photos.

Expectations are on the whole not a good thing. But having the unexpected happen to you isn’t always a good thing either. Being blind-sided is a weird feeling. 

But I can always expect the aesthetics of nature to take some of the edge off.

Nothing Else

A photo

Taken on a walk where I was reflecting on how I don’t understand anything.

How nothing I do seems to be enough

How I’m the only one crying

How even though that’s the case, the sunset is still so beautiful and peaceful.