Chicken Pox: Bad, Ugly, and Transformational.

The last month has been one of the most eventful months of my life. Soon after my last blog, I took my MCAT and I felt like I had conquered it at the time. However, I am still here about five weeks later and still have not received the scores. My confidence has turned into worry and doubt and the day I find out my future is tomorrow. I wish tomorrow was not September 10th.

Anyway, after I took my MCAT, I went on a five day couch potato cruise and watched TV from 8am until 11pm everyday until I had to pack my bags for a weekend in Pennsylvania. The weekend went smoothly, but on Saturday night, I started feeling like there was frog in my throat and it hurt to swallow. I assumed it was a normal sickness and it was going to be no big deal. We flew home on Sunday and I couch potatoed again until I fell asleep. The next morning, I woke up to a warm itchy feeling on my body and an even worse sore throat that the day before. When I was brushing my teeth, I looked up at the mirror and shrieked in horror. My entire face and body was covered in little red blisters. I had gotten the chicken pox. It got worse and worse everyday for six days. I was supposed to move into school that Friday, but we had to pay an arm and a leg to reschedule flights and such to give myself a ten day recovery period. I looked hideous, I felt hideous, and I knew I couldn’t go back to school looking like this, leave alone being in an airplane with little babies who could contract the virus from me. I couldn’t lay down on any side of my body because I was covered; I couldn’t stand because the bottom of my feet were covered. My scalp, my ears, throat, gums, tongue, “down there,” my eyes, literally, everything was covered in blisters. It was a painful and miserable ten days of involuntary being a couch potato. The worst had past and it could have only gotten better from there. The blisters started bursting and turning into scabs and slowly the scabs fell of naturally. I moved back into school and missed a couple days of school, but I jumped right into it. Since then, I’ve been as happy as a clam. I even got to witness a thunderstorm that nearly cracked my window and resulted in a double rainbow. Magical things have been happening since my chicken pox event. I have been trying my best to have a positive outlook on everything. That was God’s way of letting me know that I needed to make some changes in my lifestyle and in my attitude. And that I did. I have lost ten pounds since then and I am keeping a very healthy diet. I am also meditating and making sure I have some reflection time. Maybe this painful experience was for the best.

A Gem in Venice, CA

Today I met my aunt and cousin in a restaurant called Gjelina in Venice, CA. The location of the restaurant is in a happening, young singles type of area. Behind the restaurant, there was a place called Electric Lounge with the most beautiful bamboo and decorations. An angel made out of mosaic mirrors was placed up front and I was literally mesmerized. Upon entering the joint, I was enamored by how the place was designed. There was tons of outdoor seating and a large, square fire pit in the center. The walls and ceilings of the restaurant were grayish wooden planks and beautiful vines were creeping up the walls to create an arch around the entrance. One entire wall had exposed brick, which really brought the eclectic Venice attitude to the space. Being a vegetarian, I was first skeptical of the menu. I felt like there weren’t enough options, especially breakfast options that I could eat. On top of that, the restaurant declines all requests to substitute meat with vegetables. However, I ordered one of the only vegetarian breakfast dishes, the mushroom omelet with a side of arugula lettuce and one pancake. I absolutely loved every bite of my food. Before the food came out, my cousin’s friend who is the manager there, brought out warm blueberry scones. It was my first time having a scone and I fell in love right away. The quality of the food made up for the lack of options in the menu. I would give this restaurant 4.5 out of 5 stars! I definitely plan to visit again.

After our wonderful meal, we headed home via the Pacific Coast Highway. The weather was perfect with slight clouds and a breeze, but the sky was still bright. To the left of us was the sparkling beach with hundreds of surfers and handsome men running with their cute dogs. This morning couldn’t have been better. I love Southern California.

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There is No Such Thing as CAN’T.

There is no such thing as “CAN’T.” I can do everything. I can do everything. I can do everything. That has to be the running broken tape continuing in my head. I can do anything I set my mind to. If you ever have a day that you feel like you just CAN’T, just remember that you CAN. I can. We all can. We CAN face our fears; we CAN say no, we CAN apologize, we CAN learn, we CAN run an extra mile, we CAN skydive, we CAN scuba dive, we CAN sit in the dark, we CAN tell our enemies off, we CAN reunite, we CAN stand up to justice, we CAN live, we CAN be happy, we CAN SUCCEED. Today. Now. And forever.

My Mom Doesn’t Want to Trade Me In For a Different Daughter

Today I had an emotional bonding moment with my mom. Prior to this moment, there was an argument about something I still only 50% agree with, but after it simmers in my brain for a week, I will probably agree with her 90%. However, the argument is not really good blog material, so back to the moment.

After we both had time to cool down, my mom came to me in my room with tears in her eyes and gave me a big a hug and said “I’d rather be childless than have anybody else as my child.” I just looked up at her and I didn’t really know what to say other than giving her a hug. She began talking about how she cannot believe that she has allowed me to go my whole life comparing myself to others in appearance, grades, and lifestyle. I guess I have spent a lot of my life being unconfident and insecure of myself. Even though my personal best must be great, I don’t see that because I am constantly comparing myself to others. A few years ago when I was in high school, I had a 3.8 GPA, which sounds great right now; however, at the time, I felt pretty stupid considering there were 45 valedictorians in my class of 600 students. (This consists of students getting a 4.65 and above… You must be asking yourself “how the heck can you have above a 4.0?” Times have changed.) That was my personal best and it has gotten me to great places, so with my mom’s reassurance, I don’t feel so bad about myself now. If I ever have doubts in my mind, I can re-read this and remember that my parents want to keep me for good.

Communication Courses: They Aren’t as Useless as They Seem.

I just completed an eight week online course in Interpersonal Communications. Most people may be remembering their college experience of having to take that course as general education requirement in vain. However, I have learned essential life skills in the past eight weeks. The key to appreciating that class was reading the textbook. The book included topics, such as dealing with conflict, how to break-up gracefully, “I language,” nonverbal cues, etc. My biggest take home message from the course was how to actively listen. Actively listening is one of the hardest tasks to achieve. It takes the utmost concentration, care, and mindfulness. Paraphrasing in your own words is the best way to confirm to someone that you are actively listening to them.

Prior to learning this skill, I was not conscious of the exact moment I started to zone out while a person was speaking. A specific professor at my college, Dr. Buchanan, is known to speak for hours to anybody who walks in his office. Students tend to avoid going in there if they are on a tight time schedule. One day, I really needed help on a concept and cleared out an hour or two to seek help. As he began speaking, I was fully engaged and listening because it was information I already knew and understood. However, about halfway through, I began to feel sleepy and I was so lost. From then on, I was clearly “pseudo-listening.” I walked out of his office an hour and a half later still at square one. I learned from then on to drink coffee before I walked in, so my time can be well spent actively listening to him.

I have recently been working with my mom in studying for my MCATs. Due to the frustration of having to study while it is 80 degrees outside, active listening and learning can be difficult at times. I have to make sure I am not only actively listening to my mom when she’s speaking, but I have to also actively listen to myself when reading out loud. Now that I am more mindful about active listening, I am able to stop myself or my mom midway through a discussion to paraphrase, analyze, question, support, and ask.

In a nutshell, this class has not only taught me how to effectively listen and respond, but also tons of communication jargon. Just as medical students learn to put a diagnosis on patients’ sicknesses, I feel like I have now learned how to label or “diagnose” different types of verbal and nonverbal scenarios and cues. I guess this is why all undergraduates are required to take out of scope classes. If you stay positive and appreciate the knowledge that you’re paying top dollar for, the benefits can be great.

Hello Blogging World!

Hello and cheers to the birth of my blogging world. Today is a big day for me, as today will be one of the first days that I can look back at in years and know exactly what I did on this day because I blogged about it.

I have exactly ten days until my MCAT (Medical College Admission Test), which is really one of the scariest tests ever. It includes chemistry, physics, organic chemistry, biology, and verbal reasoning. For people who can understand concepts, but suck at taking standardized tests, this is the day that we would rather be sleeping through. Hours can go by that I haven’t gotten up from my chair and even days can pass where I haven’t breathed fresh air and basked in the summer sunlight. Being a Southern California native, that means there’s something seriously wrong. However, there is a bright side (no pun intended) to taking the MCAT: its passing. Once it’s over, it’s gone for good and life is normal again.

Today is not only special because I began blogging; it is also special because I am starting my weight loss journey right this second. Exactly two years ago from today, I was in size 2 jeans and now I (think) I am a size 8. Only two pairs of jeans actually fit me, so I spend a lot of time in tights and yoga pants. Jeans, bras, shirts, boots… trust me, everything is an issue. This MUST change… like ASAP. Diet, exercise, I am willing to do whatever it takes. I have been a vegetarian all my life; however, my body doesn’t look like it. Looks like I need to go HAM on that vegan lifestyle. I need to prove to myself that I can do this and that I can be proud of myself.

With that in mind, I just finished drinking an 18 oz. bottle of water with chia seeds (yes, chia pet seeds) while typing this blog! For those of you who don’t know, chia seeds can help you lose weight because when they are in water, they expand into a jelly substance making you feel fuller. In each liter of water, you have to put 2 tablespoons of chia seeds and let it sit for 20 minutes before you drink it. They are expensive (the bag below was $5), but I’ve heard that they’re worth it, so I’m giving it a shot! And just as a side note, I have stopped drinking out of plastic containers. There’s a lot of speculation about the toxins in plastic causing cancer, so there’s no harm in switching over to class, corning, and ceramic. It’s better for the environment, as well.

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Now that I’ve gotten a good break and a share of procrastination, I’m gonna go back to studying about ketones and carboxylic acids. Until then, so long.

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