POSTED ON Wednesday, September 3, 2014 AT 6:19 PM \\
Just got my STEP 1 results today and I passed

Here's a list of resources I used: 
- FA 2014 x5 
- Pathoma (videos only) x2
- DIT 2013 (videos only) 
- UWorld (~5000 qs) 
- Kaplan QBank (~2000 qs) 
- Kaplan videos
- UsmleRx (~1000 qs)
- NBME forms 7, 11, 12, 13, 15, 16
- UWSA 1, 2
- Picmonic 

- 3 months of focused studying (10 hrs/day at the library) 
- wrote exam on Aug 9, 4 weeks for results to come out 

Stuff I wish I did:
- started studying earlier!! 
- used more resources 
- more questions = better understanding
- balance better between studying and still having a life outside of studying

Stuff I wish I DIDN'T do:
- isolate myself from everyone else (I pretty much cut myself off from social life so I could focus better) 
- Kaplan physio vids (I like Conrad Fischer as much as the next person but I didn't find the lecture videos very efficient) 

My advice to those currently studying:
- take it one day at a time and try not to stress out about things you cannot control (ie. WTF questions on the exam)   
- don't rush it! If you don't feel ready to sit for the exam you can always push back the date (for a fee). Just contact the Prometric centre. It still has to be within the 3 month window period. 
- book a practice test at the Prometric centre to familiarize yourself with the testing environment

My advice for test day:
- arrive early to the Prometric centre. Check-in (photograph and finger scan) can take up to 15 minutes. 
- bring food that will keep you awake and energized. I brought energy bars and energy drinks and a lunch but I barely ate anything that day because of the adrenaline that I didn't feel hungry. 
- if you don't know the answer to the question after a minute then mark it and move on! 
- you should leave 10-15 mins to review answers (if you have trouble with time then do more timed UWorld blocks of 46)

My advice to those who already wrote their exam and is waiting anxiously for results:
- you will feel like you failed so it's normal to feel miserably depressed for a day (or a few days in my case), but try to do something that will take your mind off by surrounding yourself with family and friends and positivity!
- relax! The biggest exam of your medical career is over! 
- above all, trust in your NBME scores! 

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POSTED ON Wednesday, April 23, 2014 AT 4:55 AM \\
Exacly a week ago I had my last day of basic sciences. I wrote (and passed) the exit NBME, attended grad, and the next day flew home.

What freedom currently feels like…

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Pinel Island
POSTED ON Tuesday, April 8, 2014 AT 3:54 PM \\
This is a very belated entry (from late February), but thinking back, I realized that it was probably the most fun I've had in a single day this semester and can't believe that I didn't post about it yet.

It started out as a very impromptu trip for me on an early Saturday morning. The plan was to drive over to the French side to a place called Cul de Sac, where a ferry left shore every 45 minutes for a tiny island called Pinel. There was also a choice of making the crossing on a kayak, and that was what we had set out to do. I had kayaked once in the past, which was at Centreisland in a little calm river that never saw a single wave. I was excited and had no idea what to expect when we actually got on the waters. We paid about $15 each for a kayak, stuffed our belongings into a plastic bag, and pushed off onto the choppy waters. It started off nice and pleasant, but halfway in (about fifteen minutes), the waves started to get stronger and we could feel the current press against us. Still we had to press on (taking a rest meant getting pushed back in the opposite direction by the current), and what felt like hours later we finally made it to shore. How exhausted and drenched I was by then! We hauled our kayaks onto the sand and took in our surroundings. The shore was lined with beach chairs and umbrellas and there were plenty of visitors already. And the waters, probably the best I've ever seen since arriving on St Maarten (and I've seen a handful of beaches by now). Just looking at the waters I forgot about my aching muscles. I immediately pulled out my (dry) iPhone and started snapping photos left and right. We met up with some school mates who had taken the ferry and started throwing a frisbee around. The water was so inviting and warm that I had no problem splashing in it. One of the guys took a paddle board instead of a kayak over, so I borrowed it and set out on it by myself. It was going alright until I tried to turn it around to get back to shore. I fell from it more times than I could care to count when I tried to paddle against the current (it was a strong current!). I finally gave up and just tried to swim back to shore with the paddle board in tow. Thankfully someone came to my rescue! Two of my friends made their way to me on a kayak, and I traded the paddle board for the kayak without a second thought. Was I ever so grateful! 
The rest of the day we just chilled and I got myself a few pina coladas to enjoy on the beach. We also took a walk to the other side of the island and discovered huge waves, quite the opposite of the calm and tranquil waters on the front side of the island that had greeted us. 
We left the island (on our kayaks again) late in the afternoon. The trip back was a lot easier than getting there since we were riding with the current (thankfully). But it was still another work out and a half getting back to St Maarten. 

It was an amazingly fun and relaxing & tiring day at the same time. Generally, I am not a big fan of going to the beach (I hate getting sand everywhere and my skin doesn't take kindly to the sun), but making the trip over in a kayak, and the beautiful waters that greeted us there, as well as spending the day with friends and schoolmates, definitely made it worthwhile. 

Kayaks ready for us

Panoramic view of St Maarten from the beach

Panoramic view of Pinel island from the beach

Beautiful waters :D 

So many beach chairs (and our kayaks)

Pina colada, yum!

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POSTED ON Sunday, April 6, 2014 AT 6:13 PM \\
It's April, which means the NBME is right around the corner! And with that comes finishing basic sciences! 

A lot of people have been asking me if I am stressed about it and honestly I'm more stressed thinking about taking the STEP in (hopefully) four months from now. 
Here's a hilarious take on NBME questions:

We had our final class last Friday, which gives us about a week and a half to study on our own before we write the exam. I'm currently reading First Aid and doing Kaplan questions (trying to aim to hit at least 1500, currently at 1329). 

Oh ya, our school has merchandise now! (woo!) Starting next semester, school uniforms will be made mandatory. (boo!) I snagged myself a long-sleeved sweatshirt just to wear around the house when I'm back in Toronto. 

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hospital rotations
POSTED ON Sunday, February 9, 2014 AT 6:02 PM \\
Is it February already?
The past few weeks have been pretty busy for me, but this past week has definitely been the highlight of my medical school career thus far. 

All the students in ICM have to rotate 5 times at the hospital here. So on Thursday, I went for my first one - paediatrics. We (four students) were introduced to the two doctors on the floor, who then took us around to all the pre-nates in the hospital wing. A few of them were contained in incubators while others were in glass cribs. They looked so tiny and fragile. As we visited each baby, the doctors explained to us why each of them had been admitted to the hospital. The cases ranged from HIV-positive mother to jaundice to suspected viral infections. The doctors asked us questions pertaining to the conditions unique to each individual. It was a very straight forward visit and within the hour we were done and made it to class before the end of the first lecture.

On Friday, we had our internal medicine rotation. The doctor greeted us and took us to see a few of his patients. Unlike the babies, these patients responded to our questions, which then prompted much discussion of differentials from the presented symptoms and patient history. It was much more detailed and thorough, and by the end of it we were all scratching our heads and pondering on a diagnosis. Internal medicine is more about treating the root cause of the symptoms, and each case is like a mystery that has to be solved, and all the clues come from the patient. So far the two rotations have only made me realize how much more I have to study before I am ready to write the Step!   

On Sunday (today), I went to the hospital to meet with one of the ER doctors, who is also one of the professors for ICM. I had asked her earlier that week for an opportunity to shadow her at the ER and she enthusiastically agreed to let me and another student come in for the day. We were supposed to be there for 4 hours from 11-3, but we ended up leaving close to 7 PM. First thing when we got to the hospital we were greeted by the Dean and the CEO of the school himself, followed closely by two men with a lot of heavy photography equipment in tow. We quickly realized that we weren't just going to be in the ER that day. They told us that they (the school) wanted some footage of students in the hospital and interacting with patients. So we spent a good chunk of the morning filming and interviewing. I'm excited to see the finished product. After that we were ushered to the ER and we got to work seeing our patients for that day. We saw about a dozen patients in the span of seven hours. There were two patients that needed stitches, three patients with viral infections, a young woman with Dengue fever, a man with a bad case of constipation and suspected pancreatitis who was in so much pain he needed to be given pain killers IV, two patients with bronchiectasis, a child with a broken clavicle, and a few kids with mild GI complaints. Nothing too dramatic. But after seeing the distressed parents of young patients, I realize that for them it is serious and upsetting. The first goal of the doctors was to stabilize the patient before assessing the condition. What surprised me a little was that even though it was the ER, there wasn't really a feeling of urgency. Nothing was rushed. Everything was done at a steady pace, and the doctors spent time explaining to patients or their caregivers before discharging them. It was probably because none of the cases were too severe that there was no need to rush. There was a steady flow of patients to the ER and the time passed by without us even noticing it because we were kept so busy. It was very interactive and definitely my favourite rotation so far. I plan on going back after block 2. 

At the end of the day, we went to Maho to get frozen yogurt and then watched the sun set behind the waters in Simpson Bay before going home and collapsing into bed! 

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POSTED ON Sunday, January 19, 2014 AT 2:41 PM \\
So classes are in full swing now. We had our white coat ceremony on Thursday. It was very short compared to last semester's, which I was very glad of.

On Saturday morning, my friends and I drove to the French side to go shopping in a place called Marigot. To our surprise, it was only a ten minute drive! The French side seems a little more… civilized. There are actual speed limit signs! And real shopping! So we spent a good few hours walking around the town, looking through racks of expensive Parisian-made clothing, and eating baked goods at a well-known French bakery. 

In other news… we (the fifth termers) wrote our diagnostic NBME on Friday morning. The diagnostic was a practice exam for the real one coming up in April. It was pretty much a reality check. Time to get my butt into shape (academically)!

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Fifth semester!
POSTED ON Thursday, January 9, 2014 AT 6:34 PM \\
This is it! The final semester of basic science, and the last four months on the island (or any island) for me!!
I arrived two nights ago after a few delays but nothing worse, thankfully. The rough weather apparently caused many flight cancellations at major airports in the states and Canada. 
On my first day back at school I noticed that it was very very empty. Well it was kind of expected given the unideal situation from last semester. I was kind of sad to hear that some people had transferred to other schools, just because I had grown familiar with their presence in the classroom since first semester.
My two classes this semester are ICM (Introduction to Clinical Medicine) and FCM (Fundamentals of Clinical Medicine), but technically only one real course (ICM), as the other one consists of the Kaplan Review in preparation for the NBME that I have to write (and pass) at the end of the semester.
Yesterday at noon, the school's new CEO held a town hall meeting to go over the school's status and changes being implemented. The only change I did not like was that we were ordered to wear scrubs during class. 
Did I mention that I made a few New Year's resolutions this year? (I don't usually). I plan on working out at the gym at least 5 times a week, and meal-prepping! 
The gym I go to is right on the main road and about a five minute walk from where I live. It is on the ground floor of a large hotel beside the marina. The gym itself is actually quite small. There are three areas: the weight room, the cardio room and the room with the glass mirrors (cool-down room?). Anyways I was there yesterday for about an hour. After I got home I started meal-prepping. I wanted to do meal-prepping just to force myself to cook instead of buying food everyday. So I bought a huge bag of frozen chicken tenderloins, a bag of broccoli florets, and a box of mashed potato flakes and some fresh sweet potato as well as some quinoa. Also I bought a 24-piece set of plastic containers to place all the food in. It wasn't until I started cooking that I realized how long meal-prepping takes. But it did feel satisfying afterwards to see all the food packed neatly in the containers on top of one another. It will also help me control my portions (which I have a big problem with!) 

At the gym~

Today I went to the gym again and bumped into my two friends from Toronto who were also working out there. Later we went out for food (since their stove exploded!!), and ended up at a restaurant on the main road called Harbor Queen. My two friends both got the all-you-can-eat ribs option, and I ordered… lobster!! (as usual) 
My 1.5 lb lobster and endless ribs :Q

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POSTED ON Thursday, December 12, 2013 AT 11:41 AM \\
My last shelf was on Tuesday which marked the end of a very tumultuous yet exciting first semester on St. Martin.
I flew back on Tuesday night. It was so cold that I've already forgotten what it was to be warm!
And the first thing I did when I got back to Toronto? Bought the new iPhone!! :D

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POSTED ON Sunday, December 1, 2013 AT 3:45 AM \\
Omg it's December which means there are only 10 days left before I go back home to Toronto!
It's been a pretty crazy month with lots of ups and downs. So much has happened and yet everything's still the same. 
Path II finished two weeks ago. Block 4 is right around the corner, followed by shelfs in a week's time after that.
Can't really think of what else to write so... pic dump!!! 

Mahi-mahi salad in a deep fried taco shell at Jimbo's

Fro-yo in Maho

Carousel for late-night italian gelato :D

Fanciest ice cream parlour!

So many flavours...

Trip to Phillipsburg after finishing the Path shelf

Burgers n fries n pina coladas in Phillipsburg. Oh and lots of shopping :) 

View of the Simpson Bay Yacht Club and Prive

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POSTED ON Friday, November 1, 2013 AT 7:19 AM \\

The semester is just whizzing by! One month and ten days left before I get to go home to a Winter Wonderland. 
It's been raining almost nonstop for the past two days. I haven't seen the island this bleak since I got here. The sky is just a solid grey.

I saw the movie Escape Plan with some friends the other week right after pharm block. It was very gripping and intense and by the end it was like I was holding my breath because there were so many close calls. I can't wait for Catching Fire to come out and to watch it in the theatres here!

We started our patient-doctor IV course this week. It takes place in a separate building about 2 mins away from the school. So far it's a very easy-going course and the prof is so sweet. Each of us will have to do an individual presentation worth 30% sometime during the semester, and then there will be a final evaluation at the end worth 70%. 

I feel guilty for not cooking much this semester even though my place comes fully equipped and there's really no excuse not to be cooking. I think I've maybe cooked three times this semester so far, and two of those three times it did not come out well. The third time I made mussels with white wine sauce. That was my first time trying a recipe like that and I actually really liked it! (Recipe here) I made it a second time and added pasta to it and this is how it turned out:

Mussels and linguine in a white wine sauce

Currently studying for my final path II block, which will be covering renal, male and female, breast, and endocrine pathologies. Fingers crossed the prof won't destroy us on this block.  

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gravity and the cat
POSTED ON Wednesday, October 16, 2013 AT 7:54 PM \\
Yesterday (Tuesday) we had our path II block 2 exam, which went fairly well. There will be one last path block in three weeks before the shelf!!!

Later that night I got together with some people from class for dinner at Bamboo Bernies for sushi. I ordered the sashimi plate, which was 20 pieces of four different types of sashimi (raw fish). 


After dinner we headed to the movie theatre to watch Gravity in 3D
The theatre was decent, just like ones back home except smaller. We got there just as the movie started. The entire movie is essentially about one woman (Sandra Bullock) trying to survive in space and somehow make it back to Earth in one piece, which is rather hard to do while debris is whizzing about at hundreds of miles per hour. It was a very dizzying theatre experience because the camera kept spinning around to stimulate zero-gravity. I can't imagine how much of a headache I would have gotten if it was in IMAX! 
At times it felt like I was watching the Discovery channel or National Geographic because of the magnificent views of planet Earth from space. Despite the beauty of it all, the viewer was constantly reminded of the perils of being up in space, including running out of oxygen, being flung into space without being attached to anything, the difficulty of maneuvering around in zero-gravity, and of course, the silence. It was a very suspenseful movie, and I liked how it echoed the classic beloved Aliens movies where the female protagonist is the one who finds the courage and strength to soldier on and survive. 

Anyways after the movie it was about 11 PM and we were all tired so I went home. When I got to my house I saw the cat, and it followed me to my door. I opened the door to go inside and it walked right by me and inside! I was surprised and didn't know what to do at first. It helped itself to a quick tour of my place and promptly made itself at home by sprawling out on the living floor. It turned out to be a super friendly cat, letting me pet it and purring loudly the whole time. I tried to feed it turkey slices and water but it seemed picky/not hungry and only had some water. The funny part was it kept dipping its paw into the water before lapping it up, as if to test the temperature. So cute! I played with it for a good hour before I decided that I had to let it go in case the owner was looking for it. Also, what if it makes a mess on my floor! So I opened my door and pretended to run outside. It followed me outside, and quickly I dashed back inside and closed the door. I opened it a crack to check on it and sure enough it was right outside my door waiting to be let in again! I felt so bad but I had to say good night to it and leave it outside. But that was very unexpected and fun!

Playful kitty ^_^

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steve jobs's yacht
POSTED ON Wednesday, October 9, 2013 AT 11:18 AM \\
So today was really exciting because we saw the 100 million dollar yacht that used to belong to Steve Jobs!!! 

It was parked right on the lagoon just outside where I live. My friends and I drove to the pier next to the bridge and we took so many pictures of it. We spent a good half hour just staring at it, amazed by its vast size, the elegance and simplicity, and the possibility that Steve Jobs's wife and kids might be on board! 
Anyways that was the definite highlight of my day.

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jacuzzi & dim sum sunday
POSTED ON Friday, October 4, 2013 AT 2:28 PM \\
Until today I've never actually explored my place the Yacht Club.
This afternoon two of my friends and I decided to go pool lounging/swimming at my place. We met up, threw on our swimming suits and walked to the middle of the Yacht Club where we discovered this pool side right next to the lagoon. It was beautiful!

On Sunday my friend and I went out for dim sum at the one and only dim sum place here on St Martin, called White Swan. It was about a 5-10 minute walk from my place, but it always feels longer because it's so hot and the road is so rough to walk on. Anyways the restaurant is located across the bridge, and this is the view when I was crossing: 

The restaurant is called White Swan, and it looked clean and proper, at least for a Chinese restaurant in the Caribbean. We asked for the dim sum menu (only available Sundays) and this is what we got: 

We asked for a pot of jasmine tea, but it was very weak and diluted. We made out selections and the food started coming out one by one at the fifteen minute mark. The har gao (upper left) with shrimp filling didn't have as much shrimp as I'm used to, but the rice wrapping was delicate and chewy. The congee was really good, and the fried dough was a great topping that we didn't even have to ask for. The turnip cakes were very disappointing because it was doughy and bland and very very oily. The rice rolls (lower right) were alright. We ordered about 6 dishes, not pictured here is the char siu bao and another steamed bun that had a sweet yellow centre. All in all it was a decent meal. A little pricier than back home in TO, but it is the best and only dim sum on this island!

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summertime sadness
POSTED ON Monday, September 30, 2013 AT 2:20 PM \\
Today as I sat in my living room staring outside at the tall palm trees filtering the golden sunlight behind my backyard, with the lagoon lapping up against the boats and beams, I realized that I no longer cared for the summer weather. I didn't like the heat that beat down on me every time I stepped outside my house. Or the sun that etched tan lines on my legs and arms and feet. I miss the fall weather. The crisp, cool weather that doesn't cling to the skin. It's been well over a year since I experienced fall weather, and I never realized until now how much I miss it. The next break I get will be in December. Wintertime will be a refreshing change to the never-ending summer here. 

I am surprised by the number of pets on the property here. I've seen quite a few well-bred, well-groomed and collared dogs and cats, which is something I'm not used to. Back on Statia none of the animals wore collars nor did they ever have a proper bath all their life. But here, within the gated community of the yacht club where vacationers from America, Dutch, France, reside, all the animals are well taken care of. Recently I spotted a gorgeous Bengal cat roaming my backyard. Pretty cool!

It likes to visit me :3

I haven't really met any of my neighbours. There is a Dutch family with kids living above me, while the units on either side of me are unoccupied at the moment. I met a nice young Spanish lady in the pool, and she owns a cat who enjoys watching us swim in the evenings. It is a really quiet place, unlike the rest of Simpson Bay which is filled with bars and restaurants and night clubs.

Currently studying for my pharm exam this Thursday. 

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POSTED ON Thursday, September 19, 2013 AT 6:30 PM \\
So I turned 23 today :)
I'm not a big birthday person. I like planning things for other people's birthdays, but I don't like to make a big deal of my own. If I was home I would be with my family having a cake meant for my mother and myself (We share the same birth date) and a family dinner. We always get the same cake from the same Chinese bakery with the same candles every time. A plain white cake decorated with melon balls and strawberries and kiwi slices that is not too sweet and very light. There would always be leftover cake sitting in the fridge in the morning, upon which my brothers would finish off before noon. My mom would cook dinner (like always), probably shrimp (with the skin intact), bok choy, pork chops or short ribs, baked salmon filets, and white rice. A feast I can't wait to return to! 
So since I never have any expectations on my birthday, today was totally unexpected...

This morning before class started a girl from first semester came up to me and told me that my blog helped her in deciding to come here. When I heard that I was so happy and it really made my morning! Then in class my friend (who was also celebrating her birthday today) brought cupcakes she had baked and she gave me one. Someone else gave me a giant muffin during path class. After class was finished my friends took me to this fancy bakery in Simpson Bay called Taste Factory and bought me a macaron cake and macarons! The five of us ate macarons and talked and I really appreciated that they took time out of their day for me. 

Taste Factory pastries :)

Macarons & macaron cake!!

I was so stuffed by then! But the food didn't stop there. At around 5 PM I went out to Costco Cost-U-Less with my two friends from Toronto to stock up on groceries, and afterwards they took me out to... LOBSTER!!! I am always craving lobster. Always. There are so many places to eat lobster here in Simpson Bay but I suggested we go somewhere relatively cheap. And I found this place called Johnny B Under the Tree from this blog and it sounded like a really good place to eat. When we arrived at the location (at least I think it was the right location) I was so confused because it looked nothing like the photos/video from the blog. There was no tree, there was no grill, I didn't even see any lobsters! But the place was called Johnny B Jack Skip's Restaurant, so I think it was owned by the same guy. It turns out that they had done some rennovations on the place this year and now it's more like a open-window styled restaurant and less of an open BBQ grill place. And yes they did have lobster on the menu! So we grabbed a table and ordered lobster, ribs, and some conch fritters. The food came out in about half an hour. The side dishes were a meal in themselves. Then the lobsters came on separate plates and I have to say I was a little disappointed by their sizes. The lobster I had back on Statia was twice the size. But the meat was tender and chewy and flavourful and one lobster was enough for me. It was the first time my friends tried Caribbean lobster and both had raving reviews and said that they couldn't go back to eating Toronto lobster anymore! After we had finished eating we got a drink that's very popular in the Caribbean called Vitamalt. It tasted a little fizzy and bitter yet sweet. It's pretty much what beer would taste like without the alcohol content. After dinner we went to my place and they surprised me with a ginormous red velvet cake!! They even lit some candles, stuck them on the cake and sang happy birthday to me. The cake itself was extremely good, and I made them take half of it home with them. What a pleasantly unexpected birthday made amazing by my friends here. This is only one of the many reasons that I am so thankful to be on the island of St. Martin, and of course for my friends. :)

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zee best
POSTED ON Sunday, September 15, 2013 AT 9:38 AM \\
So I've been doing my best to try to cope with the loss of my iPhone. All of a sudden I see everyone around me with an iPhone! I miss it so much...
Anyways on Thursday the school had an official opening ceremony followed by a white coat ceremony. It was very formal because we were expecting government officials to attend. Security guards in white gloves ushered us inside the school, the Dutch, American, and French flags were put on display at the back of the stage, and many long speeches were made by the school's executive administration. I suppose it was a rather emotional affair for them. I myself am also surprised that the school was able to relocate in such a short period of time. However, there are still many kinks to be worked out.
After the speeches had been delivered and the new students donned their white coats, there was a reception of hors d'oeuvres, which exceeded my expectations. I was expecting catering by Subway if we were lucky. But this was a special treat. There was much picture taking of all the students in white coats, and everyone looked like they enjoyed themselves. If I had my iPhone I would have taken so many pictures of the food...

On Friday after class my friend and I drove to the AUC campus to grab some Thai for lunch. I got their Pad Thai noodles to go, which was served in a white Chinese carton box. They stuffed it to the brim and I was full for the rest of the day just from those noodles! And they were so good!

On Saturday morning I decided to take myself out to the bakery next door to my place, called Zee Best Bakery. They are very well known on the island for their fresh pastries and amazing breakfast and lunch selections. It was my second time eating there (last time I had it for lunch with some friends from class). I ordered an almond croissant and a cinammon & sugar crepe. I ate the croissant while I waited for my crepe and I regretted ordering the crepe because I was already full from the croissant! And it was the best croissant I've ever had. It had a thick covering of powdered sugar on top and the crust was flaky and crispy and inside was so moist and gooey oh it was just delightful. The crepe in comparison was plain and soggy and tasteless.
(Following pictures taken with my iPad)

Basket of freshly baked pastries!

Lunch at Zee Best last week

The rest of the weekend I just studied pathology and pharmacology. I'm a little worried about path because we have so much material to cover in block 1. We haven't even started on respiratory disorders and the exam is like a week away!!

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r.i.p. iphone...
POSTED ON Wednesday, September 11, 2013 AT 1:07 PM \\
Today we got out of pharm class early so my friend and I decided to take a walk along the pier where all the boats were docked and take some pictures. Excitedly, we both grabbed our phones and walked out on the boardwalk. She was taking a photo with her phone when she took a step backwards and tripped, but not before she reached out and grabbed onto my arm. I instinctively spread my hands open in preparation to fall as well. But unfortunately, I had my phone in hand, and as my friend fell and landed on the boardwalk, I saw my phone fly in an arc trajectory and land in the water with a soft plop! It immediately disappeared in the dark green opaque murky water that gave off a slightly foul smell. I think I stared in disbelief for a second or two before I started pointing and yelling. I couldn't believe my phone just fell into the water! It was always one of my worst fears! I used to think about it when walking near water and I would always clutch my phone tighter in my hand as if it was a baby. But just now my phone flew out of my hand! It was so unexpected and happened so fast.
We started asking the security guard who was standing nearby if he could do something about it. My friend asked him how deep the water was and he said something around the chest. Some students had started to gather by now and they offered suggestions on how to retrieve it but none were good and no one was willing to go down into the water to fetch it (I don't blame them for the water looked foul and disgusting and you couldn't see anything in it at all). People were saying how the phone is probably past dead by now. Not only had it been sitting in the water for 20 minutes, but it was salt water, which is many times worse than fresh water. But I couldn't just leave my phone at the bottom of the lagoon! It was like a little piece of me. I had thousands of photos, notes I had written for myself, all my contacts. It was my touchstone, something so familiar that I carried it around wherever I go. More importantly, how will I take photos of everything interesting that I see and eat! I had to get it back!
We talked to some more people, and someone said something about a diver being in the area. We waited for a bit and someone came out on the dock in a diving suit. I pointed to where I had saw my phone disappear, and he waded into the water in his full body diving suit. The water reached up to his neck, but he didn't seem to be fazed. Slowly, he felt around with his foot for my phone. It took him about five minutes before his hand came up holding my iphone, dripping wet. I was so relieved to see it again. Even though I knew it was dead, I was still happy to have it back in my possession. We thanked him and I went with my friend to her car. We drove to the nearest grocery store and I rushed inside and bought a small bag of rice. In the car, I stuffed my iphone in the bag of rice. For the rest of the day I carried the bag of rice around with me like it was my baby.

My expression watching my phone fall into the water.

So I guess that's the end of my iPhone 4. I will have to resort to using my clunky point-and-shoot camera to take photos. Which will most likely mean less picture taking in general. The iPhone 5s is coming out this month so I will be keeping an eye on it in stores... 


st martin: the first week
POSTED ON Saturday, September 7, 2013 AT 1:17 PM \\
This past week has been so crazy busy but fun!!
Every morning at 7:30 AM I take the school bus to get to school. It is actually on time and quite convenient since it stops right outside the gates to where I live. I am very thankful for the school bus because walking on the road is just terrible. You can't walk on the main road because there are too many cars going very fast, so you are forced to walk on the side of the road where there is gravel and dirt and huge puddles. Furthermore, the drivers here are very rude and they almost never yield to pedestrians. 

On Wednesday I took the regular bus to Phillipsburgh to buy an internet box. The busses here are just minivans that have white cardboard signs in front of them to where they are going. You have to wave them down if you want to get on one, and it costs $1.50 for a ride. For lunch I went to the restaurant called Top Carrot right beside my place. They serve only healthy foods including a huge array of salads and sandwiches and fruit juices. Super delicious and super healthy!

Rainforest Salad

Menu at Top Carrot

On Thursday I tagged along with my two friends who have a car and together we went to Cost-U-Less, the Caribbean version of Costco. It was exactly like Costco except there were no food sampling events and there was an entire aisle of liquor. We took almost two hours to find everything we needed. I stocked up mainly on household supplies in bulk. I found foods that I've never even seen in Canada. There were also a ton of furniture and kitchen appliances that I was tempted to buy but I knew I could go without so I restrained myself. 

Big jar of animal crackers!! :3

On Friday I went to the gourmet supermarket across the street from where I live, called Garden Market. It reminded me of a Metro back in Toronto, with fresh produce and ready-made meals packaged in plastic containers, and even a hot buffet bar! The only difference was that there was an entire section of alcohol. For lunch I got a meal from the buffet bar of mixed salad, grilled veggies, lasagna, fried fish, berries for six dollars and it was really delicious! 

Later that night I went out for dinner with some girls from my class. The four of us made a reservation at Bamboo Bernie's (it was packed so we were glad we made a reservation) and had expensive sushi for dinner. We ordered 2 Maui Wowi Rolls to share, then I ordered a single roll of Spicy Yellowtail. The portions weren't as large as we expected. But it was satisfying. Afterwards we took a bus that took us to a nightclub called Bliss where the AUC students were having their whitecoat afterparty. Us Statia students were well outnumbered by them (there were like 10 of us and 200 of them). A lot of people kept coming up to us and asking where we're from. Somehow they recognized that we weren't AUC students (maybe it was that we weren't wearing semi formal clothing like them). Most knew about our school already. At the end of the night we ended up taxi-ing home together, which was the safest. 

Here's to a new island and a new semester!

Mauwi Wowi Roll, Philadelphia Roll, and Spicy Yellow Tail Roll

On Saturday I took a walk down the main road to look for stores and a laundromat. I found what I needed, and more. I found a sushi restaurant (I thought Bamboo was the only place that served sushi), and a bakery that had cute desserts. On my way back I bought a slice of fruit cake and ate it on their terrace-with-a-lagoon-view. It was really good. 

Lagoon side view of the Yacht Club

I live there!!

Oh and of course I've been swimming in the pool every day for about an hour. It's really great because no one ever uses the pool so I'm always by myself. The other day while I was swimming I met a cat! She was my only company at the pool!

Pool is always empty so I have it all to myself!

Phew what a long post! :P

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