Thursday Born

The everyday life of a medical student (who was born on a Thursday).

Archive for February 2010

Gratuitous Picture Post!

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I’ve really slacked on my goal of posting at least once a week… But I’ve actually been making decent use of my spare time, so I’m still mostly satisfied with my progress with my new year goal of being more mindful of my time. Although I haven’t been posting, I’ve kept it in mind and I’ve been taking some food pictures. Once again, courtesy of my Motorola Droid (which I am still really fond of).

Bread!

This is the bread I baked. I’m not in love with the recipe, but it was really simple and now I’m no longer intimidated by the process of baking my own bread. It’s tasty enough, and when it comes to eating bread with soup, definitely better than the really cheap grocery store bread my roomate and I buy.

Due to my lack of a proper bread knife (buying one tomorrow), my slices are a bit thick. While this makes it essentially impossible to use for most sandwiches, it still works out well for grilled cheese, since I pull it apart and dip it into soup. I didn’t discover the combination of grilled cheese and tomato soup till late high school or early college, but I love it. Soup and bread in general is a pretty new idea for me, because I didn’t have much exposure to non-Ghanaian soups growing up.

And here you can see my general set up (note the grilled cheese + tomato soup!). This is where I study (and not study; those two books aren’t textbooks). The exercise ball is my chair, and is supposed to help with my posture but I cheat and often sit without either of my feet on the floor. I’m not sure why, but I really like pictures of desks. There are 13 stuffed animals in this picture… 9 were gifts! Of the four I bought, 3 are dragons and the other is the guinea pig (it was really cute! I couldn’t resist). I’ve been meaning to move about half of them to the top of my bookshelf.

Proof that medical students do have social lives. We even cook together! And sometimes we socialize outside of our class! Two of the four of us were grad students. This was dinner… Thursday? Very delicious, and aside from the rosemary potatoes, all variations of Chinese dishes. I played a sous chef role and did prep work like chopping vegetables.

And this is from yesterday. I set my laptop on the counter behind me and hooked it up to portable speakers so I could listen to lectures while cooking (why would I go to class when I could do this instead?). I got a kick out of being “professional” and prepping all my vegetables first and having them in bowls. I made black bean soup  (read 2 recipes and then ran with it, my general cooking style. I only have patience to follow measurements when it comes to baking) and I’ll be making lentil soup tomorrow. I was a little heavy handed with the seasoning, but that works since it’s really thick and would benefit from being watered down a tiny bit before eating.

That ends my gratuitous picture post! Not too bad for a camera phone, I think. Focus could be better, definitely, but I think the quality is sufficient for this kind of use. Okay, time to pay attention to the lecture I was “listening” to while writing this.

Written by Aba

February 28, 2010 at 11:56 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

The guilt of having immigrant parents.

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There are more Ghanaian doctors in New York City than in the entire country of Ghana. I learned this while back home in Ghana for my two weeks of Christmas break.

“Are you planning on moving back?”

“Well, I’m stuck in the US for at least seven or eight more years. After that, we’ll see.”

I’ve had that exchange many times, and I have to confess that’s not the most honest response. Stuck in the US? No, I’m not stuck here. I’m quite happy in the US. I was born here, lived here till I was 4 and came back nearly every summer until I started boarding school in New England at 14. Been back to Ghana at least once a year, often twice, since then. I am quite happy shuttling back and forth between these two countries, both of which I am a citizen.

My parents primarily live in Ghana, visiting the US at least two or three times a year. Of my three older brothers, two are currently in the US, one in Ghana and moving back with his new family soon (maybe?). In the long term, I can see him, and maybe one other (but he’s a bit of a wild card in general), moving back.

I feel guilty though. I know I’m lucky, incredibly lucky, to be in my position. I do not come from an extensively well off and well educated family. It is easy to look at my immediate family – myself, my brothers, my parents – and to get a very skewed image of where I come from. I am very much the child of hard working immigrants, acutely aware that my privileged upbringing is the direct result of my parents’ effort and determination.

But I could ignore it. I could ignore that my parents had six and seven siblings, that I have fifty-something cousins. I could stay in the US, pretend that I’m just another American, not an African and an American.

Except I can’t.  At the same time, I don’t know what to do. I’m not a politician at heart, and I’m not sure I’m an activist either. Every year I understand a little bit more my mother’s yearning for a quieter life, because life in Ghana is anything but quiet and peaceful when you’re trying to do good things in a third world country, even in a politically peaceful climate.

I don’t know if I’ll move back or not someday, but I don’t think I will. I admit, I don’t really want to. It’s not that I love the US more than Ghana, but life is simpler in the US. There’s more options, and it’s easier to be just another person.

Knowing that about myself though, I’ve been trying to figure out what I can do from here, because it is possible to have an impact without physically living there. And I don’t want to fall into the trap of feeling like the good my parents and my brothers are doing absolves me of having to do anything myself.

I’m open to suggestions. =)

Written by Aba

February 8, 2010 at 2:59 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Life’s Simple Pleasures

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So I’ve gotten into the habit of skipping class once or twice a week, watching lectures at home while trying to catch up on random errands. There’s always emails to write and plenty of cleaning/tidying up to do. It’s a surprisingly pleasant way to spend my time, made even more so by the knowledge that days like those, home alone, working on and off at my own leisurely pace, will be exceedingly rare past the next year or so.

Among the many random things I do in my spare time is cooking, or rather, baking (I cook real food fairly sporadically/rarely, but I favor large batches that last me at least a week). Last Wednesday was bread, which I wish I’d taken a picture of since it was my first loaf ever. I think I’ll make it again this weekend because it was delicious and I’d forgotten how much I love good bread. Yesterday’s project was biscotti.

I confess, these are the only two I covered with chocolate, and they’ve been mailed off to my mother, who is in the US till Monday. They’re supposed to be almond biscotti, but I was out of actual almonds so they just have the flavoring. Still, delicious! I haven’t had biscotti in a really really long time now, and I was really happy to learn that homemade tastes just as good as, if not better than, store bought. Here’s the recipe.

I also crochet, which is a very off and on again hobby. My oldest older brother had a baby in November, so last night I finally finished the blanket I was making for her.

It’s pretty big, at least 2′ x 3′, I think, if not bigger. It’s made from cotton yarn though, which I will not be using again for blankets. As great as natural fibers are, I might have to stick with the synthetic yarns. The cotton wasn’t nearly as soft as I had hoped and it was a bit difficult to work with. Weaving in the ends discretely was such a hassle! It’s pretty at least? It’s not quite as warped as it seems in the picture. It was damp, I was tired,  my bed’s not the best surface for picture taking, and I needed to mail the blanket early the next morning so I had to take the picture then or not take one at all. No pattern for the blanket. It’s just triple crochet all the way through except for the first two and last two rows, which are single and then half-double crochet.

All pictures courtesy of my brand new Motorola Droid, by the way (and thank you to my older brothers for this wonderful Christmas/late birthday present!). I should post about it, considering I posted on trying to decide what phone to buy. I love it, though I can’t say that I could say much bad about a device that allows me to carry the internet in my pocket.

A friend of mine has a food blog, and while I don’t think I could aspire to post as frequently as she does with pictures as pretty as hers (for one, I don’t even own an actual camera right now, just a phone with a camera and a flip ultra hd) of food as pretty as hers, it reminds me that pictures are a nice addition to a blog, so I might do this more often. I love to make things but I’m very much a jack of all trades, master of none. I just want to know if I’m capable of doing various things so I try them a few times, but I’m often not interested enough to master anything (running theme in my life…).

Well, variety is the spice of life (said William Cowper).  =)

Written by Aba

February 4, 2010 at 10:29 pm

Posted in Uncategorized