Sunday, March 15, 2015

2014 retrospective Part 1

A year away in Tasmania - what a year of being blessed in so many ways! The downer is of course being apart from Penny (quite a big downer too!) but overall the year has been a good one - which I hope to recap for posterity in the next few blog posts.

Melbourne skyline from the Spirit of Tasmania

Hobart - have nothing but good things to say about the town, the food, the church, the people at work, my housemates...could go on and on...

Royal Hobart Hospital - where I started my journey into Renal medicine, poking kidneys, tweaking dialysis machines and eating countless chicken parma sandwiches 

Scallop pie in the small town of first meal in Tasmania

Walking down from the hospital on Argyle Street, with the flyover on top of Pilgrim Coffee (best coffee in Hobart for my money!), I could get to Constitution Dock in ten minutes, with its array of fish-n-chip shops and countless places to eat, while fending off over-inquisitive seagulls.

My housemates and I spent most of the year in a huge townhouse bordering some community housing, which made our days (and nights) interesting - the time we each thought someone had left a cloak on our front porch, which turned out to be a really thin boy stoned out of his mind....or the times we called the police to break up fights that occurred outside on the street, or the night someone ran into my housemate's car and drove off in some hurry...

One of the great things about Hobart was how one could get to amazing scenery within an hour's drive or less! Mount Wellington, the beachside cliffs of the Tasman Peninsula, or the forests of the Central Highlands are all within reach...

The view from the top of Mount Wellington on a clear day - blustery winds are worth it!

 Walking around Salamanca Market on a Saturday morning..arts and crafts, secondhand books, plants in weirdly shaped pots and the smell of roasting sausages in the air..
 The chef himself, from Masaaki's in Geeveston at Farmgate Market (on Sundays in Hobart). The queue was crazily long, so it took an early start to be able to get (finally) the finished product!
Also, the best peanut butter I've had so far is found in this market! About the only thing I carted home in bulk from Tassie..

An early morning's fishing trip with Mr Flathead - where we ended up with way too much flathead and ended up cooking them three ways!

 The weird and wonderful came together at the MONA (Museum of Old and New Art) - we had fun playing table tennis underground, rolling around in the room of joy(Which sounds dubious but is really a pink plush-lined room with los of little bumps to sit on and roll around on) and smelling the poo from the poo machine seen above.

Next up: how we severely depleted the oyster population and enjoyed the moonlit nights at the East Coast!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

A weekend in Hobart

It's been a while since photos were part of the blog, so I thought it was time for a comeback. This week has been pretty busy at work, with several interesting patients taking up my attention (and my lunch breaks!) so on Friday when my resident suggested checking out the ongoing winter festival at the Docks...

Dark MOFO is by all accounts, a winter art festival, coordinated by the guys behind MONA (Museum of Old and New Art) in Hobart. Reading up on it now, some of the events sounded like they were pretty full-on; think jumping naked into Sandy Bay in this temperature!

What we were after was the food, specifically the Winter Feast! Crowds of people packed into the Princes Wharf at the docks; this was just opposite Salamanca. Above you can see the entrance. It was pretty chilly, and random jets of fire would spurt up above the lights every so often. Barrels of fire were set up all around, with people clustering up around each one, looking like extras from the set of Gotham city.

This was an example of what was on offer - pretty good food to be had! We scoffed down beef cheek(so tender!), mussels, goat and elderberry pie, Huon Atlantic salmon and pork/beef sliders, finishing off with a crumble, some cannoli with Lindt choc filling and the sticky fig, date and ginger pudding.

Artwork was also on offer...I'm sure these took some effort to put up!

The next day, I thought I would be too full for brunch, but had been wanting to try Environs for some time.


Their savoury brekkie with a corn cake and scrambled eggs sitting on top, with a side of bacon and tomatoes topped with hollandaise sauce was the main draw when I arrived at lunch.

Very filling, though the scramble was more an omelette (overdone) and halfway through, a small hair popped up in the meal!

They were nice about it and offered me a meal to replace it but I declined - they were nice enough to waive the cost, and hoped I'd be back soon! They were so pleasant about it I'd definitely give them another go.

All in all, a nice weekend full of food - I'm starting a pasta bake now with chicken, mushrooms, tomatoes and a 4-cheese melt; perfect for the weather!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

a DOOR of opportunity

I wanted to insert a picture of a door opening here, but decided cliches are best served sparingly.

It's getting pretty cold in Hobart now, and I'm counting my blessings (and my socks, thanks Val!) in between submitting abstracts, keeping up with the work rush and making sure I meet deadlines and get the most out of this year away from Melbourne as possible.

I always say I like the cold and that Hobart reminds me of the UK (though not as windy) but honestly, its a bit of a struggle to be my usual productive self when all I want to do is keep my hands and legs as close to my torso as possible and curl up to enjoy a good movie after each day at work.

So this Sunday morning, church was a nice surprise - always to be counted upon for a friendly greeting, catching up with the latest news of the week and worshipping in a corporate setting. A nice surprise today, too, as I came away with the message of this DOOR of opportunity.

You'll have heard of this before, these doors - often a gateway to a hidden promise, a portal to another dimension, and the finding and unlocking of these doors - such an adventure! Nevertheless, it was brought home to me today again, in the context of Ezra (which I'll be reading during the week!)

At the start of the book, King Cyrus of Persia (always thought that was one of the cooler names in the Bible for some reason) gets an epiphany from God. This non-Jewish king, responsible for one of the great empires in the 'olden' days, is moved to action by a foreign god, whom his exiled slaves worship. This move is compelling, so much so that he decides to release his slaves to go back to the land that his predecessors conquered - to allow them to return to their homeland and even to offer them assistance along the way!

Definitely not an everyday occurrence; and the distinctive point also being that not only was the door of opportunity thus presented (in a really odd fashion) to the Israelites, but that the Bible gives us exact numbers of those who did make the return trip. Stuart made the point this morning that the numbers of the returning Israelites, down to the last donkey were recorded, but were only a fraction of the entire Israelite population who were in exile.

He suggests that maybe this is because those that were left behind did so because they were comfortable with their circumstances, that uprooting and travelling to unknown territory (70 years they were in exile - time enough for a new generation who had never known their homeland to arise) presented more uncomfortableness that they could handle. And that only a fraction recognised the door of opportunity and took it.

As for myself, doors of opportunity are being flung wide open, it seems. Opportunities to expand my professional know-how and my future as a nephrologist, opportunities to settle down, to grow in faith with a new group of people in Hobart, to grow closer to Penny and to mature in my walk with God - these are not wanting in numbers.

It is cold and as much as I would like to curl up and be cosy by the electric heater, now is the time for stepping through some doors!

Saturday, June 07, 2014

Always a rainbow after the storm.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

May we never.

Think we are worth only as much as the world's opinion of us

Feel we are not tall, not thin, not shapely enough

Forget that we are made in God's image

Psalm 139:13-15

New King James Version (NKJV)
13 For You formed my inward parts;
You covered me in my mother’s womb.
14 I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;[a]
Marvelous are Your works,
And that my soul knows very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
-you think this is meticulous? now multiply that by infinity!

Monday, May 26, 2014

What not to do.

1 Samuel 30

This tells the story of how David and his men came home from a Philistine campaign, where they were miraculously saved from having to fight against their former countrymen, only to find their women and children and livestock raided and taken by the Amalekites.

What a change of events, from one extreme of relief, jubilation and praising God and His favour, to come to despair, anger and looking for someone to blame.

"So David and his men wept aloud until they had no strength left to weep." v4

"David was greatly distressed because the men were talking of stoning him; each one was biter in spirit because of his sons and daughters." v6

There have been many times in my life where I've come into a situation with almost no preface, no foreword or warning, no preamble or introduction; just something so out of context with what has gone before - and I've been pressed for a response.

Sometimes its at work, sometimes its from a relationship, sometimes its just out of the blue; something happens, and the world seems to teeter on the brink just momentarily while I'm searching for an appropriate thing to say or do.

The response says it all. Culture dictates our response, to a certain extent - some being more expressive than others, some showing more restraint. Upbringing and peer effect/pressure does as well; we watch and learn and copy what our elders and friends would do in certain situations. A modicum comes from our previous experiences as well - if we've been in that situation before we might respond in a very different way.

"But David found strength in the Lord his God." v6b

At a time when others might have vigorously defended themselves, when they might have tried to play the blame game, when others might have cursed and lamented their woes, wallowed in self-pity or stormed off to cool down in a haughty manner, David went to God, the one who gave him the strength to fight lions, who gave him the sensitivity to pluck the strings that calmed an angry king, who warned him to flee angry murderers and in whose Name he struck down a giant.

He worshipped. "Then David said to Abiathar the priest, the son of Ahimelech, 'Bring me the ephod.'" v7

And because of that, David's men pursued, overtook and recovered all and more.

May I stop to listen to God instead of reacting to the world around me.
May I worship when the world begs for my attention.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Hello Ethiopia!

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen.
Heb 11:1

I often employ faith unknowingly in life - whether it is believing a patient will get better with augmentin duo forte when in fact I have no more detailed understanding of the underlying mechanisms than the knowledge that it is an antibiotic that can get into the cell wall of bacteria and inactivate its' functions (by some in-itself-near-mythical unknowable biochemical process).

However I often have no idea if the patient is indeed, harbouring that particular bacteria, or if he is, whether the bacteria is in fact, the cause of the patient's chest infection. And even if the bacteria is present, whether it is harbouring resistance to that particular medication.

Why is it, then, that a stepdown to augmentin is often taken after a few days' worth of intravenous antibiotics in hospital?

I believe it is because:
- we've seen it work before in other patients.
- we believe the doctors who taught us to do it in medical school/ward rounds know what they are doing.
- we are so used to prescribing it that we feel we know what we're doing (the common side effects ie liver function derangement, interstitial nephritis, clostridium difficile associated diarrhoea, resistance etc)

Isn't faith in God much the same?

We believe in God and His Son's resurrection work and the Holy Spirit in us because:
- we've seen Him work before in other people, and in ourselves.
- we believe the Bible and its' authority as the Word of God (2 Tim)

And the more we trust God, the more it feels almost natural to run to him - more natural to praise Him for the good, and rely in His guidance during the trials.

And no, I didn't prescribe augmentin to anyone today! But I'm trusting in God and His provision and guidance for Ethiopia Part 2!