I’ve been back from vacation for about 2 weeks now and it never seems to amaze me how hard it is, or how easy it is, to shift from vacation mode to work mode. The definition of vacation has changed fairly drastically for me over the years. When I was a child, vacation meant leaving home with my family to a different country and seeing stuff. Today, it still means leaving my home to go to a different country but I’m leaving home to go back home. Over the past decade, as my friends were busy setting up their careers and families and travelling all over the world, I was in school, completely dependent on my poor parents who were probably wondering when they would ever be rid of me, travelling only to go back home.
Well, I decided that this year would be different.
I still went home, but I made a pit stop in Hong Kong and Macao. I realise that people from Singapore go to Hong Kong all the time but the only times I’ve been to HK was when I was very young, and when all the older gen in my family were still relatively young and very much more mobile. Heck, one of my dad’s cousins was still in high school the last time I was in Hong Kong. Today, he’s married, with a child in primary school. How time flies!
My memories of HK had always been bright lights, and grimy dirty soot covered floors. It still is kind of grimy and dirty, but that’s part of the charm. The food from both the restaurants and street vendors were great, the shopping was amazing (and I might add that I had great self-control and did not buy anything) but the pace of life was so fast it caught me quite by surprise. And yet, there were spots of HK that weren’t so frentic or dirty, places like the Chin Lin nunnery and Nan Lian garden. Wang Dai Sin being the big tourist destination it has since grown to be, it was still very crowded and I’m always amazed at the craftsmanship that goes into building temples like that.
And then we took a side trip to Macao. I guess I had always thought of Macao as being the Asian version of Las Vegas. But I was wrong. Macao is a UNESCO world heritage site. An entire island, marketed as a gambling resort (ok, so that part is not so much Bratislava) but also capitalizing on its history. We stayed at the Sofitel Hotel at Ponte 16, which was very close to the famous Senado square. I made my poor mother walk all over town, the poor woman had blisters.
After a week, I went back home to spend some time with my parents. Although I suspect that my parents are sometimes glad to see me gone given my notorious temper not having improved with age, I was very very happy to be home. And sometimes even home can surprise you.
And then of course, I went home and then came back here to work. And I was thrown into the PICU where I’ve been sleep deprived and emotionally battered. Sometimes I wonder if perhaps medicine has gone too far….are doctors now playing god? I don’t know. Almost every day, I’ve been questioning if I’m in the right profession. Everyday, someone asks me if I’m going into fellowship or what I want to do after fellowship. And sometimes I’m almost tempted to say, nothing. Absolutely nothing. My most recent answer has been “I just want to survive residency.”
Its amazing too given that I just returned from vacation that I’m already thinking about my next vacation. I’ve always wanted to go on the Orient Express. And I think in May, that’s what I’m going to do before I go back to Singapore. It is unfortunately rather expensive but I think if I suck it up and not spend any money for the next couple of months, I should be able to afford it. I’ll be travelling alone though and from all the reviews I’ve read, they seem to be from people who were travelling as couples. Will that spoil the experience?