Dust

We never really spoke much as kids, Kevin and I. I have a feeling our parents knew each other quite well, as african families do, but we led quite separate lives. Our relationship thereafter was quite facebook, you know the sort, you get to know them through the updates that filter onto your wall, maybe exchange the occasional ‘like’ or witty comment. I talked to him quite recently actually, his interest in graphic design led him to app creation, and his illustrations were great. He asked to feature some of my work and we chatted for a while. And now he’s gone.

A double arrest in ICU is all it took to take him from feeling under the weather to pushing up daisies. Twenty four hours. It’s staggering how fast it all took place, and really made me think hard about how transient our lives are, like flowers, here for now and gone in an instant.

Another friend of mine, Richard, died recently, but that didn’t help me escape the deep uneasiness of Kevin’s departure; he was my age, people that young aren’t supposed to die, but they do. I guess it just hit really close to home. We do live life thinking we’re invincible, at least implicitly, and if you don’t believe this, just ask, what would you do if this was your last day? Why isn’t every day like that? We all live assuming we’ll get to see tomorrow, all the while, God may have very different plans.

Rest in peace, brother.

IMG_4803-0.JPG

Advertisements

It’s all getting a little too real

Yesterday was my last full day at home, and that is mildly terrifying.

It’s not that I’m not excited, nor that I think I’m going to feel excessively homesick, as I’ve stayed away from home at university for longer. It’s just the little things like changing money (Dollars feel awfully like monopoly cash, I’m gonna miss you Queenie) that remind you you’re going off into a whole new place for a really long time, which is a little unsettling!

We had a family meal today as a little send off, for which we chose Prezzo in Salford’s Media City. It’s quite  a new development onto the area surrounding the Lowry theatre, which used to be a bit of an eyesore, now extremely modern with high rise offices such as those for the Beeb and lots of open space to walk around and take it all in, brilliantly contrasted with the industrial remnants of the quay by way of the bridge and surrounding structures.

All of these were made even more stunning by the glorious turn of weather, giving us a fantastic opportunity to try out the panorama roof on the new car; the Yaris’ very own hat full of sky!

T minus two!

B

Anglia

Setting sun has the fantastic ability to light up plane trails

Anglia-2

.

Anglia-3

It makes such a difference to the inside of the car!

Anglia-5

Anglia-4

Anglia-8 Anglia-7 Anglia-6

Breakfast ribs? I think so!

Today was Founders day at Hard Rock Cafe, and to celebrate ether 43rd anniversary, for one sacred hour, they reverted their menu and prices to those of the 70s. This, guys, means burgers are £.6 and racks of ribs £.8! Added to this, floats were £.25, sundaes £.4 and ice cream was basically free too! We were pretty over zealous with the queuing time, which resulted in us being pretty much first, which wouldn’t have been so bad if I hadn’t have skipped breakfast to make the train! Suffice to say the wait was worth it and we had an absolute whale of a time, for less than the Manchester train fare to boot!

 

B

DSCF0269

The Roadhouse Ribs were incredible

DSCF0270

The humble beginnings of my all time favourite burger, the 10oz legendary!

DSCF0271

This was my sister’s first float!

DSCF0274

There was pretty much no room in the inn when it came to dessert, but how could you turn this bad boy down?

DSCF0276

et la pièce de résistance..

 

19:30

Halfway through the icebreaker activity, frantically trying to plan with Heidi what to do for the rest of the meeting, Ben comes up to me and says have you got your results yet? I, completely oblivious that we were receiving them today, quickly whip out my phone, not remembering that I was in front of a whole crowd of people, and with ravenous delight discover that, yes, I passed! 

Words can’t even describe how I feel right now. We hugged it out right there, with a mutual understanding that this leg of the marathon was over, at least for another few months, and we could well and truly start enjoying summer! 

 

Image

 

B

 

 

Live Life Loving

It’s been a pretty stressful few days in the life of Bryan, all the procrastination is slowly catching up with me, and I think I’m currently in the ‘acceptance’ phase of bereaving whatever hopes of a good exam grade I once aspired to. 

Joanna came up to me recently and told me that she’d been praying for us medics during our exams. She is an amazing human being, today we concluded that she must live outside of time because there’s absolutely  no way she manages to serve so much and generally be a university student, jeez I feel like I’m slacking off standing next to her! She told me that she wanted to help my friend and I out by cooking for us, because she saw how stressed we both were the last time we hung out. The impact of this is only really hitting me now. 

Today we were tackling Romans 13 the middle bit talks about loving your neighbour as we love ourselves. This is something that’s thrown around a lot in Christian circles, especially as a kid in Sunday School. We used to sing it all the time! But what does this really look like? In Romans 12:1-2, Paul tells us that we should present our bodies as living sacrifices, which is a bit of a ghastly phrase, in my opinion, but what it describes is beautiful. Imagine a society where everyone lived this way, where you would joyfully put the needs of others before yourself. But to do this, it says, we must first love ourselves. 

For me, this looks like taking a break when I’m really stressed out. Putting work aside and making some food, sleeping a little earlier, waking up a little later. Taking the day off to go on a bike ride when it’s really sunny. Buying myself a new shirt or a new pair of shoes. Spending time with myself, making time for friends, going out. Reading, painting, taking pictures. This list is going to be different for everyone but the concept is the same. We’re pretty good at it. Now imagine the audacious proposition of doing this for other people? Doing someone’s laundry so they can have a few extra couple of hours in bed, offering to take care of someone’s kids so they don’t have to rush home from work, offering to cook lunch for a bunch of frazzled medics!

Joanna showed me, in a completely intentional act of kindness, a little glimpse of what its like to love genuinely, and its amazing!  

As much as we should be doing these acts of love, we must also be willing to accept and receive them. Galatians 6 tells us that we’re to bear one another’s burdens. It’s telling us that we should be willing to be a burden to others, open up to them, move beyond the “I’m fine thanks” and really allow them to step into your life and share it with you, arm in arm. 

These thoughts have really challenged me recently. The culture in London, although wonderful in its own respects, is difficult to change overnight, and frankly, I don’t like thinking about what happens outside my little university bubble. There is definitely a darker side to living than I could ever imagine. However, in our own little way, we can take steps to improving the lives we impact on a daily basis. 

If you’ve ever had one thing, however small, completely make your day, then pay it forward. Let’s live life loving. 

 

Medical mondays – workflow

Two years in and I still don’t have this anywhere near down. 

I had a bit of a meltdown recently as it slowly become apparent that over the Easter break, I basically revised really wrong. I had a similar experience last year that caused me to change how I do things, and so this is just a marker that I need to refine my workflow. 

As a medical student, at least at my school, you get lots of information during lectures that you just have to assimilate in one way or another. The theatre becomes a rat race as people frantically scribble drug names on pads, burn away their keyboards getting every last interleukin verbatim, flip through pages and pages of lecture slides to try and link this concept with that, as you look around, everyone has their preferred way of doing it. There are even people like my friend Joe who sits there like an absolute champion, listening. No notes, no laptop, just awesome. If you can be Joe, be Joe. Otherwise, keep reading… 

The laptop 

Solid, reliable, fast. This is a surefire way to get every single piece of information from the lecturer, regardless of how fast they speak, trust me, necessity is the mother of all WPM records. It seems like a great option because : 

  • You’ll have your notes everywhere 
  • The Cloud is totally a thing now 
  • Lecture slides are online now so you can annotate that, no more printing! 

But, it isn’t perfect. For one, I found that I ended up mindlessly transcribing the lecture. Sometimes I paid attention, but it became a slight obsession to try and scrape everything possible to avoid having to look over it later, which is ironic really because thats exactly what I need to do to actually learn the material, not just make the prettiest notes. 

If you use a laptop, make sure your notes are nice and easy to read for when you’re cramming for finals, and make sure to include what the lecturer wants you to know, not just what you think is important, this does save you time! One thing I’ve found useful too is not jumping off the seat the instant you finish taking notes and go out, but to make flashcards and stuff of the important bits, or at least read it over again! 

The notepad 

This is a new thing for me this year. I took notes on my laptop for the last two years, and for the first I used to write paper “neats” but that took a really long time, almost 2 hours per lecture, which was just impractical. But: 

  • You can draw diagrams (and doodle!) 
  • It’s more natural
  • You pay attention more because you can only write a precious few words down at any one time, so you try to tailor the information into a succinct, well, note form! 
  • Paper feels good 

After making the transition from transcribing everything word for word and discovering bullet points for my laptop notes, I managed this term to get pretty efficient at taking notes longhand in lectures. It is hard and definitely I’m writing less, but I think the quality of notes is slightly better, and writing out the neat revision notes out by hand is also a really good way as reading back paper notes is a lot less strenuous than looking at a screen. 

It is stressful carrying around lots of bits of paper, and it’s definitely expensive in terms of good paper and pens, but I guess it is nicer. One happy bonus is the fact that I get less distracted during the momentary lulls in a lecture, which is good! And the actual process of writing helps you stay more awake. 

Revision

One error I made this year was, essentially, undoing all my yearlong work by re-writing my notes out once I made the switch to paper. This isn’t ideal for a number of reasons, one being that I still ended up mindlessly transcribing, rather than actually committing to memory. Ok, so some did go in, especially when you spend insane amounts of time trying to draw the hippocampus! But it is nothing on associative learning and repetition (boy, if only learning about learning helped me learn) as the latter drills it into your mind. 

Flash cards are a stalwart that I’ve returned to, they definitely work, but can be a pain once you build up stacks and stacks; making them is addictive, studying them isn’t! 

Revising in groups is also a great option, if you’ve got similarly minded friends, you’ve just gotta be wary that the distraction factor increase exponentially for every extra person, is multiplied by a factor of 75 if you decide to study outside, and if there is a frisbee or a set of speakers within a mile of your patch of grass, all hope is gone. 

If I manage to crack the formula sometime within the next four years, I’ll let you know! 

 

Last days of freedom

Today marks my last day in London, before the nightmare that is revision must begin if I’m to pass second year, and instead of working, a trip down to Brick Lane was the order of the day. My friend Helen posted about Kahalia Cafe on Instagram, and after looking into it, found out how incredible it is! All sales go to the charity Ella’s home, looking after sex trafficked girl and, oh, did I mention it’s a church on wednesdays?! How have I never heard of this place??

They had the best red velvet cake I’ve ever eaten, their foam art was cool and inside it was so homely! This definitely makes the list, and would recommend it if you’re ever around East London with a couple of hours to kill!

BDSC_0740 DSC_0741 DSC_0746

Good days

Today was a good day, perhaps the best day in a while. Through a fortunate stroke of serendipity, a huge stumbling stone has become a stepping stone in a way that I can only describe as an answer to prayer. The way it came about, I couldn’t envisage in my worst nightmares, ironically I actively took steps to prevent it coming about this way, but it’s funny how God can take our fears and work with them. My flatmate also got a longboard. Longboards are awesome! This concludes what is an extremely vague post! B

Image

Yumchaa, just off Tottenham Court road. This is my third visit in as many weeks, shooting it right to the top of my list! If you’re into teas, definitely check this place out!

 

One year on, Liebsters and all

Today, I’ve just discovered, marks my first full year of blogging!

This blog was created in a mood of general angst, in a search for a substantial means of catharsis that was less time-consuming than drawing, but less transient than paper (I honestly lose stuff everywhere in my room). That initial mood gave way to an apathy really, as life got somewhat less dramatic, then a fervour as I finished exams and began exploring photography. I guess this post is here to take stock on the year, on why I blog, and is more for myself than anyone else, so I wouldn’t blame you if you stopped reading right about now!

why did you start blogging?

If I’m honest, to have a bit of a rant and a bit of a moan, to be able to review books and generally geek out about little things that not many people care about, to find like minded people and to just take stock of life.

have you learned anything from blogging?

There’s something substantial about committing thoughts to writing, it forces you to reflect on your experiences and what you feel, and like a diary, gives you the pleasure of looking back in time into a past you. Lots of my friends did gap years, and had amazing times abroad, volunteering, working and gaining new experiences, and I guess I’ve always been pretty academic in pursuits. It’s easy, when you’re stuck in that cycle of intense work and condensed down time, to appreciate the little things in life, and see the extra in the ordinary. Come to think of it. I think that’s why I love photography so much, because it takes what you see every day and shows you hidden beauty in a lot of places many wouldn’t look.

why do you keep blogging? 

It’s a creative outlet, I would recommend it to anyone as a place to express your interests. It’s thanks to this that I would call myself a photographer, I doubt I would have got so into it if I wasn’t constantly getting inspired by other bloggers sharing their lives through their photographs. Facebook is great, but with content being added every second, it’s nice taking time out of your day to write a little, edit a little, think a little harder about what you’re sharing with the world.

I also have a Liebster from Pippa, that I never got around to filling, and this is a good a time as ever!

what would you do being alone for a day?

If I had nothing else to do, I would probably redecorate my room and sketch out the map of London I’ve been meaning to hang up for months now

if you could travel to space, would you go? 

Definitely! It’s difficult to watch videos like the Space Oddity without dying a little with jealousy. Floating in zero-g would be one of the coolest things ever! (albeit, for the first few days, then I’d get a bit sick of the space food ..)

if you could have a superpower, what would it be? 

This one’s easy, flight! Wouldn’t you wish to fly?!

where is your favourite place in the world? 

Coffee shops. Hate coffee, love the smell!

how do you want to be remembered?

As a friend

what is your favourite colour?

#30BCD1

My nominations 

The photography of Charles Hildreth – probably one of my favourite portrait photographers, fantastic work

Ben – you should blog more, fantastic thoughts

Immi – I love your blog!

My questions

Why do you blog?

What’s your favourite hobby and why?

First food that comes to your head, go!

What song describes your mood?

Favourite quote?

Best time of your life? or, Has anyone ever said anything to you that changed your life?

What is your favourite kitchen gadget/utensil?

 

B

 

 

If you’re not living life on the edge, you’re taking up too much space

Everyone’s growing up! So in view of our increasing maturity, we spent saturday shopping for clothes that we once wore for an ‘edgy’ fancy dress party!

In an excited craze, we descended upon East London once again, this time, to take advantage of East End’s thrift store £1 vintage sale. It seemed too good to be true! And in some senses it was, we faced a two and a half hour queue, with a brilliant gradient from the guys at the front, the ‘true’ hipsters with some of the most fantastic outfits I’d ever seen (I’m not even sure outfits covers it, these are their regular clothes!) to us at the back who turned up when doors opened, what a mistake. 

The queue allowed ample time for excitement to build, as we watched droves march out with bags (literally) stuffed with vintage garb, in fact, there was a sign in the actual shop across the street stating: “HANDLES OF BAGS MUST MEET”, so this must be quite popular! More waiting, more second-hand smoking, more hunger, and we finally made it to the front, to enter, what I would describe as one of the most …unique shopping experience to be had.

DSC_0352 DSC_0353

Clothes were strewn everywhere, we’d missed the doors open rush by a considerable amount of time but over 60% of the stock was literally on the ground, nevertheless, people were diving and grabbing, trying to resolve a choice piece of attire from the trodden on garments, a difficult task, might I add. It took us upwards of an hour, but I managed to get a hideous christmas jumper, a women’s tweed blazer and a tartan scarf. In all honesty, if someone turned up early and was prepared to fight tooth and nail, it is very possible to pick up an absolute bargain. The scarf mentioned was 10x cheaper than one I bought a few weeks earlier, and it was 100% wool, It just requires some washing, hah!

Purchases made, all that was left was a sunny cycle through the heart of London and lunch! On my way, I rode past a couple of guys on BMXs, and couldn’t but stop and have a chat! I used to skate, not very well, but I nailed a kick flip in my prime, and I’ll cling to that ’till I die! However, there’s just something so incredible about these sports that demands your attention, I can’t imagine what it would be like to be even half as good as this guy, Daniel, but I’d think it would feel something like this

Daniel_

London truly does shine in the sun!

Palace on stilts_ DSC_0359

The rest of the night was a blur of garish outfits, inordinate amounts of food, awful, awful pictures, retro hip hop and lots of fun!

DSC_0383

B