The Knitting Intern

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This may be the weirdest post I’ve ever written. A while ago I was on admissions-duty for obstetrics. If you’ve spent time on an obstetrics service, you know that there are short bursts of action followed by long periods of waiting. Less so in admissions, but the intern and I still had a lot of time that we were waiting for something new to happen. I took out my iPad to read study and he… took out a ball of yarn and continued knitting something that seriously resembled a sweater.

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For all my ranting about stereotyping, I still struggled to keep my reaction in check. Now, I know THIS DOESN’T MAKE A DIFFERENCE but… This intern was pretty awesome. He was about a year older than me, a pretty fit kid of Asian origin, with really good hair and smallish ear-gauges. He was also really cool and nice: he had taught me a lot that day and let me do all the internal examinations (I needed them for my log), AND he didn’t make me do all his scutwork.

And so, yeah, I definitely did NOT expect him to pull out a ball of yarn and some knitting needles!

But I recovered very well and started asking him about it. He taught himself to knit because there are times when he doesn’t have anything to do at hospital (hard to believe but apparently true), or during an overnight call with accompanying insomnia, or when suffering post-call insomnia.

Long story short: he likes it, he has finished a few items already, it keeps him awake during boring meetings, and if he gets called away he can put it down immediately. Oh, and also, he can talk at the same time, which I cannot do while practicing my go-to hobby (reading).

We did knitting at school. I was ten and the biggest mistake I made was to choose the most difficult pattern the teacher had available. So while my friends knitted simple teddy bears, I attempted an owl plushie (I’ve always loved owls). Given that my hand-eye coordination was pretty crappy (I still refused to wear my specs at the time) my knitting was appalling. I never finished the project as it was not a graded class, and by the next year our syllabus had dropped knitting/woodwork/etc.

Needless to say, I walked away with the belief that I was no good at knitting. Okay, I mean, I REALLY WASN’T, but I have to learn that I don’t have to be NATURALLY good at everything I try. It’s okay to have to work at it.

Recently I’ve had the urge to learn to sew. My suturing is pretty bad (so bad that I am considering using a week of holiday just hanging out in the skills lab), but also I’m really jealous of my friends who sew their own reversible hoodies and scrub caps, and tailor their own scrubs. I have been thinking about taking some sewing classes next year but the truth is that any free time I have outside of hospital I will want to spend on exercise, my family, and reading.

I am reaching a point now, I swear: I wonder if knitting might be my answer. I really enjoy reading during those quiet moments, but it takes a while to get back into reading and then if you have to put it down to rush off to a code you will probably forget what you last read. Reading is not the most social activity and I don’t want people at my new job to avoid talking to me because my nose is in a book and they don’t want to bother me. (Yeah, I’d much rather read than do small-talk but I am old enough to understand that I need real-life friends too.) And people are probably less likely to steal some unfinished knitting than to steal my tablet (then again, this is South Africa, so you never know…).

I just… I mean… KNITTING?! I have so many bad preconceived notions about it. The teenager in my brain still wants to paste an L to my forehead just thinking of it. Which is mean because people I love have made me some really awesome knitwear. Will I enjoy it? What if I suck at it? Is it an expensive hobby? Will I really be able to put it down and pick it back up without difficulty? WHAT WILL I MAKE?!

And don’t hate me, but I’m kind of scared people will laugh at me. I have a lot of bluster about being true to oneself and doing what makes you happy but nobody likes being laughed at.

Anyways. Knitting doctors? What do you think? What else can one do in hospital to pass the time?

Ten Harry Potter Characters I Would Want With Me On A Deserted Island

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I’m twisting today’s TTT topic in honour of Harry Potter Month! How’s that for killing two birds with one stone. These are the ten characters from the Harry Potter World that I would want with me on a deserted island. We assume that they don’t have broomsticks with them and that they can’t apparate from the island or transfigure into a sea creature to swim away… because that would just be too easy.

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Book Review: The Country of Ice Cream Star

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My name be Ice Cream Fifteen Star. This be the tale of how I bring the cure to all  the Nighted States, save every poory children, brief for life. Is how a city die for selfish love, and rise from this same smallness.  Be how the new America begin, in wars against all hope – a country with no power in a world that hate its life.  So been the faith I sworn, and it ain’t evils in no world nor cruelties in no red hell can change the vally heart of Ice Cream Star.

In the ruins of a future America, fifteen-year-old Ice Cream Star and her people survive by scavenging in the detritus of an abandoned civilization. Theirs is a world of children – by the time they reach the age of twenty, each of them will die of the disease they call posies. Continue reading

Armchair BEA: More Than Just Words

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I’m joining Armchair BEA for the first time this year by participating in a few discussions. My dream is one day to attend the real deal… but till then, this will suffice. Today’s discussion is about books that are “more than just words”, and to this end I’m sharing three mini-reviews for books I recently received via NetGalley. (Links click through to longer GoodReads reviews.)

In Real Life by Cory Doctorow & Jen Wang

I was a bit worried about reading this because I’m not a gamer and I feared that not understanding the culture would hinder my enjoyment. I need not have worried. In short, Anda is a bit of an awkward, seemingly unhappy teenager in a new town, who gets introduced to the world of Massive Multiplayer Online Games, where she joins an all-female guild and becomes known as a kick-ass player. But she also encounters “gold farmers”, a very real occurrence in MMOs. It becomes her mission to “kill” gold farmers, until she befriends one gold farmer from China and realises that most of them are playing long hours just to make a living. Continue reading

Ten Book Covers I’d Frame As Pieces Of Art

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Book covers can be awful and they can be meh and then they can be fantastic – and I’d be lying if I said I’d never picked up a book purely because of it’s beautiful cover. With TTT this week, we highlight some of those covers we’d consider to be pieces of art, quite literally. These are all covers that I’d love to have as large versions in my own future personal library.

Books are listed by author and the cover artist, and linked to the artists’ sites where possible. Feel free to inform me if I missed something.

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Hell Week is Over. But I’d Rather Talk About SAS.

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I survived Hell Week. Not sure what that is? Check this post, right at the end.

I don’t really want to talk about it though. I’m pretty traumatised. Thanks to a huge amount of prayers and support and motivation from my family and friends, I survived it. I honestly did not think I would get past Tuesday.

My worst subjects, Surgery and Orthopaedics, went really well. My best subjects, Ophthalmology and Anaesthetics went REALLY badly. We only get our results in like a century though.

Exactly one year ago today, I disembarked Semester at Sea’s MV Explorer in Barcelona. I can’t believe it’s been a year. I miss falling asleep on the rocking ocean. I miss the countries – all of them. It was a great experience.

Watch this spoken word by Stephen Brown, whom I met in the Illness Narratives course we both took on the ship. I tear up every time I watch this. It is the best representation of that voyage. Transcript below.

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