So Tove Lo released her 3rd album last month and I am absolutely obsessed. They're just so fun. Listening to the songs is like going on an emotional roller coaster LOL. My faves are:
hey you got drugs?
I finished up at dymocks lassssst Thursday and I've entered that stage where I am completely free but I feel anxious cos it feels like I've missed a deadline or I'm wasting my time. The free time is nice, though. I've been going to the beach every other day and snorkelling sometimes. Andrew and I signed up for a trial at F45 and it's been going well. Everyone is super nice and friendly and I want to stay but cannot afford :(
My Mum and my sister's birthdays are in Jan and I had a blast going out to two lovely free dinners with my family and my neighbours who are kind of like our adopted family now.
This is my new fave photo. The little boy is my neighbours son, Henry, and he hangs out with our family every night and he absolutely loves my mum. When I was standing next to her, scratching her head and kissing her forehead he comes up to the chair and makes her cuddle him and pushes my hand away. Then we tested out a theory and got Carol to put her hand on my mums shoulder and he pushed it away too, hahahahahahahahahahaha. Little shit.
It was carol's birthday and we went out for more food!
Fam photo with our new adopted son :)
I used to make mix tapes/CDs for my friends in high school. There were no themes or anything to them, just songs that I really liked at the time. My good friend Lyanna (hi) made me one back for my 15th birthday and I still listen to it in the car sometimes. In the sea of indie rock/pop from the early naughties is "What's my name" by Drake and Rihanna. I absolutely love it because I was obsessed with that song in year 10, haha.
2017 was an exceptional year!
Here are some highlights:
First new year spent with my man :)
My group going strong! also Drew's grad I guess
This old family photo/calendar my aunt pulled out when I was over for Christmas haha
Good times at the beach
My best mate and the first fish he caught with the rod I got him for his bday (his bday is in feb but this happened in like october? LOL)
My beautiful uni friends
Masterchef K Su! Always a blast fishing and chilling with him :)
Many adventures with this one
What are they doing to my son??
This happy chap got his first job!
Volunteering with St John, making new friends, and working better as a team
This was one of my last days in the lab and they got me the most beautiful bouquet of flowers! Best lab, best Honours experience, just the best
Lots of fishing this year!!!!! Catch n Cook with my boiz @Kollinchin and @tienandrew
Hiking with Lyanna and Cynthia and Drew
Welcome to the Fam Ellen :)
First day back and I got to meet Jimmy Barnes
Wouldn't have survived Honours without this girl
My first Lebo wedding
Ran something for the first time ever
My other son Henry
Huynh's birthday. Good times from the beginning of the year through to the end
2017 was a great year
Deja Vu - Shakira
Go Bang - Panu
Slowly - Giraffage
After not much convincing from Maria, I decided to get a bullet journal. I'm only about 10 days into using it, but I like it and it's going well so far. I'm not the most artistic person, but I like to be a little creative when I can. Anyway, for y'all who don't know, a bullet journal is essentially a notebook that's supposed to act as your diary, but you can add your own flavour to it. The fact that it's empty means you can adjust your diary days/pages to your own liking i.e. if you find that the 1 week to 2 pages diaries too restrictive, and you find the 1 day a page diaries too big and bulky, this is pretty much perfect for you. Because you can mix it up and there's no set structure. There also lots of room to move i.e. in the above mentioned diaries you're restricted with the amount of free space you have to just note take and what not.
Anyway, all this text probably is confusing so i'll show you guys pics LOL (maybe in the next blog post). I've started a gym tracker where I write down which days I got to the gym and what body part I work on, I also track my progress in terms of weights and distance run etc. IT's VERY GOOD LOL. I always take notes on my phone, but it's nice to visualise it, plus you can use coloured textas and pens and it's just really pretty.
Okay, that spiel over. I went on a hike with Ems and Bobs on Monday. It was the first hike this summer and it was super humid and it rained a bit, but it was perfect :). We walked along the coastal track, past the fenced off Wedding Cake rock, to your destination - Marley Beach (trust our group to skip monuments? lol to go to the beach). We swam a bit and saw fkn dolphins!!!!!! it was magical. The entire day we were just chatting about life in general asking super interesting questions like what are your 3 favourite foods, your 3 interests and stuff about childhood. At some stage Ems asked me if I had any body goals and I actually found this question a little hard to answer. Like, yes, but also no?
I don't know if you guys are aware but this year it kind of became a goal of mine to become a little more health conscious and fitter. I joined a good gym, started tracking my calories, ran a fun run, and since then I've been focusing on my strength. I'm probably the fittest I've ever been in my entire life, but of course, there are still things about my body I would like to change.
In my pursuit to become more health conscious, I started to follow PT's on Instagram most of whom are evidence-based professionals. They really instil the idea that everyone's idea of a perfect body is different and even though someone may look super fit/ripped, they might not be happy, and while others who don't really fit the typical mould of what 'fit' looks like, they may be the happiest they're ever been and would like to maintain their current physique. Everyone has different goals and you shouldn't put anyone else down because they're different to yours.
I found that my goals this year had dramatically changed compared to the years since I started training. I was obsessed with getting a bigger booty, I would try spot reduction to get a flatter stomach and all the while I was misinformed and ignored my diet. This year, I kind of let go of those physical/physique goals and focused on just being healthy and happy - in a nutshell: exercising, eating enough veggies and pooping regularly, and I was happy with that. I still am. There are days where I miss the gym and like, I don't feel guity pre se, but I feel like my day isn't complete? I think it's a good thing. It's like waking up and not brushing your teeth, it just feels weird if you don't do it, haha. It's become a habit.
Anyway, I'm glad I'm at this place. There were so many things that were out of my hands this year, things that I couldn't control - but my health was something that I could. I'm very proud of my fitness, but I'm not going to stop here. I've found that being goal orientated is a lot better than just saying "I want a big booty" because really, what is big? LOL
A goal of mine was to run a marathon. I ran the City2Surf and while that is only 1/4 of a marathon, I'm proud of this because I've always hated running/cardio, so this was a pretty big deal to me. I'm still going to run a marathon, maybe next year. Hopefully I have time to train, haha. I could have very easily signed up this year and half-arsed a marathon, but I want to do it properly and get a good-ish time. Another goal of mine for yearrrrrrs now is to do a chin up/pull up. I was a slave to the assisted pull up machine, but I never really did any other exercises that helped me get there faster. This year, ofc, was different. Every time I worked out, I would end the session with inverted rows or hangs from a bar or something. Anyway, I can do 3 good chin ups now!!!! I did my first chin up in October-ish and since then I've made it a goal to be able to do 5 chin ups by the end of the year (we still got 10 days lol, lets see if I get there). I can do 1 close grip pull up, but I wanna do a proper one. All in due time.
SO, to answer Emily's question, there is still heaps I would like to change. I do want abs/11's but I'm not ready to go into a caloric deficit so close to Christmas, haha. I want to be more toned, I want sick back muscles, and yes, I still want a booty. In saying this though, I am very proud of how far I have come, I like how you kinda see the muscles over my shoulder blades, I like the shape of my legs, and more importantly, I like how strong I have become and how that makes me feel good, haha. To me, running a marathon and doing pull ups will be more important that how big my ass is, but I also believe that those physical goals will come as a byproduct of achieving those fitness goals, so I'm not upset at the way I look right now. I know I'll get there one day, probably sooner rather than later.
Forgot to put the song list in LOL also, I'll do photos another time. Ceebs
Homemade Dynamite - Lorde n that
Anh Se De Em Ra Di - Chau Khai Phong (going back to my viet roots lol)
I was scrolling through my IG feed today and realised that I barely posted pictures this year. Everything I did post was super meaningful though, imo, lol. Maybe this is just a part of growing up. Or maybe this is just because I didn't really have a lot of free time - compared to last year anyway. As most of you know, I started my Honours year this year and as of yesterday, I am officially done! woohoo!
Let's talk about Hons for a bit before I get to the much awaited photo blog lol. This year has literally been the most difficult intellectual year of my life. It was also arguably the most difficult year because of other reasons, but because I let go too easily of the past, this perception may be skewed. ANYWAY. I don't even know why the fuck I chose to do an Honours year because I never liked the idea of research, I didn't like the autonomy of the career and I didn't like being 'trapped' in a little room, ofc with other people, but ultimately with everyone doing their own thing - another reason why I could never survive an office job. But my perception of science was greatly changed in my time as a summer scholarship student there last year. Things are quite collaborative, and I was fortunate enough to choose such a lively and extroverted lab with such supportive members.
My supervisor was a hard ass. He's European and everything is like clockwork and is so precise. I would say something is 5 units and he would correct me in annoyance - it's 4.8 units. In all my presentations, I was interrogated about all things redox, whether it immediately related to my project or not. My work was nit picked, ripped apart and rebuilt. There were some days where I dreaded going into the lab. Heck, there was even a whole week where I actively avoided him because he was being a big meany lol :( but with these things being said, I have him to thank for being so hard on me this entire year. As many of people have told me, it's better to have your group members ridicule you than to be made a fool of in front of an examiner.
The 'intellectual conversations' we had during my berating actually turned out to be quite beneficial because I can tell you now, at least half the points we discussed in those sessions were brought up by examiners and because of those experiences, I was able to provide the best responses to my questions in my final talk yesterday.
I have loved all aspects of my Honours year. In hindsight I even came to appreciate the ridicule and the back lash and the 'you're not working hard enough's'. Another one of my supervisors, Gus, best guy, told me that he noticed I worked better when deadlines were near. To this I responded "diamonds are made under pressure" lol. But he said as a part of management, he's noticed how everyone in the lab works and 'motivates' them accordingly. I think my main supervisor knew this too and did so accordingly. Although, his execution of it was more harsh and there was never a debrief after a period of intense work where he said 'good work', or 'I did it to motivate you,' lol. Either way, I'm grateful that method worked for me and that I was able to produce the best work I could.
First class Honours or not, I am proud of my project and I am proud of my thesis and my presentations and everything. I think most importantly, I am proud of the person I have become this last year. Pre-honours I was very arrogant. I was very naive and tbh I was quite dumb lol. I don't want to say something corny like I was broken down and rebuilt or anything like that. I think that I was shown that I wasn't as 'good' as I was in my head. I learned how to learn again - in my undergrad, I would study the bare minimum and took a 'fake it til you make it' approach in front of my friends and my marks only just got me by. This year I took the time to understand the whole learning process. A machine does x function, but y,z,a,b,c,d variables help it to do so and if one thing goes wrong, you can't just give up and you can't just change methods - you need to take the time and sift through all the possible variables and troubleshoot and fix things and to be able to do this, you need to understand the entire process. I think that was the most valuable lesson I learnt this year. Also that C1V1=C2V2 LOL.
The scienctific process and the people in this lab have taught me how to think logically and this helped me so much with gamsat, with my writing and even with the way I approach life. I can't say that I've fallen in love with science and that it's now my passion and my dream. I have fallen in love with the scientific process, sure, and I want to use the transferable skills I've gained during this year and apply them to all aspects of my life. But what truly made this year so amazing was the people. I love my lab. I don't think any lab I join in the future will compare. I was so fortunate to be surrounded by such intelligent, compassionate, supportive and fun individuals. Every single one of them was there to answer my dumb questions and to put up with me. They not only answered my questions, but went above and beyond to explain the underlying concepts, to provide analogies and to even quiz me further to make sure I really understood what they were saying. They would check up on me when I looked down, hell, they would just check up on me in general to make sure I was on track. This meant the world to me because it showed me that they actually gave a shit about me and my education and my Honours year. I have nothing but respect and mountains of gratitude for every single person in my lab. I would not have had such an amazing experience if it weren't for them.
I have a great amount of respect for people in basic science research. In the future, I don't really want to become a clinician that looks at retrospective case studies on the prevalence of x,y or z in patients in the emergency department. When I do a PhD, I want to go back to these roots and find a novel pathway or a novel mechanism of cure or develop a diagnostic tool at the cellular level, because that's where it all starts, right? I love science and I love medicine. I hope that one day I can be reunited with these people as a clinician-scientist collaboration, or even as an intern/resident of some of the clinicians currently completing their PhD's. Like I said, I cannot express the amount of gratitude I have for everyone in my lab and at the Chang. Without them, this experience, and my experiences to come would not have been possible. Thank you.