Wednesday, November 4, 2015

For The Love Of Thailand

For The Love Of Thailand

I am so late to this post, but better late than never!
We planned our trip to 4 countries and 10 cities very meticulously, down to the gritty details of hotels, transportation fares, store hours, must eat restaurants in that area, and what to order from there. We researched and researched all this before we went to maximize our stay there. And lets be honest, it wasn't like I had much of a life 2 months ago anyways.
This 17 page word document was our life line to our trip! We made hardcopies and also had them easily accessible from our emails.

We also looked up the "must buy" products of each country, and looked up their local prices so not to get ripped off!

After arriving to Bangkok, we headed off to the Northern side of Thailand... Chang Mai where we spend an entire day at the Patara Farm, where you can adopt an elephant for the day!  It's pretty amazing because its just you and the elephant. For $200 per person per day... we were hesitant at first but afterwards realized it was once in a lifetime experience.  Ofcourse Nabeel and his Elephant "pau" automatically grew a bond together, as you can tell by the time we left Nabeel looked like a local thai elephant farmer.

We were served lunch in a loft secluded from the rest of the world. So serene and beautiful. 

Next day, we decided to play on the wild side of things and get up close and personal with a 300 pound tiger!!!  Anyone who knows me, knows how scared I get of house cats.. but this beast was my favorite part!  So majestical with their beauty, SubhanAllah.

The next few days we spent hopping islands-- Phuket, Phi Phi, Railay Islands, Krabi and then finally back to bangkok for our flight to Dubai.

We didn't enjoy Phuket much, only because it was a huge party town. We weren't expecting the entire island to turn into a global club... so we opted to stay in for the night and catch up on our sleep!

To get from island to island, we used Air Asia. The flights were so ridiculously cheap in our american standards. One of our flights cost us $19!!!

The food and the hotels were very economical all over Thailand. We made sure to schedule time to squeeze in a thai massage everyday, which was very relaxing after a busy day of hustling around the city.  The massages were $7 for 2 hours... so really there was not much to argue!

Our meals were anywhere from $2 to $15.  It kept us full but of course being the thai food lovers we are.. we made sure to eat multiple times in the day. Then sleep it off in our very economical (& clean) hotel rooms which were about $25 a night.   Broke med students dream vacation!

Overall, I loved this country. This was on the top of my list of places to visit.. and I am very thankful Allah helped us get there.  There were halal restaurants and muslims everywhere. In Krabi, you couldn't go couple of miles without seeing a masjid.  May Allah always keep their iman strong.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

For the love of Residency.

For the love of Residency

After having completed my first month ever as a resident (pause to jump up and down!!!), I wanted to write a reflection over my experiences... not only as a resident but as a FASTING resident.  Residency on its own is tough enough but adding fasting 16 hours out of the day I thought for sure I wouldn't be able to make it.   But I knew one thing for sure, I wanted to try my hardest to fast because without Allah I would have never even made it to residency. 

The ups. The downs. The I just want to lay in bed all day and cuddle with my mommy (sorry Nabeel!).  This is what my first month of residency was to me.

This will be beyond the hardest year of my life, with 80 hour work weeks, 16 hours per day work hours... and I started off the first month of it while FASTING!  But where there is a will there is a way...and somehow Allah got me through Ramadan with ease.

My second day as a resident,  I was on- call overnight ( basically you stay at the hospital for 16 hours overnight from 5:30 pm till 9:30 am).   I had a couple of admissions from the ER.  I had to do an admit on a patient with copd exacerbation wearing a BiPap mask.. So getting an accurate history for close to impossible. I filled in whatever gaps I could and called up the attending on call to present the case. Going through the Meds the doctor asked me, what is he taking such and such medication for. And I blanked!! The names sounded familiar but all throughout med school I was only familiar with generic names of drugs.. Not brand.
I had to call the doctor back 4 different times because I kept doing it wrong. But I didn't mind, I used it as a learning lesson. I was even glad that the attending was being as strict as he was. At the end of the call I felt good about myself because I had learned something. The rest of the night was uneventful. 
The day after is post-call so you get 24 hours off.

When I came back to work the day after... I was pulled aside by the senior resident and he hit me with reality of being a resident. He hit me with the reality that hey this is not med school anymore. You're a grown up adult. You're a DOCTOR. This is your job, not a hobby. I thought wow, what am I doing here and is this the "bad guy" in my scenario ( like in the tv show scrubs, he was my dr. Cox--- the mean arrogant jerk, but an amazing teacher and doctor). Later I'd realize he is the good guy. Because of him, I learned so much my first week that I became really efficient and good at what I did the weeks following. I was not making the mistakes my peers might have been making. He gave me a wake up call. And I worked harder than ever before to impress him and the program.

 I thought at that time that I'm broken. That this is it for me. How will I ever be the doctor I thought I wanted to be. I felt like a failure. I felt defeated and had no feelings of self- worth. 

The next day, as we were sitting around with another attending he asked everyone the mechanism behind copd in relation to pulmonary hypertension. Finally, all those hours dedication to just pathology & physiology was coming to use. I explained it all to him.. Every detail and mechanism of it all and I could just see the shock on my senior residents faces. Phew, I thought. Finally reclaimed myself after that horrible on call I had. 
I learned so much my first week and I made sure to never make the same mistake twice. Over the course of the next three weeks I was an entirely different resident. I put on a brave face & to the world I looked like I was on my game. Even so much that the chief resident would introduce me to the attendings as "our patho-phys expert, Dr. Rub."

I still Remmeber the time when another attending asked me a question on how ACE Inhibitors work in relation to CHF.. When I finished explaining the chief said " your patho phys is on point, I didn't even know that mechanism." I was flabbergasted. I was so happy. Over the moon. Of course inside my head I have such little self confidence but atleast this one time I made it. And it made me feel good because patho-phys was the area I focused on most when I was studying. When others memorized facts, I taught myself concepts. 
It's an incredible feeling to come from nothing, to feel incapable and then to be seen as someone of value. It didn't matter what school I attended or what grades I got.. What matters now is how I treat my patients. 

But sometimes I just can't take it anymore. Sometimes I sound really ungrateful when I say, I'd rather be studying for board exams then going through these 80 hour work weeks. When I come home at noon, after working 16 hour shift from 8 pm the night before, sometimes I just cry from exhaustion because I know I have only 8 hours off till my next shift starts again.... And knowing that this is my schedule for the next year leaves me defeated. Sometimes I try to remind myself how lucky I am to be living my dream. But sometimes I just wanna quit so I can be myself again. 

But then I have Nabeel & my brother & my mother. They remind me why I'm here. They remind me what all I went through to finally reach this step in my journey. They remind me of so many friends and family members who are way more deserving of this spot but they haven't been given an opportunity. 
They remind me that is just a little getting used to. And they are patient with me, because they know I can overcome this. Even when sometimes I don't think I can. 
Please make dua Allah gives me the strength to get through these days. Having no time off and working all the time leaves you emotionally wounded. But that is what residency is. And that's what will make us all amazing doctors. 
" I hated every minute of training, but I said, 'Don't quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.'-- Muhammad Ali. 


Saturday, July 5, 2014

For the love of Newlyweds: First year of marriage

For the love of Newlyweds: First year of marriage

The magic isn't in getting married.. It's in staying married.

In the beginning when you first get married, you feel the need to be careful of which parts you expose of yourself, your family & your past.

You try to conceal that really bad morning breath by waking up earlier just to brush your teeth or trying to hide the fact you really don't know how to make the kaathi daal you promised him (pre-nuptials) you make the best there ever was,  by quickly defrosting your moms frozen bag.

You always show the best side of yourself... Even if usually you always get very cranky when you're hungry or very emotional before that time of the month you try to control it by stuffing your face with chocolate just for the sake of him not thinking he married a psycho.
If being the best means hauling yourself out of bed before noon(something you haven't done in months while living with your parents) you do it. Just to make him that fresh set of chocolate chip pancakes he loves. Or pack him that delicious gosht ka Salan for lunch just so you can get a text from him after he has eaten it at work saying just how much he adores your cooking is ALL WORTH IT.

You love all the tasks that involve him. You want to iron his clothes, warm up his dinner, get those ice cubes for his cold drink, because you as a desi wife just looooooove the pleasure of serving your husband hand & foot.

Until... The honeymoon stage passes. Then you wonder why the heck am I doing all the work. He sits on his butt the entire day at work, shouldn't he share the load too?!  Then he starts thinking wow she was so amazing when we first got married, why can't she be like that again. Why did she change.

That is why I believe it is SO important for newlyweds to overlook the honeymoon feeling when it comes to splitting responsibilities. Ofcourse you want to do everything for him-- all power to you. But there will be a day you won't want to! And when that happens you shouldn't feel like ugh I'm doing him such a favor by doing so & so.

The secret to a good marriage(in my humble amateur 1 year experience opinion)  is maintaining that "need to impress him" stage f o r e v e r.

After all, who else is worth you being on your best behavior with if not the man who works tirelessly to support you, to protect you, to defend you, to make you smile every opportunity he gets, your partner for LIFE.
Even when your friends dessert you, your kids grow up & leave you. He'll still be the one you will be sitting with on the porch holding hands sipping lemonade.

All this is easier said than done, & believe me I get that. Of course more often then not he's way better to me than I am to him (my family/neices/nephews will gladly attest to this) but that doesn't mean I just fold my arms, throw in the flag and give up. You will have those off days, and sometimes ALOT  of them. But you should always renew your intention to be THE BEST VERSION OF YOURSELF TO HIM. No one else deserves it more than he does.   After all, Allah says

And among His Signs is this, that He created for you mates from among yourselves, that ye may dwell in tranquillity with them, and He has put love and mercy between your (hearts): verily in that are Signs for those who reflect(Qur'an 30:21)

If there are any topics you'd like me to write about or expand upon this one let me know by commenting below or email me at :)

Monday, May 19, 2014

For the love of Doha,Qatar

After Umrah... Doha was the perfect layover to rest, rejuvenate before the next leg of our trip... Or so we thought! 
Doha has so much to offer we rarely had moments to feel bored. I really thought it would be a tiny rural city.. But quite the contrary. It's an up & coming city filled with life, character, tall rise buildings & delicious food! 


During our stay, my inlaws made to treat us to the best foods in Doha. One of my most favorite places was the "Afghan Brothers Restaurant". It was here that I first tried "mandi".. And those who have never tried it, let me tell you. It's the closest to heaven you can get!! So delicious, the meat is soooo tender it just falls apart in your fingers & the rice full of flavor from the juices of the meat. *drool*

When you first walk into this two level restaurant, you are guided to the upstairs section which has small little rooms all over with tiny doors. In this, you sit on the floor & eat Arab family style out of one huge plate!
As me & Nabeel were sharing one plate... And it came down to the Last piece of meat, our relationship almos didn't make it because neither of us were in the mood to share this piece of heaven! 

We visited the Katara-- a Qatari outdoor museum where I ran into this awesome door! 

 We also went to play at the mosque while at the museum..& what a beauty it was! SubhanAllah. I had my husband take pictures for me from the men's side:


Another popular masjid is Masjid ul Waahab it is a HUGE masjid which can hold up to 30,000 people. Their parking lot is so big that they have "Buggys" that come pick you up from your parking spot! And when you arrive inside, you are handed a cold bottle of refreshing water.  On the inside the masjid is so spectacle. They went all out on EVERY detail imaginable. From the speaker system to the TV monitors which display the men's side, the kutbah to the beautiful ceramic, mosaic artwork in the corridors.

I will do a post later on all the  shopping I did specifically, but one of my favorite places was Souk Wasiq. It is an outdoor shopping area.. But much more than that!  It has restaurants & music playing in the streets, street performers & young crowds smoking sheesha on every corner!  The scene really comes to life at night time.. Such a fun place to hang out & walk through the stores. One of my favorite finds was this charming little antique store filled with beautiful jewelry, swords & even vintage telephones! How I wanted to buy everything! 

Although the most popular thrill seeking activity for most tourists in the sand dunning...we opted out of this since we will be in Dubai in just a few weeks so we plan on doing it there, God-willing!

Instead, we went on a very beautiful boat ride around the Corniche (think lakeshore dr in Chicago? But just a big more lively & cultured!).
Since we went right before sunset we were able to catch beautiful skies & a great view of the magnificent Doha skyline. The waters were very rough that day.. Making the ride just a bit more fun!