Updates on the Second Semester of Medical School

The second semester of medical school is well on its way and it’s been fun, challenging and amazing! From our anatomy labs, I continue to be awed by the beauty and intricacy of the human body. Seeing for oneself how arteries, veins and nerves weave in and out of various organs while trying to piece together the physiological mechanisms that keep us breathing and alive is nothing short of miraculous and fascinating!

We have completed our blocks in Public Health, Respiration, Circulation, Renal and are half-way through Digestion and Metabolism. I am continuing to enjoy my exposure to family medicine which I get to do about 2 to 3 times a month. My favorite aspects of it are the variety of cases you get to see right from children to the elderly. I have enjoyed following up on return patients and getting to practice doing various procedures.

One of my goals in medical school was to ensure I carve out quality time for God, family and hobbies. This has generally been going well! My biggest struggle however has been keeping up with consisent exercise. To help me improve on this, I have downloaded a “30 Day Fitness Challenge” app on my phone which will keep track of my progress.

The kids are doing great! My 5 year old son started taking karate classes (perfect for his high energy personality!) and recently went skating for the first time. His reaction to skating… “Mummy, why do I keep falling?” He also wanted  know if he could bring his snowman inside from the front yard and put it in the freezer to keep it from melting!

My 3 year old daughter is full of funny remarks too. She recently informed us, “Med school is where mummies go and when I become a mummy…..I’m going to med school!”

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My little girl checking on me!
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Birthday surprise from hubby and the kids!
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Celebrating mummy’s birthday with a family movie night. We watched “The Good Dinosaur”. Loved it!
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Nerdy birthday gift from hubby!

 

Family Celebrations…and Summer Planning for Medical School!

Last week was a beautiful week in many ways. After finding out about my medical school acceptance, I spent a wonderful day on Wednesday with my son Caleb secretly making banana and chocolate-chip muffins and designing birthday cards for my husband whose birthday was on Thursday.

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My trusty assistant helping me to make muffins for daddy’s birthday

 

My husband and I also celebrated our 9th wedding anniversary on his birthday (yes, we got married on his birthday and now he can never forget the date of our anniversary!). Thirteen years ago, he asked me to be his girlfriend in my native Swahili language after requesting the translation from the Kenya High Commission (embassy) in Ottawa. It was such a beautiful surprise and we have experienced so many adventures together along the way. Despite the challenges of marriage and parenting, my husband has helped me grow in so many ways and I feel so blessed to be married to such a wonderful person who respects me and loves me unconditionally.

We spent our anniversary by going out for brunch at our favorite restaurant and then out to see the new Captain America movie at the cinema. It was fun! We also brainstormed the logistics of the next few months in preparation for medical school. I just love how enthusiastic my husband is about embarking on this new journey with me!

On Friday, we attended orientation at Caleb’s new school. Yes, that’s right! My little man is starting Kindergarten one week after I start medical school in August! He is so excited about starting school! We were very impressed with his school and how passionate the teachers and principal are. We know he will be in good hands. He will learn primarily in French from Kindergarten to Grade 4 and then switch to 50% English/50% French. He is already bilingual and I’m so happy that he will have the opportunity to improve on his grasp of the French and English languages.

All through last week, I received supportive messages from friends and family and also from some of my future classmates who sound so enthusiastic about this new journey. I look forward to meeting them in person!

This is on my to-do list in preparation for medical school:

  • Take Basic Life Support class (CPR and AED): scheduled for early June
  • Update immunizations: scheduled for mid-June
  • Financing my medical education: meet with the bank, apply for government financial aid and scholarships.
  • Look for a second-hand car to commute 5o minutes downtown: we decided that public transport would take too much time since I would need to take 2 buses and a train to get to school. I want to be very efficient so that I can maximize time for the family.
  • Parking permit: Fortunately, I am eligible to park in the building where most of my classes will be because of how far I live from the university and because I have young children. My parking permit is reserved. I just have to pick it up and pay for it in mid-August.

I am so grateful that I get to have a full summer with my family before beginning medical school. I know our lives are about to change drastically. I know the road will be long and challenging. But I am really looking forward to the fascinating things I will learn and also to the forging of wonderful new friendships.

A Birthday Celebration…A Little Girl Turns Two

My dear precious daughter, I can’t believe that you are 2 years old already. We can see so much of your personality and interests showing. You have an excellent command of language. You love books, music, dancing and coloring. You love to run and climb.

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The birthday girl

You are a bit shy of strangers but you love to take care of people and keep everything organized. You are the first one to bring us our coats, hats and gloves while you “order” us to get dressed. If anything is out of place, you point it out and want it fixed or corrected. You are very independent, trying to do things yourself. You make us laugh with your funny antics and dance moves!

You also have a sensitive side. It bothers you if you see your big brother crying or if our cat is “meowing” because she’s hungry. You are very conscious of how others are feeling, “Mummy, tired?”

You absolutely love your stuffed animals and you have an elaborate bedtime routine for them. The top 2 animals that go almost everywhere with you are two giraffes (better known as “Raf one” and “Other raf”)

All-in-all, you have been such a welcome addition to our family. You are so calm, gentle, sweet and thoughtful, Naomi. You have your challenging moments like any child does but you continue to teach us so much about ourselves and have brought so much joy into our household. Happy 2nd birthday Naomi! We love you!

 

Celebration, Friendship and a Walk Down Memory Lane

As I write this post, I hear grunts, giggles and thumping sounds as my son Caleb and my husband roll around in the basement. Every so often, I hear “I’m ready to begin the battle” and “fight!“. In getting caught up in the day-to-day mounds of laundry, dishes, cooking and cleaning, I sometimes forget how blessed I am to have two little children and how the joyous sounds of their voices and laughter brighten up our home.

Celebration time! Caleb's first bike on his 4th birthday.
Celebration time! Caleb just turned 4 years old! He was thrilled to receive his first bike.

The past few days have been a grand celebration of Caleb’s fourth birthday. It seems like just yesterday he was born. Now he’s growing up into a funny, loving, curious and energetic boy and I love watching him experience the world through the eyes of a child. His birthday present was his first ever bike and as he donned his helmet and teetered precariously on it, I felt a little tug in my heart. I remember when I was riding my first bike and my older brothers were guiding me through the long grass of our backyard. Now it was our turn to guide our little boy and let him figure out how to maneuver his way around.

One of my oldest friends visited this weekend from the States to celebrate Caleb’s birthday with us. It amazes me that as children, we used to race around our local neighborhood on our BMX bikes wearing mini-skirts. Now here we are as adults and my friend is an adopted “auntie” to my children. It reminded me that close friendships are a beautiful thing and something that must be worked on and held on to.

We took a trip to downtown Montréal, about 45 minutes from our house, something we haven’t done in months. As we walked along the famed cobblestone streets of the Old Port, I noticed a newly married couple holding hands. The bride’s shimmering white dress flowed behind her and her husband pulled her along gently. Strangers, tourists and families milled around them oblivious, yet here was a new couple at the very start of their lives together. I had a quick flashback to my wedding day and it brought a smile to my face.

Caleb's first experience of poutine at Frite Alors! in downtown Montréal.
Caleb’s first experience of poutine at Frite Alors! in downtown Montréal.

My husband decided it was time to initiate Caleb into some Quebecois culture and so Caleb had his very first poutine (a dish of fries drenched in gravy and cheese-curds). It’s not the healthiest meal in the world but something you must experience at least once if you live in or visit Quebec. As we partook of our poutines at a restaurant called “Frite Alors!”, I was again thrown back in time. This restaurant used to be a cafe called “L’etranger” and my husband and I spent a lot of our time here during our dating days, sipping on hot chocolate topped with whipped cream and chocolate sprinkles. The decor was still the same with its faded red booths and plain square tables. An old piano sat on a raised platform waiting for some warm, pliant fingers to run along its keys. There was something very special about bringing our children to a place where my husband and I had spent our first dates, getting to know each other and growing our love for each other.

This weekend was a beautiful one of celebration, friendship and a walk down memory lane. So simple, yet so wonderful and a reminder of the many blessings I have to be grateful for.

Celebrating friendship: My oldest friend! We've known each other since we were 6 years old and grew up together in Kenya.
Celebrating friendship: My oldest friend! We’ve known each other since we were 6 years old and grew up together in Kenya.