Thursday, September 28, 2006

Okay a couple quick pictures..

I'm running out the door to go buy some quick essentials (if I can find them.... I'm not exactly sure where to go in England to buy things like hangers.....I'll figure it out i guess)... but here's a couple pictures to give you an idea of things that i see here.... as in where I live.

This is the view out my window. I'm in old terrace which overlooks NEW terrace. They look very nice, ours don't (I'll post a picture later).

This is my room (still not un packed, hence the need for hangers).... it's about 11ft by 12 ft so it's not too small, in the right top corner of the room there's a small sink and mirror that you can't see, so that's handy.... anyway.. I need to run cause the day's getting away from me, will post more interesting pictures later. If I see anything that's more interesting that is......

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Okay finally here...

So for the past month and a half or so I've been receiving a flood of emails from people asking about how medical school is going and what it's like living in England. Well, today is the first day I can even attempt to form an answer. I arrived in Southampton yesterday at about 10:30 am. This is actually quite early, cause I'm attending the international induction, I didn't have to, but thought it would be good to catch my bearings and get used to the place before class begins. So as most of my Wheaotn pre-med friends have already been through at least 1 month if not 2 of medical school I am still yet to officially start....but "all in it's good time" as they say. I'm sure I'll be missing the days of not having class and things to study soon enough. I'm living in university halls, yet it doesn't seem much like the dorm life I knew at wheaton. I'm in a converted terraced house where there are 10 single rooms with shared kitchen and bathroom facilities. It seems much like a normal small house, but with not living room and where everyone locks their bedroom doors.

In some ways I feel like a bit of a fraud attending international induction, several other international students have already said they thought I was English, and it is true I don't have as much of the language barrier. but all the same, I do feel very alien here, I don't know anyone, have never been here before, and there's all usual differences of figuring out public transport, new currency, new prices, and the like... Southampton seems to be a very different place from Dublin. So far the city seems diverse enough, a bit more than the wheaton area and it's diverse in a different sense from dublin, as most non ethnically english people that you'd meet were born and raised here, where in Dublin that's still a rarity. Still, it's very non urban, the university is in the subarban sprawl of a not very large city, so we'll see how I like after I've been here longer.

So all things considered I'm doing well. Next week when all the new UK students arrive is called Freshers week and will be quite crazy. Induction here has been very different from orientation at Wheaton, mainly I think just cause of the size of the student population. The student body is over 20,000 for the university, and in just the international induction there's over 750 students, which doesn't help in making friends, cause chances are if you meet someone you won't meet them again. I'm waiting for term time to start when I can meet my entering class of 45 people in the Graduate Medicine programme, that's a much more managable group.

Alright, I'll try and post some pictures later.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Okay, random quote of the day, I literally heard it less than a minute ago on the psalters myspace website... it's "when people learn to love each other, capitalism won't be possible and marxism won't be necessary"...... i have a love hate relationship with phrases like that, they're too 'cute' but speak what need to be said.....

So today is an international day of action on the Darfur crisis. I admit I did nothing special today for Darfur, I deleted most of the Darfur junk emails in my inbox without even opening them today... I was reminded again that today was special to try and raise attention about Darfur, when on the radio I heard the director of GOAL (an Irish Aid Agency) in Sudan calling for unilateral military action to take place immediately and to be lead by the USA and Britain. He said they should bypass the UN as China and Russia will most likely never agree to sending UN troops without Khartoom's permission.... it just hit me.... the futility of all our efforts, yet again. We place our responsibility for humanity's well being in the hands of impersonal super-powers and yet take little meaningful action ourselves. Thinking of what he called for (I wish i could remember the GOAL man's name), brought loads of thoughts to my head, like "how could he be calling for unilateral action when the US and Britain have been condemned so much recently FOR their unilateral action in Iraq? Then I thought of the alternative, present, right-now, reality, I would want someone to help protect me and my family from genocide by my own government. My Christian faith would lead me to pacifism, but like so many things in my faith, it only works if I'm willing to go completely. Pacifism only works if pacifists are willing to join victims and offer themselves as the biblical "living sacrifices" in the modern-day tradition of Ghandi and Martin Luther King Jr. I'm not there, maybe I would be if I was physically there, if I had to choose, but it's too easy to sit here in a nice big comfortable house, well full from that pizza and ice cream I just ate, and dream of escaping the nets of a comfortable life. Christianity doesn't do well with comfort, just like it doesn't do well with power. It makes a little more sense how Jesus talked about just how unbelievably difficult it is for a rich man to live out his kingdom...

.......but there I go again making Darfur about me, I've learned something very simple in my life of travelling from place to place.... in the many times that something happens where I can't be there to help make it right (not like I could do anything about Darfur even if I was there except probably make things worse), prayer is something I can do. It's something God has given us so that we can act on the hearts he has given us for the doesn't relinquish our responsibility for physical efforts to relieve the suffering (although it probably does give us stamina and focus for it), but it helps ward off the despair that I'm so prone to when I think of the world how it is. Let's just pray, and pray that we would pray more, because I probably will be thinking about it tonight, but it won't be on the radio again tomorrow to remind us.