Friday, June 4, 2010


Greetings from the high seas! I'm aboard the USNS Mercy right now, working with Project Hope, an NGO serving with the Pacific Partnership to provide health care services to folks in Vietnam and Cambodia this summer. It's hard to believe I'm living on a ship again after 5 years. This ship is bigger, more crowded, and way hotter than the Peace Boat, but internet and phone calls to the US are free and the work we are doing is pretty cool, so I can't really complain. :) It was quite a trek to get here- San Diego-LA-Taipei-Saigon-Quy-Nhon-USNS Mercy. We had to take a speedboat out to meet the ship since it wasn't able to dock right at the port. I would post photos of the whole trip so far, but internet is so slow here that I would probably get back to the states before very many of them loaded. We left May 28th and we'll be returning to San Diego on July 4th. Photos to come!

We spent a day in Saigon, wandering the streets, visiting sites- most notable was the War Remnants Museum which was partially an open air museum. War makes me so sick. Really. Why does it keep having to happen over and over? Why are humans seemingly incapable of learning anything? Anyway, if you happen to go to Saigon, it's definitely worth a visit. It's only something like 75 cents for entry and the remnants and photographs they have are pretty cool.

As you may expect, everything here is super cheap- Rachel Ray could do a $4 a day show here. The food is GREAT. I could eat pho and spring rolls and rice paper dumplings filled with random meat and fish forever. The chili peppers here... are great, but watch out- they're HOT! I put one sliced chili in my pho thinking nothing of it, but had to take it out after a little while because the Scofield factor shot through the roof. Still, absolutely delicious, and with a shake made from fresh strawberries, watermelon or other delectable fruit, it can't be beat. After the first day we traveled to Quy Nhon to meet the ship, but the Navy hadn't cleared us access to board the ship yet, so we ended up staying at a beachside resort instead for the day/night. If you're ever in the area, the Seagull Hotel has sweet VIP service for $20 a night, right on the beach with a pool overlooking the beach! The food at the hotel isn't amazing, but the spa, icy AC, free internet and awesome views make up for it. :-) I got a 50 minute aromatherapy massage for $19. We originally had been told we'd be boarding the ship in Danang, but somehow the itinerary changed, and we ended up a few hours south of Danang. After a day of R&R we ended up taking a small speedboat out to meet the ship the next afternoon.

Our barracks are more spacious than the ones we had originally seen on the ship when we did a general tour, so we were happy about the extra space, although had we not seen the tighter quarters, we might have been less than grateful. Our bunks are stacked 3 beds high, and I hit my head on the ceiling and my locker door at least once a day. If my memory starts to fade, someone make a note of my head trauma from this trip please, yeah?

We started work the next day, and have been working through the med surg, peds, OR and PACU areas. The patients are trickling in, but things are getting busier as the people running the show become more fluent with all the systems. We are seeing a lot of cleft palates and cleft lip babies and adult burn victims. When I say burns, I am not talking about fires, but domestic abuse in the form of battery acid and hot oil burns. This type of abuse is not uncommon. I am at a loss as to how this type of thing happens, how people do these things to people close to them, how our minds work as humans and the awful things we are capable of given a certain set of circumstances.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Travels, travails

It's been a long time. I have traded this site and my art and cooking and love of life in for school and homework and days spent in the hospital with sick and dying people. Now I am on break, and today, I trade it in for a broken heart and broken dreams. So although I am back here today I don't bring to you any photos or dishes, just a song from Belle & Sebastian.

Ooh! Get me away from here I'm dying
Play me a song to set me free
Nobody writes them like they used to
So it may as well be me
Here on my own now after hours
Here on my own now on a bus
Think of it this way
You could either be successful or be us
With our winning smiles, and us
With our catchy tunes, and us
Now we're photogenic
You know, we don't stand a chance
Oh, I'll settle down with some old story
About a boy who's just like me
Thought there was love in everything and everyone
You're so naive!
After a while they always get it
They always reach a sorry end
Still it was worth it as I turned the pages solemnly, and then
With a winning smile, the boy
With naivety succeeds
At the final moment, I cried
I always cry at endings

Oh, that wasn't what I meant to say at all
From where I'm sitting, rain
Washing against the lonely tenement
Has set my mind to wander
Into the windows of my lovers
They never know unless I write
"This is no declaration, I just thought I'd let you know goodbye"
Said the hero in the story
"It is mightier than swords
I could kill you sure
But I could only make you cry with these words"

Oh, get me away, I'm dying...

Monday, August 24, 2009

Joshua Tree

This summer I took a road trip out to Joshua Tree National Park. My cousin, a writer, was chosen to write for the artists' community in Joshua Tree and spent a few months living just outside the park.

The drive out to Joshua Tree was beautiful and deserted...

The trees and other flora were starkly graceful

While there, my cousin also befriended some of the locals

Friday, June 12, 2009

Virgin of Vegas

Made my first trip to Vegas at the ripe young age of 29 for a friend's bachelorette party. Pretty fun weekend, involving champagne brunches, Cirque du Soleil, outlet malls, Studio 54 and a Valley of Fire.

I love the Wynn... thematically filled with butterflies and all things colorfully whimsical, it's just a happy place to be.

Not to mention the random water creatures!

Ah yeah, and there are casinos too. Voila!

We tried some of the fancy food, and located some chocolate fountains... I also created a yummy strawberry ice dessert with condensed milk, but was so busy eating that I don't have photos of it. Will have to wait for those!

Valley of Fire photos to come...

Monday, April 27, 2009

Ranunculus! - The Flower Fields at Carlsbad

Ventured down south a bit to The Flower Fields at Carlsbad. Open March through May, the fields are bursting with color. The fields are widely planted with Ranunculus flowers in an array of fruity colors. They also had special little gardens with some of my favorites, like foxglove and sweet peas.

Me laughing at the person taking my photo's bewilderment at the burst function on my camera.


~Sweet peas~