Hello again, I’ve returned. The past six weeks I was on my OB-GYN rotation. Highlights include delivering five babies (with the careful help and instruction of both senior residents and attendings). Let me tell you, I held them all very carefully and securely because those little boogers are incredibly slippery. Other than that, I can’t say I was a fan of that rotation, and since I don’t really want to write about it, I think I’ll write a little about moving back to L.A. for a good part of third year––the first six months to be exact, and the things I’ve enjoyed and discovered anew (I’m originally from the area) since being here. If you are just dying to come to L.A. to bask in the sunlight that is composed of movie stars, plastic surgery, and materialism, as well as poverty and violence, then let me tell you good folk, this is the blog entry for you.
Oh and…some of these pictures were taken by yours truly, and some weren’t. Just to keep you on your feet and all.
1) White Memorial Medical Center
If you’re a third or fourth year medical student at Loma Linda, you can actually do about half of your required rotation at this lovely hospital here in East L.A., specifically, Boyle Heights. Most of the patient population is indigent, and about a third speaks little or no English, so be prepared to work on your Spanish. Now, my Spanish is passable, but there is one problem. I spend a few minutes on my computer to figure out how to perfectly say a set of phrases, perhaps regarding characteristics of chest pain or something, and then I proudly walk into patient’s room, head held high, as if I have some semblance of an idea of what I’m doing, and chatter them off to the patient. And what do you know––this understandably gives the impression that I speak fluent Spanish, and of course then they ramble back to me all about the health issues and problems they’ve had for the last 28 years, give or take. At this point, I have to admit to them I’ve cheated. I’ve cheated on this week’s Spanish practical––I’ve looked this all up online. My Spanish isn’t quite that good (yet), and I realize I need to hold on to my American accent as best as possible and speak like I really don’t know how to say these things, which is, of course, very close to the truth. Then in return they slow down and speak more simply, and all is good.
I’ve been here for the majority of third year and overall would quickly recommend it to any of my fellow students. One of the things I’ve also noticed is that due to everyone’s changing schedules, you’re forced to make friends fast if you want a buddy to talk to and to make you feel like a normal human being with a social life. At times, doctors and residents are a little too busy for this, or perhaps crossing into personal territory is a little out-of-bounds for a student. As a result, I’ve come to know the chefs and workers in the cafeteria on a first-name basis, and the random students from all across America with whom I’ve come into contact also quickly find themselves as my friends––whether they feel the same or not…
Here’s a little glimpse of the hospital.
2) Little Tokyo/Ethiopia/Armenia/K-town/Chinatown/whatever
L.A. is known for all those fancy things that the media portrays, and truly, that’s not that far off. Do you want me to show you some pictures of plastic wealthy people in fancy cars? No. No, you do not, and I am glad. Some of the lesser known gems of L.A. include the different cultural districts. Right now I’m two Metro stops away from Little Tokyo––a funky area full of sushi and sea creatures I didn’t know were edible, expensive Japanese stationary, and some of the best boba tea around. Oh, and there is also a Korean district, Ethiopian district (vegetarian Ethiopian food = amazingly tasty blend of Moroccan and Indian, with a milder touch), Thai district, Armenian district (well, technically, but it’s a bit of a deserted ghetto––I wouldn’t recommend going there to sightsee), and Olvera Street (Mariachi bands galore, lots of little trinkets, decent Mexican food). If you’ve chosen to spend some prolonged amount of time in Los Angeles, Google one of these districts and go eat and walk around somewhere fun and prove to your friends just how wonderfully cultured you are.
Ethiopian food. I don’t know what half of the food is on this platter but I can guarantee you it is DELECTABLE!
Bibimbap; my favorite Korean dish.
3) On your feet stuff.
Unfortunately, a lot of people come to L.A. with the exact same itineraries, causing for huge touristy congestion in just a few main areas. If you want to spend time in L.A. or in the L.A. area, I would steer people towards towards the following rather than to the Hollywood Walk of Fame or Santa Monica:
Topanga Canyon State Park
Part of the small mountain range between L.A. and the San Fernando Valley; there are amazing views of L.A., the Pacific Ocean, and the Valley as well. There are several hikes in this park, so just use Google once again to figure out which one is right for you. If you go on a clear day; say, late fall/winter/spring, you can often see snow on the mountain ranges just east of L.A.. Plus, you get to see deer and fun wildlife creatures instead of droves of other tourists; how can you argue with that?
View of the Pacific from one of the hikes
I guess the general consensus is that you’re either a museum person or you’re not. If you’re not, you’re missing out. L.A. has a massive variety of museums for every type of person––but I’m guessing if you’re reading this blog, either you or someone you dearly love is into science. Oddly enough the science museums are never too crowded, they often have competitive student prices, and they make you feel very young again (which probably has to do with the fact that 90% of people in attendance are under the age of 12). Me personally, I would recommend the Natural History Museum of L.A. (your basic dinosaurs/wild animal museum), the La Brea Tar Pits Page Museum (active and inactive tar pits with ongoing excavation of Pleistocene mammals), or the Norton Simon Museum (half anthropology/half art/100% very classy and more grown-up-esque). Of course, there is also the Getty (admission is FREE!), the Getty Villa (Greek/Roman archeology), a huge variety of art museums (Museum of Contempory Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Japanese American National Museum, Hollywood Wax Museum). Seriously, you non-museum people, you’ve got to enjoy at least one of those.
Yours truly a few years ago, volunteering at the La Brea museum, cleaning…the femur from a sabre-toothed cat.
For extra credit, visit Leo Carillo State Park, Dana Point Harbor, or Frazier Park for some hiking trails.
Don’t worry my friends, I’m still doing well in school, in between running around visiting here and there and getting the most out of third year, academically and activity-ly.
An unadulterated view from my apartment at White.