UP UNTIL I STEPPED FOOT ON NEW YORK, I imagined a place where tall white buildings and tall white people towers above me. I was right for the first one, but not all people are white here, and they are certainly not tall (I am taller than a bunch of those Caucasians, yay!)
I’m not too surprised because they say that the States is a cultural melting pot, and I guess New York is where it is mixed most beautifully. I am pretty delighted to see such a variety of people, speaking different languages, having different skin color, and owning a different slang to English. Whatever weird English accent you have, as long as it is understandable, I have no doubts that you’ll fit in real well.
Today during the clinics that I shadowed, of all the doctors I worked with, I met with Lillian, whose parents are from Taiwan; I got to know the attending from Thai, Dr. TJ, who surprisingly speaks fluent Chinese; there’s this good teacher, Jennifer, who left Taiwan for the States when she was 12; I spoke Cantonese to a medical student from Hong Kong, Catherine; and was introduced to so many other Indians, Pinoys, Koreans, Hongkies that I cannot remember all their names. And please bear in mind, this is the list from today, there are loads more that I haven’t met. So, being yellow-skinned does not actually make you a minority here. In one of the clinics, there was a scene where I, Lillian and Catherine, three Chinese, walked into the exam room with Daniel, a Caucasian, seeing an Asian mom and child. You could easily walk by and thought that this is somewhere in Taiwan, and Daniel’s the one visiting from elsewhere.
(Starting from today, there is a ‘MEDICAL ALERT’ whenever I write about my medical studies that may eventually bore you, so you are free to skip this part if you consider yourself medically challenged)
*** MEDICAL ALERT ***
I had a great learning experience on my first day without jet lag. My morning was spent in the adolescent clinic, where teenagers come in for a well health visit, with concentrations on the sexual, psychosocial and dietary issues. Although we only had one patient in a one medical student (that’s me), four residents and two attendings’ team, I had the honor to go see the clinic in process and Lillian, the third year resident who I was shadowing, helped a great deal by explaining everything to me.
In the afternoon clinic, I was in Resident Group Practice, which is where the residents go see follow up clinics, which is mostly scheduled health checks. This practice is formed so that the residents can eventually have patients of their own once they finish the residency. All the young residents will see their patients during other clinics, and ask them to follow up at their RGP clinics. As a result, the residents will then build up a full spectrum of patients under their service. I think this is great because the patients get to have a doctor who knows them, giving them follow ups and the residents get to have a sizable client group as soon as they finish training.
*** END OF MEDICAL ALERT ***
WITH ASIA IN MIND, Flushing is known as the most varied area in the States, with the most nationalities living under one zip code. The place, according to my home stay aunt, was initially jam packed with Koreans, as you can see from the arrays of Korean signboards on Union Street and elsewhere in Flushing. Yet, the Chinese recently started expanding their territory here, and now a lot of other Asians are making this place their ultimate home. The subway trains either coming from Flushing or heading there, is filled with Asians. I normally look at a whitey on a Flushing bound train, pitying him for not being able to blend into the crowd. It’s a weird feeling – nostASIA (as in nostalgia, not funny?) But I can get used to it… I definitely can.