I HAVE ALWAYS CONSIDERED MYSELF TO BE THE LUCKY FEW. Financially sound doing a job that I am passionate for, surrounded with like-minded colleagues that are genuinely kind, and having the constant companionship of my loved ones. When I started medical school, never would I know that one of the perks of being a doctor is to have free oversea trips several times a year. If you could somehow combine your clinical research expertise and the thirst for free travel, the world is your oyster.
Lucky me. My research got me a poster presentation in one of the most priciest and yet beautiful countries in the world – Norway. The Nordic countries consists of natural wonders that I’ve only dreamed of because of its high cost of travel. Having full sponsorship gives me the opportunity to travel without worrying too much of going broke. This, and the fact that my best buddy Eric and my sister Connie is also coming along, my trip to Norway is what a grown child could ever wish for.
Team Dalin – Ready for the conference!
A Taiwanese souvenir for all delegates attending the Green Hospital pre-conference
My poster presentation
Explaining my research to our Czech colleagues who lost their poster on their flight, poor thing!
A traditional choir performing live during the conference
ANOTHER LUCKY THING IS THAT I HAVE A COUSIN BROTHER, JACKSON, WHO WORKS AS DOCTOR IN OSLO, NORWAY. We will be meeting him, his mother and her friends for a brilliantly planned trip. The problem with having someone doing all the planning is that our lazy selves would not need to study or know our itineraries. Even at the airport, me and Eric agreed that we are still not in the “tourist mentality”.
The travellers’ mood started once we’ve landed in Oslo. The Norwegian signboards left us running in circles filled with confusion. Then, my credit card and ATM cards cannot be used, and I was temporarily broke. The food prices are unbelievably high when converted back to Taiwanese Dollars. A Coke for the price of a full course meal at home? Damn, I am going to go bankrupt! The train tickets printed in Norwegian ain’t helping much with our gradual transition into this country,
Alas, we did manage to meet my aunt at our designated Burger King place (even without a mobile number or internet service), and went off to drop our bags at Jackson’s new apartment.
Me, Eric and my aunt Swan in front of my cousin brother’s apartment
This is where I rather be sleeping
LATER, WE LEARNED FROM JACKSON THAT OSLO’S BEST CHEAP EATS ARE FOUND IN ASIAN RESTAURANTS. Just a few hours after my first visit to Northern Europe, we are already taking our first dinner at Little Saigon 1, a popular Vietnamese restaurant in Oslo’s city centre. Walking back with our tummies filled, we were tricked by the midnight sun, still bright at 10PM.
While I tried to sleep with my eye mask on, I continued to remind myself how I lucky I am. It is weird to meet my relatives so far away from home, and to get to experience Jackson’s way of life in person. Other than the outrageous food costs, Norway is starting to warm up to me. There’s no way not to get cozy when you have 7 people sleeping in a one-bedroom apartment.
Vietnamese feast in Norway, how lucky am I?