“Sometimes you walk through an invisible curtain that divides one atmosphere from another. It is a gentle thing, but within the gentleness is something that could completely rearrange you. Your whole being might turn into dots and become part of the air.”—Invisible River by Helena McEwen
Today: I kind of insisted when I found out that my dad had to go to a nearby city (nearby = 1.5 hours away) that has a Barnes & Noble that I go with him because I’ve been craving being in a bookstore for a good 3 weeks now. As much as I love my library, there’s just something about buying a book and knowing it’s yours and you have as much time to read it as you like without worrying about overdue notifications and all of that. I just needed that, it’s been ages since I bought something to read other than the Fables comics (and let’s face it, comics hardly count as reading).
So a plan was made that my dad would drive my mum and I out to the Barnes & Noble and drop us off there for an hour or two while he did what he had to do. Meanwhile, I got to spend over an hour browsing through the bookshelves, looking up reviews of random books on Goodreads with my phone, drinking a mocha and just soaking up the bookstore feel. I really, really love bookstores. If I lived in a city with a bookstore, that would be my dream job. Even just putting them on the shelves would satisfy me, I love bookstores that much.
Battle Royale by Koushun Takami
I read this book last summer and it was amazing. It’s certainly not everyone’s cup of tea. In this alternate universe, Japan is part of the totalitarian Republic of Greater East Asia and an enemy of the US. Every year, a high school class is picked to take part in the Program, in which the students must fight until one student is left alive. It sounds like an excuse to just have a bunch of teenagers fight each other, and the Japanese film, brilliant as it is, does go down that route a bit, but the book itself is so much more. You can’t fill 576 pages with a simple bloodbath, there clearly has to be more to make as much of an impact as this book has. What I’m really interested in is the interview with the author at the end. I’m definitely going to read it again because this book is just…so good.
Sleepless by Charlie Huston
I’ve never heard of this author or book before, but it looks interesting enough. From what I’ve gathered from the back of the book, a plague of insomnia is taking over the world and a cop is working to cut off the illegal trade of the only drug that can let the infected sleep. His wife gets infected & the cop is now fighting to save his wife and daughter. I’m a big fan of books involving some sort of plague taking over the world and having to fight against it, so this should be a good read.
The Tudors by John Guy
This little book is very interesting to me. It’s part of a series called “A Brief Insight” in which a little bit of everything about a topic is covered in a book that’s roughly 150 pages. Other books that were on the shelf included The American Presidency, Atheism, Classics, Gandhi, History, Kafka, Paul, Statistics, and The Void, among many others. It just seemed like such an interesting idea and I’ve always been interested in The Tudors since I read the book Mary, Bloody Mary by Carolyn Meyer when I was 11 or 12. I plan on putting this in my purse and reading it little by little whenever I have some free time because it’s definitely written more history-book style than novel-style, so I won’t be curling up with it anytime soon.
Keep Calm & Carry On journal
I started seeing this Keep Calm and Carry On merch everywhere and eventually decided to find out what it was all referring to and was pretty impressed that it actually had a history - and an interesting one, at that. I was on the lookout for a new journal to throw in my purse anyway, so when I saw this one on the shelf in the stationary/journals section of Barnes & Noble, I figured it was okay for me to buy it since I actually know what it refers to.
I honestly didn’t intend to get anything from Target. We were only going there because my mum needed to pick up a lipgloss and nail polish for this game she plays with a bunch of other women on Friday nights - they all buy prizes for the games under $15 and this week’s prizes were lipgloss and nail polish.
However, I have been needing a new coat for quite awhile now. My old one just isn’t flattering on me anymore, which is understandable since it’s at least 4 years old and my body just isn’t the same as it was when I was 16. I’d been really wanting a slouchy but cute kind of coat, one that would be warm, but not too warm that it wouldn’t work on those cool-but-not-cold kind of days, and casual, but not too grungy looking.
I found this. :)
They had it in green as well, but blue definitely looks better on me so I ended up going with the blue. I got mine a size up so it’s a little baggy on me if I just wear a t-shirt, but I won’t be wearing just a t-shirt until around July since it’s western Washington and there’s just no thing as warm weather here, so it’s a good fit for me when I wear sweaters or cardigans with it. It was pretty pricy at $40. Even though it’s a coat, I still expect Target to be closer to $25-$30 with their coats since it’s not amazing quality, but I can see this lasting me a few years so I guess it’s not too bad.
However, to make up for the pricy coat, I found a Sonia Kashuk eye shadow palette on clearance for $4.84.
It’s such a pretty palette, I can’t wait to make use of that gorgeous honey color, and it was so cheap that I couldn’t pass it up. And while picking up the palette, I spied this nail polish…
I just can’t resist taupe. Is that a bad thing? :(
Yesterday’s classes were canceled, resulting in my presentation that I was going to do yesterday on Fibromyalgia being rescheduled for next week. Today’s classes are canceled, meaning I have a whole week to do the lab & pre-lab for today (if they aren’t canceled altogether by my teacher).
The only downside is a lot of things will have to be shuffled around in my statistics class since we’ve missed 2 classes now, and for all my other two classes, especially the nursing assistant one which we’re supposed to have a certain amount of hours completed in order to be certified. Hopefully we can miss one class without any big problems.
Park Chan Wook is a genius. I feel like I should just put that out there, before I go into an actual “review.” I’m a huge fan of Oldboy, Thirst, & Lady Vengeance, and when I saw the copy of Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance in my library, I grabbed it immediately because it was the only film of the Vengeance trilogy that I hadn’t seen yet.
For those unfamiliar, the “Vengeance trilogy” are three films written and directed by Park Chan Wook which aren’t related to each other story-wise, but all have a theme of vengeance running through them as the main motivation of the main characters of each film. Oldboy is probably the most famous of the trilogy, it’s an amazing film. The cinematography, the acting, the plot - it’s just one of those films in which everything came together perfectly. The famous fight scene in the hallway remains one of my favorite scenes in any film because it was so interesting and well-done.
There are two actors in this film that were both in my last movie review, The Host. The father in The Host, played by Song Kang Ho, plays a father again in Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, although in this film he’s a successful businessman. The fantastically beautiful Bae Doona who played the archer sister in The Host plays Yeong Mi, an anarchist who is dating Ryu, the man who is essentially the main character of this film.
So basic plot: Ryu’s sister needs a kidney transplant, but it’s taking a very long time to find a donor. Ryu cannot donate a kidney himself because he’s blood type B and she’s blood type A. He is also deaf and dumb, which makes it considerably tougher to get by than if he could hear and speak, but he manages. He decides to try to get a kidney for his sister through the black market by making a deal that he’ll “donate” his kidney and in return will receive one for his sister. He pays 10 million won (roughly $9000) for the procedure and wakes up to find his kidney removed and the area deserted. Within a few days, the hospital tells him that they have found a matching kidney for his sister, but now he’s emptied his bank account for the kidney thieves and can’t afford the operation. Ryu and his girlfriend, Yeong Mi, come up with a plan to kidnap the daughter of Ryu’s ex-boss to get the money they need for the surgery. Multiple things accidentally end in tragedy, leading Ryu and Park (the ex-boss) to both seek vengeance.
Of course it’s a dark story, but it honestly didn’t draw me in as much as Oldboy and Lady Vengeance did. Of the three films, I feel that Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance was the weakest. However, all three films are easily in my top 20 films of all time, so it’s still very high compared to most films. Its story isn’t as complex as the other two films. It’s quite linear and once you have an understanding of who’s who, it’s a very easy to follow movie with no surprises or revelations. However, the camera angles, acting, the cinematography, the way the film is executed, are all the film’s strengths. If the same story had been directed by anyone other than Park Chan Wook, it would have been a decent film with a sad story, but the unique touch that Park Chan Wook gives his films made me love it despite its shortcomings. It’s a very sad film, I found it even more depressing than Oldboy and Lady Vengeance somehow, so I do recommend, if anyone plans on seeing it, preparing yourself for some very sad moments.
Between Libya and the earthquake in New Zealand, I feel so completely overwhelmed with helplessness. I’m so blessed to live the way I do, I get so stressed over things that, in the end, won’t really matter. I wish I could help, but then I think, “Have you really tried?”
You know, sometimes I just think about Sun and Jin’s deaths and I just feel really sad. They were honestly the best couple on Lost, and for them to die the way they did…it just breaks my heart. :( They deserved so much better, they deserved so much more time…Jin never got to meet Ji Yeon :( I’ve been putting off watching this episode again because it makes me so sad that this was the way these two had to go.
I hesitate to be like, “Woohoo, I’m doin’ it again!” but…well, I am. I started C25K again today and I’m planning on keeping it up this time simply because it’s starting to get warmer and my lack of a treadmill isn’t a good enough excuse anymore (though I would like one some day…).
I started on C25K W2D2 today because it just seemed right. I’m out of shape, sure, but I’m not that out of shape. Starting out at week 1 just seemed too easy, so I decided to push myself a bit and I’m glad I did. I didn’t walk when I was supposed to run, and I didn’t stop moving at all the whole time. I see those as good signs! The fourth run was probably the toughest. I was so tempted to give up on the fourth one. But I pushed through it and the fifth and sixth runs were much easier. I’ll either go for another run tomorrow or Wednesday. Tuesday there’s simply no time. I have clinical till 2:30 and then I’ll have to make a dinner, finish any homework I left to the last second, and head out to class again at quarter past 5. Trying to squeeze a 30 minute run will just stress me out and it’s just not worth it. I really like doing these in the mornings when I have plenty of time and I can just relax and enjoy it.
Today was our last Saturday lab for my Nursing Assistant class which was a little bittersweet because as annoying as it is to go to school on a Saturday, I feel like the labs were the only times I really felt like I was getting to know my classmates in that class. Our regular classes on Wednesday nights are only for lecture, so the only time we really talk is before our teacher starts the lecture, and on our clinical days, we’re all working with our own aides so we don’t have time to talk to each other much.
However, today was absolutely gorgeous out despite it being freezing cold, so I was a little peeved at having to be in the lab room (which has no windows) from 1 to 4. By the time I got home, the sun was already starting to go down and I felt like I’d missed most of the day. Hopefully tomorrow is just as gorgeous, though, I’m hoping to go for a run before I tackle the psychology homework and test that are due tomorrow night. :)
I decided to change my tumblr name from lulushen (my dog’s name) to stephunee (kind of my name). Unfortunately Steph/Stephanie is a fairly common name so I never get just “Steph” as a username because it’s always taken, but every time I saw “lulushen.tumblr.com” I felt a little weird because…well, it’s my dog’s name. :/ So it’s now stephunee.tumblr.com since it’s the closest thing I can get to my name. If anyone has any suggestions on Steph-related names that aren’t already taken, though, feel free. I’m not exactly attached to stephunee yet.
Yesterday was my second clinical at the nursing home. I was assigned to the Special Care Unit which was basically Alzheimer’s and dementia patients. Based on our nurse’s “warnings” about the Unit, I was pretty intimidated, but it turned out to be even easier than working one of the “regular” units. There were only two troublesome residents, but the rest were very sweet and lovely, I felt much more comfortable working with them than I did with the other residents.
I also got to do a lot more actual work this week. My aide was a gorgeous Haitian woman who didn’t want to babysit me, which I was really happy about. She just told me who needed what and expected me to do it. If I had questions, she was really good about answering them, but in general she didn’t want me to just observe. I even showered a woman 100% alone which was a little intimidating but not too scary once I got started because she did make sure to give me an easy resident who really enjoyed her showers (and judging from the resident last week who screamed bloody murder when she got her shower, I can only imagine how a dementia patient would react to an unwanted shower).
There was a resident who only spoke Tagolog and I felt really bad that I didn’t remember any Tagolog that I’d picked up through middle school and high school. Our area has a lot of Filipinos so it would have been odd not to have a Filipino resident, but usually they speak English as well. However, who knows? That woman may have known English at one time but by now her dementia may have her speaking only Tagolog now. She fought a lot and kept trying to slap my aide, she was the only resident who actively fought back when we tried to give her care, but I felt a lot of sympathy for her. How helpless would you feel if you were surrounded by people who don’t understand the language you’re speaking, you’re almost literally losing your mind, and someone’s trying to take off your clothes to change your underwear. It’s these moments that make me really nervous about the idea of working at a nursing home for a year, even though that’s probably my only option for now since I’m almost guaranteed not to get into the nursing program here in time for fall quarter.
My grades are more than good enough if we had competitive entry, but my school is one of the few that still goes by a first-come, first-serve waiting list instead of competitive entry, so the fact that my last pre-reqs will be completed in the summer is most likely going to keep me from entering in Fall 2011. I could go to the campus which is an hour and a half drive from where I live which has a Spring 2012 entry, but then I’d have to commute to that campus for the next 2 years. Most likely I’ll get a job at one of the many nursing homes on the island and wait until the Fall 2012 entry at the campus of my college that I’m currently attending. It’s a 5-10 minute drive (depending on whether you hit the lights on the way), and that alone is enough to convince me. If I did decide to go to the other campus, I’d have to get a car because my mum and dad still have to be able to get around and I can’t use one of their’s 5 days a week all day, and the gas alone would cost a fortune.
Part of me really wants to use that year to do something really interesting and different. I keep feeling tempted to try to get an English teacher position in Japan for a year, my aunt did it in the ‘90’s, and I’m currently following a vlogger on YouTube who’s also doing it, but I don’t think that the timing would work out since I’ll be finishing my summer classes in August 2011 and starting the nursing program in September of 2012, it’s just cutting it too close to try to go over there for a year. It’s too bad, I don’t know any other time in my life that I could really do something like that and get paid for it. Maybe I’ll do it for a year after I graduate the nursing program before starting to work as a nurse.
One of the most disappointing things in the world is finding a book you think you’re going to love and realizing you’re not very into it 75 pages in. What really annoys me is that the sequel to this book is what really drew me, but when I realized it was a sequel, I obviously put it down and ordered the first book from the library. The first book is really not grabbing me, but I’m still tempted to read that second book…
So this morning was clinical orientation at the care facility I’ll be training at for the next 4-5 weeks (have to double-check my schedule again to see if it’s 4 or 5), and honestly, it’s made me more nervous than I was before.
The orientation itself wasn’t particularly nerve-wracking, but I just worry that I’m going to mess up or make a big mistake. In our group, more than half of the students already work at that particular care facility, and of the 4 of us who don’t work there, one of them has been working at a nursing home for two years now. I feel a little intimidated by all of these people with all of their experience. It’s pretty clear that the ones who already work there are completely comfortable and know all the staff and the residents. I’m just glad that the woman who works at a nursing home seems to be really nice, she’s a Filipino lady who could probably be old enough to be my mum, maybe a bit younger, and she’s been helping me and the only other person in our group who’s my age which is really nice of her.
The nurse who’s in charge of us while we’re there (our teacher works while we do clinical so she had to have another nurse be responsible for us while we’re there) was really nice too. She went out of her way to talk to me and tell me to come to her if there was anything that I needed - particularly she was referring to my lack of experience. She told me about a girl that she knew when she was getting her CNA who was 18 and fresh out of high school getting her CNA, and when a resident died at the care facility, the girl took it pretty hard. She (the nurse) wanted me to know that if anything like that happened while I was there, she was there to talk to. It was really nice of her and there was no reason for her to go out of her way like that, so I felt really good about it.
If anything, I’m glad to know that at least the nurse who’s overseeing our clinical is really nice to talk to, I feel like she really means it when she tells us to come talk to her for anything, not that she’s just throwing it out there without really intending to listen if she’s asked to.
Either tomorrow in class or next Tuesday at clinical we’ll be assigned aides. I’m really hoping not to get someone who’s really apathetic about helping a student, I always seem to have bad luck with getting assigned to someone who would rather just rush through a job, so I really hope that’s not the case here because with something like this, the consequences for not knowing what I’m doing are a lot more serious than simply getting a bad grade on an assignment. Part of me is sure that they take into account people who have the patience to help train a nursing assistant student, but at the same time, there always seems to be that one person who just can’t be bothered to do the job right, and they always seem to be paired with me.
However, positive thoughts. I’m really hoping I’ll get someone nice who’s willing to help me out and make sure I know what I’m doing and teach me when I do something wrong. We’ll see how this goes. Even though orientation’s over, I still feel butterflies in my stomach thinking about it!
Orientation at the care facility tomorrow morning. My very first ever experience towards working as a nurse. This is training me to be a nursing assistant and I’m super, ridiculously nervous. It doesn’t help that on top of being nervous about the simple fact that it’s scary, but we can’t have cell phones at the care facility so I’ll have no way to contact my dad to pick me up if we happen to get out early. Makes me really wish that 1) I could drive and 2) I had a car to drive so I wouldn’t have to worry about this stuff. Poopie.