Final Thoughts: North American Elective + Travel Experience

With 2 hours to go before my flight back to Singapore, I thought I’d reflect on what’s been going down in the past 10 weeks I’ve been here.

Well, technically, it’s a flight to Detroit to catch another flight to Tokyo before the actual flight to Singapore… but you know what I mean.

It’s been great. I’ve had the opportunity to meet some new friends in London, ON such as Boner Lombardi (who commented on a previous post on Gun Control). The electives were ones that I actually liked a lot and felt that I was contributing to patient care. The attendings and residents are hilarious in the observational humour much less commonly seen in the straitlaced city of Singapore. The city of London has a very different feel. The drivers are more considerate, the roads less well-maintained, skyscrapers are uncommon and the night sky is often very visible. Very nice.

I had the opportunity to meet some relatives I’d never met before in my life in areas close to Chicago and Boston.

Went with one aunt once removed’s husband to watch the exciting Chicago Cubs vs Atlanta Braves game where Lou Piniella was ejected. The fans reacted by throwing rubbish (mostly cups) onto the field which were cleared away by the home clean-up crew. The fans kept the home run ball hit by Alfonso Soriano, a Cubs player, and threw back the one hit by a Braves Player. (not yet substantiated fact: Wrigley field is supposedly the only field it happens).

We spent many hours on the road. Over all, we easily traveled over 6000km, at least 1/3rd of which was driven by me on the right (instead of left) of the road. Tim Horton’s has imprinted itself indelibly in my consciousness, both due to its popularity in London, ON and its frequency on the highways in Ontario.

Does that mean we (Singaporeans/Malaysians) drive on the wrong (opposite of right) side of the road? Hmm.

We saw big cities, small cities, Quebec City, New York City. Small industrial towns. Huge icons like the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty, the Indy 500 racetrack. A coffee drinker like myself saw Peets’ Coffee in Boston (without having to go to Seattle). Saw various universities that I, relatives or friends applied to / attended such as University of Boston, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Purdue University, UIC, Northwestern.

It’s been an overwhelming experience for someone who’s never been to North America before. I thank everyone who’s made it possible, and thank more everyone who’s made it enjoyable.

It’s back to Singapore for me.

J.

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