Golfing in the USA

One aspect of living in Guizhou is returning to the USA periodically for a “fix” of American culture.  I have returned to the USA for three months to get cataract surgery, physical thearapy for my back and to golf.  I am happy to report that the first eye is done and in “perfect” condition; the back is healthy again; and I am playing golf at a fraction of the cost of a China round of golf.  Eighteen holes in the USA is between 25 and 40 dollars. China, Guiyang,  costs about 200 USD.

Below are a few photos of the course I played at in Northern Michigan, just outside of my home town, Traverse City. My old friend Gerry, who came to  visit me in China a few years ago played golf with me in Guiyang. He brought his Grandson Nick, and a foreign friend from the Neatherlands (Koss). The four of us played 18. A fine time was had by all.

 

Bloody Pigs

I am not going to post a video of butchering pigs. Yesterday I had an experience that will always stick out in my memory. I was at a friend’s house for dinner and the matriarch of the household, very old (older than me), was watching a video on her cell phone. She was laughing hysterically. This is Ms. Wang’s mother for those of you who know the Wang family. They are charming people.  I have often come to dinner for authentic Guizhou food, very good food.

So I happened to call Ms. Wang about suppertime and she immediately invited me to dinner with her family.  I was quite hungry and I was nearby the Zhongtian Gardens, where Ms. Wang’s mother lives. I was quite hungry and dinner was about ready. Ms. Want’s mother was looking at her cell phone and laughing, a lot.  She brought the phone over to show me and it was a frantic pig, a bloody pig, bleeding from a cut throat and running all over the room. I was somewhat horrified. I kind of agree with this PETA group that wants us to be kind to animals. So I was laughing too, but not at the hurt pigs, at the elderly lady who was enjoying the video so much.  She kept pushing the video in front of me to watch more. I did.

I was very hungry when I showed up for dinner, and I recovered from the trauma enough to have a fine Guizhou dinner, but it really showed me the culture difference.  Perhaps every older Chinese who lived on a farm once has seen the pig butchered. They have also seen their share of screw ups. I like to watch the dog videos where dogs tip the canoe over or push somebody into the swimming pool etc. Funny. Well this was a compilation of pig slaughters gone bad. The common them was they had the pig indoors ready to butcher, and they cut the pig’s throat. Somehow the cut wasn’t clean and  the pig got away. So this was a compilation of pig slaughters gone bad and people were getting knocked all over the room, covered in pig blood.  Trying to catch and kill an angry bloody pig isn’t so easy.

It usually took several men to catch the pig. A bloody pig seems about the same as a greased pig. After catching it they had to cut his throat and with the pig struggling, it took several slashes and stabs. The bloody pigs were eventually caught and killed but every video had all the people in the room covered in blood, room full of blood, and an angry pig. If you are accustomed to seeing pig blood because you have slaughtered pigs before, the video seems quite funny. My laughter was very nervous because that the old lady was having so much fun watching it. Also, I was on the verge of spoiling my dinner. I just mark it down to a cultural difference, but I won’t soon forget it. Funny.

 

Hot Night at the Obsession

(Click for full size photo)

It was a cool, late November evening and the usual suspects were gathered at the new Obsession Jazz Music Restaurant and Bar. Things were warming up quite nicely when the Guiyang Orchestra finished their jazz concert. Apparently some of the musicians weren’t done playing because they came to the Obsession. Then the night really got hot. . . .

A Hot Night at the Obsession (Youtube)

A Hot Night at the Obsession (Youku)

(Youtube is best outside China and Youku is best in China)

By the way, I was working with a cell phone — Huawei 10 Plus, which is quite a good little unit for sound and video. Unfortunately there were a few operator errors. You might catch the hand in front of the camera. Also, I accidentally chopped a guy’s head off (sorry about that). Maybe the most annoying problem was with the guy beside me that kept pounding on the table. His table was next to mine and was actually touching. You can see him kind of keeping beat by the disruptions in the video . . . oh well. Finally, the oversized music stands are good for hiding behind if you are a shy musician, but they are murder if you are watching the show or trying to film it. In fact, there are a lot of problems with this video, except the music.

 

Halloween 2018 in Guiyang

Guiyang Expat Pallvi during a Halloween Party.

The Halloween tradition is very old in Guiyang. No one really knows how it was first celebrated, but it did come with a wave of a trend to follow west..

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Syed Saalim Hashmi and Pallvi during Halloween 2018

Some people say Halloween is a Welsh, or Celtic tradition, while others say its roots are Christian, but for today’s generation it doesn’t really matter anymore. We just like to get dressed up like fools, go to parties, and eat lots of candy!

Pallvi. finally showed up at my door. She was strikingly beautiful. She was dressed as a fairy princess and was glowing in her black gown. “You look amazing,” I told her. She just laughed and said, “I know,” and tapped me with her wand.

Momo : one of our youngest and cutest Guiyang Expat celebrating Halloween.

 

Wedding of a Dermatologist with a Gynaecologist in Guiyang. Why Doctors only marry Doctors

Syed Saalim Hashmi and Nargis with renowned Dermatologist from Guizhou People’s hospital Dr. Jeremiah and Dr. Lu Joao, a senior IVF expert from Department of Obs & Gynae during their wedding reception. 

Fifty years ago, it was very uncommon to find doctors married to other doctors. Why? To answer that question, we need to explore the sociology of the time. Fewer women went to college, which meant fewer female doctors. Many couples married early, right out of high school or right after college. If the wife had career aspirations herself, these were often put aside in order to help her husband get through medical school.

 

Today, men and women often delay marriage until their late twenties or early thirties for a variety of reasons. For many, they want to achieve career success before adding the demands of family. Others simply don’t feel ready to settle down at 22 years old, the way their parents did.

Given the rigor and all-consuming nature of medical school and residency, this is particularly true for doctors. As many more young doctors enter the final stages of their training still single, there is more opportunity to find the perfect mate among their colleagues.

When doctors marry doctors

The epitome of office romance, flirtation between young residents or between nurses and doctors may seem like something straight out of an ER or Greys Anatomy script. But who would better understand the stress young residents face than another resident (or nurse)?

Think about who you spend most of your time with and the social circles you find yourself in. Likely, you are mostly surrounded by other doctors and health professionals by necessity; there is not much time for outside pursuits, right? When young doctors spend 60 to 80 hours per week at the hospital, and the rest of their free time studying, the bonds that form among fellow residents and hospital staff become very important.

 

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, around 47 percent of medical school graduates in the United States are female, and in some states, that percentage creeps even closer to 50 percent. It is very likely for doctors to be attracted to and pursue a relationship with someone they spend a lot of time with. AMA Insurance reports in the 2014 Work/Life Profiles of Today’s U.S. Physician that 40 percent of doctors marry other doctors or health care professionals.

The benefits

There are several obvious benefits to the formation of romantic attachments between doctors and their peers or colleagues. Probably the most obvious is that another doctor or health professional knows what you are going through. They understand the stress, the guilt, the sleep deprivation, the grief, the fear. They also understand the passion for healing and the desire to care for others, and that the duty and responsibility often comes before self or the relationship.

While this is not to say that someone outside the health profession can’t be supportive (remember, over 50 percent of doctors also marry outside the field, with often successful results), it can be very affirming to know you can cut loose without fear of being misunderstood.

Communication between health professionals is often easier. The medical shorthand and complex jargon is sometimes difficult for people outside the health fields to understand. Since doctors live and breathe medicine 16 hours/day, it can be difficult to turn that off when you come home and frustrating to constantly explain terminology.

On the other side of the examination table, it may also be difficult for a doctor or health professional to relate to career challenges and office politics a spouse may face in non-health-related careers, which can be frustrating for the spouse. For this reason, shared experiences, common language, and similar priorities of couples who both practice in the medical profession can be beneficial in developing strong marriages.

The challenges

While there are many benefits to choosing a partner from within the healthcare profession, there are certainly challenges. The practice of medicine tends to attract certain strong personality types. Medical schools train doctors to be decision makers, often in life-or-death situations. It’s very difficult to turn off that intellectual authoritarian persona when you arrive home. If you are also married to a doctor, then inevitable clash of who gets to be the decision maker could be epic. While marrying another doctor may benefit you in terms of easier communication and shared experience, you may both need to work hard to cultivate a different set of skills at home: compromise and humility.

But what if your spouse or partner is not a doctor but another member of the health care profession (nurse, physical therapist, administrator, etc.)? Doctors and nurses (and other health care professionals) may share common experiences and communicate on a similar level, but they view their roles and contributions through different lenses. Neither is right or wrong, just different. Being able to view the world through your partner’s lens may not only help you be a better spouse, but may also give you insights that will help you be a better doctor. While extremely worthwhile, this task isn’t easy.

Other challenges that may face couples in the health care professions revolve around work-life balance. This is true for many people in demanding careers, but few careers are as all-consuming as health care. It’s not only the work hours, but health care providers pour so much of themselves into their work — their passion, their devotion, even their emotions — that there is often little left at the end of the day for outside pursuits and for putting effort into relationships. If both partners are consumed in this way, it makes relationships all the more challenging.

Exacerbating the emotional challenges are the logistical ones: competing work schedules, reliable child care, etc. Some couples even find it difficult to schedule time off or vacation time together, especially if they work in the same hospital.

A growing trend

Statistics seem to indicate that the trend of doctors choosing lifemates from within the medical community will continue to grow. Like any relationship, these marriages can be happy and fulfilling with a little work and effort. These marriages don’t require more effort than the typical marriage, but doctors typically have much less left to give at the end of the day. To make marriages between health professionals work, understanding the challenges you will face and developing coping mechanisms early in your relationship will be helpful

 

Fatima Khan’s book ‘A December Evening’ captures everyone’s heart in China.

Whether you talk about Coffee Reading Salons or English Libraries, Dr. Fatima Khan’s collection of short stories ‘A December Evening’ has spilled a frenzy everywhere.

A December Evening is indeed an epitome of tamed brilliance and creativity.  All the short stories are exquisite. The book is like a warm beautifully woven blanket, you don’t feel like coming out once you slip in.

Fatima packs in quite a cerebral punch in her book.

Dr. Fatima Khan was born and brought up in the United Arab Emirates and spent most of her time there. She graduated from Medical School in 2016, travelling regularly to UAE to meet her family while studying in India between 2009 and 2016.
Writing has been her passion for as long as she remembers. She started writing seriously to get marks at school. Post-school she writes to share her experiences, experiences of others she came across and thoughts that romanticise every day conversations.
Her first book of poems, Feelings Take Flight, was published in May 2014. Her first collection of short stories A December Evening, was published in March 2015.
In 2016, she got married and headed to San Diego, California, USA to begin a new chapter in the story of her life. She is currently pursuing her US Medical License motivating herself cooking sumptuous recipes and can be found brainstorming business ideas &/or indulging in new hobbies in her free time.