Given the academic rigour and critical thinking required of Masters level degrees and being in such a time-intensive course, I would say we are off at breakneck speed towards the realm of Public Health. I’m halfway through the course already (that’s insane!), and needless to say, little breathers are always welcome. The sun’s out, and I’m in class…sounds a little horrifying to me (on second thought…never mind, the sun is barely out in Londontown anyways. #cheekyplug). In a city like London that is such a cultural and historical feast to the eyes, and constantly lures my gastronomically crazed tastebuds, it is cruel to be indoors the entire time. Yes, that is my opinion, come rain or shine. So when I’m not feeding my soul with academically stimulating problems on global health, you’ll find me walking down the streets besides our campus at St. Mary’s Hospital in beautiful Paddington and surrounding areas looking for the Paddington Bear (umm..I mean, looking for the next go-to cafe for my stay-awake-in-class mocha fix, of course). How else would I have stumbled over the cute, little Malaysian restaurants that are my home away from home when my Singaporean classmates and I are craving some mee goreng and teh tarik? Or that the bars at Paddington Basin, with its cobblestoned paths and sparkling waters, are a great location for unwinding at the end of a long week with a sundown cocktail?
But seriously though, feed your soul with as much that London has to offer. There is always enough time to explore the city, regardless of how demanding your schedule may be. I don’t mean that you can literally turn back time a la Hermione in the Harry Potter series, but if you really want to get rid of those procrastination blues and find time to go exploring the city, watch how you breeze through all those piles of reading without having to double back to make sense of what you just read. Make the most of this gorgeous city, one new place at a time. Nothing beats the happiness of losing your way down an unfamiliar street, and walking smack into a sustainable-straight-from-the-farm organic market set in an ancient industrial setting off the busy main road, sending your mind into overdrive marvelling at the history, economics and management behind it. Or in my case – stumbling across the Broad Street Pump where the epidemiologist John Snow discovered the source of the cholera in London hundreds of years ago, laying down the foundations of new thought in tackling disease, because I just happened to be feasting on Thai food at a nearby restaurant in SoHo. See, its not just all play…I apply work to real life (anyone for the hands-on learning approach and real-time, real-world inspiration in academia?) 😉 How can you tackle global health issues that transcend national boundaries if you aren’t immersed in an inter-disciplinary melting pot of knowledge?
So, what new places did you discover this week? A classmate and I, after a touristy walk on the Tower of London, discovered one of the best family-owned chocolatiers and chocolate bars in London at the historical Borough Market one fine weekend. Never mind that it was frosty cold on the bridge. Peacin’ out on a mental note to go back there once a month, one steaming mug of different flavoured hot chocolate at a time…Mexican Hot Chocolate anyone?