samedi 6 septembre 2014

The armchair wanderer

from instagram * richardgaston

....merely to be with the mountain as one visits a friend, with no intention but to be with him.
- Nan Shepherd

In spite of the avalanche of working life I've been reading and dreaming and planning ferociously - the next adventure is in sight, my wanderlust lurking and brewing and about to overflow. It's time to get away. It's time to get away.

The triggers - 

Eulogy to Peter Matthiessen, the founder of the Paris Review / Reading the Living Mountain by Nan Shepherd - Robert MacFarlane's hymn to the wonderful book / Oh the Adventure Handbook - instagram has never been so inspiring / Natalie Smith on Morocco / how does that quote go? - "I don't like it when summer leaves but I like the way it walks away."


mardi 24 juin 2014

Midsummer murmur

1. How could summer solstice come & go already? I have been watching sunsets every evening, letting the crimson light flood my bedroom -

2. The foliage is dark green, air is thick with fragrant jasmine and quiet white flowers -

3. The wilderness was perfect. Every time I think of those perfect few days spent on the water and under the vast sky - my heart is still. There has been a lot of undercurrents in the face of apparent calm water at present, but all shall be well. We shall sail through (practising mindfulness) -

4. Ran a glorious (albeit the slowest) half-marathon, stopping to help in the capacity of a doctor. A sense of pride and also the inevitable responsibility -

5. I've found the perfect house to move to next - creamy white wall with laurel green window frames, stripped down wooden floor, looking over a cosy rose garden. Plus rugs! Plus a direct bus to Cafe Oto! I cannot really ask for more (in London)

6. Still need to go to: RA Summer Exhibition, the Monks House and one day, Atelier Cézanne; finish the Edward St Aubyn's novels (toxic yet thrilling, read in conjunction with his brilliant New Yorker profile)


vendredi 25 avril 2014

Happiness forgets

"Even if happiness forgets you a little bit, never completely forget about it."
- Jacques Prévert 

- Almost there! Currently knee-deep in revision materials (and a mix of excitement and angst, washing over an already crumbling shore). But in the midst of chaos, there is always room for quietude, thoughts and happiness. 

In the transition period, I -
wear: a gray tshirt, jeans, a relaxed blazer, loafers (and a set of swimming kit in my bag on demand)
listen to: Charlotte Gainsbourg, bbc radio 4's Gardener's Question Time (it is mesmerising)
read: Ruby Tandoh's new column in Elle: Dinner Party Philosopher (I aspire too to be one)
look forward to: artisan wine! Picnic season, Matisse's cut outs at Tate Modern, flat-hunting (dreaming of herringbone floor), our wilderness adventure :)

One, one last push. Wish me luck!


lundi 3 février 2014

"stay glamorous, heal the sick"

The essential accessories: a pen / little pearl bracelet (although not on my wrist most of the time) / Aesop mandarin face cream / good old stethoscope
The last year in medical school has taken me to many places - from the old town and rice paddy fields of Vietnam to the rolling hills of Dorset - after living in leafy Hampstead for the past few months I am now placed in a busy hospital in one of the most deprived part of London for a three-month placement. On the first day of placement I was already asked for money on hospital ground when a lady in a wheelchair said she was starving on the way to see her HIV doctor - this has reminded me of how much need there is in the area and there are often so many deep-rooted social problems that remain unseen or ignored. There will be so much to learn and to reflect on during the week, and during the weekends I will have a stroll in Broadway Market and coffee & magazines at Violet Cakes to look forward to (they are a mere 15-minute train away!)


mardi 31 décembre 2013


Allow no shadow of regret to cloud you, 
No absurd grief to overcast your days. 
Never renounce love-songs, or lawns, or kisses 
Until your clay lies mixed with elder clay. 

- The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám


A year of twists and turns and beautiful surprises. It has taken me to many wild places - cotswolds, south downs, scotland, peak district - and inspired me to do many things, like writing, running & travelling solo, which have brought me enormous joy and audacity through the peaks and troughs. My darling family and friends have continuously been here to share lovely moments which made them multiple times better. To share picnics on the punt, long walks, noise and silence. To share books to read and music to listen and even better, hopes and dreams.

This is a year of introspection, a year when I finally feel having grown fully at peace with myself. Doing things at a balanced pace. Knowing that there's a right time for everything (Ecclesiastes 3). This is also a year when I received full communion in the Catholic church, witnessed by many old and new friends. The gift of faith has filled me with gratitude and strength ever since.

Finally, this is a year when I found love. A love that constantly gives and receives, a soul that understands the poetry before it is even spoken. I cannot wait to see how things will unfold for us in the next year :)

Thank you 2013 for the love & magic.


lundi 2 décembre 2013

Wild Places

“The mind I love must have wild places, a tangled orchard where dark damsons drop in the heavy grass, an overgrown little wood, the chance of a snake or two, a pool that nobody's fathomed the depth of, and paths threaded with flowers planted by the mind.”

- Katherine Mansfield


"Do you think there will be beer in Scotland? I can only imagine us putting down peaty-tasting whiskey while rain drives down outside & the sea is shrouded with mist. How well we shall get to know the antlered stag in the hall! The picture of Glencoe on the stairs! the crossed claymores in the bar!"

- Philip Larkin, Letters to Monica 

I cannot wait to leave the metropolis already - ditch the dress and don the boots. Matching hats, gloves and socks. Walk on the soil, make fire, feed ourselves with big pot of steeled cut oats with jersey cream. Whisky, lots of it to keep warm. Watch out for wildlife that cross our ways, talk, walk, silence, smoke, stars. 


mardi 19 novembre 2013

Big book love

The two months of travelling were good, but there was one thing that I sorely missed while I was there - there were few English bookstores in Vietnam, not even in the big city or popular travel destinations (the second-hand book shops are filled in unloved crime fiction and 100 copies of Animal Farm). Having finished reading my Milan Kundera on the flight in and only medical textbooks in my suitcase I ran of choices pretty quickly. I have luckily bought a rather battered and poorly bind copy of Zadie Smith's White Teeth from the street hawker near the lake in Hanoi which sailed me through a few short flights and bus rides - while nurturing my nostalgia for cooler London. That was the first time I actually wanted a Kindle - having only one book to read in 7 weeks is not an ideal situation. 

Having finally got my hands on a Kindle last week has changed my way of reading. (No, not the one with a glossy screen. I've got a Kindle paperwhite from Argos!) It really holds like real paper and I was instantly hooked, loading samples after samples of books that I've always meant to and wanted to read - including ones that are not usually available in the store (one of which is Patti Smith's Woolgathering - a short, dreamy beauty) Reading books that usually in big hardback is especially a joy - now I can finally read in bed comfortably without awkward positioning and book hitting my face, and carry books around with me while I am in cafes or in transits, dipping in and old of pages and stories. 

My recent favourite big (and small) books while travelling

  • The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
  • Letters to Monica by Philip Larkin (more like an all time favourite)
  • Swimming Studies by Leanne Shapton
  • Kitchen Diaries II by Nigel Slater
  • The Old Ways and The Mountains of the Mind, both by Robert MacFarlane
  • Reveries of a Solitary Walker by Jean-Jacques Rousseau
  • Journal of Katherine Mansfield