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How to Survive 72 Hours of Flight Delays

Posted by on Jan 13, 2014 in Blogs

Happy New Year my little ones!

2014 is a big year–This is the year my amazing class, rowdy and rambunctious as we are, gets to cross across the threshold and add a couple of initials to our names.

The New Year is always a good time to aspire for great things. My friends and I were discussing resolutions the other day. I admire people who are determined to achieve something tangible by the end of the twelve months. Learn to play the piano. Read more books. Go to a foreign country. Do an eye exam in Spanish. But I’ve always been drawn to the quieter ones–express more gratitude, for example.

Maybe it’s the eggnog or something, but I felt oddly at peace when I left home to fly back to Chicago on January 4. The snow was gently falling atop the trees and settling onto the mountains. Cheeks were rosy red and the Tim Horton’s coffee was roasted warm.

Everything was still and calm and beautiful.

2014, I thought to myself, you are going to be an amazing year.

And then it hits.

The polar vortex descends and your resolutions go out the door. It is -40 degrees and you want to die. You are consumed by rage and angst and heavy metal music. All the season’s tidings and happy fuzzy feelings are minced.

Oh. Was that too harsh?

I should have known when I saw the screen at the departures check-in counter. I should have known that as soon as the word “cancelled” was flashing next to my flight to Chicago I was in for a long haul. I should have known if one plane is too cold, other planes are too cold. I should have known if my flight today could get cancelled, so could tomorrow’s. And the next day’s.

All in all, I spent 72 hours waiting in Toronto before I flew back to Chiberia.

Below, I’ve compiled some survival tips if you’re ever in a similar situation. (I hope you’re not, by the way. 2014 is a new Siva. A less vindictive one.)

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Lo Siento and Other Gems

Lo Siento and Other Gems

Posted by on Dec 5, 2013 in Blogs

Hola mi nombre es Siva!

(Pido disculpas por mi terrible español)

Yes, darlings–now that I’m at my second externship site where I’m fortunate enough to be learning Spanish on the fly, it’s time to brandish the big guns and start putting my money where my mouth is.

Let’s be real, Spanish is probably one of the most musical languages in the world. Everything sounds better in Spanish, like you’ve just sipped a delicious margarita or something.

It helps that I have a tenuous grasp of French (12 grades of French immersion but I’m still conjugating verbs with the help of my handy Bescherelle). French and Spanish have that common Latin root, and once your tongue can roll those “r”s you are pretty much set to jet.

I’m always amazed at the amount of patients that think I am Spanish–but then again it does really cut to the chase of why they made an eye appointment. If my ethnicity doesn’t scream Indian to you, it makes sense why you’re getting your eyes examined, doesn’t it?

No problema, senor. I’ll get you some nifty glasses.

All jokes aside, with the diversity of Chicago and the multi-ethnic tapestry that makes up the country as a whole, speaking multiple languages is more than an asset. It’s a sheer necessity.

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Trip to Texas

Trip to Texas

Posted by on Nov 22, 2013 in Blogs

I’m a firm believer in three things.

Everyone should have a favorite book, a favorite vacation destination, and a favorite pen.

But after a whirlwind weekend in Fort Worth, Texas, I’m now a firm believer in a fourth indisputable truth.

Everyone should get to feel like a celebrity at least once in their life.

I achieved this pinnacle of the human experience when I went to the Academy of EyeCare Excellence  earlier this month. Alcon, a global company specializing in eye care products, invites fourth year students to travel to their headquarters in Texas for a weekend and learn about their products. From my arrival to my departure, I was treated like a princess. And not a reality show princess–a legit “I fly on a magic carpet, have a pet tiger, and only bathe in Fiji water” princess.

I knew that I was going to like Texas because that’s where Coach and Tami Taylor reside.

(If you didn’t understand that reference, go to Netflix and watch “Friday Night Lights” seasons 1-5 immediately, and we can reconvene our friendship afterwards.)

So how does one prepare for a four-day, all-expenses-paid trip?

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Good Afternoon, Mr. Lee

Posted by on Oct 28, 2013 in Blogs


Alright, kiddos: A few weeks ago I took Part III of the National Board of Examiners in Optometry exam. The morning started at 5:45 a.m., and I was en route to the airport for my flight to Charlotte, N.C. But let’s be real, I didn’t sleep that well because anticipation and anxiety are the thieves of rest. The trick, I’ve discovered, is to set your alarm to something that doesn’t immediately upset you when it goes off. Personally, I wake up to Beyonce’s “Love on Top.”

Half of you think I’m joking—I assure you, I’m not.

Luckily I have fallen asleep in my contact lenses without washing off my make-up, so I’m pretty much ready. OK, now I am joking. Kind of.

Aside: Don’t sleep in your contacts. Just like your dentist can tell you don’t floss, we can all spot the non-compliant contact lens wearer, even the immaculate one looking back at me in the mirror this morning.

The train to O’Hare is surprisingly uneventful. No one is singing, being offensive, soliciting, or even making awkward eye contact with me. Is it weird that I’m bothered by this? Normal train rides are the worst. Then it occurs to me, maybe I’m the weird one on the train.

For once I know what terminal I’m supposed to go to, and I march confidently towards my gate. I’m not one to brag, because I have so few marketable skills, but I will say no one can pack a carry-on suitcase and breeze through security like me. In a flash, I am shoe-less, belt-less, coin-less. Laptop’s out, liquids in their baggie, I’m waiting to get full-body scanned. Ain’t nobody got time for pat-downs.

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The Third

The Third

Posted by on Oct 2, 2013 in Blogs

Alright kiddos, it’s time to start thinking about NBEO Part III.

As soon as something gets to have III attached to it, you know it’s a big deal. As mother always said, if something is epic enough to have three versions of it, you best come ready, guns a-blazin’.

To wit: Alexander III of Russia. Robert Griffin III.

But let’s be real: Even though I’m living and breathing optometry more than oxygen these days, I still have to practice. This requires motivation to schedule a practice partner, and the willingness to sit for them in turn.

To no one’s surprise, I haven’t started.

The occasional vague text of “we should practice” gets sent and received, but laziness takes over and cleaning the fridge seems like a better way to spend the night. Except who cleans their fridges? Right now I’m proud of myself for just thinking about eventually cleaning it. #ProgressNotPerfection  (copyright Mark Marquez)

Part III is unique because you can schedule it whenever you want in fourth year, and you go to North Carolina. Fun fact: Babe Ruth hit his first home run in North Carolina, and Pepsi was invented there. I can’t think of any better reason to visit a place than that. Sadly, at this rate, I’ll be drowning in my own tears too long to enjoy the famed Southern Hospitality.

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