How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful

When I last checked in I was about to start my last placement of third year. And now, here I am, about to start my first placement of fourth year. I never thought I’d see this day. Back in first year, even making it to clinicals seemed impossibly far away. Now the finish line is in sight!

Not sure what I have to say, what I have to update… Third year was definitely my favourite year of medical school thus far.

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Joy Unspeakable

Just casually checking in….. exams are over! I’ve turned 21! Immediately surprised by how exuberant I constantly sound on social media/here when I don’t feel like that in my head at all!

Here’s wishing you all a very belated happy new year – how are the new year’s resolutions this year going, dear reader? I’m going to share a bit more about my journey the past few months, how last year’s resolutions went, 2015’s resolutions, and what God has in store over the next few months.

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Step By Step

so… I had originally typed out a sizeable post but then alas! technology occurred! and then everything was lost. Perhaps that in itself is a lesson, considering that my title is about taking things a step at a time. 

I’ve been back from Cambodia nearly a week now, and have tried to sort my thoughts out into some kind of coherent post with logical flow but we all know how mrs-d-mrs-i-mrs-f-f-i (1000000+ points if you get that ref) that is for me, so here’s my best attempt (take 2!)


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Blue Skies are Calling

Preparing to go back to sunny, dusty, noisy Cambodia with R has been…. interesting. We were first/last there in 2012, naïve 18 year olds, ready to make an impact, change the world, better people’s lives. The children we played with taught us so much instead, perhaps more so than the few English words we could impart. They taught me about joy, about contentment. They showed me the talent that triumphs in adversity, (a team of HIV+ children formed an acrobatic team and came in 2nd in their local competition), how to share when you have so very little.


They revealed to me (fun fact – this is the story I shared at my KCL interview that I think really helped clinch the spot 😉 but when I shared at my Sheffield interview caused the interviewers to say ‘please get to the point’ while rolling their eyes 😡 ) that in the depths of my heart, I did not think that Cambodian children would have the same standards as the children I personally knew. And so when 10 little kids were clamouring for me to help them cut something and I decided (quite literally) to cut corners, having a little one come back and tug on my shirt to point out that I hadn’t cut out their picture for them perfectly really just opened my eyes to that mindset that led to me not honouring each and every little one with my very best efforts.

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(bless their/his tiny little hands! look at the other little one trying to distract him from his goal)

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(slums behind the learning centre – it floods very badly here every rainy season and people are often displaced)

I remember being keenly aware of the possible negative impact social-tourism has on these children – people come and lavish love for two hours, then up and leave and they never see them again. For the HIV+ children at an orphanage we were working with, this would be but a reminder of the family they had lost to AIDS or were abandoned by. I remember questioning my motives closely; I didn’t want to go and just feel great about myself, feel like I’m a noble, kind-hearted person blah blah. It was definitely hard. I left having learnt more (about myself as a person) than I think we managed to teach the children. But what surprised me most was how closed I kept my heart to those children, because my mind was fixed on the knowledge that I would probably only see them once a year.

2 years later, R and I have teamed up again to teach the same 2 groups of children in Phnom Penh: a group of slum kids who hang out in a Christian learning centre, and children living with HIV.

I woke up today with Jesus close to my heart, excited to encounter Him as we did our final preparations to work with the kids. It’s hard to remember that when your hands are cramped up from cutting out endless shapes. I want to do all things, even little things, with love. It’s easy to lie on my floor and think ‘what am I getting myself into?! why did we pick a craft that requires so much preparation?!’. It’s so easy to forget that I’m lying in air-con, using scissors I bought with my own money, that I’ve known how to use since I was 5, and that I’m doing it for children who live in slums, who don’t know how to use a pair of scissors, much less own one. How easy it is to forget Who and who I’m doing it for.



When the lesson plan I prepared came back with comments from the lady who is organising our trip, I did not expect to see questions like “How would you handle if they say that the only miracle they want for themselves is to be healed of HIV? Or a longing for family?”. I was stunned – we go and we think ‘we’re going to impart a heavenly identity, we’re going to teach about a God who heals and loves and provides’. How do we do this and expect children to believe it when I live in a situation where everything I need is provided while they don’t even receive much physical love (because of the stigma associated with HIV)? They barely have enough food to eat, and still I talk of the Jesus who provided for 5000. I almost felt reluctant to teach lessons like ‘God can perform miracles!’ But I don’t want to shy away from what I believe wholeheartedly is the truth, to avoid tough, uncomfortable questions. I want to be able bless these children as much as they will bless me, by pointing them towards that Greater Love that conquers all.

I started off writing this post as a break from my lesson plan edit, to just clear my head and shape up some thoughts. There are still more things to be sorted out, of course. But this post has helped me really remember that this trip isn’t just a filler in my summer break, another taster of medical missions, a ‘feel good’ dose. It’s going to be tough at times, real, and raw. I want to go in with eyes wide open and Kingdom lenses over my own short-sighted, self-centred human ones. Hahaha as I typed that line, a song called ‘Fix My Eyes’ just came on shuffle!

So, dear Reader, I’m asking for you to do more than just read. I’m inviting you to partner with R and I as we head back to the country shackled in the bonds of sex trafficking and still suffering from the effects of the genocide of its people. Please pray for us, and for the bigger group (15!) who are going up to bless the nation. My dad will also be coming up and teaching. Your prayers are much coveted, warriors!


(looking like Jesus 😉 ‘let the little children come to me’)

Please pray for:

– a smooth journey there

– health and protection for every group member

– wisdom for R and I to really teach what’s on God’s heart and to be able to deal with any tough questions or situations we might face

– energy: those children really are an crazy bunch!!


and lastly, that His light will shine in the nation of Cambodia.


With love,

N & R


Ps: if you would like to find out how you can take more active steps to help or are interested in hearing more about who we work with, please comment or drop me an email 


Till Human Voices Wake Us, and We Drown

Currently trying to finish up writing a paper on mother-infant bonding and its management before my dear friend arrives for our 4-years-in-the-making Eurotrip! Exams are over (more later, perhaps, fingers crossed, good news?) and the last thing on the school year is the submission of this essay.

Sadly (? or amazingly considering I’ve actually done a decent amount of work) a typical occurrence when I try to do work is the distraction (or relief) of poetry.

Here are three I came across recently which I love and think relevant to this blog (because if that didn’t rein me in, I would be posting a lot more poems).

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