I’m terrible at blogging – but let me explain some things

I have been intending to use this blog as a travel diary, I am sure I will get around to it at some point (I’ve been to some cool places so I need to do it) but right now I just need to talk about the kind of ~emotional journey~ that I have been on.

As I have said before, my decision to move to America was quite sudden, I had entrance exams for schools booked which I ended up cancelling. I am not sure what I expected when I moved here, I hadn’t really had time to think about it, but I didn’t expect to become depressed.

I had been observing other people’s experiences on placement, and they seemed to contrast mine. Everyone seemed to be having fun, going out socialising and drinking yet I just felt I was by myself. I didn’t move to a big city, I moved to a small working class one, unlike Seattle and New York it felt extremely alien to me – I was out of my depths with no family or friends. It became difficult for me, I assumed my depression was due to loneliness but I came to realise this wasn’t the case.

I decided I wanted to go to medical school at the start of my second semester at university, I have always been a pretty good student but I never had to work hard to achieve things. I knew this was going to be an uphill battle because I wasn’t raised to focus on my academic ability. I discovered once I got to university that I was actually smarter than I thought I was, that might seem big headed but I didn’t really struggle where others did. Ever since that moment I started beating myself up for my past ‘why didn’t I work harder in GCSEs’ that sort of thing, I just wished I had realised my passion for learning sooner, as this would be a lot easier.

So from this point I poured every piece of me into gaining these skills which would benefit me for my medical school applications, I studied whenever I could, I ran a stressful medical society and I worked every free moment I had at the local hospital. I worked as a ward receptionist 3 nights a week to begin with, but then I got a job as a health care assistant where I started to work 12 hour days. How the hell I managed to work that much whilst at university i’ll never know. I helped other people get jobs at the hospital, I set up workshops to help people with their dream of getting into medical school. I kind of wish I was more selfish at that time, I constantly had people asking me about work experience and their CVs but I was happy to do it. I finished the year with all firsts in my modules and was given an award by The Microbiology Society for academic performance, which is good, but I didn’t have anything else to show for the year other than my solid relationship with my boyfriend (thank god he was so supportive of me)

When I got this job I started to have free time, I could come home at the end of the day and relax, watch tv, read a book or whatever. I had NOT been able to do that in the past 2 years because I was so consumed with trying to be this version of myself I so badly wanted to be, that I had become uncomfortable with not working myself to death. I mean, thats kind of fucked up. I became depressed BECAUSE I had free time, I became depressed BECAUSE I no longer had anything to prove to myself or anyone. I started to realise this only a couple of weeks ago.

This past weekend I went to Seattle and I was HAPPY just doing things at a slow pace. I ate cinnamon rolls and drank coffee whilst overlooking the sea, I drank wine whilst overlooking the city, I went to an art show and mingled whilst drinking cider and I watched an awesome band and I just danced for hours by myself and I was so happy. I finally realised I was friends with myself, I was comfortable with myself and I hadn’t had this feeling for so long. I always required validation from external sources to feel happy and somewhat fulfilled.

It’s honestly so important yet so cliche that you need to be your own best friend and find fulfilment in the small things, otherwise – there isn’t much point in the other stuff.

Life in the USA

I intended my first blog post in America to be a summary of my time in New York, whilst that post is on its way, I felt more compelled to discuss living in my new home town of Spokane, which is in Washington state.

I arrived on Tuesday night to all my furniture in boxes, all i did was put the bedding on my mattress because I really couldn’t be bothered to build my bed (lucky I didn’t try as it took me two hours the next day) and the first thing I noticed was how clean the air felt in my lungs!

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When I woke up I ventured downtown, it has the classic American charm of a small town but it’s actually a city. A completely different vibe to New York which being honest, I prefer. I had breakfast at a really cool vegan deli called Boots which I NEED to visit again ASAP to try their pumpkin spice waffles; walking around reminded me slightly of the fictional town ‘Stars Hollow’ where the Gilmore girls is set which made me love it even more. The houses are so much nicer than in the UK, every single house is different and unique and it gives such a nice vibe! The best thing Spokane is the amount of sunshine we get, there are around 280 days of sunshine a year which compared to England is massive. That is the main benefit of being more inland than Seattle which gets a shit tonne of rain.

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A cute little coffee shop on my street!

The main thing I noticed is how expensive a lot of things are compared to the UK, making me realise my money probably won’t stretch as far as I had hoped. A small latte from Starbucks cost me over $4 dollars which gave me a mini stroke, the produce is also a LOT more expensive which is annoying because I buy a lot of fresh food! Don’t even get me started on the whole tax thing, you think something is a certain price but you come to pay for your stuff and it’s a totally different price grrr. They also don’t have certain things that i’d normally buy like chopped tomatoes in a tin?? I thought that was a pretty basic food staple but I literally cannot find any anywhere! On the plus side there is a greater amount of vegan food in the supermarkets, I went to Trader Joes a couple of days ago and was in heaven!

Overall I am settling in quite well, my bedroom is super nice and is slowly coming together. I have such a nice feeling being here, which I expected to feel in New York but I didn’t. I did really enjoy NYC but it just didn’t feel how I expected. I start work on Monday so I will post next weekend how my first week was. The only thing that is missing is Harry, I know he would absolutely love it here as he is an outdoorsy person. He is going to be here at the start of April so I can show him then!

I’m moving

When I was a kid I was never ‘pushed’ to pursue things my parents thought were necessary. I kind of just grew up and fell in love with science slowly, and my academics flourished slowly. What I mean is, where I am today – It’s all because I’ve worked incredibly hard to get here and I’ve improved myself as time has gone on. It’s taken me 20 years and a degree to realise that I want to be a doctor, it just makes total inexplicable sense with every moment of my life making sense until this point.

I had my medical school exams booked, I was a sure in if my CV and grades had anything to do with it. I got an email about 6 weeks ago about a placement year position, I’d had countless of these emails before and never took any notice but for some reason this particular one made me stop and read it 10 times over. It was for a research position working with patients with traumatic brain injuries, lots of patient contact as well as assisting with the research grant application – hello published paper with my name on it! After a couple of emails with my tutor I decided to apply, I had nothing to lose in doing so. And within a week I’d had the interview and been offered the job, which is in America by the way. At this point I started to panic, I never considered the fact I’d actually be offered it, I thought it was something that would go away. I cried a lot. I was so torn, especially since I was offered it the night before I went to Barcelona with my boyfriend. I cried a few times on holiday and we had a lot of conversations I never thought we would have to have,but we had them. We worked through it, and decided I should go and that we would give long distance a go as we’d already been together over a year and a half, and we were not ready for it to be over.

I leave in 10 days, I’ve never been to America before yet i’ve committed to living and working there for 10+ months. I’m not used to being on my own, I met my boyfriend when I was suffering from some serious clinical depression and he helped me through it and out the other side, and if i’ve felt wobbly i’ve always had him to go to. Now I don’t. I need to do it by myself with the help of a few transatlantic phone calls and I’m terrified.

I’m terrified but I’m excited, I’ll be living in a small city in Washington state which isn’t exactly glamorous but it’s beautiful and I’ll get used to it. I’ll get stuck into some great research and I’ll get to travel quite a lot (post on my USA travel bucket list coming soon) so basically I’m glad i’ve done this. I think it will be useful to take a break from all the studying and this intense path i’ve been following, i’ve now got a constructive year to grow even more in ways I haven’t previously. I’m excited to see who i’ll be when I’m done.

 

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