Wednesday, May 25, 2016

I'm coming HOME!!!!

Guess what????? I'm coming home!!!! My time here in the UK is almost over. In fact I head back to the USA TOMORROW!!!!! Yessssss!!!! Can you tell I'm super excited?!?!?! I haven't been home since I came over in August 2015. I've had amazing opportunities to learn how to be a doctor, how to better navigate different cultures & countries, learned to accept that everything won't always be what you expect but pleasant surprises often crop up, had a chance to see more of the world, made some lifelong friends, lived with a diverse group of people, and overall had a great experience. If knowing everything I know now, given the chance to do it all over again I would without any hesitation!!! Embracing other people and places allows one to grow more as a person as long as you're open to the differences. 

I've made some great memories in London that will last a lifetime!  As I sit in the airport in Barcelona heading back to London one last time, after a super fun trip with my girls (more about that later), I'm reminded of some things I'll miss...and others I'm happy to leave behind. 

Will miss: 
-Great public transport system: London is very well connected and it's nice not feeling like you NEED a car to get anywhere. 
-Central gateway to many other countries: This was one of the best parts of being in London. There are multiple airports around the area allowing you to get to a great number of places fairly quickly and pretty in expensively. My flight to Rome last week was £23...That's the equivalent of roughly $30!! I've visited Scotland, Iceland, Venice, Zurich, Paris❤️, Toulouse; Marrakech, Casablanca, Chefchouen-all in Morocco; Amsterdam, Rome & Barcelona via reasonably priced flights. Man I'm gonna miss the travel!!!
-Walkability: I walked to & from the hospital every day. The city is also easy to navigate on foot if you don't want to ride the Tube just a few stops. 
-My Patients & Mentors: The patients have been so willing to help train this upcoming Doctor. I can't thank them enough for allowing me to ask tons of questions, practice examination skills & procedures on them without hesitation. The Doctors I worked with, from the Juniors to those with 30+ years on the job, were great teachers and willingly took time to help me be a better future Doc. 
-Fashion Sense: The people in London look good. Their clothes, hair, shoes...always on point. And both the men & women make an effort to look good regularly!
-TEA TIME!! I think I've had a cup of tea every day I've been in London and I love it. Traditional Afternoon Tea with scones, sandwiches & desserts is even better!

Won't miss: 
-Weather: For the most part it sucks, but you get used to the grey skies really quickly. But when there's a good day or weekend it helps make up for all the cold rains and bitter winds of the past. 
-Smokers!: So many people smoke! It's always in your face. Definitely won't miss the pervasive cigarettes. 
-Exchange rate: The dollar to pound conversion was pretty dismal when I first got here. It's gotten ever so slightly better but not by much. Everything costs about 50% more when converting US Dollars-->Pounds Sterling (£).

I'm most looking forward to going home to see my family & friends. It's been too long!

Gotta run...Thanks for keeping up with my crazy adventure!

Until next time....

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Catching Up & Counting Down

Geez, it's been more than a month since I posted I'll {quickly} play catch up.

I had recently started Ob/Gyn last time I posted.  Well that rotation is over.  It was a really good clerkship experience.  I had lots of Gynae emergency clinic exposure, antenatal clinic patients, C-section & vaginal delivery assistance, and at the end, I actually got to deliver a baby solo!  That was a great way to end the rotation.

On the road again...
One weekend during Ob/Gyn the usual suspects took off to visit Morocco.  We stopped in Marrakech, Casablanca, and Chefchaouen.  In Marrakech we visited the Djemaa El-Fna (Big Square), shopped & got lost in the souks, rode camels, toured the Marrakech Museum, enjoyed the fresh mint tea and ate lots of good food--tajines, cous cous  and the best fresh squeezed orange juice for $0.40 a cup from the square! and visited the stunningly beautiful gardens of Yves Saint Laurent.  Marrakech is definitely a place worth returning to!!!

We drove a little more than 4 hours to Casablanca and stayed one night.  We roamed and drove around the city a little bit, relaxed in a fancy hotel lobby bumming wifi, and visited the Hasan II Mosque.  It was breathtaking!  The mosque that sits on the coast with the sea on three sides is one of the largest in the world.  We didn't have time to wait to go inside for a visit but the outside complex was lovely. 

The next leg of 7+ hours driving took us along paved and unpaved roads, through small communities and larger cities, until we reached Chefchaouen--the blue city in the Rif mountains.  Another beautiful place to visit.  Its crisp and clean and many buildings are painted blue.  They're known for their delicious goat cheese (i can vouch) and yummy olives.  We stopped at a family style restaurant here and the food was so good that we all ate 2 meals!

During our trip we stayed in 2 Riad's and a hotel. A Riad is definitely worth experiencing.  It was so peaceful and a quiet place to wind down after the hustle and bustle of Moroccan excitement outside the walls, with great service and good mint tea!

A Touch of Home...
As much as I've been missing home, I was so excited to see some familiar faces!!! Little sis from the island came to do a few rotations in London at the same hospital and Uncle Zahmu came to visit his daughter who's been doing it big in London for a few months herself!  We all went for Afternoon Tea!  It was a super chill, laughter filled afternoon.  I was soo glad to see some more folks from "home".

Another new start...
My Pediatrics rotation began 3 weeks ago.  I've already spent time in the Peds Clinic, In-Patient, Peds Emergency and NICU. Seeing the little ones in NICU can be tough but they are little fighters.  I start every rotation only knowing what we read in the books, but seeing the various diseases and illnesses in real life, in front of your face puts everything into perspective.  Learning to trust your clinical judgement along with what you read in the books is a process that I'm building each and every day.  I've spent time with some really good Consultants & Registrars and that makes a world of difference in the learning process.  They challenge you, force you to stretch yourself and your thinking, which sometimes reminds you how much you really just don't have a clue...but they also provide bedside teaching and experiences that you can only get by chance.  Like that knee cap reduction I did on a kid who's leg appeared to be flexed almost 90ยบ in the wrong direction because his kneecap was dislocated, yikes! 

Love abounds... Making good use of the weekends, I was able to go back to the City of Love again with Mi Amor for a few days!  Twice in 4 months and I'm honestly looking forward to going back again.  I LOVE PARIS!

Another weekend my cousin got married and I was able to attend...thanks FaceTime!  Can't wait to see the happy couple in person.

Beware of the Coffee Shops...
Two of my housemates and I visited Amsterdam recently.  That was a cool city as well.  It's known for the Red Lights and the open Cannabis smoking (neither of which I took part in!!).  But it's also known for Tulips, and Bikes, Waffles, Canals and some really happy friendly people.  I highly recommend visiting.  That's another place I'd go back to without thinking twice.  I think i've said this about every place!  Guess I better save my coins for some return trips.

Sheesh! I think, i'm all caught up now!

I have 3 more weeks in Peds before a few of my friends come to visit and get in on the European travel scene!  I'll write about that once they get here.  They are going to make a few stops without me while I prepare for my Peds Shelf Exam and pack up my life once again...because I'm coming home in 25 DAYS!!! I can't wait! Seriously! I haven't seen my family in nearly 9 months.  This is the longest stretch I've been away EVER!  I'm ready for a hug from my momma!

But until May 26th rolls around I'll be here, being a good student, and daydreaming about the next adventure.

Until next time....