Today was the first day of residency which begins with four days of orientation before actual clinical duties start. (Un)fortunately for me, I am awaiting a license to practice and so will only start in four to five weeks time i.e. I am off-cycle. Either that, or I cut back my vacation time completely this year or over the next four years. If I could survive surgery without vacation, I'd do it. My second choice would be going off cycle.
So, it has been three days since I've been in the States. It doesn't feel too surreal. It is an achievement but I don't particularly feel or see fireworks. But, I am glad and thankful to be relatively calm and relaxed despite the circumstances. There's still a mountain of paperwork to do pertaining to licensure, bank stuff, human resources, liaising with various organizations and the list is so long I keep forgetting something!
Yesterday was pretty eventful. I went round saying hello to some people I had been liasing with and got some information sorted. Initially, I had been fretting about needing to be at work at 5am! I have no car right now and I was pre-occupied in my mind about buying a bike to ride into work. I used to be able to zoom down roads and corners at super high speed on a bicycle as a kid but the magic seems to have disappeared when my childhood ended. I can ride down a straight road but when it comes to turning, OMG what a sight! Anyway, I did find a bike I think I can get along with quite well. Its a Jamis Citizen 14" frame bike that lets me plant my feet firmly on the ground to break a fall. Yes, I think it was because people started giving me 21" frame bikes that destroyed my confidence... I may get the bike this weekend. Who knows.
People have been generally really friendly, helpful and cheerful here. I bumped into a few university students who had graduated. It was nice talking to people not in healthcare.They were in engineering, film and public communications and they pointed out the $1 beer joint to me. I'm kinda skeptical about how good the beer is. In retrospect, I wished I joined them to find out but I get social anxiety. Please, it was reflex. My higher cortex now tells me I was stupid not to go. But then again, I struggled through paperwork half awake last night so maybe it was good I came home a little earlier.
The students pointed me out to the local AT&T which now offers SIM cards. I don't think they did back in 2010 and so, that is great. for $50 I get unlimited minutes, texts and international texts (excluding Malaysia and the United Kingdom, what a great coincidence). I'm glad that's sorted.
Today was orientation and after two other orientation's previously, orientation is just orientation. However, this was a pretty well executed orientation. Stuff seriously happened on time. Nobody went over time. Nobody ran out of time. Fine details maybe but I was impressed. Also, these guys here start earlier than I'm used to. 0730 hours today and 0700 hours tomorrow. By 0900 it felt like 1200 but it wasn't 1200. I got to meet other residents and yeah, it was nice just meeting others in the same boat.
For a few weeks now, I have been dropping not-so-subtle hints that I was leaving the United Kingdom. Family and friends were generally clueless and curious as I gave vague answers. The matter of fact was, I was feeling pretty uncertain. Also, nervous and I guess I preferred avoiding the subject in great detail like there was some sort of subconscious taboo.
But in the recent week, things have become clearer yet surreal too. Right now, I'm headed to the United States on a long ass flight. It is long because I didn't have time to make a Japanese transit visa which would have made the flight several hours shorter.
I suppose the next natural question that 'll succeed "where are you going?" is "why have you gone (there)?".
Wow. That is a big question. It is big because there are so many layers to it and ways to approach it. And, I guess it would depend who I am talking to as well.
Maybe I should try and tackle it now seeing that it'll probably be a question my new colleagues might pose to me. But right now, that's kinda boring to think about so let's start with what I have been thinking about.
I think, 'Why not?'. Afterall, life begins at the end of one's comfort zone. I know the ropes of working in the UK and Malaysia. America is regarded as a a challenge and I do feel challenged to discover my potential. To see another part of the world and experience it first hand. And, I think this helps me appreciate how lucky I am... And how things could be worse or better... And how I could be a happier and better person... And the list goes on.
I have also been thinking it is totally ironic I am headed to America because America was the reason that, well, changed my hopes and dreams in September 2011.
There were two people who were instrumental in encouraging me to 'break into America' as they call it. The first came first and was none other than my mentor. The second was my ex-boyfriend who was dead set on going that he got all the preliminary stuff done and I took the plunge and did it too.
I guess as the ex-boyfriend knew he would play a fair part in my decision to go to America. He knew I'd go back to Malaysia should he insist. Or even Singapore or Australia. I think he tried a lot of tactics to discourage me to follow him and it's strange how he had to come out with the truth to make me decide rather than passively follow.
My friend ES says never to follow a man. I now try to live by that rule but it is also strange how not having had lived that rule set me free.
And, maybe my ex didn't expect me to choose to go to America but I did.. backed by my mentor. Afterall, I've done the motions and why not?
I guess I could give a cliched answer as to "Why America?" but where is the challenge in that?
Why not? That's what I would like to open with. It liberated me. It'll liberate me even more if I succeed; I see so many doors unlocking. I hope it'll make me a better, happier and more open-minded individual who will contribute to society. I'm up for a challenge. So, why not?
Me: I know he loved and cared for me but he should have just told me and not made me his girlfriend. We'd be friends now. It is too late now.
Why don't I want to be friends with this guy? Why? Because gay ex-partners always say the same things about the women they had a relationship with, "I love her. (I love my child [If they had one]). But I love my gay partner even more and like nothing else in the world". It is true. They say that unanimously. Different men but all along the same lines. My gay ex-boyfriend also implied that during our break-up chats. That would make me feel really special, wouldn't it? And the fact a person wouldn't put their own child first is..... like, wtf.
It's actually really late and I shouldn't be doing this. Out of all the things I should do, maybe this technically should be the lowest priority.
But I feel I need to. I should do.
I stepped through the doors of my flat today and I remembered my friend, KA. I had only known KA a year but KA turned out a great friend. KA was a mature student but even then, I felt KA had the wisdom that surpassed KA's chronological age.
I recall a lot of conversations I had with KA. I thought they were meaningful and deep and maybe I learnt a bit more about life. I remembered once KA telling me how KA's father would say to KA's mother, "Stop pottering about the house doing housework. It can wait. Come sit with me and talk to me!". And they had been married decades.
In the same conversation, KA also said, "You can be with someone for years and still not know them". This statement, I challenged at that time. I thought it was untrue and I used my relationship with my ex then as an example in my arguement against KA's statement. I think in the end we agreed to disagree.
But in the last few days, I find myself seeing KA's statement in a different and more positive light. What's wrong with being with someone for years and still not knowing them? KA's parents have been with each other for years and enjoy talking to each other as if there's so much more to know about the other. How can we assume we know someone like the back of our hand? Wouldn't that make it mundane, dull, boring and routine? No, we don't want that! I don't want that! I want it to be interesting and remain interested. And, I guess seeing KA's statement in a more positive light helps me be a better person.
Of course, please, no nasty surprises like, "Honey, I'm gay", though.
I guess I think about this now because I've started talking to someone whom I find interesting. I initially wondered how long the interest would last. And, I remembered what KA said.... about his parents and about never truly knowing everything about someone. That made me happy.
And, of KA. KA came and went but was one of my friends who left many words of wisdom for me to ponder about... :-)