So you’re a doc, a foreign cuisine and Corona happened. (Bye bye 2022. With love. Part 6)

There was a time when thinking about attending social functions like dinner, birthday parties, weddings; I had to gauge ‘is it worth it for the loss of my day for laundry, netflix and personal time.  Should I catch up on my sleep till late morning or make arrangements for the trip? Would the day be better spent catching up to my emails? Darn, my exam is only a few weeks away. I feel quite tired, I don’t think I will be able to enjoy it even if I made a show.’  Only a few absolutes were in my list that I wouldn’t allow myself to talk out of; everything else was secondary to the job/career. No thoughts were involved. ‘Thinking, then overthinking’ that was a downhill slope I was trying to avoid. 

A friend of mine who has been back to training from her career break went awol on us for a few days recently on whatsapp. Very unlike her. When we caught up, she said, she felt she was starting to experience burn out again. Good thing is, she was recognising the signs early. We didn’t mind. Amongst us, all of us have been in that place. Where we are trying to focus just on the task forward, a step at a time, everyone else & everything else will have to wait for us to have that space. The other said, she has been assessed. Would need at least 16-24 private sessions with psych to help her through it ‘depression and burnouts’. 60£ an hour. ‘Nhs waiting list is long. I had to go private. But even if it is around 1K, which will be more expensive with additional sessions, I don’t have the time’. All of us knew it was going to be hard when we entered the profession. All of us felt it would be manageable. Sometimes, it’s evidently proving more difficult than we expected. I feel blessed to have this support network of friends in the same profession as I am. Someone to speak our minds clearly with, someone who understands when one of us quotes, ‘I just feel bitter sometimes. Sometimes I feel I hate my job’. 

 ‘Easy things that I shouldn’t even be stressing about like the thought of waking early and not being on time for work stresses me out,’ my roommate said. ‘Even in my dreams I am chasing after the bus. I feel sad at the thought of it.’ Again, I can completely relate to her. Sometimes I wake up from sleep having heard the oncall bleep go off, at home, when I am off duty! Sharing  experiences like that to one another, trust me, earns you good long term friends. If you haven’t yet found it, there you go. One of the main advantages of our profession. I am soon going to be a bridesmaid for a beautiful bride-to-be, who I met first as colleague 5 years ago, 2 hospital jobs prior. 

Lots of lives changed due to the pandemic. In many ways mine too. I feel like, had it not pushed me to the edge, I would have still been a foolhardy person trying day & night to soak up all the stress, suppress all the frustrations and continue. I would have tried to put on a brave face as well and signed up to more hospital  training for ‘resilience, time management, working under stressful environment’ perhaps while losing internal integrity of myself. We all have read, friends of the deceased say ‘we didn’t have a clue. He was always on time, smiling and cheerful at work’. There are always subtle hints, I think, but we are too busy looking more into them.

I completely unrooted myself from one country to integrate into the society of a different country, navigating through my life while accepting English will be my tongue from here forward. In a profession of learned and intellectual individuals with graduates from Oxford, Harvard  when language fails, it is hard to avoid the first judgement. Inevitable, I would say. ‘So we push ourselves way harder, maybe to prove our worth’ I seem to agree with Dr Gabor Mate on this. Confidence overtime feels dimming down slowly, trying to fit in, in all the boxes.

I don’t think it was ever about resilience; the world I have seen, things I have been through, the degree of patience I had to have to be here where I am. I know the word very well. I have pinned the main issue  now; for me problem was  losing my head space to think, feeling trapped in a continuum and losing my own identity. Coming from a family where my parents were; farmers then into the military, trust me when I said ‘I am stressed’ I was swallowing my pride asking for that help. I wouldn’t have. If I hadn’t realised, everything that was inside me was manifesting around me. I think the pandemic did do me a big favor in that sense. And looking back I only take that experience as a big learning phase about finding myself. As my friend did, I am now able to recognise the early signs.

Of course, NHS is ever so busy. And the job is stressful as 99% of my colleagues would agree. Here is the catch, hadn’t it been so stressful, would everyone around us not have pursued it? What I mean when I say it, being an eye opener, was finding out where my limit of stress tolerance was, what are the red lights for me, what do I need to watch out from here forward? And having been through it now, what could I have done, what can be done to avoid similar in future. 

I managed to get the support I needed from my superiors and the training programme director in time. This is why choosing a region to train was very important to me and I advise, should be the main thing a graduate should be looking into. I doubt if I was a trainee in the West Midlands, I would have got the same level of help. With a lot of trainees deferring themselves from the system, hospital trusts are trying to be more accommodating now to trainee’s needs but it often seems to be optional, not necessarily the case with the system being in pressure to run 24/7. Nevertheless I would advise, please reach out, one would never know where and what help you can get unless you ask. Hopefully you will at least find someone to signpost you.

My returning objective now back to work and to training  is to protect my headspace at any cost. Of course to pass the exam, pass the year but also to aim to completely segregate my professional from personal life. It can be difficult, unfortunately we are not computers to hit the refresh button, but knowing this is a ‘must to do’ is helpful.  One thing I have done to secure this is, I am returning back as a trainee at 80% part time. 20% ‘out’ is to work on my personal goals. I am a person outside of my career with lots of roles; as a daughter, a sister, a friend, a girlfriend, a neighbor. To have what I want to keep while making sure I maintain at top of my productivity, cutting down on my hours was a necessary sacrifice. Particularly because this is also the time I have chosen to work on being a better version of me. Carve out those gaps that makes me feel insecure about myself. Like culinary skills. I may not become a chef but at least be able to cook a few healthy lunches/dinners to invite friends over right? Instead of ordering takeaways every time? How am I Nepalese without knowing how to make dumplings? Definitely, this year I will be investing in driving.  Then I could just drive myself anywhere, take myself to beaches, sightseeing, for the long drives, my family to picnic, road trips.  Moving around and packing my life into boxes wouldn’t be so much hassle anymore. And then there are lots of travel plans. 

I follow Jim Rohn’s motivational speeches on various topics relating to achieving success and living a better life on Youtube. The man speaks of nothing but golden words. Even his random utterance is probably worth a thousand dollar bill for commoners like me, filled with life changing advice. Just the other day I was tuned to one of his videos where I heard him say, ‘the major question to ask on a job is not what are you getting but what you are becoming?’  ‘Focus on your personal development. The major key to your better future is you’. He had emphasised.  ‘Work on your attitude, philosophy, personality, language, gift of communication, work on all your abilities’. 

There are hours of brilliant speeches out there from him. Here are other quotes from his talk called ‘Recharge your mind’, that I have copied here which I will use as mantras to guide my future.

You can’t change the winters, you can’t change the seasons but you can change yourself. You can get wiser, stronger and better’. 

Learn to take advantage of the spring. You got to seize it with your own two hands. There is a sense of urgency here. Don’t waste your springs, don’t just let them pass, pass, pass hoping time will pass.’ 

And in summer learn to protect, nourish and to do battles with your enemies. Some of the enemies are outside, some of them are inside’. 

I feel confident about continuing to sail my life to a positive direction. No babies in the plan for another year, no rings in the finger, paying salary, yeah I can buy myself flowers… I feel more accepting of myself ‘as a whole’. I appreciate the concoction I have become with fusion of both the worlds, absorbing best of the both countries across the globe. I don’t feel threatened anymore thinking my uniqueness as my weakness, like my ex used to say ‘exotic’, I have discovered in my eccentricity there is in fact power. Overall standing here in 2023,  the picture forward looks amazing. This is definitely a year for me, to march forward and conquer. Be the queen I was born to be.

So you’re a doc, a foreign cuisine and Corona happened. (Bye bye 2022. With love. Part 5)

So, I had a chance to visit Nepal during my 6 month break. The trip was short but had an amazing time. Met family and friends, went around for small trips to my favorite places. Good to know those places hadn’t changed much, kind of gives a stability to one’s memories for flashbacks. Like saying, ‘remember Mangalbazar where we used to sit down around durbar square for local tea? Yeah let’s go there’. Had momos ‘nepalese dumplings’. Lots of them everyday as much as I could. Anything else could wait another year or so if I didn’t get to stuff in this time! Cousins and related brothers & sisters had all grown up. Most of them were taller than me, some of them I couldn’t even recognise at first instance. Boys were all husky & hoarse with one or two sprouts of beard and moustache here and there. As for most mongolian asian men, that will be the most any of them will grow. But Omg their skins were clearer than mine! Girls that were once very much tomboyish now were very feminine with curvy bodies, long hairs and nail polishes & acrylic paints. Made me laugh and almost choke on my food at a party when I heard one of those boys now training to compete for Gurkha recruitment saying to his other mates, who are also his cousins, about the girls he was interested in. A couple of them! Particularly one he wished to court around to get attention and his plans for marrying her. Basically locking her into a relationship before going away! The way these boys think! Hahahaha. I am rooting for him but at the same time, a part of me also doesn’t want the girl to fall for him because I know where this route most often ends. Not uncommon for boys being head & heels in teens, jumping into marriage and then on his late 20’s or even 30’s sprouting other half of their brain; developing maturity and saying, ‘That was a foolish decision. We have nothing in common (after having children!). I have met the right woman now whom I want to marry’.  All good if he had the guts to come out open and be honest, but he thinks ‘as long as two women don’t meet’, he might be able to wing it off as long as it lasts. 2 wives in 2 different countries. Not just tragic for women, trust me, often tragic for men too.

Watched my girls all grown up, be adult women with their babies on laps. Got a ‘baby fever’, I think my hormones really got a good kick from my ovaries, protesting my stand against ‘overload of cuteness’ production. Feels like the instincts are kicking in now slowly, I didn’t think that would ever be the situation when I was growing up as a full fledged tomboy. Only ever held babies by choice in the past couple of years. Before that, I always had excuses. Don’t know how I ever got through pediatric rotation staying at least a meter away from them. I guess the trick was, always to pair up with a colleague who had powerful maternal skills and let them handle the baby while you chatted to their parents, do the charts and other things. 

They are wonderful moms. It boosts up a slight confidence in me now observing them. They tell me they don’t know anything about taking care of him or her but it seems to me they are doing a fine job. A little panicky now and then, a little anxious but all fine. Each one of them married great partners, all of whom seem to be wonderful dads. Most of my girls  met their husbands in medical school, others while in training and one pair since high school. So, knowing their husbands as friends since when I was a teen myself is very reassuring. It was an even more wonderful feeling in a sense that not only did I watch my girls be mothers and take these roles as adults but, I also had the opportunity to see colleagues/ friends assume their roles as fathers. Those girls were crazy, innocent at the same time, smart but a little socially challenged compared to other girls our age. And we did oh so many many stupid things. Did many happy dances, had cold wars… The list goes on and on. School was fun, thanks to the girls. Didn’t matter how tough it was, we pulled each other, shared notes together, covered for each other’s absences and when we passed each year we celebrated hard. Our big celebration being, sitting down with a few bottles of alcohol, drinking and dancing. Locking down the main girls dorm so that none of the crazy hens got out in the middle of night. Sometimes we’d go out for fancy dinners burrowing eachothers clothes, each one of us working on the other’s hair straightening or curling it. Oh my friends are definitely still crazy!  They still got those eyes but now, they have learnt to camouflage it better. A part of me was a little worried, they might have changed, but nah! We just got more babies in the picture. 

A twang of mild jealousy sure! Genuinely very happy for them but reminded me of my own little heartbreaks, bites away from my self worth and began questioning each one of my decisions. Took some days to reevaluate where I stand and,  I have come to the conclusion that, ‘I am actually glad I did not achieve some of these milestones. I will reach there when I am meant to get there and honestly, I don’t feel ready now at all. I don’t doubt anymore I will make a good mother. The world feels a better place having met amazing new parents who are genuinely great humans’.

‘When I made those goals, I was young. I didn’t account for my circumstances, for the hurdles I was going to encounter, the faded lines of the lanes that would cross on one and the other, here and there. I didn’t account for the times I had to stop to rest, to redirect myself, to self-talk and to keep pushing forward. There is no reason for me to feel that way, my friends’ journeys are not mine. We had different beginnings, throughout lives we have different paths and we will have different endings. Had to knock my head a little to tell myself ‘Don’t be a loser like that. Jealous of your own friends? Did I hear you were a little jealous of your own ex as well? Why? No, no, don’t be one of those losers. Passing time gossiping about others, catching on each other’s legs. Don’t waste time like that. Be happy for them. Work on your own insecurities so, you don’t give yourself a reason to feel that way’. 

And that’s the thing. ‘Working on my insecurities.’ As I have confessed many times before, I felt, my mind was all fogged, jumbled in a mess. It was like a cluttered room where I collected one more thing, dumped it there and just closed the door behind. Anxious that the room existed, even more anxious at the idea of sorting it out. Being back in the place where I previously was, with my friends who are very much the same;  reminded me where I came from and who I was. It helps, doesn’t matter what the mess looks like or the extent of it, but to know where at least the start of the mess is, because all you then do is follow the string and untangle it slowly. I see the problems here, here and here. What can I do for the solutions? What is my priority? What am I willing to lose for what I have to gain? What is it that I want? 

It’s okay, if you don’t know what you want for yourself yet. I will advise you to follow a route, keep track, rather than being absent minded and being nowhere. At least that way, by rule of exclusion, you will know whether the route you are following is definitely what you want to pursue. Goal at the end is finding happiness. To each of us, our definition of happiness is very different.

So you’re a doc, a foreign cuisine and Corona happened. (Bye bye 2022. With love. Part 4)

So I’m going back to training soon in about a week’s time. A bit anxious about starting in a new place, new colleagues and moving et cetera et cetera. Haven’t found the right place yet.  Started searching about  2 months earlier. I suppose I am being picky but with only a 6 months contract on hand and with landlords rejecting most applications under 1 year tenancy contract I doubt it’s just me.  I have found with my past experiences it helps immensely with my anxiety knowing the neighborhood, nearest grocery corner, bus stops and stations beforehand. Thankfully there seem to be a number of options for spare rooms too. Hopefully if not a bedroom apartment,  I am able to land a decent ensuite room with working professionals. It may be a whole new level of experience to share then. To think of it, I only have a couple of friends who are not medical! Like I must have mentioned before, you realize at some point it is really not okay to talk about malena, colour of vomit, traumatic catheter insertion inside someone’s pee hole and the deceased (of course with respect to confidentiality) in a Christmas celebration day! It can’t be normal right? 

As I have previously admitted before, I have had a good 6 months career break. I have had plenty of opportunities to self reflect. A combination of good days and bad days. But I wouldn’t trade back, not in a million years if someone said to me, ‘here, I give you 6 months on your career progression but don’t take career leave’. I would advise everyone to take it if you have been working continuously for 3-4 years or more.  It’s a different world out here with full control of your own time! You sleep when you want, you wake up when you want, you choose the days you work and make arrangements for your own leave! Without having to call the medical coordinator and your colleagues to discuss and lock down the possible dates 6 weeks in advance and bombarding the consultant’s email for authorizing swapsies.  And here is the thing, you get paid even more for the days you work!  Would it shock you when I say working locum  in this career break by picking up a few shifts, my 8 days normal hour shifts was equivalent to a month’s pay as a trainee (including out of hour night and day on call shifts) while picking my own dates to work! When I didn’t work, I was with my friends, with my family, pursuing hobbies, doing all sorts of things! Of course you do have to think about the deterrent; of choosing your freedom. Which is, you will stay stagnant in your career progression. Part time careers and  career breaks are a bit hit & miss when you enter the cycle but hey, if your objectives and goals in life align near to mine, it is only a minor setback. I can work for 6 months on a contract at a time as long as I know I am still on the route!

Do remember training in the UK as a doctor is long. Longer than anywhere else in the world. There is a big gap in the junior level workforce. Well I don’t doubt training may be made longer in the future to cover these gaps. Oh well, meanwhile a choice of life ‘working locums’ seems to be getting quite popular. And from my experience now, I say for the right reasons. If I am going to be in my late 30s or 40s by the time I become a consultant with the same or even more work load and, with additional responsibilities with a paycheck only a few hundred pounds more than a registrar in training, am I in a hurry to be a consultant anymore? Bearing in mind, I would now have worked almost a decade in training (odd hours, odd shifts, bank holidays and with a lot of sacrifices from my personal life) . The whole system shifting to consultant lead practices will not help the situation either. As it will mean another decades of intensive life  back in the system again like a trainee with bedside and out of hours works. And  with minimal training opportunities for the juniors to practice independently and develop their confidence. Which means more and more secretaries for the ward rounds, none practicing. Like my consultant says, ‘Secretaries can do your jobs better in documenting the ward round word by word then why do we need you people? Learn and practice’. Medicine is all about practice, practice and practice.

Another reason to say ‘of course’ to this lifestyle of locuming is, most of us are at that age, where we do want to travel, create memories of our lives while we still look good in pictures with full set of teeth, full hair on our heads and no incessant tic to filter our crow feet eyes. We want to have at least a small fund to afford deposit on our mortgages and have a start on the property ladder. Pay cuts are continuing to get bigger with increasing workloads. Job is getting more demanding by the day and honestly, getting through the day without sacrificing one’s personal life and mental health has become impossible. Prospect of a career seems like following a  never ending pursuit. Failing training because your training days are swapped with service provision is not acceptable? Doctors on strike, nurses on strike, medical staff on strike. What is an alternative out? With the rate some of us are experiencing burnouts, we won’t reach 66 to get our pensions. Actually by the time we reach 60s who knows what the pension age will be.

I was ambitious when I was young. There were certain time scales by which I was expecting to achieve certain things. These milestones were to gauge myself in respect to my family, friends, peers and the society. I believed back then very naively  life peaks at 30 and that’s it. My race was till 30. I had to be at the height of my career by 30, financially secure and be starting my family…  30 was the time I had to settle and slow down, having worked hard all my teens and twenties. I am in my thirties now! So from here where do I go? 

Policemen, military life; I would never dispute their life is harder than ours. No questions about it. Not even thinking about it. Only respect, respect. But then looking at the other job list, nothing else seems to be popping out of the adverts with 9am-5pm work hours and reasonable pay. Time is money. Value of money is getting smaller every second. Do you ever think, what is your time worth to you versus your employer? At this point of life, I am sure I speak for everybody when I say, we know we are the sheep. Meant to grind all our lives for our bread & butter. 5-6 years of medical school and 4-5 years of training. I am kind of disappointed  that I am restricted with my choices. I am not skilled in any equipment, any machineries, any specific traits for the jobs. I have a degree and that is it. Not that I don’t love the work I do, but wouldn’t it be a good thing to have a talent in something or a skill set? Not necessarily just or for a primary source of earning but also to have a degree of independence, a break of monotonous routine? Brilliant if it also becomes a small stream of  revenue. In the future, I will most certainly encourage my kids to learn building skills, sewing/tailoring skills, electrical/plumbing/ carpentry  or any skills that are universal and are handy in personal lives as well.  I learned how to change a bulb a year ago, taught by a friend. Usually I would have to call the maintenance guy or pay for that. Imagine it is that simple.  I was told all my life to focus on my studies alone, everything else was met by a comment either by Dad/ or Mom ‘If you are not going to be professional on it. There is no point learning it’. I suppose that’s how most Asian parents are. Anyways, should I have the determination and capacity to take the next career break I will most certainly invest it on one of the above. They say you are never old to learn new things. Professionals are really not that far away when You tube is exploding with them. Being in my thirties now makes me realise, even as adults we are still learning new things everyday. This acceptance of reality amplifies respect for the adults I had and have in my life. ‘There are uncertainties. We don’t know everything but we are trying our best’. Kudos to my millennial friends teaching financial freedoms and new ways of life to remaining of us and Gen Z. Thank you Gen X for sharing your life experinces, hacks for daily routines and motivational speeches to us.

It is important for every generations to have mentors and for every child to grow with positive mentors in their life.

Thousands ways to make life simpler and easier, all one click away. Had I looked, had I searched. I felt lost putting down my Stethoscope and going to bed watching same programs on repeat on Netflix, you know. This was definitely a needed break and an eye opener. I don’t feel we appreciate the value of mental and emotional freedom for our personal growths.

So you’re a doc, a foreign cuisine and Corona happened. (Bye bye 2022. With love. Part 3)

8 months ago I started dating this guy who just swept me off my feet. 8 months later, I am without my savings and on a debt. Some I just paid and some will probably take a year to pay off. ‘He is just in a difficult place, he needs some help, some stability in his life so I need to help him’ I kept reasoning myself. And even though there were days  it was very difficult for me to truly accept him for how he is or believe his stories I pushed myself to do so. ‘Thats what a virtuous woman does, she sticks to her decisions and sees it through’. I ignored the small voice in my head constantly whispering  ‘this doesn’t feel right’ and turned blind eye to my sister & my friends warning ‘red flags!’. 

No-one seemed to be accepting of him. I assumed it was the ‘ex’ effect and that it would eventually go away. Both my siblings and friends were fond of my ex so I thought it wasn’t fair on him that he was’t getting any chance to prove himself. 

That day, it was cold and drizzling. I was walking around in a new city tired, hungry and frustrated searching flats to flats for a place to rent on my own. While I was getting to the station, my boyfriend called me. ‘Can you help me pay, my account didn’t work’ he said. A pay for a second time for the same course for which I had transferred him money yesterday? It wasn’t a big amount. But if you added to the amount that had been going out of my account to his since the time we started dating, it added to roughly 14-15k. 

If he had’t made me double pay couple of times before after having transferred him through money already, believing his account was playing up again, maybe I would have let it slide. But despite knowing I needed a month’s rent money in advance with security deposit pay and other fees like agents or moving fees; listening to him be very  invested in getting my money off me still? Was hurtful and insulting. 

I thought I saw him you know. For who he is. And I told myself, if I didn’t who would. I thought he was genuine and I felt it wasn’t fair that he had to put hold on to his ambitions and dreams due to some misfortunes. He said, he lost everything in his business. ‘He has potential, he just needs a chance’. He had no-one of his own to help and I didn’t want him to feel that way and spiral down to being a lost cause; he often said he would stating ‘he had nothing to live for’.  Don’t  have money, don’t have any power either but wanted to be helpful however I could.

More than a year rent of pay. Is it not enough for? I hoped it would buy him some mental peace and space to rethink his situations. Recover, re-boost and turn himself around to a positive direction. Didn’t have it on me so I burrowed. Hoping someday he would be grateful and pay me back as well so I can pay in turn pay the creditors. ‘Can you not talk about money?’ He comments. ‘Can it just be us?’.

How can it be though? When every time he talks, it feels like he is skimming his conversation to ask for more. Paying for his air b&bs or car repairs, burrowed digits have been stagnant for a while, favours continues to climb up steeply. Wouldn’t be surprised what I get in return as burrowed money is the money I spend on finding him accommodation and maintaining his veichle to get to work.

And he calls me ‘crazy’ when I get mad. 

Why wouldn’t I be? I am working on my career break slaving for money.  50£/hr, my colleagues tease  ‘you are now printing your own money’. None of it is staying in my account. It is going to pay his credit, the burrowed money. 

Would you invest as much as I have on a person you have only started dating? Who is homeless, in-between jobs often and keeps running away? I am trying to put a brave face. But I feel at this point I have done everything I could have to stand up for this relationship. I feel stupid. One foolish decision now does impact every avenues of my life.

‘I burrowed him 600£’. 

You didnot!’, my girlfriends had said, the first time I transferred him the triple digits. ‘Tinder swindler’, they asked me to watch that day. And every reunion the same query ‘are you still seeing him? Be careful. He sounds like he is going to be a bad financial decision’.  It’s become a mountain since then and I have remain hushed. 

Should I say, there are women as naive as me out here to you or should I say there are women out here who still believe in building foundations from scratch for relationship. If we survive this, it will be so much better I thought. What is life without love, without passion, without taking risks sometimes…

A lot of things has happened. This year has tested my beliefs, my patience and my life choices. I thank god that at-least I was on my career break! Hahaha. 

I know of people who have lost everything and are starting from scratch. Restaurant owners before, now folding t-shirts in a factory. There is a pride in spending sweat and working hard. One doesn’t recognise value of pennies unless one works for it. Like, one doesn’t recognise value of life unless one is thriving to live for it. 

I suppose he always knew the right words to say. ‘Noone will do what I would do for you’, I suppose I wanted to hear that.

The lesson I learn from here is, don’t. ‘Don’t collect red flags’ like Steve Harvey says. The troubled souls, the broken dreamers. Life is short. Associate yourselves with positive successful people, with happy go getters, in a positive circle. Birds of same feathers flock together.. If you want happiness, you need to be surrounded with similar energy. 

There is no reason to keep proving yourself in a flawed relationship where your partner did have all the chances but never took it. I suppose that’s where women ought to be careful ‘are you lowering your standards by not letting men prove to you their worth first?’.

Anyways finally admitting to myself Italian sweetheart has bankrupt me. Now you know why ‘financial’ stability has become an ‘it’ factor for me too. Leaving him back with 2022 and moving on.

So you’re a doc, a foreign cuisine and Corona happened. (Bye bye 2022. With love. Part 2 )

I suppose in personal life, a major part of what 2022 taught me was, a woman needs to pair up with the other half who is emotionally, intellectually and financially on a similar level as she is. When I mean emotionally; with a similar level of life experiences, maturity and a zest for life. I have realised it is also important to consider whether your partner had a similar upbringing and a background to yours. And I will explain my reasons in the following paragraphs.  Intellectually in a sense, the decision to not date a medical person was entirely up to me so I didn’t expect my partners to know the human body inside and out. But at a level where you can see that there is an understanding and reliability; that  you can trust them with some major decisions that are going to affect both of your lives in the long run. And ‘yes’ financially. Everyone wants their partners to have a stable job that pays them out and allows them to be independent people of their own and yes’, that was an important thing for me as well. But after certain experiences in life like running around London city with 10£ in pocket to last me the whole day, I knew people’s situation changed so it was never an ‘it’ factor for me, up until now. 

At my age, I cannot risk making random decisions anymore. Unfortunately neither do I have time like in my teens to amend those over the years and turn a new leaf. Foolish decisions ‘now’ will impact every aspect of my life. Of Course there is mental health but in the same tug, other areas of  my livelihood; like family & friendships, social status and job prospects will come undone. When I was in my early teens, I used to look at people as ‘old’ not in a bad way, but as someone who is wise, knows who they are, where they stand and what their roles and purpose are; having been through plenty ordeals in their early years shaping and shifting them to their now ‘present’, at pinnacle of their lives. In my thirties now, I know how wrong my thoughts were. In my mind I don’t feel like I have aged at all, from my late teens. I still do stupid things, like commit to a relationship for 8 months with the first guy I met on a dating app. Like that time, I showed up on a photoshoot in london. Or going back  in a relationship for another year with a guy with whom I knew I had no future. Standing in 2023, I feel confident about not repeating those mistakes. At times I lash out, being bitter to the men but ‘hey’ I have moved on. I seem to forget sometimes there was a reason why they were ex’s right? Now, I try to be emotionally corked at all times hahaha. I mean, I am trying to be self aware  how I respond and react to things. I am conscious about where I vest my emotions. In today’s world one needs to be. Heart in your sleeves and you might end up being dead in a gutter, from your mansion down to sleeping bags on streets, behind the prison bars for the crimes you didn’t commit or the commonest of all, being a stepping stone for people looking for easy rides when you are working to your bones. Gold diggers. 

I want to be emotionally mature enough to feel that a girl in me can trust the adult I have become. That she is trustworthy with her decisions without doubts and fears in my mind and, she has thoroughly thought about all the consequences of her actions. That I can be the daughter I was born to be and enjoy my childhood as I was meant to like any child. So I have memories I could laugh about someday looking back. Not having to wake up one day in my thirties and suddenly realising time has left me behind. 

Standing in 2023, I don’t think I will ever be ready to be a mother. Until, I feel confident that I can raise a happy little smart girl, on my own. With no security, no fall back or reassurance needed from anyone else. ‘That I am her mother and I know best for her. And I will do my best’. I don’t think I will be ready, until I am 100% ready to sacrifice my independence and part of life like I watched mother did so. It would be good to have a trustworthy partner and at the same level of emotional maturity to be able to take that responsibility but who am I kidding? The world we live in, from a woman’s perspective, I am only coming across men who have a tag on their forehead written  ‘It’s okay I’ll sow the seeds but I will never be ready for responsibility.’

As a partner, you are either 100% in it or not. You will change diapers as much as I will and you’ll miss your social events as much as I will. If you are not all in on it, I (we- speaking for all women) don’t want your liabilities and lazy ass delta genes. WE will respect you more, if you are honest and open about it in the first instance. At least that way, we had options but we chose it to be that way.

People are in different stages of life. Some never want children. Some are not in that phase to take responsibility. I don’t feel at all that I am there neither.  Of course, so don’t sow your seeds then. Definitely not on a phase, when you are hanging out in pubs 24/7 with your lads, playing games 24/7 with your boys, living cheque to cheque but your clothes cost you more than you can afford and, definitely not when you are jobless. The list goes on and on. It may sound that I am quoting obvious but I don’t think most men nowadays have a clue at all. I don’t know if its the social medias or the construct of the social ideology we live in, people have latest i-phones in their hands but not a bit of common sense, latest technologies but are dumber than ever. Having babies is not fashion, impregnating a woman is not a mark of your manhood; responsibility is commitment, not everyone is built for it. Like look into yourselves, please don’t act 16 on a 30 year old body. You are heading fast forward on your route to becoming a peeping tom and mom’s whispering to their children ‘don’t go near that man baby creep’. Look at yourselves too ladies, there is difference being treated right with gifts and being bought with gifts. Don’t complain about losing your man to second woman if you only married him in first instance for money. For god sake, stop being victims. You make women who actually are victims puke in their throats. Its a hard realisation but grow up, time will only move forward. Soon you will all be 16 on a 70 year old bodies. Wrinkly, cranky and crazy.

So you’re a doc, a foreign cuisine and Corona happened. (Bye bye 2022. With love. Part 1 )

Hello year 2023! I hope you bring health and happiness to everyone around the world. I am grateful to year 2022 for amazing memories with friends and families, for my emotional well being & mental space; to be able to  recuperate and find myself again. As I filled in the diary with a list of resolutions yesterday, I realised I was getting bolder with my ambitions and positively confident of the future; there was almost a moment of ecstasy when I felt for the first time in many years the haze in mind had completely gone. For the past few years, I had been feeling like I was walking just on muscle memories following a repeated routine, like there was a fog in my vision, there was a mental block in my clarity. And irrespective of the days and hours I took to repair my thoughts, to put them in words, to study myself under a magnifying glass, to self heal, to be in-charge again; it felt as though I was patching a leak over and over again. Waking up in the morning of 2023, I feel like a fresh new tire, ready to roll. 

At some point in my life, I started to develop this tradition of reflecting on the last days of the year. Looking back at my last post on the blog, I recalled some conversation I recently had with my parents about the rights of women. ‘It is wrong’, I had said while watching another news report of an Iranian activist walking on the street in protest for abuse against women. ‘You shouldn’t concern yourself with this’, my dad had said. ‘It is wrong. Yes. We all agree there is a culture of domination against women in certain countries but you also have to understand that these women are used to wearing hijabs and to their places at home, mosques and in society. For years. They were in acceptance of the restrictions implied to them. If it is in their religion, you and all people should learn to respect it.’ I didn’t understand why there was a question of respect raised here. I didn’t personally agree I was disrespecting anyone or their religion. So I was commenting to my dad ‘No, I didn’t mean…’

But in the middle of the conversation, my mom stopped me. She said, ‘I hope it works out for them. But compare an arabic woman, Iranian lets say to a western woman here. Decently dressed to one with a piece of rope between their bottoms and walking on the street. She may say, she didn’t intend to grab attention but oh she will. Dressing provocatively like that. Too much freedom, a dress like that if it’s even a dress speaks for itself speaks for her attitude. It makes a woman lose her values. Between those two women, who do you think has my respect? Who do you think I will stop to think again before I say anything or speak to? Religion is respect, it grounds you to society and its values’.Mom I understand that, I am not saying walking naked down in public is okay, I am saying…’ ‘Stop’. Both of my parents  made a face which over the years I have come to understand means ‘no further discussion from here’. When I was a kid, any further from this would have got me some whooping, now I am an adult woman. Still, I keep quiet. 

It’s hard to explain the frustration I felt, the discrepancies I felt of women’s value there, in parts of my country and here. There I used to feel like saying, ‘Oh come on, step up, fight for yourself’; here I feel like saying ‘Oh come on notch it down a little’. I was not surprised mom shut me down, but a little disappointed that she did. When she taught me my whole life, never back down what you believe in. Without saying, ofcourse, how you dress matters. But one should be able to wear whatever one is comfortable with. It would be nice to walk in shorts without having 1000 eyes on you when it’s hot and sweaty and sticky inside pants and it’s 29/30 degrees outside. Everyone has legs, it is only legs. I have just recently got back from my holiday in Nepal. Not that I didn’t know, but it hits different. Re-acknowledging the truth of how different people’s attitudes are in the world there and here. I wouldn’t feel safe walking alone at 8pm there. Here with our work rota, I used to have to walk 2am in the middle of night at home. And it still felt safer than there honestly.

Half an hour down 2023, Ukraine has been attacked by Russia, miles and miles away. While most people in most countries are at home enjoying a feast, young adults are hanging out at pubs and teens are partying at the clubs; nuclear weapons are being tested and military troops are getting organised somewhere else. An impending doom is looming over everyone’s head ,‘world war 3 is coming’ like Trump says. It has been a constant hum on the background in our routine lives for most part of 2022 I suppose. I hate what these world leaders are doing but again, wasn’t it inevitable? Looking at how the world was running for many years? There was a power play, mostly on one side. Scavenging for resources. Like every force in nature, balance needs to be restored and eventually nature will find a way.  It is sad, for humans, they are their own predators. Knives, Bombs and guns. Only humans can slaughter millions of themselves in one go. A rampaging elephant could have only murdered 5-6 people at most. She has found her perfect tool. Although wouldn’t you say, did hail plenty fury on us this year? With floods & droughts, wildfires, earthquakes and storms. Videos of the great blizzard of 2022, Buffalo New york are still circulating. Hope and pray, she calms down. And 2023 will see none of those.

AS for the war, it should not be the way to go ahead. But I salute men who have lost their lives for their countries. I salute even Putin for standing in his corner. There is honour and pride. Maybe this is military blood on me. But the world will hate him and Zelenskyy like I will, if we lose our lives & our loved ones all around the world because countries of 2 leaders could not come to an agreement in their dispute of a territory and could not shake their backs off & free their hands off the puppet masters. Ego is not the same as pride. Especially after the years we had in 2020 and 2021!

Restrictions are again being imposed by numerous countries on international travellers from China where cases of COVID have rapidly risen again after Covid quarantine & rules were lifted in the country. After 3 years of lockdown. Cannot believe how people there were coping with it? If you have followed my diary, without a doubt you know, I was in shambles.  It was sad watching updates on social media platforms showing people screaming out from their windows in apartments from one block to another, the drones constantly hovering around on the watch, people being forced to still remain inside. Thought finally it was getting over and here we go… Good news is ‘living with covid policy’ seems to be working here in the UK. Even with patients in hospital admission, most of those who have tested positive are usually incidental. I am more worried of a flu than COVID now. Honestly 🙂

So you’re a doc, a foreign cuisine and Corona happened (2 faces of same coin)

People are scared of the word ‘feminist’. They find the word to be very political and tend to stay away as much as they can. To be honest, I was no where near comfortable with the word myself in the beginning, till I started understanding it and embracing it myself. Yes, people might use the word variably implying different meanings, some are positive and some are negative. My understanding of it remains, that I, a woman, be treated in equal standings as to my male counterpart/ counter sex in my roles as an employee, at home and in my contributions to the community. That ‘I’ be not confided in my station as a house keeper, a wife or a mother and, be given equal opportunities as my brothers and male friends to showcase my talent, to prove my worth in world out there to be able to earn for myself my name, my honour and my status; irrespective of the name I inherited from my family or added by virtue of my marriage.

We were designed specifically by nature as men and women to be different in our capabilities and that is a solid scientific truth. We differ in our physical builds, physical stamina & strengths, emotional & nurturing attributes and many other things by make of our variance in our chromosomes; as XY for males and XX for females. I am petite and of small frame. If I even utter a single word called a ‘feminist’ my brothers and my male friends laugh jokingly, ‘Here’ they say, ‘lift these weight‘ pointing to 30kg dumbells ‘equality at work, work division’. Now, if I try hard, I can definitely lift those on occasions but not everyday, it definitely would not be a job suited for me. There are exceptional women out there who do it with no problem but I am speaking about majority of us. And I guess, here is where everyone is missing the point. Equality is putting someone at a platform where one is adjusted to a position keeping in consideration of all the abilities and skill set one possess while also keeping in mind where they might lack. In this case of dumb bells, I lack on physical strength. My skill would perhaps be more useful in other areas. Like hospitality. By virtue of nature, women are blessed with more comforting appeal. Most companies, on their front row for their customer service prefer women for this reason.

Some of my strong feminist friends may have a problem when I state, ‘I feel comfort & security at my father, brothers or boyfriend’s presence’. ‘You are independent woman, you should be able to defend yourself. Look after yourself, you don’t need a man’, they might say. ‘We don’t need a man’, that is correct. ‘In life one doesn’t need to need anyone. One chooses to have one. Family, a society’. There are people living out there all alone by themselves choosing to have no one. I will not deny for the sake of it, to my hardcore feminist friends, who I feel have clouded the definition; that I do have a natural predilection to feel safe in a masculine presence. Not necessarily a beast of a person, but someone who is stronger than me. And as far as I know, this is a joint feeling of most girls/women I have come across including my educated, self sufficient, strong headed, women in career friends.

For what we lack in physical strengths, we as women contribute as more emphatic individuals, as resilient other halves and on fostering emotional securities with our partners, with our children and in our communities. There are jobs where we are able to contribute equally and there are jobs where our counterparts might outperform us or we might out perform them. Feminism is understanding these differences, receiving equal treatment in terms of ‘the equality’ I talked about earlier.

When I talk about feminism, I am requesting to be equally valued for the sweat I put on the table like my male colleagues. That I be paid equally for equally valued work. That I be considered for career opportunities as well without someone whispering ‘oh shite’ learning that I am at prime reproductive age and knowing my plans for pregnancy. That I be not treated as ‘no good deal’, when I try to come back to work having lost months/years on child care. That I am at least given an opportunity to hone again on my skills, to prove myself and to be back on my career track. That my husband listens and respects my decision as much as I respect his and my contributions to our economic stability is as considered as important as his. That he values our times and our effort together in raising our children with no fuss on who does the dishes and who cooks food every night. And that in community, I am respected for my beliefs, for my values and I am allowed to exercise my freedom/ my rights as I see fit just as my other half is entitled to. That I be treated as equal citizen like the equal tax contribution I make every year.

Researches have shown men have higher suicide rates than women in majority of countries. By exercising domain over women culturally and religiously, our societies fails to see the pressure it is putting in our men. On our fathers, husbands, bothers and sons; who are expected to be the providers of the family. Working beyond hours, their muscles aching with fatigue, sleepless nights. There is no where else for them to vent their problems. They are expected to portray these strong characters at all times like they have it all under control, when inside they are falling apart. Needless to say, domestic violence is one of the consequences of these outburst of emotions, of failures of their unmet personal needs and compulsion to meets with standards of expectations the society outlines for them. Sharing that responsibility of economic burden and the decision would help them ease on their duties while making us ‘the women’ feel more empowered and more liable for our decisions. Would it not be a win-win situation.

‘A woman that is not happy, is a home that is broken’, the saying goes. I won’t say there aren’t women living in comfort of their lavish life style given by their husbands, only a minority; at the same time, there are women out there who want to read, to work and find their independence. To each their own. I will certainly say, a woman that works has less problem to discuss when you are home from work. Hahahaha 😉 . Same goes for a man, by the way. ‘Idle mind is a devil’s workshop.’ Anyways, my point is ‘Feminism’ is power that gives women a choice to make their own decision about themselves, about their life. To be and to stand as an equal in eye of law, in her position in the family, in the community and in the world. It is not about dominance or exercising power, or saying I am genetically superior than you, it is about accepting that we are equal halves. That we should contribute equally, that our problems are shared and not yours alone. That we are two wheels of same cart or the two faces on one coin. So we belong together not on division.

So you’re a doc, a foreign cuisine and Corona happened (Never ending)

My heart bleeds out watching footages of what is happening in Iran right now. Watching news of thousands of women, men and children brutally murdered in their fights for basic human rights of gender equality. #MahsaAmini (hashtag) is now circulating all over the internet with people from all over the world voicing their solidarity for the ongoing revolution. The wake of the movement that now floods the mountains & deserts , every nooks and corners of Iran began with death of a young woman named ‘Mahsa Amini’, allegedly whilst in custody of morality police who enforce a ‘dress code’ of wearing a veil; having found her hijab did not cover enough of her hair! Can you believe it?

Here I was discussing about rights of women to abortion a few posts earlier. Forget about rights of abortion. There are 2 persons involved in making of the embryo. If the product in your womb is a contribution of emotionally immature sexist bigot, even in today’s day and age, you are destined to lose that fight. You no longer have autonomy of control to what happens to your womb anymore in some countries. According to The New York times published on 08/11/22, at least 13 states have now banned the law of the constitutional rights to abortion in US… As women, we have lost so much control to our basic rights that even hair? Like letting down your hair down and not keeping it covered is a crime? That you could be sentenced to death for it? What can be so atrocious and sexually promiscuous about one’s hair? How can a woman be indecent on just showing it? I don’t understand.

I have grown up in belief that hair is a woman’s ornament. My grandmother used to say, ‘thick black and long hair, that is all you need to feel beautiful.’ A fresh flower in her hair bun at least every other day, is my memory of her face. ‘Do not ever cut it’, she used to tell me. You can trim it but do not cut it’. She wasn’t happy when my mom cut off my curls of rough rusty blackish brown hair when I was little, in a hope to grow it black. ‘Hair is woman’s ornament’ she said ‘you have taken that away from her’. Is it that all Iranian women now need to shave their heads and walk bald to make sure that their beautiful lushes don’t fall off on a show from their hijabs? What’s the next step. Do not keep your nails as well? One should be given a choice at least. Hair is a part of woman’s beauty. Compelling it to be forcefully hidden, I feel, is an ultimate dominance upon women kind. Does Iranian law have these restriction for men as well? Not just scalp, but beard and moustache included? In western world, hair industry is multi million business!

I donot think what is now happening in Iran is getting enough international coverage. I feel it is at these times our social celebrities like desperate house wives of wherever and kardashians, that the world looks up at as goddesses of feminine energy should step up. Step up their games, with their thousands of the followers to get the attention it deserves. Would really help instead of catty dramas 😅🙄 World now needs these women of influence and power. To stand at the platform to speak for women who have no voice.

It seems like a never ending circle. I don’t know how the world comes around to it again and again. You need your other half to complete your family, a part of circle of your life. A woman gave you birth. I am sorry if you never received a nurturing woman’s love as a mother, a sister or a wife. Had you have it, you would have understood their pain. And now your taking it out against every woman out there, driving terror and acting on madness. I am a spiritualist, not a religious person per se. But I know there is a name in every book of faith and religion for a beings like that, that is restless, in rage and lustful in bloods & vengeance against humanity; they are called ‘demons’. And there is a special place for them I am told, in the place of justice that sees right from wrong, a wolf from the sheeps and I hope, I pray for all the lives lost in these revolutions, for peace of their souls; that you rot in there, that you burn in never ending fire of eternal flame and you feel in each fibre in your body the pain you have inflicted to those you have depraved of love, family and even basic minimal rights of freedom a human born in this earth is entitled to.

#Mahsa Amini

Reign of the Queen ( so you’re a doc, a foreign cuisine and Corona happened)

After more than 70 years of reign on the throne, Elizabethan era has now come to an end with demise of her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II at the age of 96, on September 8th 2022. Her successor Prince Charles has been crowned the new monarch with the title King Charles III as the head figure of the United kingdom and 14 other common wealth countries.

King Charles III has been stated to be the oldest king to ascend the throne in British history, which reflects well on late Queen’s good health, enthusiasm and dedication to her duties of the crown. 10 days of mourning period was announced for the nations to grieve their loss and bid their farewells. In good words. In words where her subjects sang of the pride and elegance she held herself with, of the smiles she brought in each of their homes supporting and encouraging them to stand for unity, with a face of a mother in soft spoken & polite voice but never faltering addresses to the world representing her people and the crown; as a force to be reckoned with.

She did well’, my mom said. And I nodded my head. In some ways, for us, she is a loss not only of a monarch of the lands but of a figure ‘the women in us’ look up to. In a world where we know how little our lives as women can make an impact and is valued, she stood like a burning flame of a mythical bird phoenix. Had their been a male heir on line of descent, she would have never succeeded the throne either at the time. She embraced her role. Needless to say, did it very well.

Prince Charles III does seem to have a big shoe to fill in with his royal image. Especially with his history with late Princess Diana and Prince Andrew still on public image as sex offender. ‘That happened under her rule. Can she have done something more?’, my friend is not so impressed of the hymns being sung . ‘I don’t know,’ is my answer. ‘Not every criminals are born to felons. Sometimes despite nurturing homes, despite royal status’. There is a big public scrutiny over every royal family members of the link. On that note, I am impressed by District court of New York. ‘No one should be above the law. ‘

‘Why are you in the kitchen? You are going to burn it down’. My mom used to say every time she saw me in our kitchen. To be fair in her part, I am someone who even burns tea. As in I’ll put something in stove, half an hour down the line, there is no sight of me and the vapour has evaporated, the residues of tea has stained yet another pot and I am on scrub duty for another half an hour.‘You have other things to do’, she would say. Always.

To this day I don’t know how to cook properly. I swear, until now when I go home, my sister packs me food of 3-4 days worth and sometimes, even takes days off or clears her schedule to grind in the kitchen for me. Hey! I can cook some things. But they just wouldn’t have me in the kitchen and, it has sort of become a tradition now to ‘scare’ me away as soon as I am spotted. Like they do to crows in my country when one spots in veranda as a bad omen.

‘You don’t need to learn this’, mom often said watching me paying attention to how she knits. ‘These are for people who don’t have work’. Used to watch grandma make mats out of maize corn covers. Imagine how cool it would have been, had I learnt. ‘Shoo shoo’ mom would flap her hands about motioning me to go away.

A woman’s life is very hard. You need to be able to stand up for yourself, go out in the world and make yourself a name & money. Go study. I am sure you have lot to do’- Mom

‘For you to be a successful my dear’ said one of my aunts. ‘Either you have to be a very beautiful or a very smart girl. Nothing in the middle would work. Anything average, you have to commit to average life of marriage & family. Days goes by and aspirations too then. To rise from it, you have to hustle everyday from now.’

Dad supported moms decisions. Coming from the environment they were raised where girls worked mostly on fields and were spoken for, for their first cousins by the age of 12 or 13. Their support was enormous. They prioritised our educations. ‘Anything that is best’, he used to say. One can never underestimate an image of a father in a patriarchal society. Having a husband, a presence of masculine energy in the household; name alone despite physical absentee offers a big emotional security to a woman and her family to plough through their days. This is a society where identity of a man grounds her & her children’s into a box that labels ‘socially acceptable.’ And this was a harsh reality both my dad and mom ensured ‘me and my sister’ knew from the very beginning.


When you seek husbands remember -A character of a man comes from virtues he was taught & from the environment he was raised at. Same is with girls. There is a saying in our village, a poor man’s daughter looks good by her face. A wealthy man’s daughter is good by her name. Choose the right man.’

It is confusing at times. The emphasis Mom seems to be putting now, on our success to be determined by the husband we’d land for ourselves when they raised us since we were kids as though we were boys, being reminded on multiple occasions our femininity makes us weak and we had to fight to be strong & independent to defend our lives and our rights as a human, as a wife and a mother someday. Shouldn’t our value be determined by what we have achieved so far than our partner’s social status? I am a little disappointed.

Nobody chooses a wrong partner because they want to. Mistakes happen. Divorce is okay. Single mom can raise children as well and do it right. You raised us almost by yourself you should know’. I speak gently trying to slowly ease her biggest fear that we might become single mothers and a ridicule target of society. ‘A house needs a man’s roof, protection & decision. I am not saying a woman is not capable but …’, Mom says.

Being raised under roof of strong men and women, I will not argue gender roles. A child needs both. By nature, we simply don’t have amenities to stand up to being both dad and mom in one. However, my mom comes from days when women endured a lot, including domestic violence and abuse from their partners because they were financially dependent on their husbands, had no means to get away and were forced to persist in loveless marriage by society. As strong headed as she is, she does have a unconscious bias having seen it as a norm that to an extent it is still normal and it is acceptable. Why?

‘Commitment speaks of your values, establishes you as a person of your word. That means something’. She says.

Ofcourse. And won’t we be lucky then. But there is a word called toxic relationship’.

In many parts of world including where I was raised, women are underprivileged solely because of the gender bias. A dowry is higher for a daughter who has more education and a job than those without. I would not be able to afford a husband in those communities. What good is relationship and partnership when it is signed before its birth with money?

‘It’s not easy. A woman’s life. And they will never let you have it easy either. So you should be your biggest ally. Only accept help when you need to. No shame in asking others for help. But a favour received is favour owed. Always hold your head high. If you have your reasons, if you are right, you hold your grounds no matter what.’

I do hope I have inherited some of my mother’s strengths and pray, none of her peculiarities. I do hope I also find a partner who supports & respects my decisions and stands for our ground together even though it meant turning down /fighting against the privilege he was blessed with. In my eyes, that would be a biggest sacrifice. I watch my dad cook and clean and it warms my heart. His friends would tease him saying ‘here you are being a house wife again’, but he never let it go to his head. I won’t say, he is an ideal of what every woman should expect but a quality in a person, who is thoughtful enough to say, ‘I can share the work and this is both our job’ is something everyone of us, every woman wants. There is a word called ‘conformity’ I came across in psychology. It is tendency of an individual to try to fit in the society. Not necessarily a bad thing, we are after all social animals. But I feel this nature drives a majority of men to believe that they are inherently superior beings to the other sex, authority and violence is therefore acceptable; and women to believe, they are condemned to this treatment.

Anyways, steering back to role of Queen in my life… In some ways, I have always been thankful to my dad’s recruitment into the army under her reign ; with her face in every coins they held in their hands. These weren’t silver coins alas that they traded for freshly pressed razor sharp bank notes in a bamboo woven trays. But, these were keys. To every locked door my mom closed down because of her insecurities. These were keys to her confidence in a new era where her daughters would indeed work shoulder to shoulder with men and be accepted not just for how they look or how much handy they were with household chores but for their skills & talents. Their heels here would never be sorely cracked or the palms be dry and roughened working on fields/labouring in factories trying to put food on table for the young. These were the keys she was always praying for, to the world of the Queen where she saw no daughters will ever be caged of their dreams and of the opportunities they wished they had. No, it wasn’t perfect. Oh the world is so far from being perfect for her daughters, but at least here she had strong hope. ‘My daughters will some day work in an office with people on fancy white shirts, they will have enough money to pay their own bills & buy their own houses. They will walk down the halls, down the roads with their heads held in pride while the world looks at them with respect, ‘look those are Mrs … daughters’, they will say. And they will be married to these men with most beautiful souls who will always keep them happy. ‘


Oh dear… (So you’re a doc, a foreign cuisine and Corona happened)

So, my mom just recently returned from Nepal. She had flew off to the country as soon as the borders were open to travelling following COVID shut down and managed to secure herself a long awaited vacation by herself in peace without dad and us constantly nagging her in the background. As a souvenir she had brought us some waiwai noodles that we absolutely love and 4 gutted water frogs with their half open mouths and outstretched hands & legs that were completely sun roasted with their skin melted to their skeletons. She appeared very smug as she showed it to us holding them by legs almost as one would hold hot dog on a stick and passed it to me. I will be honest, they did appear crispier than a pork jerky but still had quite raw expressions of horrifying moment of death they were preserved at. Not realising in her moment of triumph that we have never seen this, she looked at us in disbelief and said ‘its hard to get these!’.

I had always wanted to try frog legs ever since I saw it in one of the episodes on ‘Travel and living’ channel. Apparently it is one of the French delicacies and is quite popular too as street foods in Asia like in Vietnam. YouTube bloggers who had it for first time compare it to being close to chicken but more juicy and delicious. Unfortunately this memory of mom showcasing her mummified frogs might have put me off from attempting to have that experience. I am pretty sure she was the hunter herself. Mom is opportunistic. Four is just too less of a number for her to buy. Makes me wonder, what kind of other adventures did she have in the village. She promises, they will never end up on our meals. I doubt so. There seems to be one for each one of us. I wouldn’t trust her words. It took me a couple of weeks to find out she has been filling my water bottles with snail water drinks. Apparently some one told her, ‘it is very healthy for gut’. She is the woman who was trying to buy 1 litre bottle of rhino pee from the Zoo determined to bribe the keepers having heard ‘it is being sold’ and ‘it has great health benefits’.

I remember once, coming home and finding grandma standing on our veranda also sun roasting one of the biggest slugs I ever seen in my life. It was pierced in so many directions with tooth picks, god bless, because she couldn’t find bigger skewers… Doesn’t surprise me, my mom is this way. Although it would be great not to have frogs, snail water as drinking water or rhino pee on a soup but hey what can one do right? But again if one of the chefs from lets say one of the high end French restaurants served me ‘would I say No?’. I don’t know.

No. I haven’t had slugs. I have had snails- as a cuisine. And honestly that was great. Hadn’t tried sea foods before until I came to the UK as Nepal is a landlocked country and, some other things. On that note, you never ask for a ‘beef momo’, you ask for ‘buff momo’ in Nepal. ‘Buff’ as in ‘Buffalo meat’ is quite commonly consumed. Please don’t ever ask for cow meat there.

We were laughing one day talking about these experiences about my mom’s weird habit with my close friend when her mom too admitted to her that when her and her sister were little and suffered from constipation, she would go to the old palace ruins to pick up slugs in Nepal. That would later be dried and their powder mixed into their soups. ‘It worked‘, she said. I guess it is not just my mom then, looking for home remedies. Similar to that story, one of my patients in her 80’s recently told me, when she was young and suffered from terrible constipation her mom would tear a cotton cloth, put a soap in it, soak it in the water and give her an enema. ‘It worked’, she said too.

I don’t know what works and what doesn’t to be honest. We can’t go on researching every myths they have out there, can we? Have you heard of all the things people have been doing for home remedy of COVID past years? My uncle and aunt apparently turmeric drinks were great to get rid of the virus. Listening to their story coming from Mom, I am not sure whether their COVID symptoms was severe diarrhoea or it was the concentrated turmeric drink they were taking for their symptoms that was making them go back and forth? Honey drink, tea and hot drinks I can understand. They have soothing effect on sore throat and help expectorate cough. Advised the same to my siblings when they had COVID and I could literally hear my mom roll her eyes in its bony vaults over the phone all the way from Nepal. ‘You don’t know what you are talking about’ she remarked. I wonder if it is a shared problem with every doctor’s in the world or just mine, my family members never seem to take my medical advice. If they did, mom wouldn’t be carrying dead frogs across the oceans in her luggage right?

Anyways, ‘People are drinking alcohol to fight with COVID. It is an antiseptic. So… ‘ A small glass of whiskey everyday on a supposedly based medical recommendation? I know where she is going with it. ‘There are herbal sprays and powders that you put in nose that gets rid of COVID even when you are just starting to develop symptoms’. ‘I don’t want you stuffing anything in your nose again Mom’, I tell her off appearing stern, reminding her of the time when I came back home to find her puffed with a swollen face- nose, mouth and eyelids salivating from one end of her mouth. There was a herbal product called ‘Nos’ in Nepal, I don’t know if it is still circulating around. Both my mom and aunt trialled it to help with their sinusitis problems. You take a sniff of it (reminded me of cocaine addicts they showed on TVs when they did it) and after some time, you start having excess nasal drainage. I don’t know what happened after few days, I swear she looked like the frozen sun-roasted toad she is showing me now.

I feel for people who are now suffering from long COVID symptoms who are desperate to try anything including and not limited to complementary medicines. A lot of our modern day antibiotics and treatment are a discovery or at least in part a derivative of these ancient practices. They have proven benefits in many cases however I would advise caution with any use. I read there are extensive frauds going on trying to sell a miracle cure for COVID, scamming thousands of people. One needs to be really careful in today’s day and age. My dad was at the bank while on the phone with a scammer about to transfer money!! From our last conversation about COVID medications, monoclonal antibodies called Ronapreve (casirivimab & imdevimab combination) has been now removed from treatment guidelines since it was found to be less effective against omicron variant which remains the dominant variant today with its BA.5 variant leading in numbers and some BA.4 variant cropping here and there. Paxlovid has been introduced a while ago which is a combination of Nirmatrelvir & Ritonavir in oral formulation. And I read, both Molnupiravir and Paxlovid are both being studied now under RECOVERY trial. Similarly stem cell therapies is other avenue that is being looked into.

I have now come out of training and do only part time shifts now and then to keep afloat on my rent and expenses. So I have to be honest, I have not and will no longer be keeping track of COVID while on my ‘career break’. I haven’t yet travelled. Thanks to my poor judgement on expenses on romantic and life decisions. Hahaha. Finally got myself a ticket. ‘Is covid still going around in Nepal?’ I asked her as soon as I got the confirmation email. ‘No one is scared of Corona anymore. Its Dengue in Kathmandu all over now. Make sure you are fully clothed top to bottom and carry insect repellents’.

‘Oh dear…’

You do You (So you’re a doc, a foreign cuisine and Corona happened)

So, on my last visit, my dad said to me ‘when you go back to Nepal, would you give a call or have a chat with our neighbour’s son who is also a doctor. I met his father and we had a talk. I said, I will let you know. You also know him. I think he was a few years senior to you.’

‘No, I don’t’. I replied, cautiously and also a bit surprised because it has been quite a while since any of my parents wanted me to meet someone. I did drop a hint some months earlier when I was with my ex that I might be dating someone outside our nationality and/or race. Mom wasn’t so keen to listen more after that but Dad sounded quite open minded at the time. ‘As long as this person is hard working, trust worthy and is a family person’, he had said. And oh boy was I glad at the time, cause honestly he ticked all the boxes.

‘Why don’t you give him a call?‘ I said to my sister, who is 2 years younger than me. Currently in a relationship with her long-term boyfriend of 6 years, also Nepalese. ‘Dad said you’, she replied ‘and you are older’.But you keep asking me to fix you with doctors, here is your chance’, I insisted. ‘Whoever it is, I have said my daughter will keep in touch’. My dad answered putting a pause to our conversation. ‘He comes from a good family’. He said.

My sister looked at me and winked suggesting one of us should probably take the chance. Of course at this point we are not too serious to actually be invested on it, but unlike other times when we would absolutely be deterred by the conversation of finding a husband, this time we are not. Dad seems to have taken it as a positive hint and was quite glad he brought up the topic at right time when both of us were in the room. Sort of like, he was giving us the opportunity to speak up now if we were seeing anyone as potential partner. She was quite. My sister and boyfriend both haven’t introduced themselves to each other’s family and it is difficult to explain ‘but there are certain things’, that might make them both fail on their parent’s checklist, only a Nepalese would understand. And of course I was quite myself. A little relieved I suppose that my parents don’t know nothing about my previous relationship. Otherwise they would be hammering me constantly on talking about details and questioning on my decisions.

I didn’t take the name. But I did say to myself, ‘why not? No harm in talking right?’. Who knows, I might land in Nepal today and get married the next week. They say ‘marriage is in written in hands. When it happens, it happens.’ One of my best friends recently got engaged after just knowing the guy for few months. ‘You know how it is, we are from same culture and tradition. We understand each other, we know our expectations, our values match and we had a connection’, she said. I understand. I completely understand, now more than ever. Although I did comment ‘I still think it was too soon.‘ One of my friends who was brought up in UK but had a Turkish ancestry said, ‘I value my family and family life. I have so many cousins and extended family. It would be nice if she could be a part of it as well. If she was from other nationality with different beliefs, she would feel displaced at home.’

Problem is, it is like finding a needle in haystack, searching for someone who is your absolute fit. I will say, I did look into dating sites hoping to find an Asian match but there were more European faces than Asians! And ones that did have inclusively Asian population looked far too strict with their beliefs and criteria. And also sort of felt like, if you did start to speak to a person, you should absolutely be committed to the relationship. Be ready with a garland on your hand because soon you are going to be Missus from Miss… I don’t know why it gave me a little chills, I should be fine with that right? Because so far my dating history has been, ‘Go to a date and Woah! committed! My dating app doesn’t even last a week. Here 3 years for you, yeah am fine with ongoing 4 months with you.’

‘Don’t pick the first bag you see when you go shopping!‘ Mom says. Either I am being very lucky finding what I exactly want right away or I got problems.

‘Of course he wants me. He has been with so many girls. And now he knows, I’m a good girl and I make a good wife. But I feel like, I jumped too fast in this relation. I haven’t dated other people. I don’t know and I don’t think I’ll ever know if there is other person somewhere meant to be for me’. My friend vented her insecurity. ‘I don’t want to make a wrong decision. But its too late. Don’t jump in a committed relationship girl. I am telling you from experience’.

It seems like we are all worried about ‘making wrong decisions now days than deciding on our feelings. Would you blame us? ‘Everyone is traumatised at our age’, my other friend commented. ‘Something in their past, something from their previous relationship. I don’t know. Honestly I’d rather be alone. I am a modern woman yes but I also have traditional values. I want a man to be still a man, to make me feel protected, provide for me, be strong so that I feel feminine at least sometimes. I like being a woman. But the way it is going looking at my dates, they want me either to be their mother. I should have more or stable salary for them so they can take rest or not even work & support them financially. I am expected to cook and clean after I come back from my shifts while they sit on sofa and enjoy TV. On top of being a wife. Listening to them vent out constantly 24/7, support their mental health issues. Look pretty, keep the romance alive when they don’t even try. And that is if they even want kids. The idea of responsibility just knocks them out. And in case if they do, there’d be one more big baby I’d have to take care of. It’s all about them. What about us? Honestly all I need is a sperm donor. Even if I am in a relationship, he’d free to go out and have fun. It’d be just for a name sake.’

I suppose the conversation did take a little dark turn after sometime. Although I did kind of started laughing remembering Southpark Season 20 where Eric Cartman has this theory about ‘men being used to milk semen and write jokes in mars’ by women. Watch it. It’s very funny and that’s quite a dark sense of humor but looking at how situation is going on, I do agree most men and women, at least our age seem to be carrying out a lot frustration against each other.

We all got issues and we all got responsibilities. How much of your issues am I willing to make mine, depends on how much I am going to vest my energy on you? And how much will you vest on me? Of course one end is always shorter but to what extent? I look back sometimes and remember 2:00am calls walking at night from work to home. He was sleepy but he always wanted me to make a call. I suppose his end was always shorter but I did try too from my end. I did take 4 hours trains walking from stations to stations alone by myself after work hours, putting alarms in between so I don’t doze off and miss stations.

I guess what we all are looking for, is that right person our heart and soul truly wants to hold on to. And a reciprocation of effort. That men and women now days and our age, honestly are too scared to put. Without reciprocation, it only becomes an energy draining process.

There is a very good video circulating now in Instagram from Teal Swan where she says, ‘For people who have a hard time with boundaries and for people who call themselves empaths its actually the same childhood experience. It’s that in childhood you’ve got an unpredictable adult. And that, unpredictable adult whether you’re consciously aware of it or not, presents enough of a risk to you that you have to be hyper attuned. Because every move they make or don’t make , has some implication for yourself. So what a lot of people don’t like learning about emapths is that because of this traumatic type of childhood experience they learn how to pay hyperattention or hyper attune to anything in room that is not ok. That’s why you are never gonna meet somebody who’s got this thing who’s like ‘you know, I just love being around people, because I feel amazing,’. Cause they’re gonna walk in room and instead of attuning to person who is happy, they are gonna attune to the person who’s got the issue. Because that’s where the risk is. In case you wanna know why empaths always feel like crap. That’s why’.

I wonder if my choice are subconsciously skewed as well. Maybe I too have an empath personality that makes me attuned to looking at faces with stories. One forgets survival often comes with traumas. When I had first joined a dating app, I started chatting with this lovely guy who after a couple of days, called me crying, barely breathing saying he felt very depressed and he didn’t know what he was going to do that day.

Wonder if the answer is, we don’t look for someone like us. We look for someone opposite in personality. Someone that balances us out in some ways. I was very happy in my relationship with my ex. Despite our issues. Till this niggling feeling came around whispering ‘Is he really the one?’ And of course later came the major things I could no longer over look. Normally I would make my decisions with my heart and my brain. I have always been very cautious person all my life. But 4 months ago when I went on a date, I went by with an impulse. I did really feel maybe I did meet my match. ‘Take a chance’, I said to myself. Now I wonder whether it was the empath in me and I question whether I was really ready to be in a new relationship.

He will use you and leave you the second he is back up on his feet’, my friend warns me.

I absolutely adore this person. This person, I am dating. He is so smart, I can’t even understand half the things he says. He has been through so much, but he is still trying to do his best. He is strong, is a fighter, dreamer but he is lost at a difficult place. I am trying to be here for him as much as I can. But when he calls me from the pub at 02:00am from some place out of my reach talking about how he hates his life, sending me one or two words message only now and then between few hours, keeping me awake and anxious for his safety; I don’t know. I worry, I hope he doesn’t drive but when I hear women giggling on the background; honestly I don’t know. ‘Leave him’, I recall my friends say. For some reason, they all disapprove of him but the empath in me is reluctant to let go. A voice in me takes his side and says, ‘they don’t understand what he is going through, you know it well’. But when he tells me, ‘you had a very sheltered life didn’t you?’. I am speechless. I don’t deny it, I did. But he doesn’t talk to me because he doesn’t think I’ll understand. He is bitter, for some reason bitter to me.

In some ways I am a little worried now of my choices. What if I am predisposed without second doubt to pick up on certain personalities of people all steps of my life? I’d rather be alone. To protect my emotional health. To avoid emotional rifts coming my way, everyday. As one of patients said ‘All my friends got married. Some of them settled. I did not want to settle. Life is too short‘. I am scared. Scared shit! Apologies for the language. But how long do you stay scared for. At some point, you got to take a chance. For now, its a gamble. May be this is beginning of our love story or a start to another. Who knows? 😉 At least one thing is certain, I will no longer wait on things to happen waiting for my boyfriend/ partner to make his way on our plans. I will no longer look back and miss on the days I couldn’t attend the parties, the night outs, or the movie times. I will never miss out on ‘me’ time anymore because I am no longer a kind of person who invests too much on relationships. NO. I will keep living my life and keep my focus on life goals, if our plans align ‘you are welcome’. If not; Ciao, Adios!

Question is NOT ‘are you right for me?’. Question is, ‘Are YOU right for me?’

So you’re a doc, a foreign cuisine and Corona happened (August is here. )

(August late post)

So August is here. Most of us had have our end of year evaluations and managed to pass out with flying colours. I did gloriously too with a little help of ‘Covid derogations’ application. Which basically means, some of the tick boxes I did not achieve this year did not not hold me back from progressing to next year because it was assumed that part of the training was affected by the pandemic. Example getting a certain number of clinics for the given year. Since a majority portion of our outpatient appointments are still functioning as only essential slots to avoid face to face contacts which would mean less learning opportunities for us.

Some have managed to find hospital accommodations to live in by now, some of the junior docs are still probably looking for mates to share a flat or the house. Hopefully still not living B&B to B&B or couch surfing at friend’s dragging a massive plastic bag of clothes living a hobo life. Lets see; a PJ, a blanket, a towel and 2-3 days of work uniforms? Sounds about right. Lets lump it all aside in one corner, everything in place just a few fumble away in a plastic bag. When you finish a row of night shifts at one hospital on the 2nd of August and are expected to work the same day for the next placement in an entirely new setup in a different hospital on the 2nd; you will be doing that too. But, worry not my friends. Soon you’ll have days when you will be sitting on a fancy restaurant on a fancy outfit having a fancy meal on your hard earned pay check.

ARCP as in ‘the end of year evaluation’ of trainees usually happens on last weeks of June or first few weeks of July. Nothing really to worry about if one is keeping in track with their portfolio and ticking checks left and right on number of cases, procedures, feedbacks and so on. But can be quite a struggle if you are not determined enough to sit down and work on it between or after shifts or have a dedicated few hours at least once a week just allocated to it. In a way for doctors in training in UK, we breathe our life in and out around our ‘portfolios.’ It is evidence to show career progression and without proof on it to back the competency levels, no one will pass the year.

‘Portfolio’ is quite a work. From my experience, more when you are new to the hospital environment; especially when you are new to the training system. It really helps if you are an extrovert and have great people skills but that does not mean introverts won’t get anything done. It will take you a little longer time to catch up on pace but you’ll get there. This year alone, we needed 12 people to sign us off in a category called ‘Multisource feedback MSF’ which is sort of like a character statement where our colleagues would be asked to comment on us on our communication skills, attitude, team player role, reliability/punctuality and leadership. These feedbacks will be from combination of people from different job roles apart from the doctors like nurses, pharmacist, health care assistants, physiotherapists, patient flow coordinators etc. We needed 4 multi consultant (MCRs) report on our performances, 4 ACATs (acute care assessment tool) where we present 5 cases each to our on-call consultants for our evaluations and additionally, 4 CBD(case based discussion) or minicexs-where we again discuss history, examination and management of each individual cases we saw in depth. On a rough estimate, by the end of year, those were at least 9-10 consultants we were following around in and out of our rotations to get our sign offs. The number maybe even more, if you are unable to get the same consultant to sign you off on multiple forms.

Undoubtedly it is going to be a tough year if you are under a sore eye of even one consultant, especially in a small DGH (District General Hospital). Trainees talk, trainers too. You’d be surprised how much of chitchats and dramas flows from floor to floor between meals, between clinics and between ward rounds. A whisper about a medical student here and it has reached a consultant’s ear on the other building top floor by the day’s end. Be careful of what you say and especially as a foreign trainee with thick accent ‘be careful of how you say it’. Control your pitch. Do some humming exercise if you have to. Control your flow of your speech, aim to articulate as distinctly as possible. Count seconds between words if you have to. And if its the pronunciation that comes out as naturally harsh expression not because you mean it but that is how you speak in your natural mother tongue language; for example if the words you are speaking is a throat sound which may not be as softer tone as from chest vocalisation almost a whisper like British people are used to… follow it with a big smile. Trust me watching that smile, adds a whole different meaning to the sentence you just spoke than listening over phone or without your facial expression on equation. There are other cultural aspects too to approaching a conversation that you will eventually learn as a foreign grad. For example it took me quite a bit time, to set the loudness of my voice to adjust to a conversation. Naturally I have a soft voice. In my culture, you always address your seniors with lower or softer voice. Being loud is considered a sign of disrespect. Now that in UK’s setting, may be perceived as lack of confidence. Children here are encouraged to speak up from a young age, there is levelling of hierarchy to encourage good learning environment. Confidence is about expressing thoughts, being heard and getting a feedback in some form suggesting given view was acknowledged. In setting I was raised and taught on, its unidirectional flow, almost always. I remember, during my initial days in the job in UK, I was being constantly asked to be louder when I was presenting or handing over. I often felt a little frustrated. It felt as though it was disrespect to me because I am being asked again and again to repeat myself. But looking retrospectively, I can see where the problem is. And as I tried to adapt, I started going the other end, practicing to be louder which I didn’t realise with my accent was posing another problem. I was starting to sound rude to people when all I was trying honest to god was to just dial my tone to right decibels. ‘Smile.’ Trust me, it works great as non verbal communication method to support gaps where you might be lacking. Although, I do have to let you know my high school teacher once said to us, ‘as girls/women one has to be very careful of how openly one smile at others. It might send a wrong message’.

It does makes a big difference to have a right environment setup where trainees are supported well with their requirements without hustling day and night for a sign off and where the trainers/ consultants are approachable & encouraged to help trainees meet their competencies as part of an educational process.

Some seniors readily agree. Mostly the ones, who themselves have just come out of the system and are well aware how tedious it is to get these little checks. Some will out out rightly reject you and want you to prove yourself more before they can make a comment, which is fair. Only problem is, in ever changing and busy world of NHS, consultants are barely on same shift on 2 days in a row. The case you saw last with them they may not be able to recall next time (probably after 2-3 weeks) in which instance they may ask you to repeat the same process again. Also need to be aware, if they were only visiting/locum consultants you may miss an opportunity for sign off as visiting consultants are not responsible for your training.

I cannot stress enough how important ‘People skills’ are in our profession whether with patients, with colleagues or with seniors. Especially in a profession like surgery where everything you are trying to be is almost a copy of complete persona of your supervising surgeon- the posture, the movements of hands, the precision of scalp incision, the steps of procedurals technique, the suturing skills etc etc and, everything you will grasp is a perfected skillset handed down after years and years of practice. And although it is not 17th century unlike when The Chameberlen family hid their discovery of forceps for 5 generations within themselves and devoid the world of marvels of their important discovery; having just an average level of rapport skills will prove to be unfair disadvantage. Remember world of Medicine is still a learning environment. You are a teacher and you are a student.

One has to make sure, they get a good educational supervisor allocated for the given year. Luckily for me, I found out on time that I could request the deanery to reallocate me the same supervisor I had last year. A supervisor’s job role is a big responsibility in a sense that the allocated consultant will be the mentor/the guardian for the given trainee’s entire year. He/She will have a big role guiding the trainee through their career development keeping a close eye on their portfolio while advising and supporting them on both personal and professional levels. My supervisor has gone out and beyond to help me this year and I am really grateful.

I have handed my job responsibilities, signed off my outcome sheet for this year and now, am sitting on a chair on a bright afternoon day at 1:30pm on a weekday having morning tea. The black week has come and gone and the consultants seem to be feeling more settled in trusting the new doctors with their job roles.

As most of were leaving current hospital placement to other, we delivered some cards to our seniors thanking for their support. ‘It is hard to see you guys leave every year.’ Our consultant said. ‘You only start remembering the names by midyear and by the end of year most of you would move away. You get attached. Then you have to do the same thing again with new trainees. Year by year’.

Anyways, for me ‘August is done’. No more portfolios, no more on-calls and night shift for few months. No more exams, courses and seminars. I have been picking agency shifts to pay my rent and stay afloat as and when I can and that is all. The freedom of picking your own time to work? Nothing beats the feeling! I am really glad that HEE have now taken more steps to provide opportunities to trainees to take career breaks and get into part training programs. A couple of my colleagues have also recently applied to go 80%, 60%. Training is UK is really long compared to anywhere else in the world. Going part time will add extra years. But I suppose most of are at that phase in life where we all feel, as long as their is some progression it is alright.

As I may have explained before, one no longer needs to fill those extensive forms to prove one falls in the certain quota to be accepted for the breaks or part time programs. It’s a great start. Both for trainees and NHS. In past years trainees have been leaving NHS left and right to work in private sectors or to work outside in different countries. Australia used to be most popular destination. Now my colleagues are leaving for New Zealand, USA, some of them are even going to middle east. A couple of them are thinking of changing career paths. So, yeah, for both of us, it is a good start.

As for me, with all this time in my hand now, I need to crack on slowly with my little list of things to do in life. Sort out the clutters slowly, clear my diaries to make room for more plans. Finally, finally I feel like I am ready to embrace my 30s. 20s went so fast. Its like that 2 years of COVID most of us were not ready to accept that we had lost it in one click of a finger. Time equates to memories, I think. When you look back and can’t remember much of what you did those years, you don’t seem to be able to track it. I suppose, I now understand what they mean when they say ‘its not about how long you live, its about you live it.’

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