There's a reason I'm not a poet

omg I forgot to say

I’M WORKING CHRISTMAS DAAAAYYYY.

Like a 12 hour shift; don’t finish until 9pm.

Whyyyyyyyy

So I’ve finished the first two weeks of the rest of my life! No more student days for this one. (The lazy person inside of me is crying)

Before starting, because I didn’t train in Norn Iron, the hospital I’ll be working in asked me to show up a bit earlier to shadow the outgoing junior doctors and get used to the hospital system in a different part of the UK. It’s mostly been induction-type things and seminars, but it’s actually proven quite useful to get oriented to the different ways things work. Hopefully now, I shouldn’t have too much trouble in the middle of the night finding the button that says “Please don’t let this patient die”

The hospital is a really friendly place, and all the outgoing juniors seem to think I’ll definitely enjoy my year which is obviously a good sign. I’m in two minds as to how I feel about starting.

Optimistic me:

“Awk I’m sure it’ll be fine. Other people have survived and gotten through it, so I’m sure I will. People expect you to be rubbish so it won’t be too bad”

Pessimistic me:

“People can die. It can be my fault for not being good enough. Staff will expect me to be rubbish but DISEASE FLIPPING WELL WON’T CARE”

At the minute I’m leaning more towards the former thank God. But expect rapid cycling between the two. The current guys finish on Tuesday lunchtime (the cheeky buggers are going go karting and leaving us to fend for ourselves), so the official “first day” is either Tuesday afternoon or Wednesday, whichever you wanna call. I’m currently sitting with my rota for the whole year trying to work out when I want to take my annual leave and how best to avoid being a prat to other people by dropping them in it at busy times. The time to miraculously become an organisational wizard is now. I will of course settle for becoming a wizard.

Man I’d love to be a wizard

Na zdravi!

Been meaning to write a post for a while about my travels abroad, but I’ve been that busy since I got back that I haven’t really had time to. LET’S DO THIS.

So I spent twelve days or so in Eastern Europe, visiting Prague, Krakow and Budapest. There were four of us for the first two cities, and three for Budapest- I went with some friends from home, two of whom I know from school.

First things first: the foooooooooooood. (This is after all my blog) That part of the world isn’t exactly known for its haute cuisine, so the food wasn’t exactly the meticulously-presented fancy dining you might get elsewhere in Europe, but what it does provide is some fantastic heart-warming comfort food that’s fricking delicious. It was generally meat, some form of dumplings (I think I counted five variations on the term), possibly cabbage, and some delicious sauce either similar to a thicker gravy, a goulash or else something loaded with paprika. It was really fricking warm outside, but the food was so tasty that I didn’t go anywhere near summer foods the majority of times we went out for dinner. This was of course generally accompanied with beer so the calories and smiles were in abundance.

Each of the cities were really beautiful, and had some fantastic architecture and greenery around the place. There were some seriously old and grand buildings, and they basically all made Belfast look rubbish in comparison. Prague and Krakow had old towns sections, which were obviously quite touristy but that’s not something that bothers me when a place is as scenic as they were. Budapest on the other hand has its beautiful buildings a bit more spread out, with fantastic architecture in both cities of Buda and Pest- I ended up regularly taking photos of what turned out to be banks and hotels.

Each city had also been affected quite heavily with World War 2, the Holocaust and communism, so each had some seriously interesting points of history- albeit some seriously heavy ones. We went out to the Auschwitz & Birkenau death camps which was one of the most harrowing experiences I’ve ever had. It’s not something I find easy to write or talk about, but I strongly advise everyone to go to one of the concentration camps and see just how horrific they were.

On slightly cheerier notes, we were quite lucky with the timing of when we were in Krakow, as there was a street theatre festival going on! Some of it was pretty artistic and therefore went over my head, but others were a bit more comprehensible (usually the ones with magicians, clowns or slapstick- I’m pretty basic). Probably the most memorable was a group of pink aliens running around the old town square causing mayhem: they were chasing people down the street, standing off against police cars, walking into coffee shops, and rubbing their pink face paint all over anyone who stood in front of them. At one point one of them, in a costume that can only really be described as… well, a scrotum, got everyone to hold hands in a circle and chant while he gave birth to a balloon. That was a first.

Last summer I got a bit excited about the whole selfie business, and so in keeping with that tradition I decided to chance my arm and grab a selfie while they were all standing in a group. Scrotum Alien decided he wasn’t going to stand for this and decided to absolutely cover me in pink face paint. Which to be honest I found flipping hilarious. But it meant that once the aliens stole a car and drove off, there was no plausible excuse around as to why exactly I looked like a discoloured smurf. So on my walk back to the hostel to scrub off what turned out to be waterproof face paint, I got more than a few funny looks. Feel free to ask me for a photo!

Overall, I think my favourite city was probably Budapest. The three cities were all beautiful, but I think Budapest just kind of pipped them all to the post. It also seemed to have the most amount of life about the place, and was somewhere I could actually envisage myself living! Although the likelihood of me actually uprooting myself and heading over to Eastern Europe are slim to none.
One of the great attractions of the place was the baths they have there, due to the natural sources of water and some plumbing that apparently the Turks brought across. We went to the Gellert Baths which had some pretty impressive architecture. Sitting in them made me understand why the Romans/Greeks/delete as appropriate used them so much- it was one of the most relaxing experiences of my life. Coming out of there my friend and I felt so fricking zen. I didn’t try, but I probably could have levitated at that point.

Coming back to NI was a bit of a bump, but I was very happy to be here, ready to start work and the next chapter in life! Blog post about that to follow shortly.

M

I just found wifi

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SPRING BREAK WOOOO

This is my first post from my old new home in Northern Ireland! These past few days have mainly been spent tidying my room, making it messy again by unpacking, and repeating this cycle over and over again. I’ve also managed to hang out with the familial units a fair number of times and met up with a few of my friends for a movie night (as a sidenote, we ordered a takeaway and apparently ordered so much food that the company sent someone round to the house to make sure it wasn’t a prank call)

Today has mainly involved sitting on the edge of my seat watching the Wimbledon final- what a match! I was cheering for Federer the whole time and was gutted for him at the end. They’re both fantastic athletes so you’ve gotta give them credit for how tough it would have been to keep giving their all the whole time.

I’ve also been ducking into a few shops trying to buy some supplies as I’m off on my travels tomorrow! Myself and a few lads from home are headed to mainland Europe to do some inter-railing. Or at least that was the plan- as I’ve been asked to start work a bit early we’re only going to three places, and I’m only actually getting a train once. But it’s set to be fantastic fun- we’ll be heading to Prague, Krakow and Budapest.

Last year I kept a sort of travel blog, in an attempt to keep my nearest and/or dearest up to date with what was happening. I don’t envisage that happening this time if I’m honest, as we’re only away for just under two weeks but I’ll try to write stuff down so I can at least vaguely remember what the craic is while we’re away. The bits that aren’t clouded by cheap European beer that is.

Onwards and outwards

M

 

Semper eadem

So I leave tomorrow- this is my last night in England.

I don’t think I’m a massively sentimental person, but I would say I’m at least pensive- so I’m having a think back on my six years here: how much fun it’s been, who I’ve met, and what I’ve achieved. I’m happy to say that while obviously there have been social situations where I’ve said the wrong thing (or things I would have liked to have done more etc.) I don’t think I have any major regrets.

We had our “Declaration Ceremony” on Sunday- it’s like a graduation, but not. It’s more of a ceremony where you profess to follow the equivalent of the Hippocratic Oath, but family are invited to take the obligatory photos of you prancing about in a gown and a funny-looking hood (ours were hot pink with white fluff. Manly)
While essentially it was one big queue, I had a fricking great time. Hearing my name being read out and having some applause/cheer was a fantastic feeling, and in true Michael style I had the stupidest grin on my face when I went up to the front. At the end though, I hadn’t really thought about the fact that I would be saying bye to people. So all of a sudden I found myself trying to thank people in about thirty seconds for being the kick-ass, superfriendly people that they have been for several years. Naturally I failed completely, and so afterwards I sent a few soppy text messages and got to ruminating.

And now I’m leaving.

At the risk of sounding like the most pretentious d*****bag ever, I’m reminded of a poem I heard several years ago. I think it was originally written in Chinese and to be completely honest half of the language/imagery doesn’t work very well, for example I’ve never quite understood the line “I would be a water plant”
The last sentence has always struck me though- it describes a visiting scholar called Xu Zhimo, on the evening he’s leaving Cambridge. The place is at heart the same it has always been, and will very much remain so for a long time. While I’m extremely lucky to have studied here, and I feel like I’ve achieved a lot/possibly made a difference in some people’s lives, Cambridge itself will remain unchanged by my presence. It’s not necessarily a sad feeling, but it’s kind of poignant. His poem ends on a bit that does in fact translate well, and to me talks about how that feels:

 

Very quietly I take my leave
As quietly as I came here;
Gently I flick my sleeves
Not even a wisp of cloud will I bring away

This is it guys. It’s been a pleasure

M

Trust me

You guys.

 

I’M A DOCTOR. LIKE AN ACTUAL DOCTOR.

I keep remembering this and either getting a stupid grin on my face or having a wee wiggle dance to celebrate.

To actually celebrate we had our graduation ball last night which was fantastic. Spent the evening going round to everyone saying “Hello Dr Smith”, “Hello Dr Whithershins” which was THE MOST FUN THING EVER. There was also a fireworks display which felt amazing to watch because it was essentially put on just for us.

The dean spoke for a bit, and admitted that although the university always goes on about what makes a good doctor, she couldn’t not leave us without three principles to follow, so I’m writing them down here so I don’t forget:

  • Competence- first and foremost, be good at your job and know how to help people
  • Attention to detail- follow things up, don’t take things for granted and always keep your eyes open
  • Kindness- often overlooked, but it’s a job that revolves entirely around interacting with others, and I’ve seen myself how this can pay dividends

Anyway I’d best head off as my family are arriving in a few hours and I have a lot of packing that should be finished before then.

One last time: I’M A DOCTOR NOW

M

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