There's a reason I'm not a poet

Posts tagged ‘i just cant control my feet’

Mind, body and soul train

Always up for a knees-up, at the weekend I was down in Monaghan for a friend’s wedding. I worked with her in Craigavon when I was starting out as a baby doctor (whereas now I’m a firmly-mature toddler doctor). The girl who was getting married is just the loveliest person, and I was down with a really nice group of people. I was pretty lucky if I’m honest to end up with the cohort of F1s that I did, and was pretty touched to be invited along.

I bloody love weddings; seeing the bride and groom at the front of the chapel/temple/secular gathering area grinning at each other and nervously chatting always brings a smile to my face. Hers was no exception, and her family were all a bit adorable. “Good bears” as she’d describe them.

The other reasons I love weddings are that they’re a giant steed good feed and an excellent opportunity to jig your foot on the dance floor. I got massively into the boogieing as I so often do, and earned the title of “most nimble guest” at the wedding. Obviously I would have preferred most handsome, but you take what you can.
In other news I’ve been working in a Belfast hospital since the start of February, under the General Medicine umbrella. It’s been quite a nice job; the staff, culture and atmosphere are all really friendly and it’s definitely been educationally useful. But I actually just finished there last week, and for the next 6-8 weeks I’ve rejoined the ranks of the unemployed.
The reason for this is that I’ve arranged a placement in a cancer research lab, where I’ll hopefully be getting some exposure and insight into clinical research, with the hope of informing future decisions on how much of a role I would like research to take in my career.

Like with starting any new job, I’m a bit nervous about starting in general, and about not knowing anything at first- as it’s a completely different skill-set from what I’ve been developing these past six years. But with a bit of time/graft/blind luck (delete as appropriate) I’ll hopefully get the hang of it.
Now, it’s time for me to confess something. To get a bit of a weight off my chest. It’s not something I’m proud of, but I feel it’s important to own up to these things.

I… I have a personal trainer.

That’s right, I’m one of Those People. Those middle-class eejits. Next week I’m sure I’ll be talking about the decline in quality of quinoa and complaining that my latte cup isn’t locally-sourced.

It started a month or two ago- I was in the gym flailing around aimlessly as I often do, when a staff member came up to me and asked if I’d be interested in a free personal training session. The first key thing he said was “free”. The second key thing was when he told me his name was Ivan. I couldn’t pass that up- I thought it’d be too funny to say no to a session with Ivan the Terrible.

I went fully expecting to hate it; and find the whole thing both awkward and useless, his guidance of “drink protein shakes and women will love you” to fall on some very deaf (and very gay) ears. But the crafty beggar sussed me out- he worked out that I’m fundamentally lazy, and explicitly said there was a limit to how much I’d be willing to be pushed. He told me that he wouldn’t go overboard cause he knew I wasn’t interested in becoming ridiculously-built. He didn’t mention attracting women once. He scoffed at the idea of protein shakes and said I should just eat real food. And to top it all off he had good chat.

He got me. Read me like a book and now I’m paying extra money to the gym. I’m Chandler from Friends and there’s no way out. Excuse me while I go look for a fair-trade yoga mat.

M

Examine that

On Wednesday and Thursday I had the pleasure of sitting some exams. I thought it was two three-hour papers, but I found out on Sunday that it was in fact three papers. So you can tell the extent of the preparation I did for them..

It’s a bit annoying sitting professional exams- necessary hoops to jump through in order to progress in any speciality. Unlike exams at university, there’s no-one else really going through the exams with you, and other people don’t really understand what the exams are, so there’s a distinct lack of sympathy for attention-seeking people such as myself. Again unlike at university, you don’t get any time off to revise/learn for them, so all your work is being done in the evening when you’ve just come home from a (usually tiring) day at work. There’s also no sense of relief when you finish or pass them, as you’ve gotta go back to work and again, there’s no-one else doing them. The benefit of them not being university exams is that you can resit them if you fail. It just costs you several hundred quid each pop.

I shouldn’t complain too much though. It is useful learning things, and I’ve found myself using some of the new information in work. And any difficulty with passing them is probably down to my laziness more than anything else. They were difficult, but they were always gonna be difficult, so we’ll see in a couple of weeks time how they went.

Work’s been going well recently. Initially when I came back I was piecing together one-off shifts to get some money in, but since the start of February I’ve been working on a full rota in a hospital in Belfast. It’s been nice having a steady routine and income, and as well the hospital is small and really friendly which helps with job satisfaction. Got on a work night out the other week after some night shifts and had the standard slightly-awkward conversations in work several days later when people comment on my unexpected dancing enthusiasm.

I’ll be there until the end of this month, when I’m doing a couple of weeks in a lab doing voluntary work (essentially a studentship) to try and see what I think of research and whether/how much I’d want it to be a part of my future career. So at the minute I’m in saving mode to try and prepare for being unemployed again!

A pretty major positive over the past few weeks is that my sister has been able to come up to Belfast a good number of times with my new nephew in tow! The wee dude is doing really well, and is a very well-behaved child, rarely venturing anywhere near crying. I was really honoured a couple of weeks ago when I was asked to be his godfather! I said yes, as I figured any opportunity to further my mission to become his favourite should definitely be taken.

M

Tie the knot

So it’s been two weeks or so now since my sister entered into the Super Grown Up world of married life! No more singe pringle ready-to-mingle for her. As he’s moved over to the Emerald Isle, the deal was that the two of them would get married where he’s from in Wales. And I’m not talking about Cardiff, I’m talking about the type of Wales where the family potatoes are served at the wedding (and great potatoes they were mind you)

As there was a lot of wedding stuff to bring, between various dresses, decorations and the like, and so we brought three cars over with us. Which meant we got to have a great amount of driving around the countryside and see the place. When the weather was nice it made for some beautiful scenery.

But yes let’s focus on the day itself. One brilliant aspect of the day was that family had gathered from all different parts of the UK, and people had come from other countries just to attend! My uncle came from USA, and my cousin with his family from Japan. So it was a great atmosphere because everyone was specifically there for the day, and our family pretty much took over every single B&B and pub in the area. The welsh contingent were so welcoming and there was just such a lovely vibe around the whole week.

With all the build-up and preparation that went into the wedding, I was expecting my sister to be quite stressed, trying to make sure that everything happened according to schedule and that nothing went too drastically wrong. But in her own words, she wasn’t so much Bridezilla as Bridechilla: I was so impressed by how relaxed she was, and she spent the day walking about with the biggest most genuine smile on her face, really seeming to enjoy herself. Spinning around with your veil while dancing to Robbie Williams’ Angels seemed to be a fun point.

But the whole day did (generally) go to plan very nicely. I’d made myself a chronological list of usher jobs and worked my way through them as the day went on, and thankfully all the effort my sister and mum/her bridesmaids put into the day paid off swimmingly. Apart from the minor issue of showing up at the church without any rings- I think that one caused a bit of stress. But thankfully they made their way up the aisle just as the priest was about to bless them, so no harm done.

The day was filled with so many personal touches, with references to Audrey Hepburn (my sister’s idol/hero/obsession) in the order of service, the groom’s dad getting up and singing Myfanwy & Danny Boy during the mass, and the venue sporting a 1897 steam engine that the groom’s dad had painstakingly restored and polished brilliantly! The speeches obviously had my mum and other sister bawling, and the food obviously had me making good-food-noises. Oh man the food, highlights include creamy garlic potatoes, cranberries and a huge platter of mini desserts that suddenly arrived and had my attention for at least 20 minutes. Apparently the caterers for one part of it recently catered for the Queen. Only the best for us of course.

There was a ceilidh, a band fronted by the groom, and a crapload of dancing. Needless to say I had to step outside to cool down from all my boogieing about five times throughout the night, and after we made our way through the choruses of Tell Me Ma, B*witched’s C’est La Vie and The Corrs’ What Can I Do To Make You Love Me (spot the irish wedding) the music came to a close at three in the morning. My feet were delighted but my sister was a bit heartbroken it was all over so didn’t let us go to sleep for another two hours.

Then the next day the two of them headed off on a tour of the west coast of America and a cheeky wee flight to Barbados. I’ve never liked them.

M

Wey Aye Man!

Last weekend I was over in Newcastle visiting two friends of mine who are currently working over there. One of them went to school with me, so I’ve known him for a fair amount of time, but obviously as we’re now living on different islands I don’t tend to see them as much as I’d like. So, I decided to take the opportunity to play the rude card and invited myself along to stay with them. (Thankfully they didn’t seem to mind)

They’re both Real People now, with jobs, a mortgage and two cats. The set-up they have there is sweeeeeeet, living in a really nice apartment in a new development with a bunch of their friends living nearby and some fruit and vegetables growing on their balcony. We spent the first wee while catching up and chatting before playing some Super Smash Bros (standard) and heading out for some cake (also standard) in a wee tea house in a nearby town. Such yum.

I didn’t really know much about Newcastle before I went; all I’d really heard about the city was that it was a really fun place to go to university in, so I’d kind of envisaged a 1970s-style city filled with block-like grey buildings. Which was wrong: because of the Tyne River, there are a whole load of bridges around the place, which actually run through the city, so you can end up walking along streets underneath these humongous adqueduct-style bridges, which cut an impressive shape next to all the sandstone buildings. So yeah, it made for a very nice city.

But it is known for its night life, if the number of hens and stags you see traipsing about in tiaras and fairy wings are anything to go by. So we went to a pub on the Friday night, which is one of the oldest/if not the oldest pub in the city. It used to be a market and so is filled with apothecary drawers and more nooks than you can shake a cranny at. Because I’d ended up staying up late pretty much every night of the week playing Final Fantasy, it ended up not being too late a night out.

We got up the next day and after I had some caramel cake from the tea house for breakfast (ideal) we headed out to Beamish, an outdoor museum showcasing the history of the North of England, looking specifically at how life in towns and the country was around the turn of the 20th century. With coal mines, a pre-war school, ye olde sweete shoppes and a Freemason hall, it made for some good viewing and was great fun. They were also running a 1950s day, so lots of people had dressed up specifically and were getting their hair did in the style of women back then: it was all very impressive!

Carrying on in that theme, after a yummy Chinese stuffing-of-the-faces that evening we headed out to a swing dance night! One of my friends’ pals is into swing dancing, and the group she’s affiliated with were doing an event for people to come along and learn a few steps before a swing band started for people to practise their moves. People were encouraged to dress up so I pretty much just wore my oldest-timey work clothes and dance my little white boy heart out. Turns out it was some serious fun. It ended up being one of the sweatiest nights out I’ve had in a while what with all the jumping about and lack of air con, but I ended up being pretty decent at it and had bucketloads of fun.

So yeah: Newcastle is officially sanctioned by me!

M

Island Getaway

It’s my birthday this Saturday (woooo!) and I’m going to be over in England for my last in a long line of graduations. I’ve taken this week off (another woooo!) and decided to head out to Rathlin Island last weekend with a few friends, partly to see the place and partly to celebrate my birthday.

I’ve seen the island from afar quite a large number of times from the north coast, but as far as I can remember I’ve never actually been there. It’s quite a small island, about 6 miles long with around 100 people on it. We got the ferry over, working on our quads against the rocking of the boat, and made our way to a hostel a few minutes walk from the harbour. We got a bit sidetracked along the way when we found an OUTDOOR GYM, getting a bit excited as it was essentially a playground.

We went for a walk around the island before heading to the pub for some grub and some drinks. Inevitably this turned into a bit of a boogie. There were only around twenty people in the bar, and most of them all knew each other of course, but the atmosphere was so friendly and welcoming that it meant for some brilliant craic. We hogged the jukebox a little bit and had a boogie, and a bunch of the locals joined in. The electricity wasn’t working in half of the bar so it was just like being in a dark nightclub in the real world.

We ended up staying out quite late, dancing/chatting/eating birthday cake/getting offered jeeps until the early hours of the morning, and it had been a while since I’d had a drunken boogieing night out with my friends, so I was in a pretty great mood by the end of it and well tuckered out. We slept in a fair bit the next day to work off the alcohol, so missed the morning, but then headed out, got one of the world’s best sausage rolls, and then went for a trek up round the island.

The weather wasn’t too kind to us over the weekend: there was a fair amount of rain, and an awful lot of wind. This meant we didn’t really get to do the whole cycling/puffin-watching set of activities I had mentally planned in my head, but the scenery on the island was still pretty great. I don’t tend to do too many outdoorsy-type stuff, but when I do I appreciate how much of it Northern Ireland has to offer.

So yeah, bit of a short trip but really enjoyed myself. I’ll definitely go back some day, if for nothing else to finally see those puffins!

M

A new mask

GUESS WHO’S PROCRASTINATING

I’ve started a new placement, and am trying to immerse myself in surgical knowledge- my plan is to learn as much as I can and be efficient so I can focus on learning/revising everything else for the exams in June. I’m generally quite calm about them, but every now and then you remember all there is still to cover and the all-too-familiar waves of sheer panic come over you. It’s been a fun six years.

Thankfully though the hospital I’m at isn’t too far away, and so I’m commuting with a colleague who lives round the corner from me. Part of that decision comes from the pretty grimey accommodation. Unfortunately it means very early starts (surgeons start their day sooner than most other humans) to get to the hospital in time, but I’m enjoying not having to live out of a suitcase as I’ve been doing all year.

It also means I can go to events here- a friend texted me yesterday to ask if I was interested in going to “superformal” at her college. It’s one of the famous ones, and they only have a few formals a term so it’s somewhat of a hot ticket, meaning I was glad to be able to jump at the opportunity. I wasn’t exactly sure what “superformal” meant but it seemed there was a theme of Venetian Carnivale, and so I got my big-nosed Venetian mask out (yes I have one) and slipped into my tux- complete with Batman cuff-links might I add

It was a really fantastic night actually- as ever I enjoyed the food, and the booze flowed freely. The hall was (like many colleges to be fair) really beautiful inside, and they’d hung a few things overhead to make it look a bit more glittery. Partway through the evening, there was the “entertainment” for the evening, with some of the university’s Dance Sport team getting up in the middle of everyone and giving a performance (slash showing us all that there apparently are moves other than the robot and macarena)

There was a live band after formal for people to crack out their less-than-perfectly-coordinated dance moves, and I felt a bit more at home rocking out there to Don’t Stop Me Now. The only bad thing about the evening was having to get up at half six the next morning…

M