Update . . .found a place to live!

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Hey, I am currently sat on my bed eating peanut butter on rye bread, feeling like a zombie after my night shift! There is a storm going on outside so I am watching the crazy angry sea and not feeling guilty being in bed at 1pm!

So how is life going?

Well I think it is going quite well?! I keep getting a guilty feeling, like I am on holiday and it will be ending soon. I think it’s because I am just adapting to a new lifestyle. It is very  different to what my life was at home in London.

The big news is I have moved! I loved my time in Henley in my little unit but decided to move to Glenelg, which is the nearby coastal town. It is known as the urban beach of Adelaide, about 10 km from the city centre. I already made the decision that I wanted to live at the coast rather than the city. Although Glenelg is not as pretty as Henley, there is more going on. It has a high street with lots of restaurants, cafes and small shops.  I imagine in the summer it will get very touristy and busy, as it is the main go to beach for Adelaide. The high street is quite geared up for tourists and the end part has a strip which I am not that keen on- the typical fast food bars, cheap restaurants etc. But I think overall it is a good place to set up a base and I am really happy with my decision.


The next decision was whether I wanted to live by myself or not. Originally I liked the idea of finding my own little place but then thought with doing shift work, I may get lonely.  I met my flat mate, Olivia through facebook! She posted in one of the Adelaide UK doctor groups whether anyone was keen to look for a flat together. It was quite bizarre when we met, almost like I was going on a blind date! Olivia is really lovely and I am so glad now, retrospectively that I decided to live with someone. Also she is a keen runner and has done 3 marathons! Yay a running buddy hah! She has actually done all her marathons with her mother, which is rather incredible!

Olivia and I


Finding a flat was not that easy as leased furnished flats are not very common. The flat we decided on is located on the espanade, right next to the beach and is very central location. It has a pretty amazing views which is what we were sold by! The flat itself is actually an apartment block of a hotel. It looks like we are living in the hotel! I believe the hotel about 15 years ago sold the end part and converted it into apartments. When I looked around the flat I was a bit put off by the “hotel vibe”, it did feel like I was living in a hotel and was quite sterile. However, since we moved in Olivia and I have made it homely with rugs, cushions, blankets etc! You can tell 2 girls live here! I am really happy with it, apart from some issues with the estate agent which I won’t even bother wasting my time talking about. Lets just say estate agents here are SO useless and one of the most frustrating customer services I have ever had to deal with. But waking up every day with the view of the sea is so therapeutic. Even if I have a shit day at work, coming home to the flat feels like a little happy place. ❤️❤️

View from our flat


The main area


View from my room ❤️


The next update is I bought a car! All Australians seem have a car and everyone I have spoken to has said to get a car. There is a tram from Glenelg which goes to the city centre. With cycling you can get around to the city and main beaches easily. However, I was keen to get a car even before I came to Oz, as wanted the freedom to be able to explore outside Adelaide, do day/weekend trips etc. Another reason was for work, it is about a 45 min cycle from where I live, which I wouldn’t mind doing. But a lot of my shifts are late shifts, finishing at midnight and I would rather not have to cycle at that time.  My family friends Eve and Crispin, their son George was selling his old car and I made the spontaneous decision to buy it! It is a serious old banger! If any of you guys know my old car- the silver squirrel – well it is FAR more vintage than that-  say another decade! Veronica (yes I have named her already) is the ripe old age of 24 …  I am being totally serious! She is so vintage that you have to pump the accelerator pedal a couple of times before starting the car LOL. I discovered this the day after buying the car, when it didn’t start!

I didn’t want to spend much money and the car itself has been looked after well by George. I looked into second hand cars and I would have to spend minimum $5000, which I cant really afford . So I think Veronica suits me well! I look forward to all the exploring and adventures I will share with her

Say hi to Veronica! 


Some exploring I have done. . . 

The Marino Coastal Boardwalk Trail. I did part of the trail a couple of weeks ago but it was so windy that I only managed a bit of it. Olivia and I spent last Sunday afternoon walking it. It was an absolutely stunning day.  There were some crazy people running it! Walking it was a hard enough workout, as so many steps and climbs!

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Exploring Adelaide’s coast line.  You just need to drive 20 mins out of Adelaide and can discover some beautiful beaches. I headed to Port Noarlunga, which is 30 km South of Adelaide. I did a walk along the cliff tops, it was a rather grey and windy day but felt like I had the beaches all to myself!

Trying to learn to surf. 🏄🏄 Last week on a day off, some colleagues from work and I decided to spend the day trying to surf! We drove to Middleton beach, an hour South from Adelaide. It is located along the south coast of the Fleurieu Peninsula. It is a beautiful stretch of white beaches and old coastal towns. We hired some surf boards, got into our wetsuits and ran into the sea! Naturally I spent 90% of the time under the water and didn’t master the elegant surfing style. I barely managed to hold onto my board! It is seriously exhausting. We did about 3 hours and afterwards I felt like I had ran a marathon! We went to this amazing bakery afterwards and I got a “bee sting cake”. I had never heard of one, apparently it is a German cake. It is has a  donut texture with a crunchy honey almond topping and sweet vanilla custard filling… bloody insane!!

Kayaking with dolphins. 🛶🐬 Last weekend I had off woap woap! Olivia and I went kayaking in North Adelaide, where there is a dolphin sanctuary. It is a marine protected area and has a resident pod of around 40 dolphins. We hired a 2 man kayak for 3 hours and went paddling along the river and through the mangrove creeks. It was great fun and quite surreal having a dolphin swim a couple of metres away from you!

Spot the dolphin near the pelican!

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And lastly some compulsory beach run photos! 



I might attempt to venture outside in this crazy weather and get a coffee. O one of my best purchases in Oz so far is my reusable coffee cup … hah seriously I love it 😍 !

Ignore the hat imprint on my forehead! #coffeepostrun

Every year 3 billion coffee cups are thrown away in the U.K.  Most in fact are not recyclable, as they contain polyethylene. This is the layer in the inside of the paper cups, that makes the cup waterproof and polyethylene is not recyclable. When I think of my life back in London and a standard weekday morning…  all the commuters with their takeout coffee cup on their way to work, it is rather scary about the amount of waste we are producing. Our convenience culture is having a huge impact on our global waste production. We need a shift in consumer behaviour, towards a more conscious form and simply buying a reusable coffee cup is a way to contribute. My reusable coffe cup is by an Australian brand called KeepCup. It is BPA- free and is leak proof. I keep it in my bag and use it pretty much daily. I have looked and they are available to buy in the UK. Also a lot of coffee places offer discounts if you bring your own coffee cup. Get one and do your little bit for our planet 🌎

 

Speak soon! I am off to get a coffee #littlethingsinlife



 

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1 MONTH in Adelaide

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Yesterday marked one month since I arrived in Adelaide . . .  I thought I would give an update! I am currently sat on the beach with my thermoflask with this view  #ratherblissful

Time has flown by. I feel like it has been a whirlwind journey with ups and lows and in-betweens! I found the first 2 weeks really hard and had to keep giving myself little pep talks to keep strong and not think of home. I would get so easily emotional and teary. Although I tried to be really organised before I came, it is just the overwhelming feeling that I have moved here and need to set a life up. I have never experienced those feelings before. It isn’t the same as when I came 2 years ago for my elective, as I knew after 4 months I would be returning home. This time around, I have moved to Australia to start a new chapter in my life.

Lets just say, starting up a life in a different country is quite stressful, not straightforward and there are numerous obstacles in the way. It felt like I would take 1 step forward and then 10 back! I am quite an inpatient person and I like to just get things sorted. But I have learnt since arriving here, I just need to not get stressed about things I dont have control over. Everything works out in the end.

I have some family friends -Eve & Crispin- who live on a property (Australian term for a farm!) in the Adelaide Hills. When I arrived I stayed with them for the first week which was just so nice. It meant my first few days I wasn’t alone and had home comforts, so I didn’t feel too homesick. They looked after me and have been such support since being in Adelaide. Their property is in a beautiful location overlooking a valley and is the perfect retreat! I imagine I will be escaping there a lot when I have a free weekend. They also have 2 dogs so I get doggy cuddles!

Hattie on the tractor!

View from one of the paddocks 

SO what has happened this past month . . . 

WORK . . . I have now been working for 3 weeks. I am working in ED [A&E in UK] in a district hospital NW of Adeliade. It is about a 30 min cycle from where I am living now. My first few days were very overwhelming and I hit the ground running, well more trying to hold on and keep up. I felt lost, unsettled and wondering why I had chosen to do this.  My first day I had no induction or orientation, I basically was thrown into the department. Starting work in a new place is stressful enough but in a different healthcare system . . . I was rather petrified to say the least!

I remember my first patient I saw –  she was listing all her usual medication – I was absolutely clueless as to what was she was saying. In Australia, most people use brand names for medications rather than generic. eg cartia is the brand name for aspirin. So I stood there nodding and pretending to look up “guidelines” on my iphone- whereas in fact I was googling and trying to work out what the hell she was taking.

It is a supportive environment and the consultants expect you to discuss every patient and your plan, which is quite different compared to the UK. I am enjoying it, especially now I don’t feel so on edge. I have had some interesting cases over the past 3 weeks and what is rewarding and reassuring is my clinical judgement is often fairly right! Recognising when a patient is sick and needs admission sounds easy but it isn’t always the case. I had a young girl in her mid twenties who came in with “exacerbation of asthma”.  She looked unwell with a fever of 40C and tachycardia (fast heart rate) at 120bpm. Her chest sounded completely clear and she hadn’t had any nebulisers, so I thought an asthma attack didn’t seem right. I did a chest X-ray and her left lung showed a multilobar pneumonia. In a girl so young, it is rare to have such a nasty pneumonia and it made me think of unusual causes e.g. atypical pneumonias or tuberculosis – TB. Interestingly her grandfather had TB last year. I chased her the next day and she was being treated for TB. That felt good as I had recognised she was sick, needed admission and TB was my first differential. #patontheback

In ED you do shift work so that isn’t a Monday-Friday 9-5, instead you work a mixture of normal day shifts, late evening shifts, weekends and nights. When I got my job in April I was told they try to make the rota flexible for UK docs and clump together our time off.  However, when I arrived was really disappointed with my rota as it was pretty shit. I had random days off so it felt like I was at work all the time. Speaking to a couple of the other ED doctors, most were unhappy and felt it was not the rota they were promised. Some of the doctors had worked 6 weeks with no weekends off. I think my hospital was very short staffed and so that was why rota was so erratic. I also know my limits and have voiced my concern saying what I am not happy with. I think it is important to highlight issues otherwise what is the point of moaning. The consultants have been very understanding and are aware people are not happy and trying to improve it. My October rota looks a bit better and I have been promised I will not be given 7 day stretches ever again. Woap woap! So that has been a challenge starting work in a completely unknown system and having little time off. However, I am thinking positively and it looks to be changing. Currently my motto is just take baby steps . . . that way I don’t get stressed!


LIVING . . . Before I arrived, I organised a short term let via airbnb for a month. I am currently living at South Henley Beach in a small unit. It has actually been the perfect base and I am so glad I chose to live at the coast rather than the city.  The coast is about 10km East from the city centre.  I have loved living so close to the beach, it is a 3 min walk from my unit. Most days I will go for a run/stroll along the beach and I still cant believe this is my home! I feel so lucky to have this on my doorstep. I find it very therapeutic and even when I feel homesick or stressed, just going out for a walk with the sea breeze and beautiful beach, is the perfect remedy!

View from my unit- sunrise

Henley is quite a small sleepy beachside town with a couple of cafes, restaurants and a supermarket. It has a beautiful beach and sometimes it is almost like I have to myself! I love it and think it will remain as one of my favourite places. However, I have decided to move to my neighbouring town called Glenelg. It is larger with more going on and think would be a better place to settle and create a social network.

Photos in Henley


Compulsory brunch photo!



EXPLORING . . . 

I brought my road bike from the UK and I have loved having it here with me! It is my mode of transport to work and gives me the freedom to explore. Adelaide is quite bike friendly with most roads having a cycle lane. Also along the coast is very popular for road cyclist, at weekends, there are packs of them cycling !

I love exploring the coast line on my days off,  there are some beautiful coastal trails. The photos below are from the Marion Coastal Boardwalk, which passes through the Hallett Cove Conservation Park. It was stunning with the rugged cliffs and rocky coast line.


One of my days off I headed to the Belair National Park which is  13 km South of Adelaide. I did the waterfall hike which is a 6.5km circuit and has stunning picturesque escarpments of 2 waterfalls. There were some challenging inclines though but it was so worth it!


… I then got raynauds !


My unit is located right next to the mouth of the River Torren which runs to the city and out to the hills. There is a cycling trail that follows the river, which is great to cycle into the city and avoid the roads. Except I learned that magpies can be quite aggressive here. After one flew into my helmet, I was really confused and thought maybe it saw its reflection. After the third time of it happenning, I thought it couldn’t be a coincidence. Google, my friend, informed me Australian  magpies when nesting can be really aggressive, especially to cyclists if you are near to their nests. Lesson learnt!

Little things make me happy

  • Having my bike here – it is like my travelling buddy. It was such an effort to bring out. I had to get a special bike bag [thanks dad!] and dismantle my bike … putting it back together was interesting! But I love having it here. I can just hop on it, cycle along the coast and gives me that independence.


  • Living right next to the beach – most days I will go on a run along the beach or just walk along the front. It makes me feel so at ease and I can’t believe it is on my doorstep. I sometimes forget I am living here and not on holiday!

  • Getting a takeout coffee. I love coffee and australia really knows how to do Good coffee, trumps the UK! I have got into a habit of after my run, getting a takeout coffee and walking back along the beach to my unit.

  • Australian blue sky – I can’t explain it but there is something about the blue sky in Australia that is special. It is so blue and bright, like that feeling you get when you have clear blue skies when skiing.
  • SO much open space- I already know that my work life balance is going to be a lot healthier and happier here. The outdoors lifestyle Australia suits me so well. For example, there are so many hiking trails around – coastal walks or nearby national parks. Fresh air and exercise is such great self car and love!

That is a rambly update! I am now going to enjoy rest of the sunset and head back to my unit for dinner, as starting a stretch of night shifts tonight boohooo.

Speak soon and miss you all

Love from Adelaide

 

Why HELLO

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Long time no speak!

I am currently sitting in one of my favourite coffee places and was scrolling through instagram [standard anti social coffee behaviour] which led to me looking through all my old photos . . . which led me to my blog. I forgot how much I enjoyed doing it . . . reading my old posts made me rather emotional.

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I follow a lot of bloggers and it is so easy to get absorbed into their lives and get swept away. I love the idea of the blogging community but it is rather like social media… it can have negative connotations. I started my blog when I went to Australia in 2015, for my medical elective at the end of medical school. It was a platform primarily to write about all my experiences and travelling, also a communication channel for my family. I remember feeling nervous writing it at the beginning as it is on the internet . . . public . . . for everyone “to judge”. To make a blog, you are talking about yourself, people may view it as self absorbed. But I see it as brave, confident and “a don’t care” attitude of what people think. When I was reading through my old posts, I like how the blog is just me and my thoughts written down with no worries and no care. It is my little space.

I thought I would post again as it felt right and several rather important life events have happened in the last year.  The most significant one . . . I AM MOVING TO AUSTRALIA!! 

I made the decision last year, that I wanted to go to Australia after my foundation training and work out there for a year as a doctor. After foundation training which is 2 years, you apply for further training eg GP training. I have known for a long time that I want a year out of training and didn’t apply for further training in the UK. I didn’t feel ready to commit to another training program. I want some time out of training to fly my wings and explore other exciting opportunities. Also another reason why, I havent definitely decided on which speciality I want to apply for; and for me there is no rush or pressure to complete my training.

I am not going to talk about how I applied for a job in Australia, as it is such a lengthy stressful process [I started in February and only a month ago I got my visa approved]. The exciting news is . . . I have a job working in A&E, in a hospital in ADELAIDE. So I will moving to Adelaide! 

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In a way this blog is rather sentimental as I started it when I went to Australia 2 years ago. Now I will be moving out there! I am a bundle of emotions currently as in less than 3 weeks, I will be getting on a plane with a one way ticket #shitsticks. I am excited for all the new adventures, new experiences, new friendships, new step in my career. I am also shit nervous about living in a country half way around the world, completely and totally away from family and all my loved friends. These past few months have made me realise how lucky I am to have such a great family and friends. I have a small family but they are my rock. Thinking about leaving them, makes me teary. I also have an amazing group of girlfriends- who have been incredible support and they are such solid loyal fabulous friends. I keep thinking am I doing the right thing moving away!?

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This is something I have wanted to do in so long. Ever since I went to Australia 2 years ago, I have had a yearn to go back. It is hard though seeing my good friends progressing in life. I feel like I will be missing out on big life events, where I want to be there celebrating, supporting them. However, moving to Australia is FOR ME, this point in my life is the right moment. I know it will only help me grow as an individual and be positive for my life.

I recently read an article in Red magazine about how we all reach milestones at different stages in our life and how it is easy to feel out of sync with your friends. It talks about how there isn’t a “pinnacle of happiness or success” but the pathway you chose as an individual is what matters. The article really related to how I am feeling.

“Arm in arm but never in step”

I really feel moving to Australia is the next part of my journey and who knows where it will lead to.

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This turned into a rather philosophical post, but I am rather emotional at the moment!