Thursday, 7 July 2016

A day in the life

My alarm goes off. Bleary eyed and disorientated, I fumble around til I find it. 0540. Thursday. Light is flooding the room. I literally just went to sleep; how can it be that time already? But it is. And the race is on. Shower dress tea run for the bus. Wait for the train. Change onto Victoria Line. Then Northern. It's 7am and I've been on public transport for 40 minutes. Less than half way through the journey. Deep breath. Damn. Forgot my breakfast. And exhale..

Get off near the end of the line after much squishing and sweating and very careful avoidance of making eye contact with ANYONE in case they think I'm a total weirdo, or half human, heaven forbid, only to be welcomed to the outside world by torrential rain for the 30th day in a row followed by the inevitable fight with my eternally reversible umbrella. Arrive at work and catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror. When did those bags get there? No, I know those ones have always been there. I mean those ones. Maybe I should wear make up tomorrow..

The ward is just waking up. Straight into it. Mr. Bond is choking on his tea is he. Yes I'll re-assess him. No it won't be right now. And Mrs. Middleton doesn't like her minced moist diet, right. I don't blame the girl. And yes thank you I know I look tired. I AM tired. And Mr. Pitt has been coughing through the night but has been eating and drinking lying down. Nice. Yes I'll do some education. And document it in the notes. And no i won't forget to update Mr. Smith's daughter on his change in status. And yes I'll reassess Mrs. Brown's language, I did try to see her yesterday but.. Well that's wonderful thank you for that. Can I get through the door now?

A haze of chasing notes and talking to sons and calling daughters and discussing with staff and writing therapy plans and rewriting discharge summaries and sending onward referrals and why haven't I seen an actual patient yet? And how is it 1130 already?

Ahh ha. Mr. Smith. I need to get to him today. Nil by mouth, high risk of aspiration into the lungs. No entry in the notes from the night shift Nurse. Hmm. Okay. Not good. Come to think of it, no sign of a Nurse. Check the charts. No oral cares in over 16 hours. Really not good. Mr. Smith is not good either. After I use 18 swabs to clean the secretions away from his gums and the roof of his mouth, he says he doesn't want to be here anymore. In this hospital? Oh. I see. This world. He's crying. I look at this intelligent, eloquent man, undoubtedly a shadow of his former self, and I feel like crying myself. I feel helpless. What can I say? I wipe his face and hold his hand. I've got to look after him and do my job, I tell him. Is this my job? Maybe it is now.

Mrs. Brown has finally got rid of her entourage of Physios and OTs and Rehab Support Workers and nephews and neighbours and I can get to her. Severe dyspraxia of speech, talking muscles just not playing ball on command, but understanding of language fully intact. Today is particularly bad; she's tired out. Those bloody Physios! One whole session later and despite some minor progress at a phoneme level, the only compete word she can get out, which she does at least two dozen times, is "f*ck". My thoughts exactly, Mrs. Brown ! She collapses in a fit of giggles and I'm not far behind. Persevere, I tell her, we will get there. She nods. I hope I am right.

It's half 2 already and maybe I should eat some lunch now and LOOK there's a Nurse! Hurrah! I'm not sure if you noticed in the notes or on the handover or from the timetable I made for his wall or the huge red sign above his bed but Mr. Smith needs oral cares every 2 hours and I wonder if you could please- I'm sorry? What's oral care? I bang my head repeatedly against the metaphorical brick wall that is already deeply indented with the imprint of my face. Where is the team in this MDT? Is this the NHS I left behind 3 years ago or has something changed? Again? I breath deeply once more and wonder if I'm in some kind of parallel universe to real life. Nope. I'm not.

I catch Mrs. Middleton who is no longer bothered about her swallow and is more interested in telling me that she is a Professor at a top university and an economics magazine Editor on the side. At least, she was before this. To be honest, I'd rather talk about that too. That sounds amazing!! So this swallow then..? A yoghurt, banana, biscuit and glass of water later and Mrs. Middleton has progressed and is back on normal fluids normal diet and I am HER FAVOURITE PERSON EVER. I have a little glow of happiness that I changed someone's life for the better. Food is my all time favourite thing and I can't even imagine what it must be like to be deprived of it. It feels good to remember so acutely why I love this job, despite the challenges it brings. The patients are just amazing.

The receptionist comes over to give me a hug. Why? Just because. Just because. That's a lovely reason. It's Friday tomorrow, she tells me. I know, it's lasted forever but gone in a flash, this week, I tell her. That is hospital life for you, she says. Is it? Intense and fast and furious. A flurry of notes and phone calls and handovers follow before I look up and realise I should have left already. A while ago. But I need to do MORE. That old chestnut. Yes yes, but I can only do what I can do Zzz Zzz.. I slink out the ward, head spinning, mental to-do lists being written frantically. I should really jot this down but OH RAIN. WHAT A SURPRISE.

If people are keen to get to work in London in the morning, they are DESPERATE to get home in the evening.. Much jostling and jabbing and squidging and running and seriously, what's the rush, people? And why can't we talk to each other??! It would make the journey so much nicer and I promise I won't be weird. Kind of promise.. And the heat on this train. How can you be wearing that jacket in this heat ?! Do Londoners ever feel the heat or are they born with a natural ability to store heat and use it at a later date? Someone should look into that. News to keep the fatigue at bay. Something about Boris Johnson, the market plummeting, more on Istanbul and is the world ending?? The long white clouds, black beaches and lush, green hills of New Zealand seem like more than half a hemisphere away right now. A whole world away. Beautiful Aotearoa. I shake off the pangs of something I can't quite recognise, or acknowledge, right here and now, on this crammed, stifling carriage, with rain lashing the windows and travellers crushed together. This city wants Thursday to finish and Friday to start.

I get home 1 hour and 58 minutes after leaving work. I have a 60 second turnaround and head straight to the gym because I know if I sit down there is not a chance in hell I'll get up again. One meal, season finale and brew later, it's time for sleep again. Where did the evening go? I need more evening. More time. As I fade in and out of consciousness, I think about Mr. Smith. I think about his daughters and his wife. I think about Mrs. Middleton and her previous life, and wonder if she'll ever return to her editorial post. Or the teaching post. I smile at the small successes, happy to have helped, and mull over the rest. My brain swirling in the darkness. Where is the off switch?

My alarm goes off. Bleary eyed and disorientated, I fumbled around til I find it. 0540. But, to borrow the simple word of Mrs. Brown, THANKF*CKITSFRIDAY.

Sunday, 28 September 2014

We can but try.

So I discharged this lady on Friday. She was one of them. No, not a favourite patient, because I learnt the hard way that you can’t have them. But she was one of those that you care about and try so hard and take home with you in your head and wonder why oh why is nothing you are doing helping?

Sometimes, we believe in something so much that we flog it til it’s almost dead. We go hard without stopping to look for progress. Is it because we are after professional gains? I want to feel good at my job! Or want personal gains to feel good about ourselves? Would be so great to feel like I’ve helped.. Or ‘cause we really care? The poor woman!! Whatever the reason, it’s destroying and sobering to realise that nothing you are doing is helping. Like, nothing. But why? Is then that a reflection on you? Or the problem? Or both? No wait, am I single-handedly responsible for this woman’s difficulties? Okay, so she had made some small gains. Baby gains. But I hadn’t “fixed” her. I didn’t want to send this woman home with almost no language. After a month of rehab. One month. That would be like admitting I am awful at my job! Well.. maybe I am. No, wait, again. From one person? Does that make me a bad Therapist? Maybe. Really, though? Really?

Whatever. I thought about it. And talked about it. And thought about it some more. And then a little bit more. And finally, when I realised and accepted that I was not helping, I was able to distance myself from the situation. I could look at the cold hard facts of the matter. Which are these:

The brain is pretty amazing. But when parts of it die… like, big fat chunks of it, they ain’t always going to come back to life. Neither surgery nor therapy nor a magic wand will change that. The end fullstopAMEN.

Okay. Are you sure? Are you SURE? Oh. Okay. Right. So maybe this isn’t about me after all..  I took this lady on in a state of bad damage – sadly, beyond repair, for now, anyway. Her potential for recovery was limited from even before I’d done my very first assessment. I almost felt silly that I’d kept her as an inpatient for as long as I did. Everyone loves a good project, ay? But did I really stop to consider if I was doing the best for her, or for me? I think I just wanted to help. So I tried and tried and tried.

Of course, there are always things you could have differently and hindsight is a wonderful thing (as a sidenote, I would pay many hundreds of pennies, cakes and buttons to have this..), but at what point does it stop being personal and stop being about you? Not everything is about you. About me. Was everything in my control. Well.. no. Not really. Did I do my best. I think so. Could I have done more than that? I don’t think so. Really? Okay, FINE: NO, I could not have done more than that. I didn’t fix her, and I’m okay with that.

That is all.

Just try your best, people.


Sunday, 4 May 2014

The four laws

It's 0558. I stumble from the murky dark and cold air into the Den half-asleep but suppressing yawns (burpee rewards otherwise..). Lights glaring and music blaring, a hive of activity in stark contrast to the sleepy night I left behind at the door. Our morning's exercises are chalked onto the wall, predictably a mix of pushes, pulls, jumps, jogs, squats, sprints and a list of other strenuous things that you really don't feel like doing at silly o'clock in the morning when you'd probably rather still be in the delicious warmth and comfort of your now-distant bed.. But this routine has a comfort of its own.

Music cuts out at 0600 sharp and Gaia takes centre stage. And after a brief chat with your neighbour, it's soon time for the four laws. My favourite part. The principles of the Arena. The backbone of our training. And what has gradually seeped into my subconsciousness after countless early morning sessions.. 

"The first law is positivity. When you come into the Den, we ask that you bring your positive energy and attitude, and be positive with everything you do. If you have any negative looks, comments or vibes, we'll ask you to leave the Den and come back with a better, more positive attitude.

The second law is can and love. Two words that we don’t say are can’t and hate. We say that we can do anything we set our minds to and that we love everything that we do.

The third law is 100%. Commit to everything you do with 100%. Keep your form, don't slack on effort and do everything to the very best of your ability.

Finally, the fourth law is leave a profit. Make a place better for having been there. Whether that's picking up a piece of rubbish, putting weights back at the end of battle or G-ing up a fellow warrior, make sure that you leave a positive sign of having been in a room.

And now, for battle.."

I admit, I paid very little attention to these first laws when I first heard them a good 6 months ago. They probably went over my head as my mind was occupied with dreams of fluffy duvets, electric blankets and being sound asleep instead of wide awake at a veryunreasonablehour of the morning..

I also remember the first time I was attempting a wall-to-exit of caterpillar dead legs.. (You don’t even want to know what that is!) I HATED it. There, I said it. I thought to myself this is painful. I’m not enjoying it. I can't even do it. In fact, it’s killing me and HOLD UP - WHY am I actually here anyway?? I only gave the four laws a shot when I looked around at everyone else and realised there was an inevitable feeling of shame and failure that was barring the only exit route.. URGH. Okay. Positive attitude. I want to do this. Can. And I can do it. Cheeeeesey. BUT I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have that conversation with myself in my head and that I actually DID find it easier second time round. I got to the end and had a little imaginary high five with err, me, when I realised I’d been so busy convincing myself that I could do it instead of being all groany and whingey and telling myself that I couldn’t, that I genuinely had enjoyed it. Who knew?! I, for one, was amazed. Next time I heard those four laws, my ears pricked up.

Positivity: We all love having a good moan. A right old rant. A “the whole world is against me” day. Evvverything is negative. And then we take our negativity and put it onto others. “Joe Bloggs: whyyy is it Monday AGAIN? Hate my job. 5 days til the weekend #worksucks #FML” Sound familiar? (You know who you are!) And somewhere in the back of your mind, probably without even realising, you’ve taken on just a wee little bit of someone else’s negative vibe.. Blocking it out, that negative energy in the workplace, online, in backhanded comments, in words spoken directly in the line of fire or perceived in the subtle mood of a room.. It’s not easy. Negativity, it’s powerful and contagious. But ever caught a smile? Or a giggle?! Positivity is infectious too, no? Use it!

Can / love: How much more likely are you to fail if you tell yourself you will? You’re surely setting yourself up to do so before you’ve even begun; you might as well quit on the spot. Self-fulfilling prophecy, in a way. Back yourself. With a strong mindset. And while you’re at it, why waste energy resenting something when you could turn it around into something you like? There will always be a plus, something to be learnt out of every situation. Kiwi ingenuity and style is based upon a ‘can-do’ attitude, creativity and positivity and an enjoyment of and appreciation for some of the simplest things. SO much more fun than can’t and hate! BOOM.

100%: I tend to take a lot on. It’s easy to do with all the opportunities we are presented with. How much satisfaction can you feel when you know you have only given something 50%? Okay. So you can’t do it all. But pick what you can do, commit to it and give it your absolute best shot. 100%.

Leave a profit: This is my favourite law. It’s the easiest one to carry out and it’s the highest impacting one, too. You’ve got to go through that door. So hold it open. You think that dress looks really nice. So say so. You are stepping over that rubbish. Just pick it up. You are walking past a stranger. So smile at them. Why the hell not?! Leaving a profit can be on the smallest scale ever, a subtle gesture that no one may ever even know about, or it can be an open act of kindness that is felt by everyone. Pass something on to someone else. Make a place better for having been there. So good.

Sometimes it’s hard. Blocking out negative energy from others can be draining. Committing to everything 100% can burn that candle real low. Definitely been there.. Hyping yourself up to believe you can do something that you think you really can’t can feel a bit pointless. And smiling when you enter a room just to leave a positive mark on its occupants when really, sometimes, the thing you most want to do is screw your face up and shout “WAHH”.. Yeah, all a bit of an effort. It’s not always easy. Especially not at 0600.. But so worth it! These four laws mean something now. And hey - what's the harm in at least trying?

Monday tomorrow, folks. Chin up, it’s gonna be a good week :)


Monday, 10 February 2014

Patience and patients

So I played this hockey game. And I got this niggle. The “hmm, I’ll stretch again when I get home..” kind of niggle. The “maybe I should have a long bath” kind of niggle. The “perhaps I best skip that run tomorrow” kind of niggle. You know the kind. Nothing major. No stress.

Next day: Yeah, that kind of hurts.
That weekend: All good. Woo! Back to training on Monday morning.
Monday afternoon: Oh WOW. YeahItotallycantwalknow. Sweet.
Cue: Crutches, painkillers and a week of desk work on doctor’s orders.

I cannot stand feeling less than 100%. True, no one likes being on poor form or incapacitated in some way, but waiting for something to heal has to be THE most frustrating thing ever. Possibly more frustrating than getting to work and realizing you’ve left your lunch at home (especially when it’s Thai beef salad). Than hitting every red light when you’re in a rush (why does that always happen to me? Or maybe I’m just always in a rush so the odds are higher.. Hmm.). Than realizing there is no milk left after making a much-needed brew (Friday 4pm desk still full of reports OH LORD REALLY??). All these trivial things - and the list is endless - YEAH, more frustrating than all of them. You feel like a bit of a pansy. Bit of a lemon. Bit of a wuss. You can’t do anything. You’re just a drain on everyone. You just have to sit there and wait. Wait! In pain. With ice. Pain and ice and helplessness and lethargy and how much longer do I have to do this please? And the lesson “rest now to avoid certain aggravation of above injury later” just really does take an awful long time for me to learn.

What injury?

But on Monday afternoon, as I was being wheelchaired out of hospital by my boss and frog-marched (metaphorically, of course, as that would be quite hard to do in a wheelchair) to the nearest ED clinic due to being in an “unacceptable level of pain”, I had my first taste of what it would be like to be one of our patients.

I think about my patients a lot, not just because they are absolutely amazing, that goes without saying really, but because they are the people I spend most of my time with. Monday, though, and then the rest of the week, was really the first time I have ever considered what it must actually be like to be one of them. This was a little tiny niggle in my lower leg that, okay, was actually a torn muscle that swelled my entire calve to my knee and creaked with excess fluid and flared up with pain and swelling again after being used gently for anymore than five or ten minutes. And my week since then has been vastly different.

But what about stroke? What about the people I see every day? Those who can’t move as they did, or at all? Who are still there but can’t talk to their families because they’ve lost language function? Who can’t swallow normal food and are surviving on pureed diet and thickened fluids? Forget a week or two. Some of these people’s lives will never be the same again.

We live life to the full. We walk, we talk, we run, we leap, we laugh, we joke, we jump, we think, we drink, we drive, we play, we say, we breath. With ease. We live.

We only ever notice something was working so incredibly faultlessly, so much like a perfectly-tuned piano, so exactly as it was made to… when something goes wrong. And when we do, wellll, it’s like the world has ended. I cannot even imagine what it must be like to have an event that changes my life permanently. Unless we’ve been through it directly, I suppose we can only imagine.

And so this has of course made me consider how I treat these people. Yep, left MCA infarct. Um hmm. He can’t swallow. Right. Or talk. Yeah. Seen it before. Okay. Oropharyngeal dysphagia. Patient unsafe for oral intake of diet and fluids; at risk of aspiration. Place on puréed diet and moderately thick fluids; review in 2/7. Expressive aphasia; to be formally assessed. Casual. Next. Hold up: this is a patient. A person. Do I ever stop to think how this is actually affecting them? I’m not sure I honestly even know how to do that.. Do I actually acknowledge what it is that has just happened to them? Do I consider how helpless and frustrated and incapacitated they might be feeling? I’d like to think I do, but.. DO I REALLY?

I’m not sure.

I saw 3-minute-long video on a friend’s facebook page a while back. It stopped me in my tracks and has since had an impact on my reaction to several different situations I’ve found myself in. I’ve passed it round my colleagues, I value its message so highly. Sympathy is not always right in these times. How can you sympathise when you’ve never actually been there yourself? Empathy.

I feel awful in a way to have even been grumbling about something so minor. The next time I’m running around the pitch, or training in the Den, or playing football on the beach, or pushing a trolley around a shop, or walking down the road, or eating a normal meal, or sitting at the table, or having a conversation, or typing this, or sleeping well, or breathing unaided, or just being, I hope I remember to appreciate what it is I have that is still, thank goodness,


Take care all.


Thursday, 30 January 2014

The kindness of strangers

"Isn't it strange to think you knew none of these people a few months ago?"

This is what was said to me, in as many words, a few days ago whilst sitting with friends, and as I approach the '6 months in New Zealand' mark, it has made me think: actually, everybody in my daily life was a stranger to me just a few months ago. How did I get to now?

I arrived with 37kg of luggage. Family 5 hours' drive away. And not one single friend. Just one contact and the promise of a room for a month, until I got on my feet.

Well, I'm still in that room, and I am well and truly on my feet. But how did that happen? How did this full and busy life build up around me? It has dawned on me over the past couple of days that most of what I have, what has shaped my life here and certain experiences that have stood out, has come from strangers. Unnecessary gestures and open invitations. Bits and bobs and thingymagigs. From absolute strangers. Maybe friends now, but initially, I was given a lot, an awful lot, from complete and utter strangers.

An iron. From someone who overheard I needed one.
My bus fare when I realised I'd left my wallet at home.
A room as a guest for a month. And unlimited steak (yes I eat it now..). Sirloin. Or scotch, I'm not fussy..
A lift to every hockey match.
A piano. A real piano! For free?!
The first invitation to drinks after work.
The offer of joining in on a fishing weekend away.
A long ride home from Whangnui, halfway down the island.
The invitation on a very first meeting to gatecrash a long-standing group of best friends' New Year break.
Being asked to a girly spa trip..
A cooked dinner and large white on my first day of homsickness.
A welcome sign on my first day at work.
A coffee when the card machine was broken but it was clear I probably never needed a coffee more in my life.The promise of a fully stocked wine fridge and unlimited sleepovers.
The trust given in confiding in me. And knowing it could be returned.
A snickers at mid-afternoon on the ward just because.
The use of a car over Christmas, just so I could be with family.
A weekend in Hawkes' Bay being spoilt. Badly.
A hug at just the right time during a very rare bad day in the office.
Being picked up at silly o'clock.
And an invitation to join a friend and her family for a few days on their annual summer holiday. Where this was said. And where I hadn't felt for a second as though I was in the company of anyone other than friends.

This is all from strangers. People I didn't know less than 6 months ago. Had never met. Had never  heard of. Did not even know existed. But these people, their warmth, generosity and their random acts of kindness are what has shaped my life today. I have been welcomed and treated like a friend from the word go. Maybe that would happen anywhere. Maybe it's a kiwi thing. I wouldn't know and I'm not about to debate it.

I am just happy knowing that these "strangers" are in my life.

Be kind, people, you never know how it may make a difference.


Wednesday, 22 January 2014

The toothbrush list

Okay so a blog. It’s technically been started. Now what? What is one supposed to write about? Anything, I hear you say? Anything? Hmm. Alright, then…

I have decided to sign up to a challenge. A self-inflicted challenge, in a way. Yes, I realise this is not the usual way to do things, but sometimes, your biggest challenges come from the limits you set yourself. This challenge is about health, it’s about fitness, it’s about motivation, it’s about self. It involves eating clean and lean. It involves exercise and discipline. How good can your body be if you do all the things it needs, and do them well? Yada yada yada, you’ve heard it all before. Let’s call the challenge ‘Bob’. I won’t bore you with the details of that part of it (not just now, anyway..), but the element of the challenge that’s really caught my eye is the ‘toothbrush list’. Things that I want to do everyday for the next month. So I picked 3.

Okay, exercise everyday for a minimum of 20 minutes, even on non-training days, whether that be a walk round the lake after work or a quick run. Secondly, to have an absolute minimum of 7 hours’ sleep a night. I know, it really should be 8, but some weeks I function on somewhere between 5 and 6, so a guaranteed 7 sounds like a dream. And finally, another 20 minutes a day for me.


Yep. No problem. Should be sweet. Right. Hmm. Okay. Wait a mo. Hold up. Say, whaat? Alright so it’s late, yeah, and I’m shattered and I just want my bed and I remember I’ve not done my 20 minutes of exercise.. What, so I’m just going to do jump up and down for 20 minutes doing lunges and burpees and push ups? Yep.


Right, so I’m in bed about to do lights out as it’s coming up to 7 hours before my alarm will be going off and a friend back home messages on the off-chance I can skype.. Well, we’ve not spoken in a month, what am I supposed to do, say “no”? Yep.


Okay, so I’ve been up for training since before the crack of dawn at 0530, been in work for what feels like 3 and a half days,  caught up with a friend, been out for dinner, got home late and then realise I’ve still got to find 20 minutes for “myself”, and that’s not taking into account the fact that there is a very fast-closing window in which to catch those elusive 7 hours’ sleep.. Surely I should be hitting the sack but you’re seriously telling me now is the time to read, write, chill out, to have pretentious, self-indulgent and very pointless “me time”? Yep.

Time. For me. Just for me. Like, to do things.. for me. Me time. No one else, 100% me time spent having time on meeee. Me. Me? Ummm… Yep.

I see.

And these were genuinely my thought processes. And I realised for the first time just how little “me time” I actually have. My real first thought was a cross between “what is one actually supposed to do with time to oneself?!” and “WOW think of all the things I could do!!” Things I haven’t done in ages. Play piano. Play guitar. Play cards. Make cards. Make cakes. Decorate cakes. Drink a G&T in the sun. Read a book in the garden. Do both the above at the very same time!! Sing! To the radio. To anything. Write. Write that blog I’ve been meaning to start..! Plant some vegetables. Plant some flowers. Draw some flowers. Have a bath. With smellies. And candles! I don’t even like smellies. Or baths.. But hurrah, the possibilities are endless! I have 20 minutes a day to legitimately do anything I like, anything at all!

This was quickly followed by a blunt, sobering and slightly puzzling question.. So 20 minutes is 1/72 of a day. That is such a pitifully pathetic amount of time to spend on the most important person in one’s life. WHY have I not been doing this the whole time? My whole life? Why am I not doing things I love everyday? Every single day? Maybe these are the things we need to be finding time for. Letter writing to whoever and singing to no one and thinking about nothing and walking to nowhere and hell, even baths. With smellies. The day is mine, mine alone, one whole day, everyday, and I give it away to other places, other things, other people and continuously forget to save just a little bit for me, myself and I. I have forever been chronically busy. It's a recurring theme. I cannot stand having nothing to do. I am Queen of The Double-Ended Burn of a Candle. I struggle to see an evening spent doing


as anything other than a huge waste. I feel cheated out of an opportunity. How dare you rob my night, Time, how simply dare you!! So inevitably, my days are full and long and tiring. Fun and satisfying, but rarely for “me”. I think this one, and the 2 other aims on the toothbrush list, are going to take some serious work. It feels like a bit of a shift in mindset. They suddenly seem quite important and I wonder how I’ve missed them out for so long. How rare is it to get a good night's sleep most nights of the week? Or to have that nice post-exercise buzz routinely? Or to do something you really, really enjoy and love every single day?

It’s going to require commitment, dedication and a conscious effort to ignore the subconscious habits of a very long time indeed. But I’m in.

Are you?


Monday, 20 January 2014

The beginning

So here we go. A blog. One of those things I’ve been “meaning to get around to” since forever and a day and yet never quite have. Well, now I’ve been challenged to start one, and those that know me very well will know the best way to get me to do something is to bet me to do it.. I somehow work best when someone tells me I can’t do something. Is that normal?! I’m sure you’ll hear more about that challenge later on.. But for now, I thought it appropriate to share with you, whoever “you” may be, whether the anonymous ghosts of hollow cyberspace or my nearest and dearest, the first extract of my then-new diary:

“5th August 2013


Dubai International Airport

Well. I’ve finally done it. What I wasn’t sure I’d ever actually do; get on a plane and move my life to New Zealand, land I fell in love with over 3 years ago. No, I’m not there yet, but sitting in this “Paul” café in Dubai’s shiny, sprawling airport, I don’t think there’s any turning back now. And nor do I want there to be.

Saying goodbye to loved family and friends over a tiringly indefinite amount of time is probably the hardest thing I have ever had to do. The sight of Jess jogging to keep me in her eyesight as I disappeared through to security and departure gates, although fairly comical, did also make me feel immense sadness. A little bit like my heart was breaking, the feeling seemed almost a physical pain in my chest. When will I next see her again? Or Andy? Or Mum and Dad? Or any of my family and friends? Why am I leaving all these people I love?! If it ain’t broke, etc, etc.. This is what I mean about maybe never really believing I’d do it. I had the interview, got the job, said “yes” and went through the motions. And then it was now.

As I sit here, in this pathetic excuse at a French “café”, with 37kg to my name, two teddies in my bag and what feels like a 16 year old mind trapped in the body of a 26 year old, I have probably never been more scared in my life. Or felt more alone. What the ACTUAL EFF am I doing?! Even now, I don’t think it’s properly hit me. I’m kind of hoping it does when I land in Wellington, or else we might have some problems..

But now I think about it, I’m bloody lucky. To have been offered my dream job in my favourite country, it’s incredibly, really. Nowhere near any of the family, but I suppose you can’t have it all! New places, new people, new adventures. I do believe I just smiled at the thought! I’m proud. Proud that I wanted to do this, and did. It’s BIG. But the time is now. Come on, New Zealand! LET’S DO THIS.