Thursday, 26 January 2012

Berlin, please be nice to us

If you've read the numerous blogposts which I have written in my head (and not written down anywhere) you'll know that I, and the other half, have a tendency to get desperately homesick.
Homesick for a place that isn't really home, where I only sort of speak the language, and where I only lived for 9 months of my 25 years. Not the most obvious definition for home.
But Berlin captured my heart, and I haven't yet got it back. I don't know if I ever will.

We're going there tomorrow, for the first time since we left, and I'm not going with the intention of getting my heart back. I just hope I don't leave even more of it behind - it will get too difficult.

Difficult because I don't imagine it will ever be particularly possible to live there again, at least not for any great length of time. Despite learning the language on and off since I was 11, I'm not quite fluent. I can hold a decent conversation about every day things (and less everyday things, like health insurance, and symptoms of endometriosis) but I could never persuade anyone that I'm anything near a native speaker. And to be a doctor, I believe you need to make a damn good attempt at that. Working with doctors here, with less-than-perfect English (including a whole presentation on "pregnancy women"), has convinced me that my chance of being a good doctor in Germany is slim. And if I can't be good, I shouldn't be doing it.
Additionally, the very dyslexic other half dislikes learning languages, it doesn't come naturally to him, and he works in hospitality - another area where language ability is definitely ideal (again, not always reflected in the UK). And one of his current aims in life is to make cider. Germany, and Berlin specifically, are not exactly known for their cider.
Add to that family commitments that may well keep me in this country in the future.

The overall conclusion is a minor dilemma. My heart is in one place, my life is in another. That can't easily be reconciled.

So I'm asking please, Berlin, be kind this week. Bring back good memories (there are many), and we'll create some new ones, but be gentle. I can't afford to leave any more of my heart - I think I'll be needing all I've got.

I'm scared.

[I realise this sounds terribly wishy-washy and overly emotional, I am not normally one for talking about hearts, other than in a medical biological sense. It's not intended to be slushy. I think it's a post-OSCE, post-exam brain talking. I had a four hour practical exam today and my brain has turned to mush. I am not a slushy person, but these are the best words to describe the longing that I have to be in a place that felt like home. Don't judge me.]

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Thank god for OSCE chocolate

If the Daily Mail knew how much confectionery I consumed today, paid for with taxpayers' and NHS money**, they'd have a field day. Though if it gets me through the exam, which gets me to being a doctor, that's for the good of the country, right?!?

**Before anyone who might read this says it's paid for from university fees, final year medical students don't pay them. The NHS do. (However, the NHS student bursary I receive pays for any other chocolate I eat, so maybe it's all much of a muchness.)

OSCE = Observed (or objective?!) structured clinical examination. ie practical exam in which I pretend to be a real doctor, usually with actors but sometimes real patients, and get marked on how good I am at pretending, and therefore whether I should be allowed to do it for real. Each bit lasts about 10 minutes, each exam has that 10-16 times over. Mega stressful.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012


Interestingly,* it would appear that the usual prescription daily mild laxatives (best treatment for endometriosis I've come across) are suddenly no longer required when medical finals are looming. And that was just for a writing exam. I dread to think about the OSCEs - practical exams - coming later this week.

It never ceases to amaze me, all the complex effects that stress can have on our bodies. Mind and body are so intricately interwoven.

*Yes, I realise it's probably only interesting for me, because I'm a medic. Apologies for the TMI if this is not your cup of tea.