Saturday, September 01, 2012

brave new world

uprooting oneself to move to another country is a daunting experience for many.

21years ago, on sept 1, i started my new job as a trainee doctor in a small NHS hospital in dover, england. i was thrilled to receive the acceptance letter in late july that year, after having sent out more than 10 applications for a training post. suddenly, there were hordes of things to do before leaving, eg. apply for no-pay leave (which was denied), send out resignation letter, book flight tickets, settle income tax, sell the car, pack the stuff to bring along (mostly notes & books) & discard the rest, and oh yes, spend time with the parents in the hometown. yeah, i remembered my father shed tears as i drove off that day.

it helped that the wife had been to london before. so, it was a breeze to catch the coach from heathrow to victoria station, & then a train to dover in the south coast. the hospital has a accomodation officer who took us to our rented house.

i hit the ground running. no observation or familiarisation period but straight into the job, which was to be the 1st of many. the whole training process had taken me from dover to brighton, sheffield & leeds. i have to admit that i was very impressed with the work culture in the NHS. the service is consultant-based & the trainees are given ample opportunities to learn hands-on, attend courses & time-off for exams.

after 4 years, i'd like to think that i became a better doctor from the experience. i achieved the post-grad degree i had initially set out to attain, made some good friends & colleagues, travelled widely & returned home with an addition to the family - a lovely daughter.

on hindsight, would i have done anything differently?

maybe, i should have stayed back.

just maybe.


wenn said...

that was a great experience. It's good to be back..

doc said...


it was a fantastic experience but now, i'm not sure if it's good to be back!!

The thumb in every pie said...

I have absolutely no idea how I'd arrived at your blog but I must say it is a good thing bcoz you have an interesting insight to things.

Anyway, I just wanted to say that perhaps when you were younger and early on the career path, it would have been a good idea to stay on. Alot of my friends stayed on in UK after Uni but for some of us, the call (and comforts) of home were hard to ignore.

But having said that, 25 years on, my hubby and I are starting to see several of our friends coming back to Malaysia for good. Their kids having flown the coop and for most, living in UK is starting to bite - esp in the wallet.

The irony is that when we look back and ask ourselves if we had done things differently, I would say no. Maybe bcoz we realised that no matter where you are and no matter where you choose to live out your life, there will always be an equal measure of frustration as there would, happiness bcoz life is a journey of choices.

doc said...

hi Andrea,

you arrived here because perhaps you took the scenic route??

maybe it's just that the grass is greener over the other side that i often wonder if we've made the right move returning home. maybe it's just how the country has changed since our return.

but now that we're here, we might as well make do with whatever we have.

after all, it could have been worse.

The thumb in every pie said...

I'm sure I took the scenic route here (but with no overturned trucks. LOL). Most likely, it would have been one of your blog posts on FOOD that would have attracted me like a moth to bright light.

In many ways, UK esp London has changed alot over the years. With relaxed EU migration entry and the current recession in Europe, living in UK can be rather daunting at times. Unemployment is high and the welfare system (and NHS) are heaving under drastic fiscal cuts. I believe that last summer's riots are in many ways, manifest of such change.

For me, staying in UK for a month or two (which I do every year to be with my daughter) is more than enough. More so, with this summer which has been particularly wet and dreary.

doc said...


i would love for my daughter to be resident in england, so we can visit every year.

my take on the recent trip to wet & dreary england starts from here:

Anonymous said...

always reassuring to know that "the path of the righteous are ordered by the Lord"

just me

doc said...

Just me,

thanks for the reassurance!