Saturday, 15 October 2011

Where you tend a rose, my lad, a thistle cannot grow.

This is a quote from the secret garden that I have recently re-read. And it struck a chord with me. I’ve been having a hard time adjusting to life in Australia. Not that its Australia’s fault but it’s the combination of being in a new country, being in a new environment and having to stand on my own two feet for the first time. Now I know I’ve been living away from home for 3 years now so I’m fairly independent, but I’ve always had my support network round me. Now I’m here without my friends and without a boyfriend. I know that last bit sounds a bit pathetic, but since I was 17 I’ve pretty much always been in a fairly serious relationship. Now I’m not going to sit and talk about them but the point is I’ve always had someone I could run too when things got hard, someone who I was emotionally supported by. And my close friends did the same thing; if I was upset I knew a shoulder to cry on was only a phone call away. But now it’s just me. My housemates are great but there isn’t the history between us to make us that close yet. I think that’s the thing I’ve found the hardest, it’s not the distance, or the time difference, or the work, it’s the lack of emotional grounding. I have to be my own rock, which is new for me.

So I’ve been finding that hard and moping about a bit, don’t worry I haven’t been moping that much. Well, I was for about a week, but I’ve pulled myself together. That’s why that quote meant so much to me. "Where you tend a rose, my lad, A thistle cannot grow." Therefore if I don’t want any thistles I have to tend the roses. So that’s what I’ve been doing: I’ve thrown myself at my work and at developing my new friendships.

A couple of weekends ago I went to Orange. Orange is a town on the other side of the Blue Mountains which are west of the outskirts of Sydney. It’s a fairly hick town but it’s in lots of space and beautiful countryside.  And it was a really good weekend! There were 6 of us that went and it was really good to get out of the city and spend some proper time together. So that’s really helped developing friendships here.

I’ve also been working really hard at work. My supervisor is away for a month, so that means I’ve been left in charge of the lab and team. Remember I’ve only been here 2 months so to be left in charge of the entire lab is a big responsibility. I could have spoken to someone and said I wasn’t sure I was capable of it and they would have cancelled all the lab time for this month, but I decided I should step up and take the opportunity that was given to me, despite the big bosses not liking that I was in charge but it was too late for them to do anything by the time they worked it out. I put in extra hours, I used every resource I could find but I managed to fill the lab and organise the staff and make everything run smoothly-ish. The lab runs Tuesday to Thursday overnights and, at one point, it was looking like Thursday was going to be cancelled because only one patient was booked to come in. This makes me look bad, so I ran round working my arse off and managed to fill the lab! I caught one of the Drs before she left and gave her the update and she must have emailed the big bosses because later that night I had one of the two big bosses come into my office to congratulate me on filling the lab and having all the patient history coordinated already. So that was good. Later that night I had to stay late to make sure the overnight staff were fully briefed about each of the patients history. So I stayed an extra hour and a half even though I had arrived early that day. So I ended up working a 12 hour shift and when I was leaving I bumped into the other big boss and she remarked on me putting in extra time and making sure everything was working. That’s both of them that have noticed the hard work I’ve been doing.

So I think tending the roses is working. I hope I can continue to see life this way, it is exhausting though. Today I slept for 12 hours straight which I never do so I really must have been tired! Finding the right balance between spending energy on being social, working and relaxing is always difficult so maybe a bit more R&R is needed so I don’t burn out like I have done before. But I’m feeling a bit more positive about things now. I’ve been here two months, I’ve run a lab and I’ve done it all by myself!!! Watch out world, Deb doesn’t need someone to hold her hand any more.

Sunday, 9 October 2011


This is not a blog post about me. This is an obituary. For someone who was only with us for a short time. Only 4 years. This post is about my cat: Cleo. On Sunday evening my father called to tell me that she hadn’t come home the night before and when they had gone looking for her they found her dead on the side of the road. My only consolation is that she must have gone quickly and been killed on impact so at least she wasn’t in any pain. But I am. Never again will I be greeted by her cheerful chirps as I come through the door. No more afternoons will be spent bouncing her favourite pink ping pong ball across the tiles for her to chase. And no more evenings will be spent with her cuddled up on my lap keeping me warm. I miss her so much. I wasn’t even there to bury her or cuddle her sister, Phoebe, who is lost without her.

So this post is in recognition of an amazing soul who is not earthy bound any more. But just because she is gone doesn’t mean she will be forgotten. I will miss her and carry her in my heart forever.