Live Your Life

As I head back to Leeds on the train again, I reflect on how I spent the last few days in my home city, London. I use train journeys as a golden opportunity to recollect the good memories we made at home. It’s always something I can come back to.

I hadn’t been at home in just over two months, and hadn’t seen my family since I did my exam. It was nice to actually spend a few days with them, not just a weekend. In addition to getting a hair cut, I took the opportunity to meet my cousins. A couple came over to see us and I met up with a close one in the city.

I always enjoy going to central London, and this trip was no different. I love the fact that it’s literally a 30 minute trip on the Underground to get there. I met my cousin at around 5pm in London Bridge, at a fresh Italian Pasta restaurant called Padella. Despite the early dinner and neither of us being particularly hungry, we somehow managed to consume 3 pasta dishes, a chocolate torte and a bottle of Prosecco between us! I hadn’t seen her since Christmas, so there was a lot of catching up to do.

After having our meal, we walked across the city centre. Starting at Borough Market, we made our way along the River Thames and passed many London landmarks-Shakespeare’s Globe, the Royal National Theatre, London television centre, the London Eye, Sea life London Aquarium, Dungeons and Dragons, skateboarding sites, the list was endless. Streaks of sunlight were seeping through the clouds still, yet nobody was cold. Everybody looked happy and was in a good mood. We said our goodbyes on London Bridge at around 8.30pm and we went home our separate ways. My understanding is that the London terrorist attacks took place two hours later.

The following morning, after waking up to numerous Whatsapp messages to check people were safe, I went to a barbeque my sister was organising for me and my parents. We were joined by one of my old family friends who I hadn’t seen in almost a year, and her American cousin who I briefly met at my sister’s wedding. I won’t lie, I thought I had felt a little awkwardness between us, maybe because I hadn’t seen her in a long time or maybe because they were guests. However I think it settled…my sister showed us wedding videos (some of them I knew I’d seen before) and we chatted again like old times.

After the barbeque, we drove to my friend’s house where she was staying with her parents, whilst she was back in England. Her house always reminded me of happy childhood memories and the days we used to hang out there. Her cousin was a medical student and talked about the medical school system. He also invited me to come to America. Yay! My first American friend! It was even more lovely seeing her parents again. Her father is a retired GP and I had the utmost respect for him. He had a very good work ethic which my mother always talked about when I was younger, and I’d like to think  that he was proud of me. Hilariously he exclaimed, “ahh Chitra, you look like a 10 year old!”, and we had an energetic conversation. We talked about the hospitals I worked in and he was happy that I can do LPs, (lumbar punctures), stating “yes, you’re a doctor”.

I definitely enjoyed my time in London, I always do. I love trying to make time to see old friends and family, because I want to be reminded of my roots when I tend to forget them. This trip back to London will probably stick to me more, because of what happened in London Bridge. Last time I met up with my cousin was around Christmas time last year. We met up later in the evening and I came home later. What if we decided to meet up at a similar time this year? It’s almost terrifying to think that, and I did lay awake that night thinking about what could have happened.

My mum mentioned that I should stop going to central London often (as if I go often!), and brought up many a time, how I encouraged her to take trips there that very evening, before we heard the news. But really, should something like this stop us from carrying on with normal life? According to her, it almost felt like she believed that. Yes maybe I’ll be a little cautious, but I won’t be living in fear. We have a life to live and we should live it.

Nicest Kids in Town

A few days ago, I went out for dinner and drinks with some work friends from the stroke job. Due to oncall or family commitments, not everybody could make it-but despite this it was a very eventful night!

I decided to bring my boyfriend along, whilst one of my friends brought her partner too. This was probably my second time I think where I brought him along to a work-social event this year (you can see how often we meet up!). We had our fair share of pizzas, a few beers and glasses of prosecco between us. I was made to ask the bartender for “their sweetest beer”, on behalf of my boyfriend. That’s right, I had to ask the bartender for this drink, and yes he gave me strange look! (Seeing as I purchased a Cherry Beer!)

All in all it was a very enjoyable night, but the main reason I decided to write about this is because it somewhat relates to my last blog post. Compared to the previous discussions I told you about, the things we talked about here were definitely more interesting, lively and entertaining. I thought why this might be, and I came up with some reasons:-maybe it was because we had worked together for much longer, and the next time we would meet wouldn’t be because of work. This was also a social event, where we were free to talk about more varied things. Or maybe I could relate to these friends more than the others I spoke about-none of us were married!

Towards the end of the evening, I made my way to the toilet and when I came back, all my friends seemed to look amazed at me. I couldn’t really think why at first, until they told me…my boyfriend had apparently updated them about my plans to Uganda. I was pleasantly surprised and didn’t know how to react, only a handful of people know about it!  It made me realise that I like to keep my work life separate from my personal life, but in my mind there wasn’t anything wrong with some overlay. We probably wouldn’t be working together in the future,so I could be more relaxed about things. I was reminded about something Paul Graham, venture capitalist and co-founder of Y Combinator wrote in one of this essays:

Friends offer moral support, but secrecy also has its advantages. There’s something pleasing about a secret project. And you can take more risks, because no one will know if you fail. 

So no turning back!

Let’s Dance

So I did. Back in June 2015, I went to Ghana (my first time in Africa), to join a medical volunteering expedition. On the fourth day of our trip, we went to a salsa bar, as a means to get to know the rest of the group. What you are about to see below was completely unplanned, without any practice and without a drink before hand. We both went with the flow, and I felt so free! I think it went well (aka I was still standing by the end of it 🙂 )

Stay Salsa, and have a good weekend!

How do you define old age?

Yesterday my consultant decided to take us out for drinks after work, our first social gathering two months into this job. I’m not usually the type of person who attends every work-related social event. Not only do I like to keep my personal life separate from my job, but I choose not to maintain false pretenses with people who I genuinely think are unfriendly and nasty. I can also get somewhat insecure and uncomfortable when being my ‘normal crazy self’, in front of the people I work with.  However on this occasion, I had no real reason not to attend. Everyone in my team is lovely and I didn’t really have any other plans.

We took a 5 minute walk to a pub my work friends suggested..and NEWSFLASH: I get extremely uncomfortable in pubs! I don’t really know what it is about them, it might be that I’d never really hung out in pubs in uni, or I find that people stare at me constantly (that could be me being paranoid), but I’m totally fine in bars and clubs…it makes no sense!

After overcoming what sounded like a ‘fear’ of ordering a drink (that’s the other thing, I NEVER know what to order), we made our way outdoors to join the others. From then on I think things went smoothly. I seemed to be making good conversation, I opened up a little bit more, and I managed to get some laughs…hopefully good ones!

My consultant asked me an interesting question… ‘How do you define old age?’

I did think about it, but unfortunately I feel the one drink I had may have gone straight to my head, and I answered ’35(!)’. Yes it was too late, I had already said it. Fortunately I received a rather friendly outburst of laughs from my consultant and the other junior doctors, so I just hoped my rather immature answer went down well.

This morning I asked my boyfriend what my consultant had asked me last night. We pondered about it for a bit, and we (mainly he) came up with this:

‘A person who hasn’t reached the goals they have set, at the age they set it’. (Subconsciously my answer was 35).

And that was it, the perfect answer to a big question.