118

that’s the number of days till I fly home. Unless of course, I can change my flight to an earlier date in order for that number to reduce.

Is it obvious enough that I don’t like it here?

Once upon a time, I thought I was capable of doing the ‘move overseas alone, figure it out, be an adventurer’ type dream. I’m not. I’m just not that person. I have a cousin who’s jetting off to different countries while studying overseas- one minute she’s in Russia, the other in London. Now she’s in NYC because she’s going to do a rotation in Mexico.

I am not that person, at all. I’m the farthest from it. I have been highly homesick since arriving here. I did not enjoy the one week I had to settle in. My brother was with me and all I could do was complain about how much I wanted to go home. And I still do. If you told me that I could continue my rotations in JB or wherever in Malaysia, I would leap at that chance.

Melbourne is cold. Melbourne is not home. Melbourne makes me feel like I’m so far away from everything.

It does not help that I am living alone. I mean sure, I’m in an AirBnB with the owner of the place and three other housemates, but I’m alone. And I do not do well alone. In JB, I lived in the same apartment as my friends. I had people right outside my door with whom I am comfortable with. But here, I literally make my way out and in of my room and go no where else.

I hate being alone.

I am literally checking out another place tomorrow to see if it’s comfortable and convenient enough to move into because I have a fellow Malaysian medical student there. I am not that person who’s a ‘self sufficient’ survivor. I am hopeless at this.

Waking up in the morning to 6 or 7 degrees in comparison to the 28 back in Malaysia doesn’t help. Going back in pitch darkness because the sun sets by 5pm is no fun. Being without a support system makes me feel terrible. I get up in the morning wishing so hard that it’s my friends outside that door, and that we’d go to ‘work’ together. Or that it was my family whom I can hug before and after I get back.

It’s not going great. I’m better at not crying now. The homesickness is a dull ache in my chest that I’m hyper-aware of when there’s silence around me. That’s why my earphones are almost always ‘in’ and I have watched so many episodes of comedy TV shows, and random comedy movies. I need major distractions so I don’t get trapped in my own head.

What more, to top off this wonderful time, I freaked out at forensic pathology. I’ve switched electives because I have found that I cannot take being in the morgue. Maybe it was nerves, maybe it was the fact that I was so hopelessly alone and homesick, but my experience on Monday made me want to die. And that was simply 40 minutes in the morgue. 40 minutes.

But being surrounded by all those bodies in different states of decomposition, in different positions and different parts removed.. it is not like TV. It is not like anything I thought I was prepared to face. It was paralysing and horrifying. I went to see my coordinator that same evening and ended up crying in his office because I could not take it.

Yes, I am a failure in Melbourne so far. I am not coping well with anything, and without anyone. I wish I could fly my parents here permanently. But more so, I wish I could go home.

So yes, I flunked out of forensic pathology on Tuesday, and since Wednesday, I’ve been in a different hospital and doing a completely different elective. Three weeks of Medical Oncology and three weeks of Radiation Oncology. Basically oncology.

My mother gave me hell for bailing on the initial plan. There was a huge fight over FaceTime where she basically berated me for chickening out, and how I should not see her body when she dies because I’m ‘too fragile’. More than anything, that huge fight absolutely tore through me. The whole of last week was basically a big mess of my parents being upset with me for being upset. And then this happened, so it was a massive explosion of emotions.

But in a way, that has moderately settled down. My mom isn’t ‘over it’ but she’s able to look at me, so that’s a good thing. I get where she’s coming from, and in some ways, I wish I had not ‘chickened out’. I was just so overwhelmed and I wish I had handled that better.

The current elective is rather quiet, and rather dull. That’s not a nice thing to say but it kinda feels like that. Oncology is to do with cancers and I know nothing about cancers, so yeah. I have not done anything in the three days that I’ve been here that’s worth shouting about. I did see interesting things in the forensics elective which were highly interesting in the two days that I was there. Hence the ‘why didn’t I just stick with it? why did i let myself get overwhelmed so easily’ that runs through my mind pretty frequently.

Then I remember how it felt to be in the morgue and I question my own questioning.

In all honesty, I think doing my rotations in Malaysia would allow me to learn more and to do more. Based on what my friends have been saying, they don’t do much or learn anything in the wards in this country either. I would have gained a lot more from doing rotations in JB. Or even in Sunway. As terrible as this sounds, there’s nothing ‘great’ about being in Australia. All I see is how much more I gain from being back home.

I don’t know. Right now, the only thing that’s pushing me forward is ‘when can I see my friends’. My weekends are the only thing I care about. That and the countdown to when I’m flying home.

Maybe my rotation will improve with time. Who knows? But for now, I cannot quite see how it can. I’m just counting down the days, guys. I just want to be over with all of this and go home.

Did I think this is how it was going to go? No, I did not.

118 guys. 118.

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