Thursday, July 9, 2009

A decision I am sure about (I guess...)

Dear friends, once again, thanks for your great comments and help. Not only have I decided, but I also made it official by submitting the paperwork - there's no turning back now.

So... (deep breath) I guess I will stick around for some more months.

The reactions? Well, my family is puzzled by this decision - it is so atypical for me not to rush into "safe" and "secure" things, that they are actually suspecting that I have been abducted by aliens and replaced by a weird clone! On the other hand, my co-workers are ecstatic by the fact that we will be sharing the work here. Last but not least, my former alter ego and future-I-have-no-clue-what is in Germany, ignorant about this whole situation.

And me? What about me?

I am scared $hitless, and just hope I haven't messed up big time.

But how did the impossible happened? How did I find the guts to turn down a 4-year job in the big city for 11 more months on an island that I almost didn't know that existed before I came here?

I thought this through, and found some great reasons to stay. First of all, I am not sure about the specialty I chose. I am not ready to abandon clinical medicine just yet. Don't get me wrong, there is no chance in hell that I will do anything else in Greece - from the little that I shared about the working conditions here, I guess you realise why I would never set foot in a Greek hospital (either as a doctor or as a patient!)

But I love travelling and exploring new places - and who knows? Maybe specialising abroad isn't as bad as I thought. As long as it is a decision I have made for myself, and not something that was forced upon me.

Also, I am still recovering from a break/breakup and a complete change of scenery and lifestyle. I am still learning to live alone, depending on myself only, and enjoying it. But I am not the "new me" just yet. Of course there are times when everything seems to be falling apart, and I am wondering if I have made any progress at all. I still have bad moments that could possibly lead to a meltdown. So I guess it's not time to move (again), meet new people (again), adapt to unknown working conditions (again) and settle down (actually for the first time in my life).

If I am gonna settle down, I wanna do it properly. I am only 24 years old, but I have already lived in 8 different towns. Me and my family are all about nomadic life, but if we were ever to stop moving, Athens would be the place where we would all be most likely to end up. So, I have the feeling that Athens will not be one more stop in my itinerary. It will most probably be my Ithaca.

If this is the case, I want the new me to go to Athens and start building a life. Not the post-breakup-still-discovering-the-world-like-an-infant me. Right now, I want to know things, see things, experience things. After all, the obligation of working at a village remains. It will just be postponed for when I will be 30. But seeking security at 24 and adventure at 30 seems kinda weird. I think it should be the other way around.

Lastly, things are pretty great here. The working hours are flexible, the money is good, and the people I will be sharing my practice with are amazing. The practice itself is more equipped than most, there is a nurse (added bonus!) and the place is admittedly the most beautiful village of the entire island of Lesvos. Every single day of this summer will feel like a vacation (ok, too optimistic here!) and, when autumn comes, I will officially be the "village doctor".

I just can't wait to meet the people, one by one. Learn their names, their age and much more than their pressure or glucose level. Learn their personal story. Wake up in the middle of the night to comfort their pain or worry over nothing (hopefully). Take part in the local festivals, and become acquainted with their traditions and way of life.

I realise that being an attending doctor at the age of 29 is cool. Actually, in a country where most 35 year olds are unemployed and still live with their parents, it is too great an achievement. It would make everyone in my family insanely proud.

But being an attending doctor at the age of 30 is just as cool. And when it comes with the added bonus that I will have become my own person in the process, it is more than that.

It is priceless.

And it would make me more than proud. It could actually make me happy.

Note to self: All the times in the future that you wet your pants, trying to figure out what to do in an emergency with minimal equipment and no one else to turn to, read this post. All the times that old ladies interrupt your bestest dream in the world just because they are "lonely" and "are not feeling very well", read this post. All the times that an amazing play is performed in Athens, while you are stuck in the middle of nowhere, learning how to milk sheep and pretending to be enjoying it, read this post. All the times you just want to get on a plane, fly to Germany, crash on a certain somebody's couch and cry like a baby, just read this post.

No, it won't make you feel any better. But at least you'll know who to blame for the whole thing...


  1. It sounds like this was the right decision for you. Since you can't go back, it makes sense to prolong for a little while.

  2. It sounds like it's been well thought through, you seem like you are in a great place to do your thinking and growing. It's hard to make decisions that are so life altering. Wishing you the best :)

  3. You've made a decision that is best for you and where you are at in your life. Your reasoning is sound and logical. I am so proud of you at how far you've come in just a few short months! You are an amazing young lady and pretty soon you'll realize that yourself! Take care!

  4. It sounds like you are really happy with your decision and that is great! I don't think you will look back later in life and regret this; you have to do what is in your heart at the time. Congrats!

  5. I am glad that you made the right decision for yourself, and everything you said makes sense. Here's to the next 11 months!

  6. Gracey, I am so happy that you made the right choice for you and not for what you think is the right path to take. It really sounds like you have a great thing going, and you did well to keep it going. I'm not much of a city guy (except I really did love Montreal!) so I probably would feel more comfortable there then in Athens, and I guess that makes me even more glad that you chose to stick around, but it does sound like you've got much of what you want right there.

  7. As long as you are doing what your heart, and head are telling you, it cant be wrong. You did and are doing great.

  8. I left you an award on my blogg! Come pick it up.=]

  9. I think you did the right thing. I'm sure you're relieved that the decision is finally made. I know you would have been successful either way, but I think staying where you are is going to make you happier.

  10. You go girl! Sounds like you have your feet firmly on the ground! You are not the type of person who values money above what is most important. Good choice I say!

  11. Thanks for your support and your sweet comments, everybody! You make my day!