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...