Sunday, 14 June 2015

Stupendo Italia!

I returned home from Italy last week and I had such a nice relaxing time. I have only done a city break in Rome before. So it was great to fit some rest and relaxation in too. My friend and I stayed in the resort of Jesolo based on the Adriatic sea. I really did not want to come home, I just needed a little longer.

Whilst we were there we did two day trips. One was Venice and the other was Verona. These were two totally different but beautiful cities. My most favourite city in the world is Rome. I just felt like I was walking in an oil painting the whole time and Venice did just that too.

We walked along all the harbour, ate ice cream, walked through the church in St Marks square, had dinner by the grand canal, travelled through all the Venice back streets and of course, took a gondola ride. 



On the Gondola ride I was almost hoping there would be a rendition of the cornetto song. I know many Italians are probably face palming their foreheads right now. However, there were people singing opera and that made the gondola ride just as wonderful. 

Venice has everything you need for a theatre performance. An alluring beginning, hidden twists, a wonderful story, great costumes (masks), parts you could get totally lost in and an ending you'll never forget. I just thought it was stunning!

Towards the end of the trip we took a trip to Verona. Verona is famous as the setting for Shakespeare's play 'Romeo & Juliet'. I have to add right now that Shakespeare never visited Italy, ever. So his description of Verona in his play was spot on. Verona is not as big as I expected and fair bit of it has been modernised which I thought was a shame. However, the market street, amphitheatre and the medieval walls still remain. 

Being the typical romantic that I am I had to visit Juliet's balcony and I wrote her a letter. Have you ever seen 'Letters to Juliet' starring Amanda Seyfried? Well the people who run the house of Capulet - where Juliet 'lived' - have a group of Juliet's secretaries. They reply to all the letters Juliet receives as long as you leave return address. I look forward to receiving my letter soon. 


After Verona we took a quick trip to Serminone in Lake Garda for a wander round. Otherwise, my holiday was filled with reading, lazing by the pool, eating yummy ice cream and downing sipping on lovely cocktails. I definitely want to return!



Ciao Italia!

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Saturday, 30 May 2015

365 Days

Dear Gran,

It has been 365 days since you left us. It's also been 365 days since I moved out of Mum and Dad's and started a new era of independence. I could so easily dwell on what you have missed since you passed but I refuse to do that.

Last May/June was such a blur. If I am honest I don't even remember crying that much after you had gone. But if I think about it I grieve for you in little pockets rather than big bursts. I cried when I saw a nursery rhyme in my nephew's book (Bobby Shafto- remember?) I cry whenever I see your handwriting. I cried when I didn't get a birthday card from you this year. I cried when I planted your rosebush in my new garden. I cry at the small things that I desperately miss about you.

If there is one thing I hate about grief is that it also makes you regret. I don't have a tonne but of course I wish I saw more of you. I wish I made more of an effort rather than rely on mum and my aunts to take care of you. Looking back I wish I had asked you about your wedding day to Grandad. I saw a framed picture of your wedding day in Aunt Lucy's house and all these questions popped up in my head. What time did you get married? Where did you get married? Did you have a first dance? If so what was the song? Since you have left I have realised that if I have a burning question- ask it. If I want to do something- do it!

I miss your funny sayings and words like 'don't be so daft' and 'it gives me the collywobbles.' I miss your love of reading and seeing books just stacked up beside your chair. As I write this so many memories just flood my brain. I remember you taking me to the jumble sales with the others. I remember how every Saturday you had a bag of sweets waiting for us. How we got £2 pocket money every other week. I even remember the smell of the coins as you handed them to us. I remember staying at yours most new years and waking up to the smell of bacon after you had walked the dog. Whenever I see Appletiser in the shops I ALWAYS think of you. You always bought Appletiser at Christmas and whenever we went over yours for a meal. If Appletiser was on the table then I knew it was some sort of special occasion. It's little things like that that just make me cherish my upbringing so much more.


If I am being totally frank then without you I wouldn't exist. I wouldn't have had the chance to be a sister or an auntie to Cohen and Honor. I wouldn't have three cousins. It's amazing how it takes just one person to create a family but it doesn't take one person to lose it either. Even when that one person goes the family just finds a way to stick together. I know you wouldn't agree but you were the glue that kept us all in touch. You were always the reason and never the exception. They say that beauty always springs from the ashes and I have to agree that since you have passed Mum, Lucy and Jo are a lot more closer now. I make it sound like they never bothered before which isn't true. But they make more effort because the glue isn't here anymore and it's so nice to see.

Even though I have never believed in your religion and faith I do know you're with Granddad now. For 20 years since his death you centred your life, routines and funny expressions around us. I so wish you could be here to see my new home, to have met Honor and to be in all of our futures. But I will tell you all about it...when I see you again.


If I have learnt anything from you then it's this. Family first...it's true. If you don't have family then you don't have anything.

I miss you Gran, I really do.

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Thursday, 21 May 2015

Battles

I have always been a confidante, or as my colleague Nathalie calls it - a 'bosom buddy'. People can tell me things, share their stories and issues. I advise - well try to - and I try my best to listen and offer suggestions. On my drive home from work yesterday I was listening to Radio1: The Surgery and the guest speaker mentioned this quote.



It really struck a chord with me. The things I see and hear can really take me aback. I never cease to not be surprised at peoples battles and torment. The truth is we never fully know what it is going on in peoples lives. Before I had my breakdown in 2013 I was completely ignorant of peoples conflicts, whether mentally or emotionally, I had no clue. It was not until I struggled to hide my negative thoughts, emotional outbursts and difficulty in trying to be (dare I say it) normal. That I appreciated when people were kind and sensitive towards me. They may never have understood the core of my issues but they were kind enough not to ask tricky questions. They allowed me to live and work in neutral and if I wanted to put on a bravado for a day I was never told not to.

We live in an era where looks can be so deceiving. A melting heart (and brain) can be so well hidden beneath the jokes and smiles. As a generation we can be so superficial and fail to even scratch the surface of a persons reality. So what do we do? We conceal our battles even more because is it really worth letting people in? We spend so much of our time looking for problems and issues that we fail to communicate and ask about them.

Most of the time I feel like I am fighting a battle. And it's not even a battle I expect or want to win. It's a battle of depression that I have shared a fair few times with people. But do you know what's worse? Since going through all of this I am still so shocked (and I still don't know why!) that people judge you because they see you the way they look at you. I will never forget when I had just started my therapy and I received an email from a friend I used to hang out with quite a lot. She had heard about what I had been going through and was reaching out to see if I was ok, rather sweet of her right?

Maybe.

I will never forget in her email that she told that I had to change the way I am and how I was thinking. She said that I may have been going through 'some things' but it was 'no excuse' to think or act the way I do. I want to repeat here that this woman was my friend and despite opening up to her she really had no clue. She was not being kind. I am not an angel and I am pretty certain that some of my actions or words at times can be less than pleasing. But we all live in a world that seems to be designed to where people want us to live the lives they do.

I mean it's actually an achievement to be yourself.

So it's true. We should be kind because everyone we come into contact with is fighting a battle we have know idea about. Today I had the pleasure of working (and hopefully teaching) a guy my age for two hours. He has been through many battles, and still is. After he had left I couldn't help but be reminded of the above quote again. But there is something I really want him to know and actually this goes for everyone.

You may be fighting many secret and hidden battles. But thank you for being really, completely, absolutely who you are.


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Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Nurses are special

I remember when I was 14 years old and I was receiving a vaccination from the school nurse. Her name was Angela and I just remember her going through everything. She talked about the side effects, what not to do, symptoms to look out for and what the drug actually did. After I had the immunisation I remember walking past the long queue of students thinking 'she has to repeat all that again to each of us!'

I never dreamt that 10 years later I would be doing the exact same thing. And you know what? It never gets boring! Every patient is different, each patient has different questions and near enough most times I learn something new.

I LOVE my job!

In fact I can't even say it's a 'job' because I don't really feel like I am at work most days. Sure it is challenging and the managers do my head in. But the patients and team I work with? I absolutely adore! It's going to be hard leaving them in September.

I am not Florence Nightingale's biggest fan (she died from an STD after sleeping with a lot of the soldiers in the Crimean war- not exactly a great nursing skill to possess?) but there is a quote of hers that will always stay with me.


"I am of certain convinced that the greatest heroes are those that do their duty in the daily grind of domestic affairs, whilst the world whirls in a maddening driedel."
- Florence Nightingale

This is SO true! The people I look up to the most are my mum (who works for a nursing team) and the nurses I work with. I don't look up to pop stars or reality TV personalities because they aren't heroes. A hero is someone who takes care of their family during the day and then goes and does a night shift in a care facility. A hero is someone who stays longer on their shift to console a patient or work colleague, despite having a long to do list. A hero is someone who keeps themselves awake most hours of the day or night to learn something more about someone or something.

I don't see myself as a hero but I sure do work with and know a great bunch of them. They're awesome and not recognised enough the achievements and skills they behold.

Happy Nurses Day to every nursing team out in the world. You're awesome! And I am privileged to work with such like minded and caring people. Enjoy YOUR day!!!





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Thursday, 30 April 2015

PINCH YOURSELF MOMENT!

I have to pinch myself that I am writing this post, since it is so different to the blog I put up last week. This time last week I was informed that I had missed an opportunity to do my health visiting degree. I was away at the time of the interview and they would not re-schedule. I was gutted and I shed so many tears. This is the last year the government are funding this training and if I didn't get on the bandwagon then I would miss it completely.

After a few days of moping and feeling really down I applied for another training position 30 miles away. I wasn't keen but if I wanted it this badly then I knew I had to be willing to travel.

So I went away feeling a lot more hopeful than I did. But deep down I still felt like rubbish as I was going on a trip that possibly prevented me from attending an interview for my dream job.

Barcelona was so much fun and I will blog about it as soon as my pals post pictures.

Then something happened...

On Monday (27/04/15) my friends and I were sipping sangria on the port of Barcelona. I decided to check in to the wifi and look at my notifications. I very rarely look at my emails and when I check notifications I don't look at my ever growing pile of spam I tend to get.

I am so glad I did.

I had an email from the training team saying they still wanted to interview me and were willing to put a panel together if I could attend on the 29/04/2015. I had to let them know by 4pm that day and at the time I received the email it was nearing on 3pm.

Stroke of luck huh?

For the interview I had to find an article that I would be questioned on. So in the middle of Barcelona my friends and I were trying to find an article for me to discuss. I SO appreciate their help and they spent my last moments in Spain helping me prep. I went from losing total hope in ever getting an interview to having 48 hours notice!

So on Wednesday I went to the interview as best prepared as I could be. It was a TOUGH interview where I was quizzed, questioned and analysed for an hour. One of the things that did help was that one of the interviewers was one of my university lecturers. It really helped put me at ease. I thought the interview went well and I REALLY tried my hardest to impress.

I so wanted this and was told i would find out next week!!!!

And guess what? I didn't.

I got a call from the health visiting lead 3 hours later saying that I interviewed really well and that it would be mean of them to keep me hanging until next week. No lie I did a huge flappy hand dance in the car.

I'm going to be a health visitor.

I still can't believe it and I am just overjoyed. I was also told on the phone that I have been put forward for the masters degree and not the bachelor of science degree. How crazy is that?! I am going to be working towards a masters degree. It's beyond comprehension that I'll be doing an Msc!!!

So in September I will be a full time student again and leaving the clinical setting. I'm not sure how I feel about that yet.

But I am excited. Oh so excited!!!!

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