Sunday, November 18, 2012

London (PS I love you)

Simply put: I love London.

It is my favourite city (so far anyway). I'm just back from there, having taken a notion and booked a two-night stay for myself. Packed a decent amount into the trip. I saw a comedy gig called 'Lady Garden & Friends' at King's Place theatre where comedians and sketch acts trialled some new material. It was hysterical! I've seen Lady Garden twice before and they are always fantastic but I was really impressed with Irish comedienne Aisling Bea who I hadn't seen do stand-up before. She has some serious comedy chops. I may have a girl crush on her. There was also a group called 'Oyster Eyes' who were very funny and Cariad Lloyd did a parody of New Girl which was also really good.
I met some really nice people that night, went out for drinks after the gig, ended up in a gay nightclub (as you do) till 4am and then got a taxi back to my hotel in Kensington.
The next day I got up at around 11.30 (a full two hours later than I planned and a little worse for wear) and headed into town. I'd wanted to visit the Florence Nightingale museum beside St. Thomas' Hospital. It was worth a visit, quite an interesting place. I opted for the audio tour where they give you a stethoscope and you have to hold it up to the wall to hear information.  The stethoscope was a pain actually, it was sore to wear, I shouldn't have bothered.
For the rest of the day I just wandered around the city aimlessly killing time until the 7.30 showing of Wicked at the Apollo Theatre. This was a good show, the singing was phenomenal and it was funny too. I wish I hadn't been so tired during it!
So anyway I headed back to my hotel after the musical and got some shut eye. Didn't have much time to do anything on the Saturday but head to the airport. I just kept thinking 'I wish I'd booked to fly home on Sunday'.

Pretty Christmas lights

Lady Garden performing

'Thin Building' @ Thurloe Square

Got chatting to a Kiwi chap on my flight.
All Blacks passport! 

Me, Viv, Rachel, Myles, Phil and Sophie taking the picture.
Classy people.

Some things I learned on this, my fifth time in London:

- I am happy just walking around doing feck all in this city.
- The tube system is genius.
- I am  ATROCIOUS  at reading maps.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

What I wouldn't give to be back here! 

Monday, November 12, 2012

7 months to go...

Having made the decision to quit my full-time permanent job next year to go travelling and working in Australia, I've been met with mixed reactions from those I mention it to. I am still being very selective of the colleagues I chose to tell because I don't intend to inform my boss for another few months. It's a small circle who know and I want to keep it that way.
The two main types of reactions I get are:
A) 'Oh that's so cool, I'd LOVE to do that!' and the rather more pessimistic:
B) 'I see. You're planning to leave your permanent job in this economy? Right....Good luck then!'

A case in point is my mother who fits firmly into category B. She has seen the news, she's talked to her friends, she's heard the horror stories of young people who can't get work in this country because the economy is so bad. She fears if I leave my current job and go to Australia for a year, that I won't be able to find a job when I get back. This is not an unreasonable fear by any means. The statistics are bad- there's a 15% unemployment rate in Ireland. But I'm fortunate enough to work in a sector where there are always jobs to be found: healthcare. I fully accept the fact that when I return after a year out of the country, it may be difficult to find a job. I will more than likely have to work some shitty temporary locum jobs for a while until something better turns up. That's if I even want to live in Ireland again (I have this notion that I'm going to give London a go for a while see if I like living there as much as I think I will.)
Besides, there will never be a perfect time to go take a year out of your career. I chose to look at it as a positive thing. Future employers will hopefully like that I have international experience and that I appear to have gotten the travel thing out of my system. 

Bottom line, I'm 24, healthy, single, I have no commitments and a decent amount of savings. There will never be a better time to travel. So roll on June 2013! 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Job Fatigue and Itchy Feet

I think I'm having a mid-life crisis. Mid-twenties crisis actually, to round up (I'm 24). I've become disillusioned with my job and my feet are itching to travel. Let's start with the disillusionment.

I've been in my current job for a year and nine months and while it has served me well in many respects, I can't help but feel I'm becoming 'institutionalized' so to speak. I've gained decent experience in nuclear medicine, cannulation and angiography- opportunities which may not have been afforded to me in other hospitals but I suspect that working in a private healtchare setting is no longer benefiting me as a radiographer in the longterm. I think it's safe to say that I have a fairly 'cushie' job. I know exactly what's expected of me, I know how things are run, I don't get frazzled easily. Which leads me to ask the question: am I being suitably challenged? I often hear older more experienced colleagues say that a newly qualified radiographer's first job should be in a large public hospital to get experience in dealing with everything a busy A&E department is going to throw at you. Having never worked independently in this kind of scenario, I've never been confronted with patients from road-traffic accidents, those with serious spinal/head injuries or other major traumas or indeed the dreaded drunkards, and had to really think about how to image them. Of course, I am a fully trained radiographer, in theory I know what to do in these situations but actually being there at 3am and getting stuck in is a different thing entirely. A&E can be intimidating, it's unpredictable and forces you to adapt your technique to get the best images possible. It's where every radiographer should start. But I didn't.

Where am I going with all of this? It brings us nicely to the topic of my itchy feet (I hate this saying for wanting to travel but I can't think of a better metaphor!) Basically I have decided to go to Australia for a year. Let me explain why this isn't (completely) a non-sequitar. It's well known (in x-ray circles at least!) that Australian radiographers are shit hot. Radiography in Australia is much stricter than here in Ireland and they have earned a reputation of having very high imaging standards. So imagine how shit hot I'd be after working there for a year! I'd be combining my job fatigue with my desire to travel. Double win for me!

Okay, I'd be lying if I said the radiography thing is the main reason for wanting to travel to Australia. I've touched on why I want to go in a previous post. Add to this the fact that as of June last year, cost-cutting measures have caused a considerable reduction in my wages and since the department is extremely short-staffed at the moment, it's a day to day struggle to keep each area covered and it's really beginning to get tiring. So, yeah, get me the hell out of here!

As it stands, my plan is to go in June 2013. I have my visa already, turns out it's extremely quick and easy to get a visa for Oz, just a simple online application. They hard bit is all the paperwork required to enable me to work over there. This can take months to process. So anyway, I'm fairly on the ball with all of that stuff. The only thing I can do now is wait. Wait and imagine all of the things I can do and see in Australia, and where I can go after my year in Oz is up. The possibilities are endless!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Pep in my Step

Three things have me in a good mood this weekend:

1) It's a bank holiday weekend and I have Tuesday off to boot so four day weekend baby!

2) The clocks go back tonight so I get an extra hour in bed tomorrow (very important).

3) I got paid.

I also have plenty to be excited about for November. There's my upcoming trip to London to see Lady Garden perform at King's Place on the 15th. I'm really looking forward to this trip because it's the first time I'm going to London alone and I won't have to do any of the touristy things. Not that the tourist attractions are boring, it's just that I've always gone to London with people who have never been before and end up doing the same things each time. At least this time I can do the things I want to do and visit the places I've never had time to before! It's all ME ME ME honey!
I have plans to meet up with Christos, a guy I know from my time in Athens. He lives in London and it's almost a ritual that I meet him whenever I'm in London. (This will be the fifth time in two years). I'll also be meeting Rachel, blogger extraordinaire CLICK HERE for her musings on life in London and the theatre, as well as some other lovely ladies for the Lady Garden gig. It's going to FABULOUS!

Thing 2 to be excited about is seeing Muse live in the O2 in Dublin on the 3rd. The tickets had arrived in the post and were waiting for me when I got home yesterday. Joy! This should be an amazing gig, I absolutely LOVE Muse! My uncle saw them live in Seattle a few years ago and he said it was an unbelievable show. Can't wait!

Another thing I wanted to jot down is my progress in driving since my last post. Well things are going swimmingly thanks for asking! I've had four more 'official' driving lessons taking my total to six (I have to take 12 driving lessons with an official driving instructor and wait six months from the time I got my learner's permit before I can sit my test- boo!). I've also driven a little bit with my friend James who graciously let me behind the wheel of his new Volvo C3 and just today I covered roundabouts (which are a bitch!) with my lovely patient father. I didn't even kill anyone. Not a SINGLE person! So that's good. Anyway, that's it for now. Modern Family season 2 isn't going to watch itself now is it?

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

First Driving Lesson

I had my first driving lesson today. Well actually my first two lessons as it was a two hour session. Didn't know to expect at all- I knew that driving a car would be involved in some capacity but that was about it!
My driving instructor Jim had been highly recommended by a friend of mine who has had many a lesson with him. I gave him a call on Monday and arranged a lesson for today (Wednesday).

So I met Jim at the filling station opposite my apartment building as we'd agreed. It was spilling rain which probably wasn't ideal for a first time on the road but not much could be done about that. I hopped in the passenger seat, we shook hands, he asked me what level I was at, I said 'utter beginner' (best to keep expectations low. No room for bravado here!). He brought me to some quiet small roads to start. I learned about the controls in the car from the clutch to the indicators, the handbrake to the accelerator. And off we went from there!
No seriously, OFF WE WENT! When he pulled out of the filling station at the start of the lesson he told me I'd be driving us home. I thought he was JOKING. Well he wasn't joking it turns out. Madness! Before too long I was driving in the city. In the rain. With a disgusting amount of traffic.
I conked about five times and Jim had to brake for me once when a stupid kid cycled right into the road but overall I didn't do too badly. It was a little nerve-wracking, but also exhilarating and hugely confidence-building.
So anyway, I'm far from being a pro but it's great to get started all the same. Have booked another lesson for next week. Anticipating it already!

Is it too early to yearn for this?

Friday, September 14, 2012

Vroom vroom BEEP BEEP!

So the time has come, I am finally going to learn to drive.

This is something I should have (and WISH I had) done when I was 17, but alas, seven years later here I go! I passed my theory test, I got my eye test report today (not blind) and now I just have to bring these documents to my local motor tax office and get my Learner's Permit. I have no idea where my 'local motor tax office' might be. I'll have to employ the services of Ms. Google later. Once I have a Learner Permit, I can start to get driving lessons and that is where the fun* starts.


I'm both looking forward to and dreading my first driving lesson. I'm sure I'll be nervous. I mean, do they make you go out on the road on your first lesson? If so, how safe can that be? Do they KNOW what I'm like?! I might panic and do something really stupid. I'm a total beginner when it comes to driving. My Dad took me out to drive in an empty carpark a few times about two years ago but anything I twigged about driving back then is long lost. I just wish I could skip the 'learning' bit of driving and jump straight to the 'Woohoo! I can drive! What kind of car do I want?' bit.

I have to wait a minimum of 6 months after I get my Learner Permit or Provisional Licence before I can apply for my driving test. By my watch, that means I can apply for the test in April so I might be able to do it before I go to Australia. And zat, friends, would be ideal.
Wish me luck on the road!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

G'day mate!

Ok, so having just read my previous post I realize how different my new life goals for the next couple of years are!

I talked about applying to work and subsequently moving to London and after a year or so there I'd maybe think about working in Australia for a year.
Ever the fickle creature, my new plan is to go to Oz just before summer 2013. The London thing is still definitely going to happen no question, but now I want to do Australia first. There are two reasons for this: 1) Some of my friends are doing it too and are thinking along the same timeline as me, so there will be people I know there at the same time as me making it somewhat less daunting blah, blah... 2) I feel like if I were to live in London, I'd get settled and love it too much and never end up seeing Australia properly. At least with Oz out of my system, I'm free to enjoy London as long as she'll have me!

I have begun compiling some of the documents (there is a sh**load!) I need to apply for an Australian working holiday visa. I have to get my degree accredited, there are all sorts of medical boards to apply to and personal and professional references to accrue and send to them before I even apply for the actual visa. Like oh my actual GOD!

Anyway, anyway, anyway...Once I'm there, I can travel around working locum jobs. Apparently this is  relatively straightforward, or so I've heard from friends/friends of friends who've done it as radiographers are classified as a 'Skill Australia Needs'. Score!
The great thing about Oz is (besides the weather, the standard of living, the shrimps on the barbie...) is that it's a base from which to travel to Asia. Which, let's be honest, would be AMAZING.
Ok, well that's the plan for now anyway. Till next post anyway. Ciao!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

I lucked out when I accepted my place in DN004 in UCD in 2006. Radiography that is (radiation technologist, x-ray technician, glorified button-pusher...d) a worm). The internet says I am 'responsible for producing high quality images to assist in the diagnosis and treatment of disease.' In reality what I mainly do is ask "is it 5 o'clock yet?", try not to spill radiation or laugh at patients who say stupid things (much restraint is needed here).
I lucked out because I got a well paid job straight out of college, a job that is challenging and engaging and that lets me work pretty much anywhere in the world. Even in the shittiest of economies, doctors will always need them pretty pictures. Enter radiographer. 
It'll also be relatively straightforward when I apply to work in the UK in a year or so. Once my application to the Health Professionals Council is accepted (this can reportedly take 4-6 months though :-(), I can work as a locum in London for as long as I want and maybe get something more permanent down the line if things are going well. 
Current plan: 
- get more training and bulk up CV
- get HPC registered
- find a job in London
- see how that goes
- consider Australia
Ok so now I've written it down it seems achievable right? Yes.

Greeks just wanna have fun

I've been on holiday to Greece. I hate how 'past tense' that is. It was fantastic. It was my second time in Greece, the first was 2 years when I spent 3 months studying in Athens. We stopped by Athens again this time and it was exactly like I remember except it was about 25°C hotter. I don't think I've ever perspired so much. After two nights in a really cool hotel in the centre of Athens [Click here for pictures of cool hotel] we got a ferry to the island of Naxos where I did my PADI open water diver certification. Why do I have to pick such expensive hobbies?! I blame Finding Nemo. From Naxos we went to Mykonos (classy party island), Ios (studenty party island) and finally Crete (bit too close to The Inbetweeners movie than I would have liked). 
There is a lot to love about Greece. The weather, the food, the people, the history, the ruins, partying until 8am... Greeks are so laid back, everything can be done tomorrow. Let's just sit here and drink coffee for 4 hours. Mine's an Espresso Freddo. I love that. I miss that. 

Markets in Monastiraki

Espresso Freddo. So good.



Greek Salad

'Little Italy' in Mykonos

0 SPF???

Drunk people

Our scuba instructor Claire, James and me struggling with my fins!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Click for music!
some random crappy iphone pics from the Camden Crawl. Mystery Jets didn't play my favourite song, but how could they have known? (bastards!) Twas a late one. 

the most poignant pic of the night obv.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Dublin Camden Crawl

Long may Dublin rip London off and make its own slightly crappier version of things. I'm not complaining though because the Camden Crawl sounds like it's going to be good. 100 live music acts, 15 venues across Dublin, 2 days. Marvellous! Mainly going to see Mystery Jets but also hoping to see Let's Buy Happiness and Little xs For Eyes.  

Go Girl

If you haven't seen these 'Dance Like Nobody's Watching' videos on Youtube you're missing out. Slightly crushing on this chick: 

Loving the song in the second video. It's 'Fancy Footwork' by Chromeo and I'm abusing replay on my iPod.

Saturday, April 28, 2012


I'm addicted to Instagram

This, that, that other thing.

Decided to update my blog because I can't think of anything else to do right now. I'm alone in my apartment, in between episodes of Breaking Bad on Netflix, it's the Saturday evening of my long weekend, the sun is going down and it looks like the water activities in the quay outside have stopped for the day. There's this Viking Splash Tour that either starts or ends at Grand Canal Dock where I live, it's a sort of bus cum boat tour that visits notable places around the city traveling partly by road and partly in water. Passengers are mainly tourists/kids on a school tour who are invited to wear viking helmets and encouraged to shout angrily at passers-by. You know, viking style. I still kind of (really) want to go on this tour. 

Anyway, a bit about what's happening with me at the moment. Work is going ok. I'm working in general x-ray next week which would be fine except I'm still training in Nuc Med and would like to be there all the time if for nothing else but to get my cannulation numbers. I have 24 more to get for my logbook before the end of June, which is when the theory part of the course I did in college expires. Now this is totally doable provided I'm working in Nuc not General. I like cannulating but I'm still nervous doing them. Shaky hands! I'm told this is natural and I'll get over it with practice. Hope so. Last week I didn't secure the cap on cannula properly (ahem twice) and there was proper blood spillage. Oops. But then again two other patients told me I was good at it and they didn't feel a thing. Go figure. So I'll keep working on that. 

In other news, I just booked a PADI scuba diving course for this summer in the island of Naxos in Greece. It's a 4 day course which gets you certified to go on future dives anywhere in the world for cheaper. Me and my friend James are doing that and then another friend (also James!) is flying out to join us for the second week. We're going to visit a few Greek islands and have a jolly old time. I do love a holiday. 

Well that's pretty much all my news. Oh, was skiing in Andorra in February. That was an adrenaline and alcohol fueled week of madness. Won't go into it except to say it was a great trip and yes, more of that please! 

Now. There's a lasagne in the fridge that's not going to microwave itself. Toodles.