There are two reasons it took me this long to post this up, when Lord only knows I’ve been complaining for a long time.
Firstly, I’m about as comfortable with technology as a monkey is with calculus. I literally had to ask a friend to walk me through how to navigate this site, clicky by clicky.
Secondly, every time I try to contemplate a future anywhere but here, it makes me really nervous and upset, and I place it squarely in the Too Hard basket.
See, this is what happens when you’re a third culture kid who becomes attached.
You’ve heard of us, haven’t you? Those of us born somewhere, raised somewhere different, and often living yet another somewhere. I was born to Indian parents in Ireland, raised in Canada, Malaysia and Brunei, and as proof that God has a sense of humour, have ended up squarely in Taree, NSW, where the PARTY.IS.AT, amirite?!
What’s an even bigger joke, is that despite finishing high school in Australia, being the daughter of two Area-of-Need specialists (we just finished paying off our house), having an Australian degree (well, in a year, anyway), a 2-year rural placement (that I not only chose but had to fight for) and an overwhelming desire to be a rural GP, I am still considered “International”. Because of a goddamn series of technicalities.
I’m a little different to your typical International student, if you haven’t already guessed. Because the last two paragraphs illustrate a paradox: Captain International vs. Local Yokel.
Like all the rest of us, it took me awhile. Australia took me awhile. I wasn’t used to your language (WHAT is a u-ey and WHY would I chuck one?! NO COMPRENDE.), I wasn’t used to awful uncomfortable thongs and awful comfortable Ugg-Croc hybrids, I wasn’t used to perennial sunshine and freezing rain, I wasn’t used to barbies or snags or potato pies. And alcohol terrified me. But as Alanis Morissette sang in Angry Song #7, “you’ve already won me ohhh-vaaah, in spite of me.” In spite of my homesickness, cynicism and distrust (where I’m from, you DO NOT just randomly smile at people you don’t know unless you’re trying to steal something). You won me over, Australia, you won me over something fierce. And nothing made me happier than realizing that This Was It for me. That the moving and uprooting was over, because I’d found home. Placement after placement would reinstate how much I loved this country.
You know that feeling, when you’re so excited about the future that you don’t really care about the present? That’s how medicine makes me feel.
I love Australia. And I want to stay here so very, very badly.
But let’s call a spade a spade: we’re being treated like we just don’t matter. If not out-and-out disdain, with at least a disrespect site and disregard that breaks my heart.
We, the 182? We have degrees from YOUR country, not ours. We’ve learned skills in YOUR hospitals, not ours. Ischaemic heart disease kills our patients, not malaria. We’ve watched Ethel, Maud and Daphne battle polypharmacy, Falls-in-the-Elderly and being ignored in ED. We’ve come home after Palliative Care terms and wept quietly to our parents. (In India, by the way, palliative care doesn’t really…..exist. At least not to anywhere near the level it does here).
I have no idea how the health system in Ireland operates, and I’ll have to go there if Australia won’t have me.
Australia, please have me. Please have us. At the risk of sounding like Meredith Grey (I seriously hate that wench), I’m imploring you: don’t lose us. This is THE DEFINITION of a win-win-win-win-win-win situation, but it risks being screwed up completely because of the narrow-mindedness and denial that often goes with poor forward planning. This is the powers-that-be saying, “What mistake? We made no mistake! It’s all THEIR fault, THEY can’t even speak English! AND BTW WHY AREN’T *THEY* PAYING FOR THEIR INTERNSHIPS, HMMM?”
Despite the profound insult to injury, I’m going to stand here and take it gracefully. Because grace in the face of overwhelming stupidity, callousness and ingratitude is just another thing that’s going to make me, and all my homeboys, amazing doctors.
And we’d really, really like to be yours.
Sana will graduate in 2013. The #interncrisis is going to be a long term problem, and unless a solution is found she may not have an internship next year. Take Action