My trip to New Zealand was always supposed to be a temporary once; 6-12 months, before a return to the UK and our beloved NHS. There are many reasons to head home. Family, friends, loved ones are the most pressing, but I’m also missing good TV, good tea, and good chocolate. There’s nowhere here to match the bustle and noise of London, there’s nowhere that sells Welsh cakes, and I’m very far away from BCH Emergency Department.
That said, I’ll be heading home with a sense of sadness. New Zealand, and Christchurch in particular have been so welcoming and warm, and I’ve felt completely at home here. There’s so much about NZ life that I’ll miss; it really is the best small island in the world. South Island has it all; some incredible coast and beaches, lakes, clear skies, the Alps, glaciers and fjords. Some epic train journeys with both the TranzAlpine and Coastal Pacific departing from Christchurch. An airport from which to explore NZ and the Pacific. Penguins. Fur seals. Dolphins. Whales.
I’ve also found CHOC to be far better than I expected. Perhaps it is just a friendly department, but I’ve felt completely at home in the department and the work I’ve done. It’s certainly something I’d never considered before, but it’s something I may pursue if I ever return. Even the general paediatrics seems different here; I’ve not seen the same depths of poverty that I’ve seen in the UK, nor the same levels of childhood obesity. The day-to-day practice seems more evidence-based, and seniors are more happy to be called after-hours. It’s a great environment in which to train and learn .
Ultimately, it will be the pull of loved ones that brings me back to the UK. I have three months left, and I’m going to make the most of it. It’s going to be a long goodbye. And perhaps not a permanent one.