Wrapped Up In Books

Finding latent beauty in Birmingham; the future.
April 27, 2009, 7:39 pm
Filed under: A, Travelogue | Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,
This past weekend I flew down to Birmingham to visit my friend, M, who is in the hospital there. He’s my age but has already undergone chemotherapy and three major surgeries (two within the past four weeks, and scheduled for a fourth in a couple of days) and now is on his second prosthetic hip. Whenever I’m tempted to complain about anything I’m reminded that there are people who have endured much worse than I’ve ever known and ever want to know. I am seriously grateful that I have nearly completed my first quarter-century of life physically unscathed.
Just one of the beauts along Milk St

Just one of the beauts along Milk St

The building on the left is the hostel.

The building on the left is the hostel.

Birmingham, while it has marvelous shopping, is a bit of a frightful and industrial place to be. The hostel I stayed at (Birmingham Central Backpackers) felt as if it were located on a rape alley – Milk Street was scary enough in the daytime with the auto collision storing its disfigured and ruined cars along the street, which just became terrifying outright upon nightfall. I’ll give credit though, that if you look hard enough you’ll find beauty in the small things (‘Make peace’ on a building’s frieze, the oversized-golf ballish Selfridges, and every old three-storey house and boulevard along Bristol Road en route to the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital). Still, I do not particularly want to go back there.
Selfridges is in here somewhere

Selfridges is in here somewhere

I haven’t mentioned it yet, but I am aiming to stay at Aberdeen for a PhD in epidemiology. I applied the day between returning to Aberdeen from Dublin and going home to Toronto, and I have a funding interview in a couple of weeks. M is going to have a telephone interview the same day and is also hoping to do a similar PhD programme. Should we both be allotted funding, we’ll live together along with my current flatmate, L, place yet to be determined. I’ve already started to daydream about the daily logistics: I will be the designated cleaner, tidier, and baker, M will play chef, and L will be the house cheerleader to enlighten the very Statler & Waldorf M and me. And I will not have a twin-sized bed!

When I first mentioned applying for a PhD in Aberdeen to my friends from home, the idea was not greeted with much, if any, enthusiasm. Although I have wanted to go to medical school for a long while, a PhD seems to be at the forefront of my options right now. And I have grown to love research and the prospect of contributing to the existing body of knowledge in my arena. I wasn’t hurt, but it was not the reaction I had expected. I do have hopes of going to go to medical school upon completing my doctorate (lofty goal, I know) and I realise that I won’t be young by any means upon graduating my MD. I’m only slightly fazed by this aspect, but perhaps moreso at living in Scotland for an extra three years than I had originally anticipated. One friend remarked that I wasn’t taking them into account for my life plans (the jest was not so obvious) but honestly, I need to put myself first – and why should I compromise? As much as I adore my friends, time goes on, people will change, and I will still have to fly to be where they are (all the more reason to stock up on degrees to afford the transport). Life, in this sense, can be unfair. But I am still very much willing to make the effort as long as they are.

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4 Comments so far
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people who don’t support you can suck it [yes i’ve become extra eloquent since moving to americuh]. i promise to support you through the wonder that is a phd program! [read: try to get together annually and drink our miseries away]
crossing my fingers for you!

Comment by t biscuit

Thank you, T! I miss you more than you even know! (I’ll have to renew my visa if I stay so hopefully our paths will cross then – let’s make it happen.)

Comment by bohemianvegan

I support you in full as you follow your dream… regardless of the fact that said dream smells like haggis.

Comment by Sol

…but really, props.

Comment by Sol

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