Now that I've more or less made my immediate future plans more public, everyone has been asking me when I am leaving for Perth.
My standard response used to be, "Probably some time in May to early June." After a few weeks of the apparent inactivity of my employers' visa sponsorship papers in the DIMC, it became, "When the visa comes through - and, oh by the way, I haven't lodged my application yet."
These days, when asked the same question, I no longer attest when the visa comes through - I say, "If the visa ever comes through."
The waiting is obviously eroding into my optimism big time and undermining what little hard-earned courage I have to do this.
While patience has never been my strong suit, there is something else that makes my leaving within the next three months crucial. Due to the evolving rules regarding practicing medicine in Australia with a temporary registration, all who apply for a temporary license after June 30 are required to have passed the Australian Medical Council's written exam when they apply.
At the moment, all they require of foreign medical graduates to work in Western Australia is for an application to take the AMC exam to already be underway, authenticated credentials from your training institution, an acceptable score on the academic IELTS (for medical practitioners, 7 and above), and an initial application by your employer for temporary registration.
Scheduling the AMC written exam is no easy feat. At this point, the earliest schedule I can get would be in July 1, which I can take here in Manila. The rest of the scheduled test dates are off-shore in Australia. Which I cannot enter regardless because I do not have a visa.
*sigh* Maybe it's a sign.
The usual processing time for the visa once it is lodged (something I have YET to do) is roughly 4-8 weeks. If I don't lodge it soon, I'm not going to make deadline. Frankly, I have no idea what will happen if I don't make deadline. Will my employer withdraw my job offer? Will they give me the next few months to study and take the exam? (And taking the exam is a whole other cesspool of anxiety waiting to happen.)
One wonders why I am subjecting myself to this anxiety in the first place. If I had just taken the fellowship exam and gone straight into fellowship, I wouldn't be tearing my hair out in frustration right about now. I could have a well-charted life here. I would be doing a job that is suited to my level of training (a status which I have earned through a lot of hard work, I might add) rather than going down a step and taking on the challenge of being a general practitioner all over again - albeit, hospital based.
Sometimes, it really boggles my mind, too.
It's not so much that I am unpatriotic, and that I can't wait to take the next plane out of here. I won't deny that the better compensation is one of the reasons why I have decided to take a hiatus from training by getting a job abroad. While I have no long-term plans at the moment, I also won't deny that while I am there, I will be taking steps to allow me to eventually apply for a permanent residency should I wish to do so. I hope to come back, but I also believe in keeping options open. Everything at this point is up in the air.
Truth is, I really just want to get out of my staid old box, drive off the paved road, and experience something totally new. Does this make me a selfish, ungrateful person to put my needs first? The guilt hanging over my head says it does, but on another level, I also know I am just doing what I need to do to stay sane.
I've committed myself to this, and I am determined to see everything through regardless of outcome. If, in the end, I don't get to fly out at all, it's not because I didn't make a real go of it.
But it's all out of my hands, and it is driving me nuts.
* I am interrupting regular programming for the next few days while I shed my anxieties and drink in the beauty of the Caramoan Peninsula with friends. Let's hope our trip to Bicol will not be as cursed by weather as the last time we went. I promise to take lots and lots of pictures this time!
* The Middle of Nowhere visited two medical blog carnivals this week - both very, very interesting reads. Our weekly all-Pinoy Blog Rounds, with the theme "The Doctor as Patient" is up at Dr. Tes's site. One of my posts was also included in this week's Grand Rounds at Dr. Wes's site. Medical-minded readers might want to take a look at those while I'm away. Great weekend reading!
Okay - I'm off to pack for my two days in the summer sun.