Life has taken me over

Wow, I have to say that I have been extremely tardy with my blog writing. Life has really taken over me in an insane way. But I was looking over my old post, Why I quit my job to move to Australia, and realise that I need to seriously update you with what's been happening in my life.

In that post I wrote some of the goals I want to achieve during my time in Australia:

1. I will be studying and upgrading my skills: Goal achieved!

I am now a qualified nursing assistant/care worker. I work around 80 hours a fortnight. Although I feel so blessed (in Australia, you're happy to get hours to work!) it's a physically demanding job. In an eight-hour working day, I can easily walk up to 7km! I have to also lift a lot, so I sure have a good workout on the job. Needless to say, my body ached so much when I first started as a care worker!

Now, we are not nurses per se (though the residents/patients often call us that!) but we support nurses in their jobs. We basically do things like catheter care, pressure area care (patients need to be turned so that they don't develop bedsores), feed patients, change their continence aids and help them with showers etc. Some people think it's a dirty and lowly job, but I found that it has given me a good idea how nursing works and has given me invaluable experience in helping others.

I now know how to deal with people suffering from dementia and how to give palliative care. Seriously, I don't know what job that exposes me to the workings of healthcare without years and years of study! If you want to gain experience before embracing a health care career, being a care worker is the way to go. Many of my colleagues went on to study nursing, medicine, pathology and yes, occupational therapy, something I hope to do one day.

While my new career is occupying most of my time, I'm still developing my writing. I've been taking online writing classes with prolific writer Dean W Smith because I like his practical lessons and no-nonsense approach to writing. Writing is not something you do when "inspiration hits". After 13 years as a journalist, I realise it is also very much about time management, learning new techniques and overcoming your personal demons, believe it or not. Writing fiction, however, demands a whole new set of skills. And to my surprise, I had to get over a few psychological hurdles before becoming an effective fiction writer. To be honest, I am not there yet, but I have managed to speed up my writing considerably.

2. I would like to get Australian working experience: Achieved!

Best of all, I have colleagues from around the world. China, Nigeria, Botswana, Australia, Indonesia ... it made me realise how underexposed we Malaysians are to people from other countries. I'm such good friends with my African colleagues that when I read articles like this (Profiling Africans is crazy, says Minister) I feel really ashamed of being Malaysian. I also remember how suspicious Malaysians are of foreigners and realise that Australians are extremely welcoming in comparison. Dear Malaysia, we have a long way to go.

3. I want to travel: Sorta!

I was too busy working to travel too much, but I visited places such as Carrackalinga, Hahndorf and McLaren Vale. Gorgeous, all of them! Next year, I plan to take a few weeks off to visit New Zealand :)