Isolated thoughts

Category: Farm pracs

2017;

2017 has got to be the best year thus far.

Jan – March

I spent January settling into my new place, learning the ropes and sorting things out for my farm pracs that would begin in the latter part of the month. I bought my first car – little Marcelo and it hasn’t let me down as of yet. Come end January would see me get one of my best pets: little Thumper the cottontail bunny. Unfortunately, I lost him a month after just as uni restarted as he was free range and ran away.

Farm pracs were good – I’d cleared 3 weeks in total at a dairy, reptile & wildlife park and at a polo pony place. It was exhausting work but a good learning experience. In hindsight I wish I had known more before I’d gone on some of them. But I am glad that I cleared so many weeks that fast.

Uni began and I felt incredibly overwhelmed with the amount of information we had to learn. Year 2 was a totally different ball game as compared to year one; there is literally little to no break when you have classes on every single day. And consistency is key.

I flew back to Singapore and to Bangkok for a short getaway during my Easter break. It was a well deserved one, and I felt happy to be back. I’d come up with this idea that going back for short trips was the best as it only gives you just enough time to meet everyone that matters. And I decided that I would not work myself up with half-hearted offers to meet nor failed plans because I literally do not need them. I also got my first stethoscope!

April – June 

I found that I was terribly allergic to guinea pigs when a whole bunch of them were brought into the room and I started tearing badly. I’d also bought my next pet – Wilbur and sold him eventually as I was being a stingy asshole and have commitment issues. April was quite mellow and chill overall as I clearly do not have any significant pictures.

I received an award for academic excellence in May. It wasn’t special as pretty much half the vet cohort got it, but it still felt good to go on stage to collect it and see my name on the list of high achieving students. It also felt good to dress up in literally my one and only little black dress and spam alcohol and doughnuts because I deserve it.

Exam season came in June. I turned 21 and spent half the day crying because I was feeling sorry for myself and in between 2 important papers. My family came to visit and it felt so strange driving to meet them at a shopping mall, subsequently blowing $200+ at Coles and eating at the pizza place opposite the clinic. We went on a road trip down to Margaret River, Denmark and Albany before heading back up. It was great, if cold. I can’t wait for the day I road trip with a significant other. I have decided that my perfect idea of a holiday would be somewhere cold and where there is a chance of snow because it’ll be so romantic.

July – September

I had 2 farm pracs in the winter break: a goat farm and a sheep farm. Both involved baby kids and lambs so you can imagine how stoked I was. I also spent the rest of my winter holidays potating at home and spam watching shows. It was a good break before semester 2 would begin.

In August I started casually dating again. I got to go strawberry picking, hiking, watching the cherry blossoms bloom and do a lot of things that I wouldn’t have otherwise. If anything it was good to test the waters again, and I feel more comfortable and confident about dating again.

Semester 2, on the other hand, was a nightmare of epic proportions. I didn’t have a great interest in half of the content we were being taught and struggled immensely. I also started my job as a PASS leader and felt happy that I was feeling fulfilled and seeing results. As I’d wanted to be fit I also started gymming and was pleased to see some results. I also made some pretty good friends in vet school, all of whom I am grateful for.

October – December

It was exam season and it was terrible 2 weeks and 7 papers. To be honest, now that I’ve emerged triumphant on the other side it wasn’t that bad. But it was a struggle through and through and I feel fortunate that I’ve somehow managed to do even better than I had in semester 1.

I went home for the second time this year and it was legitimately the best trip back that I’ve had. I officially completed all my farm placements and met with all my friends. Now I am currently back in Perth working, saving up and hopefully inching ever forward and learning more. I just honestly wish to graduate and find a good place to work for my first job. And save, and hopefully ‘make it’, in all aspects – professionally, relationship-wise and finally finding a permanent place to call home.

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I have decided to combine two weeks’ updates into one, for I genuinely do not have the time or the energy. My 2.5 hour drive was a safe albeit exhausting one. And I came back to hundreds of notifications, the horror.

I have spent the past week on a farm with absolutely no connection to the world, in which I find relief. I have had the time to mull over the past, run away from the present, sleep for 9 hours every night and dream vividly. I have even managed to read a book in the midst of it. The days here are hard but are fantastic; I feel more confident in my sheep handling abilities than I’ve been in ages. And to think that it has only been a little over a year since I have first learnt how to handle them. Now, I catch flyblown sheep from a herd of 200, tip each and every one I need to and wrestle them about. But I still get soft over the lambs, think of their perspective when they get shorn and pity the poor animals sometimes. I don’t get too caught up over how each and every animal is treated. And I like the gore and am realistic to a fault. But I still find myself feeling great empathy for these animals – maybe this is the right career path for me after all.

I’ve had the most vivid and imaginative dreams; I can’t figure out if I welcome them or not. Or maybe I just don’t really care because I’m too tired trying to live my life to bother letting myself continue to feel hurt about failures. And to ponder or daydream about situations and possibilities that frankly seem impossible because I have learnt, more than anyone, to be hard and incredibly sensible and realistic.

When the television ads come on for some kind of diet milkshake, I said that I didn’t like the ad for it portrayed female figures that are impossible to obtain for the everyday woman. And that it made me take a hit to the self esteem. I do not doubt that I am skinny and not (too) hideous. But literally every other female in the room agreed with me, that it made them feel like shit. I hate how a bit of my mind wonders if — it is because I am not beautiful enough, or born with a lack of femininity. But I think that it is about time I gave my soul a break from the toxicity of the world and just lived according to my rules for a bit.

This week was a wonderful escape from the general shit fest of the world. And I am glad that I got to spend it this way. Also, surprise surprise, I did not study a bit for the past week. Or think about uni in general. This is incredibly liberating but I don’t quite welcome going back to society for just a bit longer. I wish.

9. 

8. Wear & tear

I find myself feeling quite weary these few days. I am very tired, even though school hasn’t begun and I still have one last week of pracs to go through before I am done with my 3 weeks.

Rushing back from the farm last Friday was quite the feat, for it was a long drive in inclement weather. It didn’t help that I had to rock up for another prac the next morning. In the midst of these pracs and being on shift the entire week, I still had stupid things to settle and do.

It has been a year since I have first arrived in Perth, and I feel very wistful and rather nostalgic. I still remember the adrenaline rush and the sunset when I first landed as my mom and I made the drive to a friend’s house. First visiting Freo and Murdoch, and feeling terribly lost, quite unimpressed but sucking it up because it was all very exciting and new. Mom and I went to King’s Park, and had fish and chips but it was so windy and cold that we finished it quickly and went on a drive around different parks that overlooked the swan river.

I still have 4 more years in this city and I am not sure if I will stay, move to another or go home but I am quite happy, I think. I know where to go to get what I want and need. I have a very nice place to live in and have been learning so much every single day. I feel like my perspective about many things and many of my habits have changed, which is not unexpected, but one really can’t project and anticipate the future when they are faced with uncertainty.

Good things:

  • Spudshed trips where I got a lot of food for cheap, and managed to snag a whole carton of Yeo’s (!!) soy bean milk for $11
  • Got snake skins from the centre
  • Flowers that now make the table very homey
  • Cut Thumper’s nails. He has learnt how to hop onto my bed and now spends his afternoons lazing on the edge of my room’s large window. He does binkys on my bed and hops from window edge to bed to table, luggage and shelf.
  • Reading All Creatures Great and Small
  • Alone time at home. I don’t have to tiptoe my way about someone else’s home anymore.
  • Figured my printer out so it can finally print pages double sided, so no more mistakes with printing!
  • Submitted report for last week’s prac

The not so good:

  • I skipped a day of prac because I just couldn’t bring myself to drive 20 minutes in peak hour traffic to do thankless, laborious work after another draining night. Prac is leaving at 8am, coming back at 430pm and cleaning up after (very dirty) animals that I do not particularly like when I am there. I come back and have patients to care for from 7pm to 7am the next day. And I just haven’t had a break from changing IV bags at 3am, having occlusions occur throughout the night and dealing with the constant barking and howling of the understandably distressed dogs. It feels like a nightmare for literally every single patient I have had stay in since Saturday has been an entire Rottweiler that is in quite a bad state. I simply cannot trust them as they weigh more than I do, and their jaws look like they can snap my arm.
  • I have also broken my laptop. Genius move, Jolyn.

On my self-declared day off I have spent some time lazing and scrolling social media. Everyone seems to be progressing, growing more beautiful and refined by the day and I’m still little old me with the awkward hair and plain, if tom boyish dressing. I feel very unfeminine and ugly duckling-esque in a world where beauty is pretty clothes, nice hair and makeup. I guess I just wished that I fit into society’s mould of what is desirable more often than not.

4. Coping Mechanisms

Currently watching/watched: How to Get Away with Murder, Hacksaw Ridge

Read: Nineteen Minutes

Currently stressing over buying the car because of the consequences of getting a shitty one. I also have to sort out administrative work related to the vehicle transfer and ensure that the car can get me 250km south to Cowaramup safe and sound. Some things aren’t adding up; I have a shitload of organising and packing to do before the 3 weeks of non-stop pracs. I want to buy spray on sunblock but I legitimately don’t know if I have the budget to do so at the moment.

There’s also rego due soon, uni parking fees to sort out and car insurance to decide on. Unsure about whether purchasing a manual car is wise, for I always stress out at slopes and am quite terrible at hills when tired. Got cheap shirts and shorts from the boy’s section at kmart for prac which I find very thrilling. Did 3 loads of laundry and finally did my whites. Need to start on flexi week portfolio and do up a template for the upcoming prac activity logs and keep to it whilst doing pracs if not I’m definitely going to fall behind schedule.

Irritated that I don’t get to celebrate CNY back home – I want my reunion dinners and steam boats. Maybe next year, or the year after. Or the next. Maybe never. 2021?

Just tired of the never ending adulting. Don’t get me wrong, it is very exciting to exercise all this independence. It just gets exhausting ensuring that everything goes well all by myself – with studies, bills, transport and investing money. People have parents choosing their accommodation for them and don’t need to lift a finger to do anything, and here I am handling all of it by myself.

For the lost and abandoned

I spent my Tuesday on an alpaca farm and with my friends.

Woke up at 5am, checked the patients and then caught the train to the city before taking the one from the city down to Mandurah. The train ride was quite relaxing and wonderful at that time, since most of the world wasn’t up yet and travelling to the regional areas of WA. I was enjoying my music, and reading the introduction to Wuthering Heights on my kindle as I made my way down.

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Taban picked me up from the train station and we drove about 20-30 minutes to the farm. When we arrived we were greeted by the strangest assortment of dogs – a border collie that was obsessed with the game of fetch, and a tiny doggo that liked pats.

We went into the shearing shed and helped to herd the alpacas into little pens. The white ones had to be separated from the greys, browns and blacks as their fleece are of different value.

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Little crias (baby alpacas) which make the strangest, cutest whines.

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After shearing all the adults and the little crias, we had lunch, and boy was I starving. It was wonderful being fed all sorts of fresh produce, and I had honeydew! It’s been quite some time since I’ve had so hearty a meal, and if this is what I will have when I go for more farm pracs I cannot wait.

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The little doggo.

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After we had finished shearing the males after lunch, we went around the farm feeding the weaners and those being halter trained. I was sitting on a hay bale on the back of a truck, and it was exciting to say the least.

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We were treated to an autopsy of a cria later, and learnt that they had some unique features – their liver and the coiled colon. Alpacas are pseudo-ruminants so they have 3 compartments to their ‘stomach’. Had a mini quiz at the place as well since there were skeletal remains scattered around the whole field. Am horrible at recognising the bones but it was still insightful. Got to bring some samples back (for educational purposes) as well! How cool is that?!

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I came back to get my assignment for the night, showered and then drove over for a Christmas dinner with my friends. It was lovely, and I had a wonderful time. Drove back at night and it was scary for my contact lenses were so dry, astigmatism makes the road lights shine too bright, and I stalled and kinda panicked on the steep slope when leaving the highway. Thankful for the guy who reversed and asked if I needed any help – and waited with me to make sure I made it safely through that wretched place.

Last night I had a visitor: little Rocket! He’s a spoodle: spaniel x poodle cross, and since he has some poodle in him, I was so very excited.

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Little bugger took over my pillow at one point in time.

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And this morning, Morrie decided to nap on my bed too. My bed has officially become a resting place for wayward animals. Please, all of you just make yourselves welcome.

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If this is the life I will lead, I will be satisfied.