The Adventure Continues...

Rants, raves and random observations from an itinerant epidemiologist.

100 in 1000
  1. Spend a week up a mountain learning to ski
  2. Visit Karoline's place in Moravia
  3. Hold a conversation in Czech (only)
  4. Drink 500ml of each of the following beers:
    1. Pilsner
    2. Staroprammen
    3. Budvar
    4. Velke Popovice
    5. U Fleku
    6. Gambrinus
    7. Krusovice
  5. Respond to at least one GOARN request (WHO and MSF are also acceptable)
  6. Travel across the Atlantic
  7. Return to South America
  8. Read a book to, or with, an impressionably aged child
  9. Participate in one NanoWriMo Challenge and come within at least 10,000 words of the goal length
  10. Have my nose pierced
  11. Have my next tattoo drawn
  12. Purchase the perfect jeans (x 2 pairs)
  13. Attend a spin class 3 times a week for 8 consecutive weeks
  14. Bake Viv's cheesecake
  15. Make David's casserole
  16. Make David's Chicken Cashew-nut Stirfry
  17. Invite 4 people who don't know one another too well to dinner
  18. Ride from Vienna to Venice on a motorbike (pillion acceptable, those less desirable)
  19. Attend a book group for at least two books
  20. Go on a choir weekend (learn and perform difficult piece in two/three days)
  21. Visit Madame Tussaud's (in London)
  22. Take an architecture appreciation course
  23. Join an all-girl group and sing a solo
  24. Publish in a scientific journal (top two authors)
  25. Cook a duck or other 'waterfowl'.
  26. Locate the Al-Timimi's from Doha Veterinary Practise
  27. Have a pedicure
  28. Maintain a Brazilian (ouch) for three months.
  29. Find a trustworthy Czech hairdresser
  30. Treat my inner-6-year-old twice a week (at least)
  31. Do the liver-cleansing diet properly (12 weeks)
  32. Don't eat out for one month
  33. Find a flat and flatmate
  34. Purchase one Joseph sweater
  35. Purchase one of the following pairs of designer shoes (they MUST also be COMFORTABLE, and be able to be worn with 4 different outfits and 2 types of occasion): Jimmy Choos, Manolo Blahniks, Christian Louboutin (Ebay or 2nd hand are acceptable)
  36. Send 5 books to the booksphere and track them.
  37. Go hanggliding
  38. Read 10 'classic' books (from 1001 Books to Read before you Die)
    1. Moll Flanders
    2. Everything is illuminated
    3. Madam Bovary
    4. Zen & the Art of Motorcycle Maintainance
    5. Catch-22
    6. Odysseus
    7. On the Road
  1. Run (non-stop!) for 5kms outside (preferably in a street race thingy)
  2. Send Christmas Cards on time
  3. Make a collage/mural out of street lights on my wall
  4. Buy a bed, build it, and sleep soundly in it
  5. Go to Africa
  6. Host an 'event' (classified as and when)
  7. Organise a 30th Birthday Party
  8. Wear a costume
  9. Sing on stage
  10. Buy a painting that evokes memories of Prague (cannot involve queues!)
  11. Learn a god-damned card game that stays in my memory (other than fish/snap)
  12. See sunrise. Be sober. Have woken for it. Excludes months Nov-Mar
  13. Take a walk and flip coins at each intersection
  14. Win something
  15. Draft a will
  16. Take a roadtrip
  17. Go to Italy already
  18. Sea Kayak around Abel Tasman Park (NZ)
  19. Get plants
  20. Take a train to another Eastern European Destination (accession countries are acceptable) alone preferably.
  21. Get UK to give me a provisional motorcyclists license and simultaneously get a 'card' license.
  22. Go SCUBA diving again - at least two dives lasting 30mins each.
  23. Go to a dentist. *sigh*
  24. Do a Czech Wine Trail. And live to tell the tale
  25. Make an 'outbreak emergency kit'.
  26. Go to bed prior to 11pm every night (inc weekends) for four consecutive weeks.
  27. Marvel over lack of tiredness
  28. Dine at a Gordon Ramsey restaurant (or Nobu)- preferably for free.
  29. Bet on the nags
  30. Do something for charity (applying and getting a 'red card' will count)
  31. Walk along the Champs Elysee
  32. Do 100 sit ups in a row
  33. Do 50 pressups (arms in tight)
  34. Make branston pickle (or nearest substitute)
  35. Cook something 'new' and 'adventurous' at least once a month
  36. Find a mentor
  37. Be a mentor
  38. Learn what mentoring is all about
  39. Meet an online person in real life
  40. Resist the flirt. Once. Just one night. It's okay if people don't immediately succumb to my natural charm. Really it is.
  41. Spend time at a spa (spa towns in the CR don't count)
  42. Send a care package to someone
  43. Get a Tata Bojs CD
  45. Order new contact lenses.
  46. Make a list of things I take with me when I pack for different occasions
  47. Eat lobster. Prepared by someone else.
  48. Back up the blog
  49. Put everything onto an external hard drive
  50. Find a DDR mat and console and 'dance, I say dance!'�
  51. Go to the beach and lie on the warm sand. For an hour. (with sunscreen on, natch)
  52. Take and complete a course in either: Tango, Salsa or Flamenco
  53. Join the Municipal Library of Prague
  54. Move to another country
  55. Go to a live concert of a band I actually like
  56. Pay off debts (student loan excl.)
  57. Send thank you cards for every gift I receive (other than the gift of happiness, blah blah blah).
  58. Get an agent (literary or theatre)
  59. Go to a sports bar without cringing, by personal choice
  60. Ride a rollercoaster
  61. Hold a snake
  62. Spend a day wandering around a museum (not art gallery!)
International missions, refund forms and diplomas, oh my!
Wednesday, 5 October 2005
Well folks. Apparently, this next two years is NOT going to be anywhere near as much of a ´laugh´as you all seem to think. Oh no...we´ll be updating our skills forms, reassessing our progress forms, filling in refund forms AND possibly asking if we can get time off from our host institutes for a quick international mission (if it´s with the WHO, we have to attend many security that we avoid being killed in places like Sudan/Darfur, other civil war episodes around the world!). And on top of that, we have to get three publications (either national reports to our various minstries of health, or in journals!) pertaining to an outbreak investigation, either evaluation or development of a surveillance system and a research project. We have to present at a conference as well...before which we present a 10min display about something we´ve worked on or led and that undergoes a 3hour (not kidding) discussion with our peers (prior to the conference of course) so that we defend our choices (that´s harder than the PhD defense people, I´d just like to point that out!). When we start to think of ideas, we have to e-mail our four coordinators to see if they can add merit to our proposals (undoubtedly) and amazingly they will respond within the next 48 hours.
From a situation where I was barely supervised during my PhD, hardly checked up on at ESR (how else did you think I managed to spend so much time on tetris and writing e-mails?) this is an insane amount of care we´re receiving. It´s all so that by the end of this two year fellowship, we come out of it with a similar set of skills to one another, and are very ´usable´ people wherever we very useful. We´ll get a diploma (if we fulfill our requirements) that will be signed by someone at the European CDC as well as our coordinators. But wait, don´t call now...there´s more. If EPIET are approached by MSF or WHO regarding an international mission (they need help) then our coordinators decide whether or not the mission will teach us anything...and if so, will offer it out to us. we all check with our host institutes if we can go (realistically, we´re probably likely to be pretty darned busy, so it´s quite slim, though most supervisors know that most fellows are quite keen to go on at least one mission during the 2 years) and then put our names into the hat. The coordinators then decide who they´re going to send based on personality and skills and the level of supervision available on the ground.
Scary huh!?
During this explanation of the next two years of my life, they pointed out that all reports that we write must be sent to the EPIET office, where our coordinators can read through them to make sure we did a good job (as well as our host institutes and funding bodies etc). That´s kinda when it hit me like a freaking tonne of bricks that not only do I have to learn how to speak Czech (or Pragueish for the crazy kids in Welly), but I have to learn how to write it too. And not just NORMAL writing, but TECHNICAL writing. Awww feck.
So I´m feeling a tiny little bit overwhelmed at the moment. More and more epidemiologists are falling off the non-smoking wagon here...every day the facilitators/coordinators look on in horror as we finish a case study on lung cancer and smoking exposure, then half of the people head outside to have a cigarette with our coffee. If we weren´t addicted to caffeine prior to our arrival here, we now must all be. It´s been raining pretty much solidly all day, and there is NOTHING to be done on this island. We´re rapidly running out of english language books.
I´m so privaleged to be part of this all. I can´t believe I´m really here, I´m really part of this, I´m being allowed to train in EXAXCTLY what I want to be doing with my life, rather than an associated feild (like, do you really think I wanted to spend my life sticking swabs up chickens bums? Short answer, NO!). But the ends of my blogs are getting a bit mushy áren´t they? So I´ll sign off here.
Oh...and good shoes arrive in Prague on the 6th. They, unfortunately, will have to be put in storage there until I get back though. So close...and far! :(
Also good news, Maarten will send photos shortly...
posted by Nomes @ Wednesday, October 05, 2005  
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