It’s being an interesting first month in Chamonix; a very stark contrast to the 60-70hr weeks I’ve been working in Paeds A&E over the last 6 months. I’ve always been very career-orientated, and after what seems like a constant treadmill of GCSEs > A-levels > Med School > Foundation training > Specialty training, I finally felt that I needed to take some time out. I’m almost halfway through my Emergency Medicine training, and am very fortunate to have been allowed to take 6 months off and have a job to return to in August.
This couldn’t have come at a better time, especially with the stress of junior doctor contract imposition; the imposition was announced the day after we arrived in Chamonix; I sat in the corridor (the only place we can connect to Wi-Fi) and cried. Who knows what the contract really means, especially for people like me on time-out from training, but for now I’m focussed on enjoying this time out, and will deal with the consequences when I get back.
Clearly I’ve been enjoying Chamonix too much, because I’m now poorly with laryngitis; I suspect 24 days in a row of playing in the snow (plus swimming and turbo-training) has pushed me too far; I really will learn the importance of rest one day soon!!
|Car loaded and ready to roll...|
So we arrived in Chamonix to heavy rain, and doubts about winter; the valley looked very black! Fortunately though, we woke in the morning to fresh snow. The morning was spent moving into our apartment after a night on Heather’s sofa, before quickly getting out to play with an afternoon of snow at Les Houches. This included my first foray into off-piste, complete with tree-crashes!
We’ve quickly settled into Chamonix-life, with an incredibly social group of ex-pats. Since arriving my skiing has improved no-end (although I am by no-means a good skier, and am scared by anything remotely steep!). You just can’t beat a day of blue skis and powder! With a head for numbers and rotas, my last rota continues to roll through my head; “you’d be working nights now if you were still in the UK…” Certainly I know where I’d rather be!
|Italian coffee in Courmayeur... Mmmmm!|
Highlights since being out here include a day ski-touring with Heather and Rosie, doing the Col du Cicle, and finally plucking up the courage to ski the Vallee Blanche and realising I shouldn’t have been so scared (I do have a rather irrational fear of crevasses and the snow arête down from the Midi).
|Girls go tour! (Photo- H Flo)|
|Nervous on the snow arete :S|
|Loving some powder on the VB|
|So that's what I've been so scared about... meh!|
|Beautiful sunset colours.|
Today is day 3.5 of rest for me (the few ski runs I attempted on Monday had me spluttering and crying in pain), and I’m finally starting to feel a bit better. Outside the skies are blue, the sun is shining, and I can see para-gliders drifting down to land. I'm dying to be better and be back outside playing! I haven’t yet gotten bored of walking around the valley with my head angled upwards, gazing up at the surrounding mountains. I feel very privileged to be able to call the valley my home, for now at least! What a relief to have finally stepped off the medical treadmill for a while!