The Escape to Edinburgh

So, after ages I am able to write and sit with my laptop and type for you guys!

How are you?

I hope this blog post finds you in a great and awesome place!

Well, this post will be about one of the wonder cities of the United Kingdom. And it is none other than …. EDINBURGH!!!! (pronounced as like Edinbrugh)

I cannot explain my excitement in writing and sharing to you about this fantastic trip to this fantastic city!

This trip has changed my life tremendously.

So this trip happened because my cousin all the way from Austin, Texas came all the way from the US of A to tour Europe for a business trip to Italia and guess what, she loved me so much that she and her dad, my uncle came to London just to see me! Ain’t that sweet?

But I overestimated her stay and I literally consumed 4 days to Edinburgh leaving her 1 day to savour London!

But no worries, London will always be accessible enough so, Edinburgh it is!

Ah. Where do I start? HP? Whiskeys? Hairy coos? Lochs? Highlands? Whew!

Let me take you to lovely Edinburgh!

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Traveling to Edinburgh can be done through plane, train or by bus. Guess what we took? Bus! Yes. The dreaded 8 hour night bus we took!

And it was horrible to be honest because when you arrive in your destination you’ll be completely knackered. But hey, we saved great deal of pounds for this so I am okay. Haha! But next time I’ll come back I’ll probably book and plan earlier and take the train. 😛

So, for those of you that doesn’t know, brief geography lesson. The UK is a sovereign state with countries in one England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
The capital of Scotland is Edinburgh!

On our first day, we searched for our Airbnb and we eventually managed to find it. Scotland was so cold! Even the sun was there we were totally freezing.

The view of a hill stood outside our place and little did I know that was the hill where I will get a picturesque view of the city.

We started exploring the city by going to a Sandeman’s free tour of the city. We waited for the leader and he will walk us around the city and guide us for free but the premise is he will want tips from us, he was a lovely chap, our tourguide.

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He lead us to different sites. So here is our tour guide.

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I will update the rest of this travel later! I have to get ready for a hearty dinner with my loves! See yah laters! TTFN!

My Experience with Workplace Bullying

I am working as a nurse in London.

I am now in a new ward. But I just want to share to you one of the life changing twists I have experienced in my life.

BULLYING.

Working in the UK as a nurse isn’t easy.

Especially for the faint-hearted.

Like me, unfortunately.

I sincerely just lift up everything to Him up above. It is the reason why I am still alive today and still have my sanity at work.

I am thankful that I am here now in London, yes.

I mean I haven’t lost anything. If I compare it to Philippines, I would say Philippine nursing just earns like a very abusive salary compared here in the UK.

But above all this, let me remind everyone that getting this amount of money isn’t as easy as many Filipinos would think. I am not saying that earning money back home is easy because I know it isn’t.  But home is home.

And for me a Filipino, UK isn’t home.

It’s not easy to work in a workplace you know you aren’t welcomed or liked. I mean, this is the place of British people. They recruited us just because they wanted more people to work in their NHS health system, to save money, and for additional workforce. Most of the managerial jobs are taken by White People, and that is the truth and that is I guess an unspoken privilege that whites should have. This is their land.

And I am okay with it.

I have brown skin.

I am Aisan.

I came from a third world country.

I am 24 years old.

I am young and still have many things to learn.

And here comes a senior white lady who talks to me as if I am shit. As if I do not know anything.

I can’t speak for myself because I don’t know how to stand up for myself.

She told me words like ”This isn’t primary school that I teach you ABCs” after I asked her nicely where to call where.

And that is not all.

I prefer not to say anything more to be honest. It’s just that I can’t take it. I may be wrong but all I want is to express this feeling or else I might go crazy. It isn’t at all easy going to work and you get this heavy feeling all the time. It makes you think things about yourself and doubt your capabilities as a person.

I am thankful for myself and the confidence I have for myself is high however meeting these people is just hurtful. I am glad though that I am still here alive, and will be able to rise up and use all these experiences to become a better person. If we meet again, I am not sure what to do really. I do not know how should I act or should I even say hi but all I know is I will fight and I know that home is waiting for me. If they will continually bully me, I will go home and eventually be happier. I may lose the money that I am earning but having your self-worth preserved cannot be ever paid off by any amount of pounds this country can offer.

The most important thing now is I am currently learning a new speciality and I am loving it. I am even planning to book a conference in Oxford University later this year! I am so excited! I will post about it if I am lucky to be able to attend it. And many of our own doctors that work in our unit will speak there. It is so exciting and these are the things I am really looking forward to.

I have really moved on. Although admittingly, it still pains me a lot especially when I see those people. And yes, it isn’t easy. It isn’t easy.

 

My Solo Travel: Rome, Florence and Pisa

Ciao! Buongiorno! These are the main words I have learned to use in my 5 days in lovely Italia!

So if you don’t know me let me introduce myself first. My name is Michael and to make the story short, I am a nobody that writes something in his past time. Lol. Anyway, if you’re here to read because you’re interested in Italy or if how I managed to travel Italy alone, then welcome!

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Travelling by train around Italy

Let me share my travel story and experience in Italy.

I decided to travel solo this time. The premise is to boost confidence for myself. They say travelling alone will teach you many things. Although my travel is only for 5 days, true enough I have learned great things that for me in my age (I am 24 by the way) is pretty great and applicable to me and to my eccentric personality. I’ll share to you my insights later about the lessons this trip taught me.

So my route is from London Stansted to Rome by 6th of March 2017 in the evening, settle down then stay in Rome 2 days and this includes a visit to the Vatican. I will leave Rome by 9th to Florence and leave Florence until the 11th and go straight to Pisa on the day of 11th and go back to London.

Can I just interject why I chose this 5 day trip and why these cities?

If I may, it is because my Schengen visa (visa to go to schengen countries) given by France will expire on the 13th of march. And to maximize the visa, I decided to travel! I have a friend who is Italian and she was the one who suggested the route. She said to savour cities of Italy, it needs minimum of 2 days so I didn’t really rush myself in visiting other well known cities like Venice. Rome is close to Florence and Pisa is only an hour away by train from Firenze so  I think the itinerary is just fine.

Rome: The Eternal City

So I arrived in Rome very late. And I have to get to a bus and go to Termini in Rome to ride the train to get to my destination accomodation. I was nervous to be honest knowing that I am alone and I realized my accomodation was not near Termini. It was not easy to be fair. Your bag will be put in the baggage area of the bus, we wait for the bus to be filled so if you are early, expect your bag to be pushed inside and expect to be waiting when you arrive in Termini as people will be rushing getting all their bags. Whew! But yes! I survieved and was able to get to Termini and find the right line going to Libia, where I am staying.

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Ciampino Airport, Rome

I went to eat pizzas and gelatos around my Air bnb, I first thought why did I get my bnb a bit far from Termini knowing that I am alone! But it was a blessing in disguise because the foods and shops around my place like pizza and gelatos were authentic, local, delicious and cheap. It is where the locals go! Yum!

I was able to use the metro which is their train services. It was pretty straight forward but I was lost once. Lol So below are the pictures I have for you, the ticket machines are not in English but is pretty straighforward to use. Haha Maybe. Lol

Let me start with my favorite of all, the Trevi Fountain. It was just massive and elegant and magical and fabulous and amazing. Of course the place is crowded nonetheless it just amazed me.

 

I met two Lithuanian boys in the fountain and they were so nice.

 

They shared to me their culture and country and I shared a little bit about mine. They taught me the proper way of wishing and tossing a coin in the fountain which is to throw from right hand and toss over the left shoulder.

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I also went for an early access Sisitine Chapel and Vatican tour. It was fantastic. It was also nice to note that going to the Vatican is like going to another country haha. And I went to S.Peter’s Basilica and climbed up to the dome.

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View up at St. Peter’s Basilica

If  you climb up you have two options, use the lift and climb for 8 euros or climb and climb for 6 euros. I tried climbing for 6 euros and I suggest the other route because it is exhausting!!!! Lol

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St Peter’s Basilica

To go in, I had to cue and security will scan your bags, entrance is free. And there I get to see the tomb of the first Pope St. Peter.

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St. Peter’s Tomb

I will just post my pictures in places I have been in Rome and Vatican. To be fair, in Rome I didn’t enjoy as much as in Florence because I did not book myself for a walking tour in the Palatine Hill and the Colosseo but I will be back someday so I might do a tour again. It is still  different that when you go to a place you will have an in depth history and knowledge of what is in there and its significance to the society, isn’t it and not go there just for the heck of taking pictures to show the world you’ve been there. Lol. It will be unfair for Rome. But the food and the sightseeing for me for my first time there was enough. So for you planning a trip there I think it is best to book for a walking tour that someone will guide you so that as you walk along the ancient sites you will be walking along with the ancient and well known people of history.That’s what I did with Florence and I was captivated.

Florence: The Cradle of Renaissance

At first when my friend Ilaria from Tuscany mentioned Florence. I thought what am I gonna do there? That just shows how stupid I am of history and how magnificent Florence is.

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I would say this was the highlight of my trip in Italy.

If you ask me if Florence is lovely, I would say yes. The love for Florence would really depend person per person.

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Ponte Vecchio, Florence

I am just amazed of history and how people behave think and have done. And it just amazes me that thinking and breaking the rules were the the major themes of stories from Florence. People like Brunelleschi, Michelangelo and Raffael came from this renaissance City. The Medicis toocame from this place. Even Hitler went to this place and was amazed by its grandeur. He went to the old bridge Ponte Vecchio. The only bridge that survived world war 2.

When my eyes first laid on the sight of the Florentine chapel. It melted my heart. Seeing the huge marble design and the dome at its rear. It was massive. Pictures do not give justice to its beauty, really.

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Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore, Florence

On the first day I went to the Uffizi. If you are into arts and the church and politics and history Uffizi combines it all. See the world’s most famous artworks housed in it. I just stayed in Leonardo da Vinci’s room and stared at the Annunciation for an hour. I was just in awe. Many more artworks were there and it was just mesmerizing.

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Ufizzi Gallery, Florence

I wanted to stay longer but I was famished so I decided to leave earlier and bid farewell to the Ufizzi gallery. Near the Uffizi is the River Arno with Ponte Vecchio only at a walking distance. I just strolled around and absorbed the majestic city’s beauty. I then chased the sunset and just watched until the sun disappeared and all the lights of the city appear. The sunset was heartwarming and stunning. The lights and the breeze was just creating an ambience of self reflection and hope for a soul like me who marvelled at this simple yet wonderful city. Oh I would not forget that view of the horizon where I just gazed at a wonderful sunset never known to me before.

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Sunset in Ponte Vecchio, Florence

I also had a talk with a Mexican who also travelled alone. We had a good talk about our lives me as a nurse in London (and how crappy London’s weather is) and him being in close proximity to the Acapulco beach up to the telenovelas Filipinos are crazy about and of course Manny Pacquiao.

It was a good talk. Then I said goodbye and I continued to walk around. And then just went home and got ready for a whole day adventure with the city again.

In  the morning, I woke up early so that I would climb the Palazzo Vecchio or the Old Tower. By the way that political palace was the residence of a Spanish Queen before but then she requested that a new palace should be made for her then they made Palazzo Pitti in just 5 months! (Courtesy of the power of the Medicis) thus the old tower. I climbed up and I saw the view of Florence and the Duomo! The view was just amazing and humbling.

In noontime, I decided to eat Chinese since I missed Asian food so I went to a Chinese shop near the train station area and it was fantastic.

And then I went back to my accommodation to take a little rest before the walking tour I pre booked beforehand. The meeting point was in Piazza San Marco. I waited and waited til we are formed as a group and to my surprise we were only a few bunch. We were only 6 which was good so that it will be more personal.

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Our guide’s name was Charlie. He is a lawyer by profession  and He is an american. All of the tourists were from the United States and I am the only one from the Philippines/London but 3 of them are originally Greeks. It raised the interest of Charlie and the Greeks themselves since Renaissance period and the Roman designs and culture were mostly copied from the Greeks. That is how the Greeks affected the world. Romans just stole most of the ideas from them after they ruled the Greeks.

One great examples are the Gods and Goddesses of Greeks and Romans. The Romans just renamed them. Lol.

Moving forward, we started with Michelangelo and how he was related to the Medicis. He was the star of the renaissance I guess. He was a genius and a man who doesn’t go with the flow. He thinks outside the box. That is why he is so well known. From 1401, how the Medicis came to power, how they influenced everything in Florence. How the ideas of thinking of Humanism, how art evolved in this time from Gods being unreachable to Gods being like us. They also have problems. And how art slowly evolved and people start to think out of the box. Humanism and Mannerism in sculptures emerged.

We went to the Old Medicis palace. We talked about the significance of Architecture and Engineering, we talked abiut perspective about passion and competition. We talked about failures and dreams. We talked about innovation and so much more. I learned about how guilds formed.

What just amazed me was that I all learned and memorized this back in high school and I have always tried to understand it but it just didn’t make any sense. It was only when I saw it firsthand and when our guide explained it little by little.

We went also to the Academia. And guess who I saw! David by Michelangelo. Michelangelo is an amazing sculptor. He thinks outside of the box and he doesn’t care what other thinks. And the story behind this marble creation is also amazing. This came from a rejected work unfinished because they said the marble was not of good quality. And voila a masterpiece was made from an imperfect stone. It is really true that if we really just make use and be thankful of what we have we can always be happy and reach great heights .

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Statue of David

The experience was really amazing. The name of the  tour/ site is Walks of Italy. I would definitely recommend it.

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End of the Walking tour in Ponte Vecchio

Florence just left me in awe of its history and it magnificent grand aura. I would definitely recommend it and I am absolutely sure I will come back.

After that I just went to Palazzo Pitti and I sunbathed there lol. And because it was my last day I decided to buy a small painting of Ponte Vecchio. The painter sold it to me for 20 euros but because I left my money, the only money I have in my pocket is 15 euros so I told him if I can buy the painting for 15 and eventually he said okay so I was so happy. It is an oil on canvas painting. One day I was walking in the old bridge and I accidentally stepped on a painting! The seller gave me a very strange look. I was laughing I went straight away. It was my fault because I wasn’t really paying attention but it was night already and he placed the drawing on the floor! Anyway I was laughing so hard. I have so many wonderful memories in that bridge that’s why I decided to buy the painting!

Oh and I forgot to mention the food in Florence is lovely. I would recommend going to Mercato Centrale on the 2nd Floor it opens until midnight so if you would like a wonderful Italian treat late in the evening I would definitely recommend it. It is right at the top of their market!

And I have tried this shop Al Antico Vinaio, it is very close to the spots and people line up for it so I went there and locals just know it and it is heaven! I tried La favolosa and L’inferno you should try it. Worth the 5 euros!!! Check out the pictures I have for you!

After Florence I just went to a day trip in Pisa. It is just an hour ride from Florence. And if you plan to visit there, the leaning tower is really enough. The town is small and quiet.

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The leaning Tower of Pisa

I just left all my bags to the left luggage area in Pisa Centrale station for 5 euros.

And by the way from Pisa Centrale if you want to go to the tower by bus, buy a ticket in the station, ride the bus that is Labeled LAM Rossa.

There are other colors like LAM blu or LAM verde. Ride LAM Rossa. And buy tickets for going back too!  Bus stations are near  there. In going to PISA, wait for the bus across the road from the station and not on the side of the station.

And when I arrived in the tower, I asked a Japanese lady to take my picture and she took a very nice photo of me, I thanked her and I asked her where she came from and she said she is from Japan. I greeted Konnichiwa, and said Arigatou and they laughed and responded, I checked her pic of me and i said ‘Yey!’ and she and her friends laughed and yelled Yehey too! Lol.

I climbed up the tower too, pre-booked tickets and remember to leave bags in the free baggage drop area in an orange building near the tower, handbags aren’t allowed! grrr.. anyway here is the view up.The tower is leaning so expect a weird feeling. Don’t worry centrifugal force will keep you upright. Lol but It wan to a fancy feeling at the top. I felt nauseated because you really feel it is leaning!

And then from the station, I will go now to Galilei International Airport, to get there, you have to ride a bus and the directions to get to the bus is easy to follow. You can buy tickets from the driver for 2 euros or if you buy at the station, 1.30 euros.

And that was my Italy trip. I hope you enjoyed reading my experiences. If you will travel to Italy soon make sure you will have enough time and don’t rush.

Back to the lessons I learned in my journey alone, I realized that, Florence is a wonderful place to have soul searching, and that travelling alone will make you become a tougher person,and become more responsible of your actions. It taught me to value company and friendship and in life, like in any trips, everything is not going to be perfect.

In life, there will always be times you will feel alone, times you wish you have someone to share the view with and times that you bask the sunset with your own eyes and appreciate all the blessings in life you have.

I felt and realized the value of home and the comfort of being in home, that even if you travel places, you will always have to go back to where it all started. That you search to go far  yet the answer is already inside you, that all along it was just in the place where you have always been.

And the most important lesson I have learned is to be thankful. Just to be thankful of basically everything, the good or the bad, because I realized that is the will of God for our lives, that is the one way our souls will grow and will learn to accept all our frailties and imperfections from the inside to the outside whether in our own selves and in our families or  friends of in general our lives. I believe growth as a person does start in acceptance of what we have in life and the catalyst for growth of the soul is starting from being thankful of the life we have. That is then we start to make use of all our frailties and imperfections to reach whatever we want in life, and for me that is genuine happiness. If we become thankful and realize the power of this perspective, we will be able to appreciate every fabric of strengths and weaknesses we have in us.

Gahhh, too much drama isn’t it? Well, it is absolutely good to experience and dive into Italia’s culture and history.And now in my life, I could proudly say I’ve been able to travel to a different country on my own and I guess that is a big achievement I have for me. Lol.

Hey, let me know of your experiences whether solo or groups. Or whether you have thoughts, comments or perhaps wild reactions?

Ciao!

A reminder to be thankful for the health that we often take granted for

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As a neurology nurse, I get to meet a lot of people who have the debilitating conditions many of the general public do not even know of.

One day, I was admitting this patient from Ireland. He came all the way to London just to have a better treatment for his condition. He is currently fighting a lifelong battle with Epilepsy.

Whilst most people battle other diseases which, most times, give people limited time to live such as cancer. Other people have this chronic condition, Epilepsy, wherein you just have to deal with having no idea when the fits would actually happen. Epilepsy is a chronic condition wherein a person suffers with epileptic seizures often called ‘fits.’

The middle aged Irish man suffers from epileptic fits or seizures at any time of the day.

People like him will sometimes feel what we call as ‘auras’, sensations that warn them that they may have it, and then they lose awareness, depending on the kind of fit they have.

They may wander aimlessly, and may develop into what we call as a generalized tonic-clonic seizure, which is characterized by involuntary jerking and shaking of extremities for minutes.

They might lip- smack, eyes look up, do motor automatisms and may salivate with the seizures. Some may lose control over sphincters and may urinate and open bowels in public places.

While I was doing the admissions, I get to ask questions that involve his general condition. I get to ask him the kind of seizures he have, the frequency and even the injuries he have had and how these affect him and the people around him.

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Epilepsy Unit in NHNN London, UK

 

Telemetry Unit in The National Hospital for Neurology and  Neurosurgery for Epilepsy

He walks in a limping gait. When asked why, he said he fell off once in a harbour in Ireland and broke his spine.

He has multiple bruises and lacerations in his life. He is single in his forties, unemployed, impatient and shy. He hated his condition.

I asked him how he felt.

He said he feels like he has no freedom. He is imprisoned with this disease.

“I want to be free”, he said.

“Coming here alone, I have to bring my brother-in-law, because I have to be safe. I don’t want people to always be bothered because of me. They have a life too, you know”.

“ I can’t go to public places on my own.”

“I can’t even drive. “

“I love driving.”

“And here’s me, I don’t know how to drive”, I interrupted.

He laughed. But yes. He love driving and staying in the car going places. He can’t do that.

People diagnosed with epilepsy are never given driving licences or their licences are being revoked after diagnosis.

These and many more stories came out of real people’s lips, I listen how these people with epilepsy are affected by this disease.

Anyone can have Epilepsy, I’ve met a single mother of one daughter sends her kid to school worrying about being caught by classmates that she has this disease, worrying when she crosses the road with her child and lose awareness.

I’ve met a father of three little boys, leading the kids in a camp, fell and injured his face when went off track after losing awareness.

I’ve met a young lad, losing self-esteem after all the bullying.

I’ve met a beautiful lady, losing her eye contact, keeps her seizure diary to keeping track of her seizures hoping one day all of it would make sense and the medical team would find a way to completely solve her disease.

Cliché from all of us, but yes, we fight different kinds of battles but sometimes, we take for granted the little yet vital things we have. Like Freedom. Freedom to grab the life we have in front of us.

 I hope we pause from our busy day. Breathe life, brush off fickle and trivial things that stress us on a daily basis. See life in a larger, and more positive perspective.

Enjoy life, have the spirit of thanksgiving, of helping each other, of understanding and of spreading love and kindness wherever we are placed in life. And to becoming the best version of ourselves.

To know more about epilepsy, how to help and to be ready to help, you can visit epilepsysociety.org.uk.

London on my Filipino eyes

London.

When you hear that word, what comes to your mind?

Big Ben?

West End?

London Eye?

River Thames?

Or the Queen Perhaps?

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Enjoying the Big Ben

I have been in London for a year now and in this short time I have been here, I was able to immerse and get to know Mr. London a little bit deeper than the usual.

Well, maybe let me introduce Mr. London to you in a Filipino nurse perspective. I am a Filipino or as we Filipinos call ourselves, “Pinoy” Nurses.

Pinoy nurses in the UK don’t earn as much as in the Aussie, Canada or the US.

Nurses in the UK belong to the average class of people. Far far from the social status the american nurses have. Well, correct me if I am wrong but from the stories I hear, nursing in other countries sounds very lucrative.

With that in mind, maybe it is safe for me to say that being a nurse and living in the UK more so me, living in CENTRAL LONDON, isn’t an easy peasy thing to do. Well, nothing in life is easy anyway but yeah. As a Filipino, living in the third world country, many first world country people wouldn’t understand the pain seeing your family live in poverty. So a typical Filipino would send a big chunk of hard earned money to the family being left with a meager amount of money to spend, which is a bit sad. Haha

However, I am not the type that makes a martyr out of that and I know how to rock and roll, work and party, and set goals for tomorrow, maybe? haha

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St. Pancras Hotel

So, now that you’re wearing a share of my lens, let me show you how London looks like.

London from a Filipino perspective is..

A city of chance and opportunity..

London is amazing in many ways. Look at the Big Ben. Amazing is an understatement. Feel the breeze of the River Thames, feel and reimagine the history of London. Relish the fact that you, a soul from a countryside third world country in Mindanao, Philippines, is standing in the greatest City of Great Britain.

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London Over River Thames

Although London is expensive, I never would ever trade this time of my life living in this marvelous City. London has always left me in awe. Let the photographs guide you and justify how I would express my feelings for this City.

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With Ate Laarni and Ate Mich in the British Museum

As Filipinos, we survive anything, we know how to live in almost nothing, so living in London, although it is, I admit stressful, living in the epicenter of Europe’s hustle and bustle, London will always be an amazing city that offers the opportunity to a kid from a town in a third world country.

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The London Eye

Sometimes, I feel I’m unwanted, personally, as you know, you can feel that, as understandably, this country belongs to the Britons who live here, but London has always been welcoming to foreign talents. Filipinos come here to work, helping the NHS to continue running, and in turn Filipinos earn money to sustain and help the family back home.

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London New Year 2017

London is very accepting and open to foreign people, has an amazing tube for transport and the double decker buses and black shining taxis around, all the iconic places London have. It simply is London, classy and calm.One good thing about London is that it is very accepting and liberated.

I also got close to venues the famous people go, so concerts and premieres are just within the neighborhood. The latest concert  I have been to is with Jojo. It was in Heaven, London.

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Jojo’s concert in Heaven, London

I have also seen some celebrities and experienced firsthand lining for the artists in premieres. It was tiring wrestling with all those die hard fans but in the end all is worth it.

Was able to see Ezra Miller in Fantastic Beasts, See JK Rowling, Eddie Redmayne in person in front of me, signed my Timeout magazine,  and shake Will Smith’s hands on Suicide Squad Premiere.

So far this is what London and the UK has given me and I couldn’t thank UK and God more of all these blessing showered upon me. Life here is hard especially when your parents demand so much from you but in the end, you just have to rock and roll in life and keep swimming.

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The Victoria and Albert

Let me know your thoughts about Filipinos in  London or in the UK, or if you’re a nurse in the UK or anywhere in the world. Who knows who might read this?

London is amazing, share your experience, will be happy to hear from you!

Cheers!

My Parisian Experience

As a nurse in the UK, travelling to Europe is a sure fire bonus.

Paris is such a wonderful and romantic city, it is indeed the city of lights, and I believe it is so much much more.

I guess you’re here to find out how Paris is, or maybe you’re just bored, or maybe you are looking for information how to apply for visa, well that’s if you’re not from the EU.

Okay, well this post will be brief as I am just writing this to practice my blogging haha. I am a newbie so bear with me.

Let me narrate my  Paris story.

So, initially, I wanted to travel solo to Paris on my birthday, that is on my 24th birthday in October 12, 2016. But my friends wanted to come with me which is even a better idea, so we applied the visa beforehand.img_7496So these are my co Filipino friends who went with me in Paris!

Don’t tell them but these guys are crazy haha!

So, we went to the visa process which is straightforward, you just basically go to this site.

That is the TLS contact and in that site you will find all the requirements. Prepare 70 pounds and you’re good to go! They gave me 6 months Schengen access visa which means i can travel in any Schengen country. After Paris we travelled to Prague in Czech Republic, which will come in a separate post. And soon, I’ll be solo travelling to Italy. (Yeah baby!)

Moving on, we went to Paris, rode in a Eurostar to the city center and we arrived in the train station.

 

Look at the architecture in Paris, notice how sunny it was, we were really blessed to have great weather when we arrived. Paris is lovely. London has crap weather but otherwise lovely too! Lol.

 

We then went to our booked bnb. It was my friend who booked our accommodation and it was so amazing, cheap and close to the city center, I definitely recommend that place. You can cook and is close to a Lidl shop in Paris which makes your trip a little less expensive.img_6588IMG_6546.JPG

Just be careful with cooking, on a morning in Paris I was cooking an omelette and burnt oil in the burner which eventually activated the fire alarm.. IN PARIS!!! Oh my gosh I will never ever ever cook with too much oil in the burner next time or maybe an omelette perhaps? Lol.

Well, the rest is just marvelous, we went to the Louvre, but didn’t manage to see Mona Lisa. I will pay a date with her next time I come back ‘coz I sure am. Went to the iconic Arc de Triomphe, Eiffel Tower, Moulin Rouge and Sacre Coure, and Versailles of course! Let the pictures tell how lovely Paris, France is! Enjoy!

Let me know if you pay Paris a visit, and tell me how did you find your Parisian experience, would love to hear from you. Merci!

 

The NMC CBT Exam: Things You Might Want to Know

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Skygarden in London, UK

So hello there!

First of all I want to introduce myself.

My name is Michael and I am a Filipino Registered Nurse from Bukidnon, Philippines but my second home is The Queen City of the South, Cebu!

I am 22 years old (when I first wrote this). This is my first post and I am not a writer whatsoever and I am not good at blogging but here I am writing not sure about anyone might read this but if you are then welcome!

By the way, in case you’re wondering, the photo above features me, taken in Skygarden. Along with this post, I have decided to put pictures so that while you are browsing you take a breather and have a look what is in store for you in the UK. I started of literally with nothing but my dreams.

People looked down on me and the profession I chose. And people never believed in me. I just want you to know that you are close to your dreams, you can do it and you have the power to change whatever plight you are in right now. Never listen to people who know nothing but to lift their ego by lowering your self-esteem and self-worth.

And that all of these places I show here, is very achievable and very easy to access once you arrive in the UK. This is not to brag but to tell you that this is an opportunity that comes once in a lifetime.

I am now a registered nurse in the UK, and I work in London.

I bet you got here accidentally maybe because you are now applying for nursing registration for the NMC (Nursing and Midwifery Council) and getting ready for the CBT Exam.

This post will basically discuss tips that I personally learned from self reviewing and from reading blogs, articles and write ups about this seemingly new exam system of the NMC. The tips are for the Adult type test only because there are other tests like Mental Health Nursing, Pediatric, etc.

This is to pay the kindness of people who encouraged and wrote articles to concentrate on and to forward to you who may or maybe do not have much idea how this works. So hop on and enjoy.

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Chinatown, London

The Exam

So I presume you have asked people you knew who took it, asked what it is about and like what is the nature of the exam. Maybe, you have already read blogs and comments about the exam.

If you did, job well done! Most probably, the case will be that all the things I write here, you already know. However if you belong to the ones who haven’t, well, I suggest you do continue reading and searching for more. Congratulations for taking the first step in actually reading this. This is so that you will have a vibe of what the exam looks like. To make these shenanigans short, here is my summary.

How long is it?

4 hours or 240 mins.

What are the question types? 

MCQs (Multiple choice questions) and you just answer with a regular computer then, you click on one answer only unless told to click multiple answers. So far there are no multiple answer requiring questions. Do not worry because there will be a short tutorial before the 4 hours time of answering.

How many questions are there in total?

 120 questions.

The questions will be presented individually.

You can choose not to answer and skip it if you do not want to or answer and flag it if you are unsure.

By the time you reach the 120th question, there will be a review page. All unanswered questions will be listed as well as all flagged. The point here is you can review. You can even go back or go next.

In my case, I answered for 2 hours and reviewed my answers for 1 hour and did not finish the last hour. (I felt nauseated reading all the questions that I don’t even know the answers. HAHA) 

Cost: 130 British Pounds

How to Book: You have to have an ATT (Authorisation to Test) Register via NMC website.

How difficult is the exam?

Personally, Moderate.

Let me expound on this.

I found the exam generous to give 4 hours for a 120 item test. Majority of the Questions are as I can say easy but tricky. Read the Questions carefully as well as the choices. What makes me die are 2 things. First, I hate to tell you this but there are objective questions but not many. And Number 2, there are so called “E” or Essential questions that you have to answer correctly. Yes, according to what I have read, all must be answered correctly without you knowing whether it is an E or not. I am not sure of this but when you read the NMC Blueprint, there are columns right? Like there are Y, and Es.I believe the Es are the essential guides that you have to focus on. I will discuss where to focus on in my personal experience. Hope that helps.

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Victoria & Albert Museum, Kensington, London

General Tips

1. Read Blogs, comments, experiences and stuff on the internet about this exam.

It gives you a bird’s eye view of what the exam is in a larger and broader view. I suggest go to this site. The article of this fellow Filipino nurse helped me a lot prepare.

2. Envision yourself that you will pass the exam.

If passing this is a part of your dream then do it! Work on it! I have heard a lot of stories that they failed and you dont want to fail an expensive exam. It is expensive both on your pocket and your self esteem. But if you fail, do not stop. Search quotes about success and motivation, read your bible and you will see that God’s idea of success is different. I won’t tell. You have to go search for it. Never ever give up on yourself and your dreams! Do not do this to please other people that do not like you. Do this for you. Intense? Haha

3. Get the recommended Review Materials and know what to Prioritize.

I have only 2 guides to tell you frankly and it helped me a lot. I do not know how it works for you but for me, it kinda worked coz i passed the exam.

To start this with let me tell you first my story, so I resigned from my work to concentrate on IELTS (I will write a blog about this maybe If i find the motivation to do so, hehe) and after was for this exam, so I told myself I have no right to fail the exams because I had all the time studying and thank God for blessing me his graces.

Anyway, I was also glad because I have a senior nurse from my Alma Mater in CNU that already passed and told me where to focus my review. He let me borrow his notes with his readings, and a print out of the NMC Blueprint, the 4 Domains and other stuffs that are helpful.

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My First Ward in the UK in London, UK

Remember, your goal is to digest the Healthcare practice and scenario of the UK practice in Nursing. You have to memorize the Code by Heart. Read it 10 times. I read it too and printed it out. Then what I did was I concentrated on Royal Marsden Clinical Guidelines Book, you can purchase it online. To tell you honestly, I regetted I prioritized  reading this book because less topics were from here but this book has opened my eyes a lot on UK practice. So I owe this book a lot too. Many Es are discussed here to be honest. So I suggest focus on the blueprint, read the links, yes, all the links, the working links at least, by heart. Infection Control, Leadership, Safeguarding, Pressure Ulcers, Acute Care for Adults, People with Disabilities, Consent, and basically all the suggested focus the people in the internet says because it is really true.

One good thing is that, you do not have to memorize medications, but you have to know the ‘how, where, what, whom’s” about medications and its administration, the analgesia ladder and one tip, study also on basic IV and drug calculations. I believe these are Es. I wish I could tell you more but I cannot because the NMC will not allow me to do so. Hehe

In conclusion, have faith in yourself and reach your dreams whatever it is. Study well, do not memorize only by brain but by heart more importantly. Read the articles well do not stress yourself on memorization.

And I thought I was gonna fail, like honestly, all objective type answers I searched were wrong, I cried inside but when i saw the email arrive 5-6 hours later, I passed! I pray that you too can. God bless you.

If you have more questions about the exam, UK application, about life and living in the UK or maybe in London itself, feel free to comment or mail me at mltsabijon@gmail.com I wouldbe happy to respond.