Cough Syrup

Saturday, July 11, 2020

By now you may be experiencing a certain duality in my posts that seems to oscillate with hints of several opposites: the good and bad, sweet and sour, failure and success. This is what life is all about. I would like to introduce you to my current situation since we have not discussed that yet. 

    I am a medical graduate from a university in Europe whose general location I might reveal a little later. What is life without some suspense and secrecy? In my final year of school, I met my amazing husband who changed my career trajectory mildly. My original plan was to return to Canada and practice as a physician there, but I instead decided to put my focus on achieving a license to practice in the USA instead. This is where I am now. Sounds simple, doesn't it? Even simpler if I were to tell you that I was already preparing for the USMLE exams. But no, I am still struggling to find my bearing. 

    In our culture, as with most cultures around the world, the bride packs her bags and moves into her husband's world. For most if not all brides, this is a daunting task especially if you are moving countries. It requires leaving your comforts, family, and friends for strangers and new challenges. Luckily for me, my husband and I did discuss the future prospects in great detail before marriage. I made it clear that I had worked really hard and spent a lot of money to get to where I was at the time he met me and there could be no compromise with my career. My future would still require a lot of moving around depending on where I was finally awarded a residency spot. I consider achieving a residency an award because it is not easy, to say the least. My husband would have to move from his current location to wherever this new venture took me. Initially, I was against getting married till I was in residency so I had more surety in my life but things always tend to spring on me when I least expect it. This is a difficult conversation to have in a traditional arranged situation as mine was but it could not be ignored. 

    Speaking on the terms of career and marriage. Ironically, it was a failed engagement and arranged relationship (a story for another time) that I ran away from that propelled me to reconsider my dream of becoming a physician. I did not enter medical school until my mid-twenties. My parents considered it too much of a risk and it to be too late to be considering committing to a career that requires a lot of sacrifice of time, energy, and money. Where would marriage fit in the timeline? I would have to face the terrifying aspect of starting to look for my life partner in my thirties! When would I have kids? As a friend of mine was constantly reminded by her parents "your eggs are reaching their expiry date!", I made it clear to my parents that I absolutely refuse to think about finding the right man until I knew where I was headed in life. This was not an easy pill for my parents to swallow. 

    Even the act of going abroad for education was a terrifying thought for my parents. According to my parents, if I did not get accepted for medicine in the school within my province in Canada, it was time to think of something else. I had been urging my parents since high school that perhaps I should head straight to a medical college in Europe so that I can get started on my journey to be a physician. I did understand this would mean fewer opportunities in specialties since getting a residency in Canada would be a challenge. However, I was worried that I would get off track through my undergrad. That is exactly what ended up happening. This reinforced my parents' views that I was not cut for medical school and should focus on finding a job while they helped find me a husband. 

    Choosing my own husband was also an uncomfortable idea for them. My options were limited and I did not know many boys within my religion or community, especially any that I was interested in. College presented the challenge of being introduced to the opposite sex, feeling attraction, wanting to pursue said attraction, but suppressing myself albeit poorly, knowing it would never work out in the long run. I know some girls who were able to convince their partners to convert or at least perform the rituals required to marry within my religion but I did not know how to go about that. That was not an option for me. The freedom of college intermixed with raging hormones proved to be a cocktail I was not ready to handle. This affected my grades in undergrad as I tackled finding my identity as an adult who can make her own decisions while also battling the decisions my parents would prefer to make for me. 

    Nevertheless, I eventually chose to put myself first and think of my familial obligations later. At least giving myself one more chance to try for the career and life I truly wanted. It was the best decision my twenty-year-old self could have made in the midst of all the anxiety and stress I faced. I was going to Europe. Now I am in the USA, waiting to not be considered an alien anymore so I can continue pursuing my dream. None of this would be possible without the support of my husband and parents-in-law. They are an extension to my life and if there is no support or respect, then there is no celebration of individual success. 

Until next time,


  1. Powerful yet simple. A pleasant read on a rainy evening🙏🏿❤

  2. Your story is fascinating to read and you truly are an inspiration to me. May you be blessed always :)


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