“Then, you’ll get 4 weeks off at Easter time, but you’ll have to spend 2 of them lambing.”
I sat mesmerized, stories flowing between the two friendly faces across the table, interrupted only by my questions or visible confusion at the Irish slang phrases.
“Lambing!?” I couldn’t believe that I’d be helping to bring itty bitty widdle baby lambs into the world by Easter!
“Yeah, it’s part of your Extra Mural Studies. Really not too bad, sometimes you even get paid.”
I took a small sip of my cocktail, trying to hide my apparent giddiness.
I was sitting across from two current students at University of Edinburgh, asking all the important questions that were keeping me awake at night: Is immigration as scary as I think it is going to be? What books off the recommended book list do I really need? Am I going to be way older than everyone else in the program? What about health insurance? And, the ever important, What exactly does one wear to veterinary school?
Walking home, my feet were barely touching the sidewalk. It was the first time I really felt like I was a student at one of the top veterinary schools in the world (or, probably just one of the top schools in the UK, reportedly #2, right behind Cambridge). It was the first time my offer of admission felt tangible. It was the first time I felt ready to pack up and move across the Atlantic. All my questions were answered to my satisfaction:
1. Immigration is not going to be that scary….just incredibly proper and polite.
2. Some books are nice to have, but I really don’t have to buy any of them. (Glad I opted for the coloring book then and not the $250 dissection of the dog book).
3. Being in the Graduate Entry Program, I won’t be the oldest one in my classes….just pretty close to it.
4. I’ll have totally free health care while enrolled at the University – yay, Scotland!
5. People just wear “normal clothes” to vet school.
That last one was a huge relief. I don’t have much of a “professional wardrobe.” I had to wear khakis and polos in high school as part of our dress code and have never liked them very much. Plus, high school was 10+ years ago. I don’t have any of those clothes anymore. In college, I wore my Coast Guard uniform and at Bel-Rea, I had to wear scrubs. I have lots of “going out” clothes, but I wouldn’t classify most of them as “going to class” clothes. I’ll buy some spiffy outfits, but not sweat it much.
Things are happening. Quickly. The past few days are still a bit of a blur.
My brother’s and my trip to California is already a thing of the past. We had a fantastic time, packing the 38 hours we spent there with a trip to the beach in Malibu, the Hollywood sign, the Griffith Observatory Planetarium, Medieval Nights, unsuccessfully looking for kicks on Route 66 and, of course, touring the school and town of Azusa.
After flying in from LAX, we met up with my littlest sister and mom drove us all up to the mountains in her station wagon. Since we felt like little kids anyway, I insisted on a round of slurpees.
Tomorrow, I have my appointment to do my biometrics for my visa, then, I’ll send my application overnight to NYC and pray the 48-hour turnaround time is accurate, because if it takes them much longer, I’ll be sweating it! Fortunately, everything was confirmed with my financial aid last week, so I should have all of my proverbial ducks in some sort of row…or column….or heck, we all know my ducks zig zag and that’s going to drive everyone in the UK crazy!
After I get my visa set, I really need to do some laundry and clean my room. I need to feel in control of my life again. Once I clean, I’ll be ready to start packing. Once everything is packed and moved to my mom’s house, I’ll paint my nails and patiently wait to fly the friendly skies…..or anxiously look at 1,000 places on gumtree.com and neurotically chew my nails. Filthy habit, I know.
When I think about it all, it’s easy to get myself into a tizzy. It’s easy to stay up past 1 in the morning thinking about everything and wanting to e-mail the financial aid office again just to make sure everything is really, truly, finally, set up. I want to call the VA and make sure they are going to mess things up with my GI Bill like they did last year and that they’ll eventually get it figured out and everything will be ok. I want to call and ask why I got a bill due for about $9,000 in student loans I never took out for Bel Rea in the mail.
But I can’t call. I’m in a tizzy. And it’s the middle of the night. EVERYONE ELSE IS SLEEPING….
So I think about baby lambs.
And I’ve found my peace.
I’ve never seen an up close and personal baby lamb. The closest I ever came was nuzzling a baby goat named Dorothy who sucked on my ear.
I can’t wait for lambing!
I just hope I don’t get orf.