Dear Mother, London is beautiful but bunions are not…

Dear Mother,

I’m sorry it has been so long since my last letter.

Since starting my fourth rotation here in London I’ve been faced with many new experiences that I did not think that I’d be confronting.

My very first English Christmas was an alien experience but an enjoyable one. I have now firmly accepted my new found identity as a ‘hipster’, having discovered my favourite place to sit and drink tea in Camden. Lastly, I saw my first ever bunion today and it looked worryingly familiar.

I missed you and the rest of the family more than anything else this Christmas. In India; the lights, the religious fervour, the intangible feeling of festivity itself is borne on the air. At nights, when I still struggle to sleep in the relative quiet of my flat in Clapham, I entertained myself imagining the rest of the family walking through the markets in Mumbai. I pictured you sending off Ranjeet and Papa to claim the spices and fruits whilst you and I sneaked off to sip on cool Mango Lassis. I wondered if this year you’ll be sharing that lassi with anyone else, or if you’ll be sitting alone in the market.

To sate my home sickness, I visited the closest thing that London has to offer in comparison. When I asked my flat mates about the local Christmas Markets, I think they misunderstood me. The only place I needed to go to lift my Christmas spirit, they told me, was Hyde Park. Although it was a far cry from the Mumbai Markets, Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland certainly delivered a festive shot of entertainment that put a smile on my face that did not disappear until well past the New Year.

With the joys of Christmas and the New Year behind me, the start of this year has been dedicated to living at a slower pace of life and taking time for myself. Last year, the course stepped up a notch in difficulty and I found myself under increasing pressure to meet deadlines. My personal tutor recommended that I attempt to take more time to myself. He told me that there was a significant correlation between the amount of miles between International Students’ homes and the amount of hours that they pile into their work at home. So this year I’m going to be dedicating a couple hours each week to simply putting my feet up in a cosy Tea Parlour in Camden and reading a good book.

With all this going, you’ll be surprised to hear that I’ve also been getting a lot of work done in the mean time. I saw my first bunion last week – and it struck me as oddly familiar. The patient’s foot was uncomfortably squashed into stiff black shoes and it’s clear that they were in a great deal of discomfort because of this. Do you also suffer from this particular problem? I’m not sure what the treatment options are back in Mumbai, but over here there’s a dedicated private bunion surgery that patients can apply for – maybe this is something you could consider looking into?

Thank you for the presents, a taste from home is always appreciated.

Your Daughter,