Detours and unfolding paths

One year and a few days ago I made my BIG ANNOUNCEMENT. After a year of here and there progress, things are on warp speed ahead. Maybe.

In June I was officially accepted to the bridging program in Vancouver, at that time in its second year as a pilot program for several of Canada’s provinces. Last month I learned that the course slated to begin in January would not be offered, and announcements for the next offering would be made after negotiations with their funders are complete.

FAN-tastic. I’ve closed my private practice and have been working at Planned Parenthood doing family planning exams (which I’ve LOVED) while waiting. I’m fortunate to work in a profession where I have these options.

In a fit of frustration, I sent an email to the parallel program in Toronto, the only other bridging program in the country for international midwives. Their program began in September and won’t run again until next September. I asked if they would be able to accept me into this year’s program, I’m willing to work fast and hard to catch up, beg, plead, etc. After I sent it I felt a little self conscious at how desperate I thought I sounded.

To my absolute shock, they’re willing to work with me, providing I can meet a list of difficult-but-not-impossible demands. A few of this year’s accepted candidates were unable to come at the last minute and they have some openings.

Among these requirements, and the main part of this story, is to do a written and oral prequalifying exam. I talked to the program administrator last Wednesday, did the written exam on Thursday, and did the oral exam on Friday. By the end of Friday I had an acceptance letter and eight modules to complete by November 23rd in my email box.

Dizzy yet? I sure am.

I was told I needed an invigilator for the written exam. It’s not every day I need to look up a word. In fact, that happens about once a year or so. But I had to look this one up, if anything because it sounds naughty. Turns out an invigilator is an exam proctor, someone making sure I’m not cheating. This person also needed to be able to accept the exam and shred it once I was done and it was faxed back.

On Tuesday I turned over in my head who I could ask. They said the invigilator could be a librarian or university professor. (Yes, I am now gratuitiously using the word “invigilator” because it makes me giggle). I decided upon and sent an email to a fellow nurse midwife who I know to be an instructor at UIC and who’s a fellow supplemental clinician at Planned Parenthood. We’ve never actually worked together, but our paths have crossed and we’ve chatted enough for her to come into my head as a possibility. I emailed her, and not only is she happy to help, she’s also from Toronto.

On Wednesday I talked to the program administrator, who set up my oral exam for Friday, and I sent another email to Liz, my Toronto born exam proctor. Thursday morning I called her and asked, “Um, so, that exam I need to do? Can we do it, like, today?”

“Oh! Well, I’m leaving from the school now and going to get my hair cut, then I have a few errands to run, but one can wait until tomorrow,” she said. We stumbled around a bit before deciding I would come to her house later that afternoon.

As I drove out to the suburbs I marveled that she was willing to rearrange her day for me. But wait, it gets better.

I got to her house and we caught up for a bit while waiting to get into contact with the administrative assistant, who would be emailing the test to her. She’d finished her doctorate recently, and I was suitably impressed. I told her of my adventures in the past year or so.

Once she’d printed out the test, she:
Got me some water,
Asked if I wanted some Mozart, and
Lit a candle for me, saying that this very table was where she’d finished her doctorate.

Somewhere in there, she mentioned that her daughter was coming home, and maybe she could give me a shoulder rub afterwards.

About here is when I started pinching myself.

Onward to the test. It was harder than I thought it would be, but I was finished within the prescribed hour. At least, I think I did. When I asked her if I had time to look over my answers again, she said, “Sure!”

Not long after that her daughter came home, and yes, I got a shoulder rub. I asked her if she was a massage therapist and she said, “No, my mom and I were in a car accident a long time ago, and we did this for each other.” More warm fuzzies.

A little bit later, Liz and her daughter had a moment while talking about Toronto and me moving there. They used various intonations of, “Oh!”

Liz to her daughter, covering her mouth and pointing at her, “Oh!” (“What about?…”)

Daughter to Liz: “Oh!” (“Oh my God, yes, how could we have forgotten?!”)

Me: “Oh?” (“Um, what exactly are you guys ohing about?”)

Me again: “Y’know, I think there’s an SNL skit that goes like this, except it’s the word ‘dude’.”

The explanation was that a dear friend of theirs still lives in Toronto, and all I have to do is say I’m friends with Liz and I’m likely to be welcomed into her weekly potluck.

During this time, the sky was turning black, in that way that’s really cool when you’re indoors and warm and dry. After some time it started hailing, and the three of us went outside and giggled as the hail was bouncing off the ground. Then, literally before our eyes, this happens:


It’s a little hard to see, but that’s a double rainbow. The second one is to the right of the more obvious one.

Here’s where I started crying.

I left not too long after that. I think Liz was tired of hearing “thank you”.

This entire day was a marvel. Other than the fact that she’s a nice person, Liz had no real reason to bend over backwards for me the way she did. Maybe it’s good karma coming back to me. I dunno. I DO know that I’ll pay it forward someday.

This story is one of a few in the past few weeks when I’ve felt a friendly cosmic shove in the direction of Toronto. Each step I’ve taken has materialized before me as I’ve taken that step. This, truly, has been the story of my life, but for some reason I’m feeling more fear this time, despite all the neon signs saying “GO!” Maybe it’s that I have no freakin’ idea where the money is going to come from to do this. Maybe it’s because this time, I’m moving into uncertainty, whereas in my other major relocations-from home to Cleveland and from Cleveland to Chicago-were for college and for a job I already had. I’m not afraid that I won’t get a job, I’m just afraid of the number of unknowns in my near future.

A less tangible reason, but a reasonable one, is that last year I made a conscious choice to be less magical in my thinking. A few years ago I would have charged forward with the confidence and certainty that this is where God wants me to go. I have lots of examples in my life of feeling divinely protected and guided. But I’ve also had some experiences of charging forward with that same certainty, and retrospectively, realizing that my intuitive and emotional side really needed to be balanced with some rational and pragmatic thinking before making the leap.

For right now, the most rational thing to do is to keep taking the next step. I have these modules to tackle, and if things keep clicking into place, I may be in Toronto at this time next week, doing prerequisites before my clinical placement. Which will likely start in February, somewhere in Ontario.

As my rational side does what it needs to do, I want to comfort my emotional side and generate more anticipation, to allow myself to be excited instead of cautioning myself to not get my hopes up. Encouraging gratitude and reflecting on the other examples in my life of things just falling into place will help a lot with this.

Thanks for reading-you’ve helped more than you know.

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This entry was posted in Career moves, Deep thoughts, How did I get here?, Warm and fuzzy stories and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Detours and unfolding paths

  1. Pingback: The perfect bookend | Urban Midwife

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