Ear Is What I Do!

Hello! It’s been a while… I have been adventuring and sleeping and eating, but have also been busy with making sure that University work is up to date (who doesn’t love a really fun assignment, eh?). I’m on the final stretch towards graduation and being fully released into the professional world so it’s quite a crazy time! This is a post I’ve been meaning to do for a while. I aim to enlighten you all, my small handful of readers, with regards to the elusive things that occur on a regular working day as an audiologist! I hope that whether friend, family or somebody I’ve never met (but I’m sure is fabulous), that you enjoy getting to know what I/audiologists get up to on a normal day :)

I am very fortunate to be in a department that is located in such a beautiful place, ,and with a very good friend!
I am very fortunate to be in a department that is located in such a beautiful place, and with a very good friend!

First off – what is an audiologist? (don’t worry, I only found out a few months before applying for the degree…).

Here’s what the British Academy of Audiology says: “Audiology is a challenging and expanding field involving the study of hearing and balance. As a healthcare profession, audiology also involves assessment, management and therapeutic rehabilitation of people with hearing and balance problems, and associated disorders. This work involves patients of all ages, from newborn babies and children to working adults and elderly people”.

Things audiologists do: test hearing, test balance, offer counselling, fit hearing aids, offer support with hearing aids, paediatric testing and rehabilitation, tinnitus counselling.

Things audiologists DON’T do: operations to fix stuff, (ENT surgeons), fitting Cochlear Implants (ENT surgeons), removing wax (GPs), speech and language therapy (speech and language therapists).

Things I do: test hearing, offer counselling, fit hearing aids, offer support with hearing aids.

Currently as a student on placement, I help with balance testing and paediatric testing under supervision, but once graduated and working my main focus will be adult hearing rehabilitation. Most clinicians that work with children/balance/tinnitus have undertaken further qualifications and training to do so.

Or in the words that I use when I’m in a rush: “I work with ears!”

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This is what is all at work in order to allow you to hear! Different types of hearing loss are caused by damage to different parts of the ear

Ears are wonderful things. Seriously, how awesome is it that we can hear stuff?…

Each day of work looks slightly different. I’ll go through the different types of things that happen throughout a normal week :)

An audiologist in her natural habitat
An audiologist in her natural habitat

Repair Clinics

Repair clinics run on a drop-in no-appointment basis so can get pretty busy if it’s a cloudy day and patients don’t fancy going to the beach! Patients with hearing aids need to have them serviced approximately every 6 months, so they come to the repair sessions to have this done. This is a nice quick job generally speaking. Other patients come to the clinic if their hearing aid is broken, whistling, or if they’re in a bit of a flap. Repair appointments are an opportunity to test our problem solving skills!

It’s quite illuminating to hear different tales about how a hearing aid has been brutally smashed to smithereens (unfortunately dogs quite like the smell/taste of ear wax…).

Tip: ballpoint pens are not good wax removal tools for your earmould

ENT Clinics

ENT stands for ‘Ear, Nose and Throat’. ENT is a separate department from audiology, and they deal with all the ‘fixing’ stuff like operations on the eardrum and diagnosing conditions like Meniere’s. Before they see some patients, they need a hearing test and a tympanogram done, so in audiology we do these just before they see the ENT doctor. A tympanogram is basically checking the middle ear function (the bit between the eardrum and the cochlea). It involves changing the pressure inside the ear canal and playing a sound, and it only takes a few seconds so it’s economical on the time! The hearing tests are important, because sometimes an operation can be based off of one. It’s important to get reliable results! I quite like doing hearing tests. To the person having it done, it’s just a bunch of beeps, but there can be a significant amount of scientific thought behind the test which can be challenging sometimes.

An example hearing test!! Look at all those cool symbols - yay!
An example hearing test!! Look at all those cool symbols – yay!**

Hearing Aid Assessments

Since one of the main things we do as audiologists is fit hearing aids, we therefore have to assess patients for hearing aids. In these appointments we basically do lots of listening and talking, carry out various tests to assess hearing, and discuss management options. The aim of the appointment is just to decide with the patient how to move forwards. It’s not always a case of diagnosing a hearing loss and then fitting hearing aids! There are patients with a very mild hearing loss who are determined to have hearing aids, and there are patients with much worse hearing who really don’t think it’s for them – and that’s okay. Our job is NOT to give hearing aids to every single person with a hearing loss! One of the most important things to learn is how to tailor each appointment to the individual and their own needs and wants – whilst also making sure that we make good professional recommendations.

Impressions

The hearing aids that are generally fitted across the NHS are ‘behind the ear’ hearing aids. This just means that the actual hearing instrument rests behind the ear. In order to deliver sound into the ear, a tube runs from the aid and into the canal. This tube needs to be held in place in the ear! To do this, either a flexible dome is used, or a custom-made ear mould is used. 

Moulds (left and right) versus a soft dome (middle), attached to different types of hearing aids that we fit
Moulds (left and right) versus a soft dome (middle), attached to different types of hearing aids that we fit

The different types of moulds and domes can obviously look quite different. We carefully decide which fitting would work best for each patient. Smaller doesn’t instantly mean “better”! Whether a patient has a flexible dome or an earmould is based on their hearing loss. Generally, a more severe hearing loss means the patient will need a bigger mould. 

To make these ear moulds, we have to take impressions of the ears. This just involves putting a little piece of sponge into the ear, and then filling up the canal and outer ear with putty. The putty takes a few minutes to set, and then voila, we have the shape of the ear! 

An impression of a right ear!
An impression of a right ear!

The impressions are sent off to a lab, who scan the impression and produce it using a 3D printer – WOOHOOO 😀 

Hearing Aid Fittings

A fitting appointment will consist of programming the hearing aid specifically for the person, and covering the bases on how to use it. Hearing aids are now digital (as opposed to analogue) and have the ability to be uniquely set up for each person. First, the aids are plugged in, and the software uses the patient’s hearing test result to programme them to an initial fitting.

Hearing aids plugged in being programmed - the white things are 'programming shoes'!... Who would've thought that hearing aids have shoes!?
Hearing aids plugged in being programmed – the white things attached to the aids are ‘programming shoes’!… Who would’ve thought that hearing aids have shoes!?

After this, we do something called REMs – Real Ear Measurements. This involves using tiny tubes inside the ear canals, which are basically tiny microphones. We play sounds from a loudspeaker, and with the hearing aid switched on, we can see how close the amplification of the hearing aid is to the desired target (or the ‘prescription’). We adjust the amplification settings for each frequency in order to make the settings in the hearing aid match the target better!

The purpose of having the tube inside the ear canal is so that we can set up the amplification settings taking into account the size and shape of the individual’s ear, since all of our ears are different! For example, a very narrow ear canal will affect sound differently to a very wide ear canal, and therefore the generic initial set up of the hearing aid is often not suitable.

Here, the straight grey line is the "target" for amplification at different frequencies. The blue line was how the hearing aid was programmed to just the hearing test, and the pink line is after adjustments using the tubes in the ears!
Here, the straight grey line is the “target” for amplification at different frequencies. The blue line was how the hearing aid was programmed initially (using the hearing test), and the pink line is after adjustments using the tubes in the ears to take into account the shape of the patient’s ear!
The equipment we use for REMs!! All the patient has to do is sit facing the speaker, with the tiny tubes in their ears
The equipment we use for REMs!! All the patient has to do is sit facing the speaker, with the tiny tubes in their ears

After setting up the aid, we then spend a reasonable amount of time establishing whether the patient finds the sound good and comfortable. It’s all very subjective, and certainly not an instant fix, so it’s normal to spend a while adjusting the settings until the patient likes the sound, or at least finds it tolerable. The beauty of these aids is that we can always plug them in at a later date and adjust many things with just a few clicks!

Follow Ups

Pretty much all patients have a follow up appointment around 6 weeks after having a hearing aid fitted. It’s an opportunity to address any problems that have been experienced, or revel in the wonder of how marvellous everything is! Some patients get on perfectly from day 1 and others take a while or never get on with hearing aids. Getting used to them does require perseverance, mainly due to suddenly hearing lots of background sounds at a louder volume. Often, follow up appointments involve counselling in this area since it is common for a patient to be frustrated at hearing so many ‘pointless’ sounds. On the other hand, some people find this wonderful and enjoy hearing the rustling of their hair on their coat again!

My personal favourite is when an avid walker is pleased to be able to hear their favourite birds again!

On the whole…

And thus concludes an overview of the different types of things we do day by day as an Audiologist! We see lots of people, and there are always patients that make you realise that it is a very worthwhile job. Just a few days ago a lovely man had to fight to hold back his tears, saying “I can’t believe how wonderful this is!”… These responses are the ones that make me glad to have done this degree (and make it easier to get through a day of ‘difficult’ patients).

I hope that this hasn’t been too much of a dull read! I’ve enjoyed putting into words what we do :) The next couple of months involve finalising my portfolio and having my final clinical assessments, but after that I shall be a fully fledged BSc Audiologist, and will be released into the big wide world!

On that note, here is some exciting news!…… I have been offered a full-time audiology job (pending passing the degree), working in the NHS, and it’s near to home!! The whole prospect of being a proper working adult with much more responsibility is slightly scary, but I’m so excited that I have a job for when I graduate, and geographically it couldn’t really be better :) Praise God!

To finish off, here is a very exciting photo. It is the rather wonderful Jersey Cow sculpture that sits on the lawn at the hospital! Even on murky days, I enjoy seeing it because I think it’s hilarious! Occasionally somebody alters it’s attire (after Christmas it was wearing tinsel)…

The cute cow sculpture at the hospital!
The cute cow sculpture at the hospital!

Thank you so much for reading!!

Kira :)

** real patient data not used due to the need to maintain patient confidentiality

One Fifth of a Century

In the past few days my first twenty years on this Earth came to a close! And I thought I would celebrate that feat by starting a blog. I have no idea yet about the specifics of what is going to go in it, but on the final stretch of this semester and heights of December busyness, it feels like a supremely appropriate time to begin writing words in some other place than the Microsoft Word “Dissertation” document. I suppose you can expect journal-like updates about the adventures of life, the odd “Inspirational Rambling” from the depths of whatever’s in my head, and potentially the occasional half-hearted attempt at being humorous.

20 years equates to 7305 days (5 leap years) lived through. It’s odd to sit and think, however briefly, the types of days that have occurred in that time. Beginning with days that I cannot remember, but that I am sure are precious memories to those cuddling my super-cute baby-self (ha). That then transformed into wonderful ones, challenging ones, those which I wish could be lived over and over, those which I’m happy to have seen the back of, invigorating ones, exhausting ones, ones where I go to bed feeling incredible and ones where, well, I do not.

What always exists throughout each of these days, though, are sprinklings of reasons to be thankful. Always.

I’ve been thinking about starting a blog for a while, however now feels like a good time. I’ve been a bit put off because I’m not wanting it to come across like I believe my ramblings are worthy of being read by the world. But I’m just going to occasionally blurt some words onto this blog. If you want to have a nosy, do, if you don’t that’s cool too. I’m not promising anything special, but at the very least I hope to end up with a small document of adventures to look back on!

We’ll see where this goes!

Kira xx

Freebie Birthday cheesecake!

What’s Around The Riverbend?

For the past few days I have felt particularly Disney-inspired. It’s been a while since writing because adventures have been occurring, but after watching Pocahontas I feel ready to splurge some words onto here and see where it ends up by the time I’ve finished writing! I think it’s safe to say that it will contain a rather sizeable amount of photos… Let’s begin by reviewing some of the epic lyrics from “Just around the riverbend”, just because we can!

What I love most about rivers is
You can’t step in the same river twice
The water’s always changing, always flowing
But people, I guess, can’t live like that
We all must pay a price
To be safe, we lose our chance of ever knowing
What’s around the riverbend
Waiting just around the riverbend

Fabulous. Whilst you’re at it, if you haven’t seen the film go watch it because it has a brill storyline of love conquering hate which I’m not going to be talking about right now. What I shall talk about is adventures and oceans.

I have been exceptionally pleased these last few weeks to have been able to visit home two weekends in a row, and to also have Josh come and visit me in Jersey too for a few days! One of the weekends home was not initially intended but I needed to be home for something important and therefore I was able to be home for a very sunny February 14th.

After church Josh and I ventured to Lulworth, somewhere I’ve been wanting to visit for quite a while as I’m keen to go to more pretty places near to home! We were soooo glad that it was such a sunny day, I’m usually pretty good at enjoying the scenery regardless of the whether but seeing all the colours of the coastline under the sunshine was very feel-good. It was particularly a bonus to have time to watch the sun setting at Durdle Door – I love it!

The beautiful place of Lulworth!
The beautiful place of Lulworth!
Such a warm day for February
Such a warm day for February
It was so beautiful to stand here and smile
It was so beautiful to stand here and smile

When I am places like this, I get frustrated at the amount of weekends that I spend, well, not at places like this!

Saying goodbye and getting the ferry back to Jersey the next morning wasn’t too much of a hardship, because just a few hours after the arrival time of my ferry, Josh was due to land in Jersey on a flybe propeller plane too (yay)! I just needed to wait at work for the afternoon and then anticipate his arrival at the bus station. The ferry across was a lot more successful than a previous attempt last summer – the sea was calm and the sun was shining, beautiful views were to be seen and there was no eruption of food from the depths of my stomach, hallelujah!

The next day I had the day off work for adventures with Josh, and what a day it was! Upon awakening the sun was blazing through the window, and I couldn’t wait for Josh to arrive at my accommodation so we could plan the day’s excursion! We devised a coastal route, and off we popped on the bus to get to our starting point.

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Portelet Bay as the starting point for our epic adventure

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We began at a place called Portelet, and instantly phrases such as “oh isn’t it wonderful?” and “it’s so blue!!!” were escaping my mouth. These phrases were repeated with great frequency throughout the day’s adventures. It was so good to be able to enjoy the views and not worry about being cold – it was so warm! And as much as I am enjoying seeing patients on placement, there were many times throughout the day where I was so thankful to be outdoors instead.

And so the adventure continued… I definitely hadn’t realised how awesome the coastal paths in Jersey are!

Arriving at St Brelades Bay
Arriving at St Brelades Bay

We were delighted to be able to follow a sweet little mouse down some winding tracks for a few minutes. Delighted may seem like quite a strong word, but truly Josh and I become very easily excited where sweet little animals are concerned. I believe we named this mouse, however I have unfortunately forgotten what his name was. Eventually he hid in a bush, which was a cue for us to continue our walk round the next bay.

A local resident
A local resident
The most beautiful graveyard I ever did see
The most beautiful graveyard I ever did see

One of Josh’s biggest challenges during this adventure was prising me away from staring at the same view for too long. Anyone who has been anywhere even vaguely pretty with me will have experienced how attached I can get to my camera. I am often torn between staying in the same gorgeous place for as long as possible and running around in a flap trying to see as much beautifulness as possible. Josh did a fabulous job of slowing me down when I was getting too tank-like, and pulling me forwards when I was overly transfixed on a single view. We were aiming to get to a particular place by sunset, so one of us needed to keep the feet moving!

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“Kira, trust me, come up here, it’s awesome and you’ll love it!”

“What’s around the riverbend? To be safe we lose our chance of ever knowing what’s around the riverbend”… Sometimes where we are is good. The view is good. We have good friends and a stable job, we’ve received blessings and enough strength to get through anything tough. It’s so lovely and comfortable that the thought of moving just doesn’t make sense. Throughout this whole walk, I never regretted moving forwards because the next view was incredible too. Each time there was a gorgeous view (all the time) I didn’t want to move, but each time I moved I was thankful that I had. Sometimes we should just “be”, take in the moment and remain where we are. But there comes a time to venture on, move forwards from the known and comfortable and step into something new. It may require climbing steps or travelling on a blind bend. But there will be something at the next point that will be important or wonderful.

The photo below is the view I saw after giving up my stubbornness and following Josh up the steps. He was right, I did indeed love it.

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Overlooking Ouaisne Bay
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“We’re going on an adventure!!”

There were some views that really could not be captured properly by camera or words. The ocean was just so beautiful in the sunshine, and the vast expanse of it was breathtaking.

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My favourite person to adventure with
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We didn’t mind climbing because it usually lead somewhere gorgeous
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Jersey rocks

Just as the sun was beginning to come down into sunset-phase, we were nearing our destination! I was very excited to arrive there as it was one of my favourite places to be last summer, and I really wanted Josh to see it this time. It is somewhere I have visited quite a few times whilst in Jersey, however each time it looks slightly different and I enjoy it in a slightly different way.

“What I love most about rivers is, you can’t step in the same river twice, the water’s always changing always flowing”

I love how you can never go to same place and for it to be exactly the same as it was the previous time you went! The weather will be slightly different, the season might have changed the plants in the area, the rocks may have worn down slightly. And you yourself will be different, you will have had new experiences, maybe met new people, grown physically or feel different emotionally. I just love it.

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Spot the Seagull

Around this time, it was necessary for Josh to empty his bladder. It just so happened that this made way for perhaps my favourite quote of the day. Once Josh returned from this much-needed relief, he declared “I don’t think I have ever done a wee with such a beautiful view”. Wonderful.

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Corbiere Lighthouse, the classic Jersey postcard photo

Our destination was Corbiere Lighthouse. The only way I would have loved being there more would have been if the bus picking us up was scheduled for 15 minutes later, to allow for watching sun dip behind the horizon. We had a gorgeous adventure round some of Jersey’s coast and I am very thankful.

And the adventures continue! It is tradition that when somebody new joins St Paul’s homegroup from off-island, that we go on a group island tour as a welcoming day out. It always makes for a very nice Saturday, and once again we were blessed with sun despite the rainy forecast! Our first stop was Plemont Bay for a spot of breakfast.

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Taking in those March sunrays
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The sun was on our faces but the cold wind was extraordinary

Plemont is always a beautiful place to go, I’ve been at low-tide in the blazing sun, high-tide in rain and wind, and a selection of other weather types, and I always find it amazing. I love going there with people who haven’t been before, because the appreciation on their face is fab!

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Our next stop was the Jersey Hospice charity shop, which has somehow worked it’s way onto the tour destination list. I have no photographic evidence, however if you’d like to trust me when I say that it is the best charity shop I have ever been in. Maybe we take new people there because it’s a classic Jersey location, or maybe it has something to do with the need for everybody to pick up some clothing bargains to replenish their one-suitcase-wardrobe. After a charity shop excursion, we headed to Grosnez castle which is a very open cliff-top, and therefore an exceptionally windy cliff-top! We lingered in the chilliness long enough to snap some poses on the surrounding architecture. It’s quite an awesome place because the sea seems endless, and you can also see Geurnsey, Sark and France from there too.

Grosnez Castle!
Grosnez Castle!
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A vast ocean expanse
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Grosnez

We then headed down a very long stretch of beach (4-5miles) and watched some brave surfers attempt to ride the crashing waves (whilst we were warm inside with beverages various). This lead us to Corbiere Lighthouse (again). I don’t think I could get bored of this place!

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Corbiere Lighthouse

The day out with St Paul’s homegroup was much welcomed. I love those guys, and the views weren’t bad either!!

As a general life update (briefly, this is a pretty long post!), I am doing well. I’m in more of a routine now with life essentials. I’m feeling steadier and less all over the place now, too, and I feel balanced between enjoying Island life and looking forward to visiting home again (soon!). I have lots of University work to do, which if I think about too long and hard could be quite overwhelming, but over all placement is going okay and I’m gradually getting on top of work that needs to be done.

If you’ve got to the end of this, I do commend you! I do thank people for their encouragement whilst I’ve been away from home, lots of love!!

Kira :)

Sheep Is The Plural Of Sheep

Howdy! I believe I left off the last post whining a little regarding the state of my tiredness. I thought it would be good to report that the week was survived, and though it certainly was difficult to make it through Monday after such an early flight to work, I made it to the end of the week in a surprisingly energetic manner. I’m finding it easier to sleep now as dissertation-brain is closing down finally, and I feel a lot more settled – helped by the fact that I have now met all my house mates. Everybody works different shifts and jobs so we don’t bump into each other much, but they’re all nice people and it will be nice to get to know them. I probably also feel a little more homely because my bedroom has reached an appropriate level of unkempt. I’m not sure where this post is going, but here goes!

We have two hospitals that we work at throughout the week, though it’s the same department. One of them has my preference due to the quicker walk to it which occurs across flat road. The other brings into question my fitness levels due to the task of scaling rather a lot of haphazard stone steps. This requires leaving the house much earlier in order to climb them, and to de-sweat once the destination has been reached (gross but unfortunately true). On average the work-walks accumulate to 20km walking per week, which my body is definitely thanking me for after weeks on end of being crouched at a desk. One of the perks of walking to the further hospital is that you get rewarded for your climbing efforts by some delightful views over St Aubin’s bay.

The view from the top of the steps on the way to work looking over St Aubin's bay and Elizabeth Castle
The view from the top of the steps on the way to work looking over St Aubin’s bay and Elizabeth Castle

This week I have begun to carry out adult-y tasks that I have never experienced before, such as buying my first ever lot of washing powder, attempting to fix a kettle and making my first ever soup. Now Tasmin made a fantastic batch of sweet potato and butternut squash recently, which was a wonderful vibrant orange hue. I decided to follow suit since I had the ingredients but was mildly dismayed to see that my version was in fact a sludgy brown. Matters were made worse when the realisation that there was no form of food processor in the kitchen cupboards kicked in. A potato masher had to do, and the addition of other vegetables allowed me to feel more pleased with the outcome as those lumps were acceptable. Despite my initial disappointments in the brown sludge, I must say that it tasted rather splendid. The sausage casserole posed much less challenge and anguish… And hey presto, meals for lazy days made.

Being adult-y!
Being adult-y!

Saturday was quite an exciting day! It began with Parkrun, which if you don’t know is an organised event run by volunteers – there are many across the country, it’s worth checking out! The walking to work definitely helped with the improvement of fitness because I was able to finish the 5km in 30:25. I haven’t run 5km for 2 years at least so was primarily just glad to be able to finish! It started out quite well for me, but then due to a small misunderstanding I believed that I was approaching the finish line, when in fact there was still approximately 2km to run. The psychological pain of realising this was almost crippling, but here I am telling the tale and I plan on attending next week so it can’t have been too bad.

Jersey Parkrun!
Jersey Parkrun!

After running it was time for adventures with a beautiful friend, Esther! We ventured (whilst getting a tad lost) to St Catherine’s woods, which was a most welcome sight of brown mud and green leaves! Coastal areas are lovely, but I definitely have a soft spot for forest and it was good to get my fill of streams, bridges and foliage. Esther is heading off to Australia in a few days with YWAM (youth with a mission) so it was good to have a catch up before then. St Catherine’s woods is the place where the renowned fugitive otter was spotted by some of the St Paul’s crew recently! There isn’t much woodland in Jersey but I’m glad that this little place exists.

Fabulous Esther

Green and mud is homely!
Green and mud is homely!
I was potentially too excited about seeing sheep, but they were very photogenic and sheep go against the flow of the Jersey cow
I was potentially too excited about seeing sheep, but they were very photogenic and sheep go against the flow of the Jersey cow
Lovely daffodils out in winter
Lovely daffodils out in winter

We then went to meet Tasmin, Baz and Sarah because for some reason it was decided that going for a swim in the ocean would be a good idea. I must admit that I am reasonably disappointed in my lack of courage in the face of very cold, choppy water, but I must announce that I did not conquer this particular obstacle. This however did mean that I was able to snap some evidence of those who were courageous/reckless/crazy* enough to do so. It was humorous to watch.  I was pleased to be fully clothed. Thank you guys for a fun day of hilarity and adventure!

*delete as applicable

The faces of denial at the event that is about to unfold
The faces of denial at the event that was about to unfold
The walk to impeding unexplainable chilliness
The walk to impeding incomprehensible chilliness
The transition to unsuitable attire for January
The transition to unsuitable attire for January
So Esther fell of the step into the water. Baz is very sympathetic
So Esther fell of the step into the water. Baz is very sympathetic
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All three achieved full over-head immersion. Congratulations on survival!

Sunday I had a lovely surprise because the Heslops were over in Jersey visiting family for the weekend! This meant we were able to have a chilled Sunday afternoon stroll together which was much appreciated :) It was very good to see mainland friends, particularly as it was so spontaneous – so good to see you guys!

Pete and Rachel, yay!!
Pete and Rachel, yay!!

I have a humorous thing to share. It’s not a particularly long tale, and perhaps isn’t really a tale at all, but in recent times I opened the door to the kitchen and entered the room in my usual manner (which is simply entering the room, nothing special, I don’t have a kitchen-entering walk or anything). Lo and behold, there was a burst of sunny colour from across the room, and in a split second I was glad to find that daffodils had been placed atop the kitchen surface. I walked past these flowers for a couple of days and was pleased that I was sharing a house with people who appreciated the local flora. It was only today however, that on closer inspection I realised that they were placed in a curry sauce jar of sorts. This seems a decidedly trivial experience to share, however it made me grin because I’m finally living a student experience, where nice vases are in short supply and a little ingenuity is required in order to carry out a task that would be very straightforward at home.

A sophisticated way to present your bouquet of daffodils. Label may vary depending on curry sauce purchase preference
A sophisticated way to present your bouquet of daffodils. Label may vary depending on curry sauce purchase preference

If you’ve made it to the end of this ramble, thank you! I’m not entirely sure if there’s anyone who would find reading about soup endeavours particularly thrilling but I’m glad you’ve survived. Thank you to the people who continually support me whether financially/verbally/prayerfully, I am very grateful. Right now I’m trying to figure out what to do with my spare time whilst I’m here. I need time to relax and unwind but would like to be doing some worthwhile things too throughout the time. I’m having a good time here but already excitedly counting down to my next flight home in a couple of weeks :) In proper Kira style I shall finish with a sunset photo from out of my bedroom window after saying goodbye to Pete and Rachel! Thank you for reading!

Bedroom window sunset
Bedroom window sunset

Kira :)

An Experience of Sun

Sooner than I expected – hello!

It has been quite a busy week moving over to Jersey again and beginning the final stretch of Audiology placement so I thought I’d sprawl some information and thoughts regarding the past week onto here.

Getting the plane over to Jersey felt very strange. The run up to leaving didn’t feel particularly real, and in some odd “not-sure-what-emotion” state, Tasmin and I boarded the plane. The plane experience itself is a curious one, with barely enough time for the refreshment trolley to come through before the descent begins. It’s odd that in less time than it takes me to drive to university each day, it’s possible to be transported 100 miles across the ocean and step out of a plane to see a palm tree and a lot of cows.

Anyhow, arrive in Jersey I did, and promptly travelled to the hospital to sort out my accommodation. Supposedly on the island, “west is best”. After living west over the summer and being able to declare that phrase with confidence, it was with great trepidation this time round that I ventured to the east to set up my 5 month’s residence. I arrived at my accommodation which is pictured below, and felt distinctly non-homey when I stepped into my room. This improved after a chat with a good friend and I was then able to face my adultness and pursue the task of food shopping and cooking. There is a ‘Co-operative Locale’ just a 3 minute walk from my house which is handy! After this and unpacking, I felt a little more settled and then bumped into two of my house-mates. The house is shared with five of us at the moment, though this number can change as people come and go. The house itself is nicely put together and well kitted-out, and everyone keeps it very clean and tidy which is good!

This is the house I'm living in!
This is the house I’m living in!

As far as my room goes, I’m not sure I’ve ever seen such a thin window (which is great when the hail stones fall on it), however the ocean is only 270 yards away and being on the top floor of the house, I can see the beach out of it! :) The next day, it was difficult to pull myself out of bed to go to work, but helped hugely by the fact that the sun rose spectacularly. Anyone who knows me slightly will know that this sort of thing gets me very excited, so the thrill of being able to snap a photo or two out of my window gave me enough enthusiasm to leave the house.

The sunrise captured on Wednesday morning before work. No editing at all - awesome!!
The sunrise captured on Wednesday morning before work. No editing at all – awesome!!

Placement has been quite tiring, mainly due to the odd sleeping and working pattern that I’ve been in whilst dissertation-writing. It will probably take a few weeks for me to adjust properly to have good stamina for a 9-5 working day. However the hospital walls actually felt quite homely, and it was good to see our work colleagues again. It’s amazing how many things have seemed to fall out of my brain since the last placement, but I’m sure it will all come back quite quickly. There’s lots to achieve but in time it will all be accomplished!

After work in the evening it was time to go to St.Paul’s home group*! It was lovely to see their faces again and certainly made me feel a bit better about being in Jersey – they are wonderful people! On the Friday night there was also a quiz and curry evening for the purpose of raising funds to support the missional activities of the fabulous Loz and Esther, and this was so good! My favourite rounds were “Baywatch”, naming Jersey bays by photographs and “Durrell Wildlife Park”, naming animals that are kept there. It was a cute evening :)

Continuing the theme of sunshine, the next morning I decided that I was long overdue my first visit to a Jersey beach. Therefore I woke up in time for the sunrise and commenced the 1.5 minute walk to the beach (how fabulous)!! It was my absolute favourite weather – really chilly, no wind, blue sky, mmmm. I did not regret waking up early instead of having a lay-in in the slightest, it was so good to be able to sit and listen to the ocean and watch the sun wake up. And I’m just pretty pleased right now that it’s so close to my house!

The gorgeous sunrise at the beach near my house - I like the little birdies
The gorgeous sunrise at the beach near my house – I like the little birdies
Up until this point, the splashes were all tiny. I was shocked by this and got rather salty
Up until this point, the splashes were all tiny. I was shocked by this and got rather salty

After this it was time for an exciting event – getting the plane back to Southampton! “Home so soon!?!” I hear you ask… it was imperative to come home this weekend because there is a very important baptism that I must attend this afternoon, YAY!! <3 It felt so good to fly home again so quickly after leaving. I’m looking forward to being at my home church again this morning, and heading over to Bransgore in the afternoon.

After a little while at home, I realised that it would be time for the sun to set soon, and nipped over to Hatchet Pond to watch it. I found a great satisfaction knowing that I’d watched it rise in Jersey but set in England on the same day. I enjoy the sun so much. I feel like I should try and be inspirational here, but instead let’s just look at a pretty picture!

Sunset at Hatchet Pond mmmmm
Sunset at Hatchet Pond mmmmm

I’m looking forward to a busy day today seeing lots of people :) if you’re one of those people I’m seeing then I am very glad! This is pretty long, I got a bit carried away, but I hope it’s at least marginally better than “dull”. Overall, I am pretty exhausted and being away is particularly hard this time round. It’s been very busy and I’m aware that the coming week will be tough too as the week begins with a 5:30am departure from home on Monday morning to fly back to placement. So I’m sleepy and feeling a quite uprooted at the moment, but I’m pleased with how things are in Jersey despite this and look forward to the things that will happen whilst I’m there.

I’ll hopefully not wait too long to write another update!

Kira :)

* St.Paul’s is one of the two churches that I was involved in during last summer. With this group occurred most of my beach adventures and they are just a beautiful bunch!

Crossing The Ocean

If you’re reading this, hello!

I started up this blog a few weeks ago but it’s been so crazy that I haven’t had a chance to write anything since. If you’d like to read my first blog post, go ahead. This should just be a few quick updates and setting the scene for posts over the next few months.

So, what’s occurring?

Having just finished semester one of my final year of university, it is now time for the final leg of the course which is a five month clinical placement in a hospital. Semester one included the horror that is dissertation, with a spattering of essays throughout which certainly thrilled me. Let me just interject here to say that I am so crazy thankful that the dissertation was able to be handed in, and in a much better state than I thought was possible. I’m not sure at all what mark to expect but at the very least I’ve come out the other side of it with just about enough energy to not be a crumbled mess – yay! For those interested (and why wouldn’t you be), the title of my dissertation was: “Localisation of Small Arms Gunfire: The Effect of a Preceding Gunshot on the Localisation of a Target Gunshot” – How fabulous!!

So, this clinical placement… I am heading off to Jersey today for a five month stretch to work at the hospital again. This has been quite a change in the plan, and it’s a reality that still doesn’t quite feel real even though I’m imminently being driven to the airport. I’m not too sure how I’ll feel once I’m there, I know that this time is going to be a challenge for me but I trust that overall the time will be good and important.

Currently I plan to try and write a post once every two weeks just with the aim of keeping people up to date with Jersey occurrences. I’m aiming for these to replace superficial Facebook posts and generally I’m going to try and write them just as if I was chatting about the experiences with a friend :)

It’s been a pretty difficult few months for me and I know for lots of others around me too, but I have seen the grace of God poured into my life and for that I can’t say thank you enough. I am assured that no matter my current feelings about leaving home, God goes before me and my path will be directed.

… and if I’m crossing the ocean with Jesus and a wetsuit, I think that covers me for all eventualities in Jersey.

Kira :)11140049_10204864476877224_1830890308241293071_n