Settling Into Life In Cambridge

Settling into life in Cambridge is rarely hard. I always look forward to being able to walk everywhere and the great attraction of the next seven months is that I only have one task, which is to complete my PhD. I am determined not to bring my PhD back to Australia, again! I gave myself a couple of days to settle back into the community of Tyndale House before I focused solely on writing. Events seldom work out though as we imagine and I found myself needing to sort out medical complications, which meant making earlier contact with my medical team in Cambridge than I had anticipated. I didn’t survive travelling the distance as well as we originally thought. However, irrespective of some extra hurdles and a few more tasks for College needing my time and attention, I started writing. I knew my plan for the next three weeks, which was to pull apart the draft of my thesis, and start rewriting chapter by chapter. I had three weeks until I went back to Bakewell in Derbyshire to visit my parents, so I started on the chapter that I thought was worth tackling first. My goal was to complete the chapter rewrite before my three week rest, which I thought was eminently doable. I soon reacquainted myself with my favourite cafe in central Cambridge and the rhythm of my days walking and writing soon meant that the first week was passing me by.

However, while I stubbornly started the rewriting process, I hadn’t forgotten my second task, which is to continue my rehab. I met the physio who was going to oversee my rehab work for the next seven months. He was encouraging that I was doing all the right things already, keeping up my exercises and walking. The only thing I was missing was cardio work, which was easy to address. I started swimming three times a week in the evening, once work was complete for the day. While I was glad to start more vigorous exercise again, what I wasn’t expecting was an increase in pain in my lumbar spine. I could push through the pain while swimming, but the discomfort remained for a few days after. I didn’t think much of it at the time, except that the pain every length of the pool caused was a reminder that my back was still weak. Nevertheless, there was still progress. By the end of the second week, I had rewritten over 18,000 words, I felt like I was doing well physically, and I was enjoying catching up with old and new friends in the Tyndale community. Really, settling into life in Cambridge is rarely hard.

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