In 1991 I went to live and work in Florida. I was working as a nurse at that time.

My hopes were to enjoy some sunshine; and to see some of America, a country I had long been fascinated with.

At the outset I thought I might stay for a year or so but in the end I was there for three years — 1991-1994.

My experience of the USA was that it was a hard country: it was plain that life was pretty harsh for many of the patients I took care of in the not-for-profit Sarasota Memorial Hospital. On the other hand, if you were fortunate you could live very well.

Nursing was perhaps the most meaningful work I have done in my 58 years. Certainly, I got more satisfaction and fulfilment out of it than any other job I’ve done.

The downside of course is that nursing can be stressful: if you make a mistake, people can get hurt and that responsibility weighs heavily after a while.

Looking back on that period in my life, I think I stayed in Florida longer than I should have. I did little more than work, eat and sleep for much of the time — since I was doing shift-work, my social life was rather curtailed. In the end, this was probably what decided me on going back to Scotland.

The intervening years have been somewhat mixed. I’ve been working in IT since I came back here. It’s not a job that I love and computers are something of a mixed blessing in my view.

My last day as a nurse / 9 Waldemere Tower, September 1994.

I have only been back to the USA once since 1994 . I maintain an interest in American culture and current affairs but my three years there cured me of  the somewhat romantic notion I had of it.