Monthly Archives: April 2014

Hospital living

My classmate from Finland made a video from the Ortho clinic at hospital. If you want to see more about our surroundings go here to see it.

He has been taking a bit more photos recently, so if you are interested, you can go to see them from his blog.

Dormitory living

In Finland I have my own flat. About 25 square meter of my own space with my own kitchen, own toilet and own laundry machine. Back in Finland I wondered a bit about how am I going to survive living in a dorm. I thought that I don’t like to live with other people, that I like to be alone more. I also thought that I would need my own space and I wouldn’t be able to be considered enough for other people.

First thing that surprised me was how dirty one room can be. When more people live together it is easier to let things go uncleaned I guess. I don’t clean every week in Finland, but I certainly clean more than I have done in here. I have to admit that sometimes I go and sweep the hallway because all of that dust irritates me. Funny thing is that I sweep the hallway more often than I sweep my room..

I am really surprised about how well I have adapted to this dormitory living. Here I live in a room made for 4 people. We only have two here, me and my roommate, so there is enough room for my ego too. There is shared toilets and showers in every floor as there is a shared laundry room. Washing one machinefull of laundry costs 10 NTW so practically it is next to nothing. This dormitory has a kitchen in the first floor and couple of refridgerators in hallway. The Kitchen is a chaos and fridges always so full that there is no room for anything there. You are lucky if you can close the door after you have mistakingly opened it to see what is inside.

eteinen

The hallway with fridges.

keittiö

The kitchen – I never use this

pyykkitupa

Our lovely laundry room.

Something really essential here is earplugs. Most of the people here don’t go to bed in reasonable time (in my opinion). So there will be noice and light from the hallway even after the midnight. At first I also used something to cover my eyes, but now I don’t need that anymore. When I arrived here and the weather was still cold, a pair of slippers was a choice for winners. Other slippers for shower are also quite essential if you still want to recognize all of your toes after spending some time in here.

suihkut

Some of the showers

vessat

Long row of toilets. There is both kinds of them.

Even though living here is so different from my life in Finland, I still haven’t had that much troubles about adjusting to this environment. The thing I miss most is cooking and being able to store food in my apartment. As I am a lazy Finn, I would love the opportunity to just be in my room and get some food from fridge if I get hungry. Always getting out to get food is starting to be a bit annoying.

All in all, I need surprisingly few things for my daily living. In Finland I have a huge amount of stuff in my apartment. Here, I have realized that I wouldn’t need most of them to live well. Maybe I need to do some cleaning after I get back..

katto

My favourite place in this building <3

Learning to be better

At first it was so easy to write because everything was different. Now I don’t notice anymore if something is differently than in Finland. Of course some bigger things get my attenttion, but not every small detail like before. It is confusing to notice how I get used to all these things so fast.. Must be confusing to get back to Finland.

One big difference that has got my attenttion recently is how people communicate. I think I have got more praise about my schoolwork than ever in Jyväskylä. That is less than two months compared to almost two years. This is something people should pay attenttion to! I’m serious now. It is not that much asked to say something nice or tell others when they have done good job. It is not stupid or embarrassing to call someone smart, kind or patient. That should be obvious don’t you think?

No wonder it is not easy to trust my own skills when I seldom hear if I am doing a good job or not. Here people say all the time that I should trust my hands, trust my observation skills. I feel that maybe I’m slowly starting to trust myself.. Yesterday my hydrotherapy teacher told me that when she had watched me to perform watsu for couple of patients and trying to teach one other student to do some basic watsu steps she had thought that she should remember to be more patient and kind. It meant a world to me to hear those words. I already think that she is both and I don’t recognize those traits in myself. I have been thinking that all the people here are so kind and caring that others should learn from example. Maybe I’m starting to learn something.

study study study, must be funny

Today I will talk about studying! You might think that studying in Finland is hard work. Well, I think it is! Or at least that was my opinion before I came here. There is so much to learn and not enought time. There is also so many hobbies one needs to attend and family and friend needs to be seen occasionally. And all the student partys and holiday trips abroad.. Yeah! Must be difficult for us..

Here I have noticed some things. Funny thing for a Finn.. For example last Monday one of my teachers came to our table (me and three other students) in the beginning of our lesson, sat down and started asking about what have we read on weekend. My mind went through all the funny web articles I have read before I realized that she was talking about research articles and books. I am happy that they couldn’t see my impression inside my head. I was like: “… WHAT?!? O_o” Later I asked about this from my tutor and she told me that students are expected to read more material for their subjeck at weekends. Material that is not included in the most essential readings and that you need to find out yourself. Okay, I understand. Reading is good way to learn and sharing the information is really beneficial. But really..?

Next day the same teacher came to our table and we were expected to tell about one article she had given us to read. First one of us started (we had divided the article to four parts) and then teacher started asking questions about that part. From that we had a good conversation about first part and in the end we had drifted so far from the subject that we didn’t have time for any other parts. Thank god, because I don’t know if I had survived that with honour. This was not the funny part. The funny part was that teacher asked really tough questions and students were expected to be able to answer then. If not they must find out for the next time. Do you think you could remember all things you learned in the class?

These students are really nice and they asked me to write my name for them so they can find me from facebook. Next day I asked why they haven’t added me yet (haha) and the reason was that they hadn’t had time to go to facebook. Come on, really? Who doesn’t have time to go to facebook? But when I have asked about what other students have done in the evenings or at weekend, they usually ansver that they have been up until 3 AM making some school assignments or waking up really early to do more school stuff. So basic answer to “how are you?” is “Really tired..” If this would happen in Finland I think there would be a student uprising or something. No wonder students (and other staff too) take naps on the lunch hour.

My tutors have school on weekend, one Saturday, Sunday or on both. They also have part time jobs couple times a week. In addition to this they help us and go to take us all kinds of different places to experience nice stuff. I have no idea when they eat or sleep. There is no student partys. I have not seen alcohol used once since I have arrived here. If students do not study they have extracurricular activities like taping club. Yes, also school stuff!

I have noticed that even though I am foreing student and teachers are really not that strickt with me, I still have much to do every day. Today is Saturday and I have used most of my day this far to do school report and other assignments because I just don’t have any energy to do those on weekdays after working 9 hours at hospital. I have said this before: I really enjoy being here, but I think I would have heart attack if I would study here for several years.

When things starts to get normal

Today I have been travelling for one month and one week. I started to notice that I don’t get excited about trees or plants anymore (that often) and I don’t even notice the weird architecture or different customs people have here. It feels normal. Like everyday normal. With some things that is good; I don’t need to use much energy trying to understand how things work or what is proper behavior in certain situations. With other things, I don’t like it that much. Now I need to remind myself to see what a beautiful surroundings I have here. I need to make some effort not to live inside of my head everytime I walk to hospital but to really see where I am walking and enjoy it fully.

People are getting familiar too. First I was curious and I was staring at people as much they stared at me. Now I have got used to what people look like here and what is so called normal behavior (like singing everywhere no matter who will hear you). The annoying thing is that I’m not getting familiar to them. People are still staring and whispering when I walk past them. It is completely understandable, I can’t get familiar to all the people in this city so that they don’t consider me as a strange person.  I have started to realize that this is how it feels to be a minority in somewhere. To be the one that looks different, talks different and acts weird (like doesn’t take nap every lunch hour in hospital) when I’m just acting as it is normal to me and just being me. The difficult part is that this is something I can’t change with my behaviour. Even if I behaved exactly like others I would still be that white girl.

I can’t even imagine how it would feel like to always be the one who stands out. In addition to that how it would feel if others would act as I would be somehow less than they are just because what I look. I must affect the way people think about themselfs if all they hear everyday is something nasty about what they are. Even in here, even when people are usually really friendly, nice and only curious with their comments or questions or behaviour towards me, it sometimes feels rude.

I have used to think that we don’t have that much rasism in Finland. That we are quite okay with foreingers. I have started to realize that it is not that simple. It doesn’t necessarily need to be negative behaviour when just treating people differently is sometimes enough. All in all this is really good experience and it really opens eyes. The fact that I know when I’m going to leave here makes it easier.

Overcoming my personal obstacles

This week has been already huge for me when it comes to personal growing. This Monday we had our first lesson of Chinese medicine and of course the topic was acupuncture. Some people might know that I don’t like needles. I hate going to the blood tests and I feel sick if I watch my friends using insuline. But I will tell more about that later, first some first expressions. I had thought that we would go to some back alley clinic. Somewhere small and cosy with strange decoration. Oh no, I was wrong. We went to this huge hospital that had many floors and there was one department for Chinese medicine, just like there is a department for pediatrics for example. In this department people were sitting in (kind of) orderly rows waiting for their turn just like in a normal clinic. This is when I came to realize that Chinese medicine is treated really differently here than it is in Finland. Of course.

tch

Hospital where we have our lessons.

More about the needles then! First thing we witnessed was acupuncture for stiff nose (after flu or something). The terapist just put two needles right besides the patients NOSE. He told us that he only puts them 1-2 deep because the patient is a bit scared. This was the first time I left the room feeling dizzy and a bit sick. We were told that usually the needles will be at place for 20-30 min, 1 hour if patient has time and doesn’t have any bad symptoms from them. It just happens to be that fainting is one of the most common symptoms. Ha..

acunukke

First lesson!

We had about 30 min long lecture about Chinese medicine and acupuncture and then we got to try it. Gah! But before this we went to see another treatment. This time it was renal dysfunction and he got 14 needles. And this was the second time I left the room. But this time it was a bit easier. I think that some part of my ill feeling came from not eating dinner, sleeping really badly and smelling the moxibustion stuff in the clinic. I didn’t want to get any needles to my skin, but I was brave enough to put one through our teachers skin. It wasn’t that bad actually. It is worse to look and to get the treatment. I also think that if I have tried the treatment myself it might not be that bad either, but considering my feeling of the day, maybe it was better this way.

neulamatti

Matti is so brave!

All in all it was really interesting evening! Our teacher categorised me as a heat (like not cold) person just by feeling my pulse and looking at my tongue. I cant wait for next Monday to get our second lecture. I wonder what will the topic be then..

Monday was also my first hydrotherapy day. When I first heard that we are going to have therapy in the water I was really horrified. I don’t like water. I feel that I can’t swim that well and I’m usually always a bit afraid of the water. Also, I can’t see without my glasses.. But as I have heard my classmate talk about his classes (his hydrotherapy started two weeks earlier) I started to wait for my turn quite eagerly. Our teacher is awesome! She is really into this water therapy thing and I can see that from all she does. My first class was nice. I got actually much praises for my swimming skills (not all people can swim here like in Finland) and I learned much new and interesting stuff! This will be great! From the new stuff I think Watsu is my favourite this far.

Hydro

My awesome hydrotherapy teacher.

Crazy crazy traffic

My local friends warned me that I need to be more careful while walking in Taipei than I am in Finland. Really soon I noticed that it is true. Even thought this is not the worst traffic I have seen there is some differences I should keep in mind.

1. Scooters!

In Jyväskylä people use bicycles to go everywhere. Here people use scooters. There is so many of those kamikaze-like drivers with their scooters here that I really need to keep my eyes (and ears) open every time I cross roads. With a scooter it is not that serious if you drive in orderly fashion or not. Scooters are small and they DO use it to their advantage. Too small for a car? No problem, scooter can go through. Not enought space to have two cars besides each other? No worreis, with scooter you can have three! I have seen whole familys on one scooter: Best this far is parents and two kids. On one scooter. Usually parents have helmets but kids don’t always have those. I have seen babyseat on scooter (you know the space where you would usually put your feet? It was there). I have seen people riding with their dogs ar with their work equipment. One day I saw a man riding a scooter with a ladder and some painting equipment. I don’t know how they do that.. 😀

skootteri

Some scooters waiting for their turn.

2. Busses..

Okay. You might think that it is scary if someone offers you a ride with a scooter. I have mainly declined from those, but I tried once and actually it felt a lot safer than some bussrides I have had. There is quite a many people living in here, so when you take a buss usually somebody else is taking it too. There is some seats so if you are lucky you can get one. Of course trying to be polite and offer the seats for the older people. After that there is some hook thingies coming from the roof that you can hold on to. And after the bus is full you really don’t need to hold on to anything because there is so many people that you wouldn’t move anyways. Yeah, well it is not that nice to have some sweaty fat old man leaning to you even when it is not neccessary. And prepare yourself for lining up on the buss stop. Even though the first buss might not have enough room for you.

3. Trains.

Everybody in Finland always says bad things about VR (our railwaycompany). It is true that trains are too costly and thay are sometimes late. Before this trip I never thought that being late could be from something good. For example here, if you have lined up fot train and you haven’t even got to the train yet but train needs to leave. Then you just need to wait for the next train. In Finland trains wait for people. No wonder they are sometimes late.. With seats trains are the same as busses. You can get a seat if you pay more or are fast enough. Othervise you will stand. There are some trains that you need to buy the seat ticket, but for the slower ones you don’t need to.

juna

Insides of a moving train.

junakartta

Trainroute map.

4. MRT!

Mass rapid transit aka metro or subway or whatever. Really convenient! Goes almost everywhere and you don’t need to wait for long tome to get one. Just remember that it is not allowed to eat, drink or chew gum in the MRT. I will really mis this one when I get back to Finland.

portti

Don’t jump under the train gate and waiting line. Oh yes, you need to line up!

kielto

Don’t do this!

All this is quite easy, because there is EasyCard. It is kind of travel card where you can load money on it and use it to pay for MRT, train (some of them), busses and Ubikes (rent a bike).

Bu the way. I have noticed that people think you are strange if you want to walk somewhere. Or climb stairs.

Honeymoon is over!

That was fast! After all the great feeling about my clinical practise last week, I had some not so good ones this week. For starters I had my first patients in the clinic. Practice patients only, they were my tutors, but the way this is done here came to me as a bit of a shock. When intern here has his/her first patients there is no teacher to help. Student is expected to do the treatment from the beginning to the end by his-/herself and if there is something they don’t know, then they discuss about it with the teacher afterwards or go to check it out by themselfs (if they are afraid of asking the teacher). This includes taking the history, observing the patient, assessment, treatment and home exercise. In finland we have the teacher standing by our side and helping every time when we don’t know something or don’t know how to do something and they can also prevent us to do any harm to the patient. I have had two of these situations now and they are highly stressful and I don’t have any confidence to my level of knowledge. There is good sides too. I’m forced to think about the situations myself and try to connect all the symptoms and see through the secondary ones to the one that is really causing everything. Still, for me this is extremely difficult and I get a huge rise of my stresslevel in these situations. Again, there is also good sides. After the second one (that went a bit better than the first one) I got a huge feeling of success because I have had some effect to the symptoms. Only with my thinking and performing some treatment. Ha!

Other PT’s sometimes ask me to do some small tasks to help them out. This is really nice! I can do some simple things I know how to perform, not only stand around and watch.

In addition there is my bedside practise. Oh, how I love the bedside. I know how to perform treatment and I feel that I learn every day something. I can be relatively independent in some of the tasks and my teacher is amazing! She is also really strict and asks me to write a lot of patient data. Which is a good thing and I learn a lot, but it takes so much time! This week I have been to the library after the clinical training every day at least for an hour and yesterday I had to wake up a bit earlier so that I had time to finish my assignments. Trying to concentrate to learn over 10 hours a day is really challenging and doesn’t work out for a long period of time. At least not for me. So when my last day on the bedside was over yesterday, I felt both sad and relieved.

If I would neet to study here for the whole 4 years I think I would have a heart attack. Or a peptic ulcer. Or a panic disorder. Or all of them.. I don’t cope well with stress.

Even thought this week has been.. challenging.. I think I’m still learning a lot and I’m still enjoying my time here.

Too. Tired. To. Write.

Örglbörgl, zzZZzz…!