Rain and thunder storm

Today I gave up. I decided that it is too much to ask me to wear proper shoes in this weather, so I walked to the hospital wearing my shower slippers. It has been raining for about two weeks now. It started in the end or April and I have heard that it should end in two weeks. There has been hours and even a whole days when it doesn’t rain. I think once there was even two days in a row when it didn’t rain!

In the beginning the rain was really light. I didn’t even need my umberella all the time. For couple of days this rain has been really heavy and constant. It can start in a hearbeat and there is no end to it. Yesterday evening there was also some lightnings and thunder. When I went to sleep there was thunder, I woke up because of thunder in the morning and guess what we have now? That is right! Thunder! One lightning struck so close that I almost got an heart attack because of the noise.

Yesterday I walked outside in the evening. I had some staird in my route and I literally walked upstream for a while since there was a river in the stairs. I have almost stepped on a frog two times this month and last night even my umberella didn’t save me from getting soaked. I must admit that this rain is really interesting.. This is so different than in Finland that I am not even dissapointed with the weather. I’m mainly just amused. I’m constantly wondering, how can this be? Rain again? Really? And laughing inside my head since everything feels so unreal. If you can figure out some good proverbs describing heavy rain in english, I would like to hear those. I can only think of the Finnish ones.

Temperature is still over 20 degrees. Lowest has been 22 and highest nearly 30 or a bit over that. I wonder how the temperature will be next month when there should be less rain. This will be interesting. I guess that if I would live here, this rain would be annoying. Or then I would just get used to it, since it is raining all the time! Humidity has been over 70 % for a long time now. Yesterday it was 83 or something.. I heard that in finland humidity is something like 20-30 %. Must be nice, huh?

Oh and today I experienced my first earthquake in Taiwan. If I can say that because I didn’t notice anything. I only know that there was an earthquake because two PT’s came to ask if I am afraid of earthquakes. I was a bit confused before I realized that there has been one couple minutes ago. I did notice that one of the windows made some different noice than usually, but I just thought that it must have been because of the wind.


Never ending gifts and Watermelon Cup

Today was a great day! Last Wednesday I heard from a friend that this weekend we have a Watermelon Cup at university’s bascetball courts. First I was really not into that. I knew I had some writing to do to keep my schedule on school stuff. I was lucky and my schoolmate talked me into participating. I actually started to get a bit excited about the happening when I waited this Saturday to come.

When I walked to the bascetball courts a bit before our meeting time there, I was surprised. It was a proper festival feeling with music and market tables full of food and games. We started the Cup with Tug of War (we won our battle!), then there were 8 minigames that all included eating watermelon and in the end we had a really short all against all waterballoon war. Usually I don’t like these kind of games or things that much, but here I have learned to enjoy them a bit. It is nice to be outside with friends and do some active stuff instead of doing school stuff all the time. This is something I should try to add to my life in Finland too.

markkinafiilis

Enjoying the market day feeling.

Tug of War

Tug of War!

waterballoons

Ammo for the final war.

There was actually something else  I wanted to write about too. While working here I have noticed that most of the patients are really friendly and nice (like almost all people here). With us foreing students it sometimes feels that locals are almost too nice. This topic rised up this week when the amount of gifts got a bit out of hands. Yes, patients are bringing gifts to us and not just patients but other students too. Usually they are really small and something they wanted to give us to bring home with us. Sometimes the gifts get bigger though. I have recieved six tickets to a fine hot spring and my class mate just recieved a book this week. Sometimes our patients ask can they take us out for dinner and that kind of stuff.

lahjoja

Some of the gifts I have recieved.

This really confuses me. In the beginning I was just really happy and surprised that someone wants to give something for me. Now when I have 8th weeks behind me and the gifts just keep on coming I started to wonder about this habit. It seems to me that also the Physical Therapist recieve some amount of gifts and looks like they don’t pay much attention to those. Gifts vary from fruits and other edible things to small memorable stuff to really bigger stuff like those hot spring tickets. I am having problems to adjust my behaviour to this phenomenon. First reaction now days is more like “Really? Again? Why?”. I’m still happy and impressed that someone had thought about me, but it is a bit awkward.

This just proves that the level of kindness here is really impressive.


Under attack!

It was Friday afternoon like any other. 9 hours of practical training and pouring rain when walking back to the dorms. Since facebook has been full with Disney meme lately, I decided to watch one old Disney movie. I was just sitting there in front of my computer, relaxing. It was still raining outside when I noticed something flying behind my laptop. I didn’t pay much attention to it first because there is usually at least one mosquito in my room. But then it happened again and I started to notice that this flying creature seems to be bigger than those I usually see. Then one flought right to my screen and annoyed with that I raised my eyes from my movie to look around.

I’m happy that I’m not scared of insects! When I raised my gaze I realized that there is a swarm of these strange flying creatures going around my ceiling lights. When I checked there was another swarm right behind my window trying to get in. I was surprised, only my netted window was open, there is no holes in the net and somehow they still got in. I closed the second window over the netted one and looked for something to use against these invaders. I have quite an collection of flyiers of different places so I picked one of the thickest ones and went for the chase.

When you live in finland you are quite used to killing mosquitos or flyes in the summer. Especially in the country side living near horse stables. This was nothing new for me so I started smashing those little bastards. Soon I noticed that they were drawn to light so I put off the ceiling light and put on a smaller one right above one empty table. Then I just waited there and smashed those ugly thingys when they came for the light.

farmosan termite

One of the disgusting flying inviders that happend to fall into my trap

Still this was not enough. I noticed that these flying monsters had one more card to their sleeves. They could drop their wings! So instead for looking up to see my enemy I needed to look down also, for these ugly bastards were also crawling on the floor.  They were also flying inside my clothes and inside any clothes I had out of my closets.

Soon there was not many of these insects left and I wanted to open my window again. Closer look told me that maybe the insects got in under the window so I stuffed some paper under the window and smashed couple of insects just crawling there. For the rest of the evening I needed to get up from my chair from time to time to kill the ones that got out of their hiding places slowly. I think I killed the last one right after 11 PM. Or I hope it was the last one..

When I asked my local friend about these ugly creatures, he told me that they were termites and this termite problem comes couple times a year. So if I’m lucky this will be my last encounter with these insects. I searched for some info and insects here were actually someting called Farmosan swarming termites. I hope I don’t find any of these anymore!

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Special Week

This week had many special events to offer me. I got to see total hip replacement surgery, visit assistive technology center and say goodbye to my Finish friends here.

When I heard that we can go to see the surgery this week I was a bit unsure if I should even go. I felt a bit weak still after my flu and I was afraid that I might disturb the operation by fainting or feel sick. After one day I started to feel a bit better about this possibility to experience real surgery. Of course I had some horror pictures in my head about the tools they needed to use and how disgusting noises and smells I would experience, but I wanted to go. The day of operation I felt a bit nervous, but so did the other two students that came with me.

We went to the operation floor and were told to change our clothes to the operation clothes and cover our hair and shoes. We also had to wear a mask, of course. Then we went to the operation room and one nurse told us to go to the other room to wait. We waited for more than 30 min before this nurse came back to get us back inside.

In the table there was a patient and in the room 7 to 8 other people just doing their stuff. One of them showed us the patients x-ray and it looked really bad. The head of femur was so worn out it wasn’t even round anymore. No wonder the patient has been experiencing some pain.. This person, maybe a doctor, told us what was going to happen in the surgery. He was really nice and friendly. The last person to come in was “the boss” meaning the head surgeon. He also expalined to us what the surgery was going to be and then just walked to the table and started cutting.

To be hones I felt a bit dizzy. But I think it was not because of the blood (there was not that much of it) of smells (there was not any of those either). I just needed to have a bit lover view to the surgery site. Actually that was really good thing, because when I was standing I didn’t see much because there was 3 people ll the time standing really near to the surgery area. When I lowered myself I could see under their arms.

I think the surgery really demostrated well the restrictions THR patients have after the operation. When surgeon wanted to pop the femur head out of the socet he just told one of the assistive doctors to put the leg to a certain position and the bone just popped out. Would be really interesting to see more operations because it gave such a good insight for the patients condition. In this case the surgeon showed us the femur head after sawing it off the rest of the bone and it was in a terrible condition! Even though it was really intersting to see all of that I think most surprising thing to hear was the fact that the patient was awake all the time! They only put her to spinal anesthesia or something. I don’t know if I could handle that myself..

Then the assistive technology center with some pictures:

puikot

Assistive chopstiks (some westerns would need this too..)

pelikortit

Playing cards for blind people!

mahjong

Blind mahjong

kynsileikkuri

Assistive nail clippers (I would need this sometimes..)

keittiö

Peeking mirror for wheelchair users

There were also some nice wheelchairs and mopeds we tried and one one compuret mouse that was operated by eyemovement. Impressive!

I have been travelling here with two other Finnish girl who came here a bit before I did. We have had so much fun here and we met almost every weekend. Now they both leaved. One this Sunday and other next week. It will be a bit weird without them.. I’m happy that I won’t be alone because my classmate is still here, but I think I will miss the other girls.

museo

Girlpower!


Home sweet home

I have to admit that sometimes I miss Finland. I don’t feel too stressed or sad here though and I think that my ordinary life here is really similar to my life in Finland. I study and then I come back home (tired) and try to do some school stuff and keep in contact with my friends. Not that much difference there. Weekends still get my adventure-and-holiday mode up, but not that easily than before. Last weekend I noticed that even though being on high mountain was really nice and relaxing, it didn’t give me those special kind of feelings like at first when I travelled in Taiwan. Taiwan specialities start to feel like everyday normal stuff. It is kind of fun, but kind of sad too.

wulai

Not that special amazing place at Wulai.

Most I miss my kitchen. The possibility to cook and being able to decide what to eat. Taiwanese food is really good! But it is still a bit gluten stuffed, so I need to be careful with what I eat. That is something that really gets me tired. Last week I bought a cup and it made me really happy. Now I have a small opportunity to “cook” meaning I can decide if I want tea or hot chocolate and if I want tea do I want honey with it. That really makes a world of difference! I have some control here now. 😀

kuppi

My precious..!

Other thing I miss back home is the sunlight. Believe or not, I feel almost like in Finnish winter here sometimes. Well, when I go to hospital there is light and when I get there is light, but only for about 1 hour. That really confuses me sometimes. This time of year sun sets after 10 PM in Finland. Couple weeks ago I almost got some winter crumpy feelings when I felt that it is always dark here. Oh, how I miss that amount of light!

I have always been good calling different places home. Home is where I have my pillow! If I’m travelling and I live in hotel you can hear me say “lets go back home” when I mean my room at hotel. Couple days ago I bought tickets to Tokyo. I decided the day I will leave here and it made me feel weird. I realized that somehow I feel that this is my home now.. It is always a bit sad to leave from home. It was a bit strange to notice this feeling of mine. I didn’t expect to feel at home here. Not in a dorm and with different language. And here I am, two months abroad and I already feel like home.

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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.

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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.

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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.