Tag Archives: comparisons

The magic of travelling

After three weeks of travelling in Japan and Hong Kong I came back to Taipei. I felt a bit dissapointed when I looked out of the bus window and felt nothing special. No special feelings, no excitement of awe of new things. Well there was no new things here so I guess it shouldn’t be surprise. Still, it was a bit of a surprise for me. I watched my familiar surroundings with a bit of a dull feeling until I got clores the university. Then I suddenly started feeling like coming back to home. That was odd and I wasn’t really expecting that. But when I saw the the golden light of setting sun on buildings down hill when I pushed my luggage uphill and bumped to some familiar faces waiting for my room key. It was like I never left. Okay, it was only for 3 weeks that I was gone, but it felt like a lifetime.

In Japan everything is so organized, clean and almost peacefull all the time and in Hong Kong I felt like being in a comletly different universe with all those high high buildings and amazing views.. Before I had a thought that all the places in Asia were similar to each other somehow, but as I spend more time here I notice how stupid idea that has been. Every place has their own athmosphere and specialities. Those things that make you even like it or hate it or both. In Japan I love gardens but I don’t like how people can’t communicate in English. I love how easy it is to find new things in a big city and feel that nature is close even though all those millons of people. I love how I start to recognize places in anime and notice familiarity where there was oddity before. In Hong Kong I love the tall buildings and light at night. I don’t like how people don’t act considerate in MTR.

In Taiwan I love so many things and I feel that all the time those things multiply. There is some things I don’t like here, for example that people can’t use public toilets properly and there is always a huge mess or that every time there is a map they have turned it to other way around than in the place I saw the same map before.

Now I have my room organized and I am feeling positive about my summer school. Only four weeks left and then I have to get back to the reality called Finland.

Beautiful Taiwan

One really special experience for me has been hearing “you are beautiful” from locals all the time. It is not like you might think, most of the people who say this are older women. You see, in here it is considered pretty to have white skin. Like in Finland it is considered pretty if you are nicely tanned. Many times these people complementing my looks add “your skin in so pretty” or something similar to their statement.

Some ladies here even go quite a lengths to achieve this beautiful white skin. I have seen people wearing long sleeved shirts, gloves, masks and umberellas on sunny days. All this on the same person! And dont forget the sunglasses. To be honest sometimes you can’t see even a thin piece of skin from all the covering. I have heard that this is only to keep the skin as pale as possible. Of course it is also quite good protection against skin cancer, but you never see this in Europe. Religius clothing is a different thing. I have only seen some women to behave like this. It seems that men don’t bother to keep their skin as white as the ladies do. Maybe it is not as important.

I also hear complements for my hair. That is a bit strange because it has been over three months since I last time did something to my hair and to me it looks horrible right now. Still I get complements. Maybe because it is so different from the local dark hair and I do braid my hair almost every day. That is also something you don’t often see here. Mainly ponytails or short hair. People usually start with the question, “is that your natural hair color?” No it is not and it is funny that people ask since I have three different colors in my hair right now. But I don’t mind. It is nice that people come to ask and wonder. Other question is “can you do that yourself?” when I have braided my hair. They are so surprised to hear that I can and I on’t need a mirror to do that.

I have noticed that the way how people dress here is also quite different from Finland. In Finland it is not that odd to see girls bra either through her shirt or from the neckline. That is not even considered bad taste now days. Here it is completely different. I consider myself to be one of the less revealing dressers and even some of my shirts are a bit too much if you compare to the locals. Nobody tells me to dress differently but I feel too revealing with local girls when they usually have modest neckline and all the buttons from their shirts buttoned up. Here it is more common to see really really short dresses than revealing necklines. Maybe the airconditioning has something to do with this. In the summer, even though it is amazingly hot outside, inside could be freezing cold. It is easy to catch a cold if you don’t dress peroperly.

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.

Ears full of Mandarin

Today it begun! My first real clinical practice day! I can admit, I was a bit nervous. My boyfriend will probably roll his eyes for this, because he needed to call me from Japan in the middle of the night because I was panicing. Just a bit.. Well, lets be honest, I might not have slept all night. In other hand, I must have slept some, othervise it wouldn’t have been possible to wake up so many times. I didn’t feel like the sharpest tool in the box when I started my walk forward the hospital in the morning.

kyltti

Our hospital!

sairaala

And the actual hospital too! That is the white building in the center of the pic.

Luckily just few meters before hospital door I met my good friend David (one of those local students who was in Finland last fall). He showed me where to change my clothes and kept me company for some day. Then other of my saviours arrived! James is one of the research students and he was my life line today.

We went to meet the first one of my six clinical advisors or teachers as they seem to call them here. My first expression was a bit shocked since this guy didn’t greet me, didn’t talk to me and as far as I could tell he didn’t even look at me. Just told James to show me the places. I was a bit confused and a bit scared. Would it be like this all the time? I am a person too you know.. But after the first four hours my impression was totally flipped. My teacher seemed like a really serious guy, but near the end he was smiling more and more all the time. Even thought he spoke only in Mandarin and James worked as a translater he started to aske me questions and I even got to do something small in my first hours there. I was told that since they usually have not that busy hour just before lunch, I can just tell them what I want to learn and they will provide me with lesson. My teacher also told me that my posture tells him that I might have some hip problems (and I do, my legs are not even) and that he likes to combine chinese medicine to the western way. This is a gold mine I tell you!

My first four hours were at orthopedical practice. It was a big room, full of tables and busy with physical therapists. One therapist had couple of patients at the same time and they used a lot of modalities like electricity and ultrasound. There were tables for cervical and lumbar tractio machines where patients were just put to the machine and then the therapist went to treat other patients while machine did the tractio. There were one other intern and some second year students as well. It was really nice to talk with other students and think about some problems we were given. I liked the athmosphere because it felt like people were discussing about treatments rather than just given one right solution from the teacher. James also praised my skills all the time, so what there is not to like??

sairaalanikkuna

View from the hospital window.

Other four hours were at orthopedic bedside. I felt familiar since my first clinical practice was at same kind of department in Finland. It was nice to notice that I had really learned something from my first training period and I had some selfconfidence about the treatments. I liked Matti’s teacher (mine had a meeting and wasn’t there today). She was really good at explaning everything and she provided enought info beforehand about conditions we didn’t know before.

In bedside department we discovered some unique features. All the patients we saw today had either a familymember or other caretaker at their bedside to take care of them sonce nurses didn’t have time for all of the patients all the time. And those familymembers really seemed to almost live there too! Well ofcourse it is a bit different here since they have different customs of taking care of parents and family. But I liked the feeling about it. Finland could use something like that..  Therapist used a lot of time to educate those familymembers about their relatives condition since they were the ones that were going to take care of them. They seemed to take it really seriously too. Two of them were taking pictures with their phones when the terapist showed some exercise stuff or how to for example sit down with a full hip replacement.

nohevat

Nohevat.

What else.. All the info we saw about the patients were on paper. Thay had one file per a patient and everything was put there. I don’t even know if they have files on computer. We also had to use masks all the time when we were with patients. This was more strict at the bedside than at the other department. Before this day we were also told that we should put neat clothes on (some local students even wear suits to make a good expression when they visit hospital), have shoes that don’t show toes (no sandals!) and we were given a white jackets to wear. I feel like a doctor when I’m wearing those! Our days are 9 hours long because between our two 4 hour periods we have 1 hour lunch brake that is not included to the hour count. There is no other breaks than that. So 4 hours straight without a break is a rough work I tell you.

All in all, I’m really happy about my placement at the moment. I have no doubt that this will be challenging couple of months, but it will be worth it. Even though would be easier if I could speak chinese. Today only one of the patients spoke English with me..

Studying..

Yeah. Well.. We are having quite a slow start to the studies here. For the first two weeks we only have 2-3 hours of lessons and only for 4 days. Most of the students here have been wondering why we have so few classes. Well, that will change since after our clinical practise starts, we will have 9 hours of practice 4 days a week and 4 hours on Friday. So no 4 day working week like we had thought. It is actually a bit confusing. I have no idea who has picked these courses for us. I don’t remember that anybody had asked from us what we want. Neither has anyone said that we can has a say to what we study here. That was the case in Finland. And in here it seems to me that everyone is expecting that these courses are our choices. To be frank, I would have wanted to have more influence for my studies here. But maybe I would have had to ask these things directly from Yi-Fen.

kerroskuusi

This is where we study!

Our first classes were easy. Just some reminding about ROM (range of motion) measurements. We also took part for one suspensio system lab class on Wednesday. It was really interesting and I would like to try more with that thing. We have had some pilates lessons in addition to these two. Those I really like! They are quite challenging, but also rewarding afterwards.  About the classes.. Well, there is somethings that differ from Finland. The class contains about 40 students, so the class is full. When using the “plintti”, research table, they don’t use paper (since it is cleaned weekly). And we have had our pilates classes ON the tables (since there is no room on the floor. Also other students are usually already in class when it is time for the class to start, when in Finland we usually go to class at the moment it is about to start. It takes about 10 min from our classes every time. Something to learn here I think.. What else.. Teacher is using a microfone, also those students who are presenting something are using the microphone.

suspensio

The Suspensio System. At the end of our class, one boy was hanging from this with his ankles and doing knee flexion combined with abdominal squeeze. It looked crazy!

I noticed that when we were doing our ROM measurements, the teacher was not as demanding than in Finland. We made the measurements clothes on and we could add the goniometer after making the full movement. It feels a bit weird.. I’m usually by-the-book person and I have always had difficulties to apply theory to the real world. It just seems a bit weird to me that we don’t for example demand to take the measurements from the skin (clothes off). That would be more accurate. The teacher told us that most of the clients don’t want to take their clothes of for assesments. Maybe because it is cold here even indoors or maybe it is not expected. But while in rome do as the romans do. Even in the Finish hospitals everything is not done right according to the book. I just need to get used to it and adapt.

Our pilates classes is teached by one of the major students. Most of the students we are dealing with are major students. That means they are studying research thingies. Unlike in Finland, here people study 4 years of basic studies to become physical therapists ( in Finland it is 3,5 years). From these 4 years they have the last year fully clinical practice. In Finland we have first year studying, then rest of the years we have a cycle of couple month of studies and couple months of practice. After completing the 4 years of basic studies people here apply for master program. In National Yang Ming University there is a lot of more research students than the basic ones. That is because this university is a research university. In Finland (if I remember correctly) after the 3,5 years we go to worklife for couple of years before we can apply for the research studies in university. Also we are learning the basic stuff in University of applied sciences and then we apply for the “normal” university for the research part. Here it is all in the same place.

Studying here is not free for the locals like studying in Finland is for us. It costs about 1500 € per year and this is why many of the students here have a part time jobs. Well.. Many of the students at home have a part time jobs too, but that is because it is so expensive to live in Finland. For a school cafeteria meal here it is about 1-2 € and if you go to a restaurant it might go up to 5-8 €. In Finland, school cafeteria meal is 2,60 € and if you go to a restaurant it is usually more than 15 €. Here it is cheaper to go to restaurant than to make food yourself.. And that is just food! But one can’t just compare prizes, because these things are more difficult than that. There is politics and stuff, so I don’t talk about this more this time, because I know nothing about politics..

tee

Bubble teaish stuff, without bubbles, 1 €.

ruoka

Meal from Uni cafeteria: 1-2 €!

jugu

Frozen youghurt = expensive! About 3,5 €

Weather

We have had a really odd winter in Finland this year. Usually we have nicely snow and long times of cold weather. Now it is March and it feels like the end of April. Almost all of the snow have melted and we haven’t had any proper cold days in weeks. I have seen GREEN! Usually it is not until maybe end of this month when one can see some liveliness in nature.

maisema

The end of the January in Finland 2014

talvi 2013

Winter 2013 was more like a normal one.

In Taiwan at the moment we have about 15-20 degrees of celcius and humidity is something between 60-95%. In a month this place will be a sauna. I felt a bit stupid when I packed some long sleeved shirts with me. “Come on, 15 degrees! It won’t need any of this stuff!” Then I came here and realized that humidity makes a world of difference. I have almost as much clothes on as in Finland when there is -10 degrees.. I’m not joking!

While walking and being on the move it’s not that bad, but when you slow down, or worse, stop! Then the cold creeps in. This humidity takes cold to the skin and sometimes I feel that it’s in my bones too. I have even have some thoughts about buying more warm clothes.

portaat

This doesn’t look that cold does it?

In addition it raind all the time here. Well, not all the time, but a lot. Actually so much that is can be seen on the architecture. In Taipei they have rainsheds over the sidewalks. Only time you need your umberella is when you cross the street. I already broke my umberella a bit because I was opening and closing it so much while walking.

sadekatos

There are the rainsheds supported by the pillars.

Right now we have a rain season here. I heard it is called the plumrains. It should end this month. After that other rain season will start. So I went to the one place where the weather is worse than in Finland? Lucky me..

Comparisons

Now I don’t have (almost!) anything else to do than post to my blog..

You know that we make up things about what our country looks like if you just draw the lines. Like Italy is a boot. In Finland we like to think that our country looks like a woman. It is called the Maid of Finland. While I was reading about Taiwan I found out that they also have something like this. The island of Taiwan looks a bit like a sweet potato so some of them call themselves the Children of Sweet Potato. I think it is quite abdorable.

Taiwan is not the only name thay have, they are also called The Republic of China. To be clear, the other China is called People’s republic of China. But since this is quite confusing, I just continue to use Taiwan and China.

In Taiwan there is population of 23,373,517 people. That is A LOT of people. In Finland we have only 5,454,444. (Numbers are according to Wikipedia). In Taipei alone there is 2.619 million people. Almost half of all the Finnish would fit in there. To be exact, I live in Jyväskylä and there is 130,816 people here. In Helsinki which is the biggest city in Finland there is 614,074 people. Now I can tell you a secret. I really don’t like big crowds..

Official language in Taiwan is Chinese (mandarin) and in Finland we have Finnish and Swedish. Religions in Taiwan are diverse but about 70 % are either buddhist or taoist. In Finland we have mainly Lutherianism and Eastern orthodoxy and if you compare, there is only 3,9% christianity in Taiwan. This means they have tempels and we have churches. Some similarities are found too! There is freedom of religion in both countries.