Tag Archives: personal growth

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.

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.

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.

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.

Home alone

I have been waiting for homesickness to kick in. This far it is nowhere to be found. There has been some grumpy days or more likely grumpy evenings, not even whole days yet. I have been wondering why is that.. Of course we are just three weeks in, so I really cant tell just yet. This far everything has been new and exciting, even the first week at the hospital. Even though I now know roughly how my everyday life here will be it isn’t yet that everydaily to me.

In addition to the all new things here, I think there is more to this than just wondering about new. Here I’m all the time surrounded by people. In dorm I have my roommates, at hospital there is usually other students along with the advisors and patients who are all communicating with me. Then there is my travel companion who goes to have lunch (and dinner) with me most of the days. On weekends there is usually some activity where I go somewhere with someone from Finland or some locals. To be honest, I’m more lonely in Finland than I am in here. It is not just the surroundings, I’m more social in here too. Maybe because I feel that I have to.

Now my Finnish roommate is moving to another city and I feel quite sad about it. It has been fun to have someone similar in here. Even though many times when we are home at the same time we sit back to back on our computers without talking that much. But it is not all about talking, it is the possibility to share my daily life with someone who understands my language and the cultural background I’m coming from. I will still have my travel companion, fortunately. Before I consideret it strange to hang out with people from the same country while abroad. Why would one want to do that when there is so great an opportunity to get to know some locals?!? Now I understand. If I was the only Finn here, I would feel much more alone and homesick.

Adventurer! ..to be?

As I have told you earlier, I’m a boring person who likes to follow rules and routines. I have noticed that I feel a bit uncomfortable here when I can’t read all the signs, so I can’t know if there is something I’m not supposed to do. In Finland I usually read most of the signs and I’m well aware what is expected behaviour. If I’m not, I might not even attend an event. I like to watch and learn before trying things myself. I want to know I’m doing things right before I do them.

I kind of thought that by coming here, I would become an adventurer. Just by changing the environment I could change myself. Weeeelll.. Not quite. I just noticed yesterday that me and my classmate are completely different with this. He is asking everything when I’m just trying to figure out myself just by looking. He is going to shops that clearly don’t operate in english and just trying to comminucate in some language when I’m just avoiding places where I think people don’t speak english. Soon, he might even know more chinese than me because he is always asking how can you say this and that while I just observe. Noticing this difference was a bit of shock to me, because I was thinking myself as a curious and outgoing person and I noticed that I’m still more of an observer than a doer.

paitateksti

I even bought a shirt to remind me not to make all these excuses and just do things.

It took me a while to accept the situation and to decide that it is okay to be like this. At first I thought that I can’t be adventurer if I’m like this, but later I just decided to change the concept of adventurer in my head. Because I’m different from what I hoped to be doesn’t mean it is wrong. I can also change the way I act when I pay attention to it and try to not to be so overly cautious about everything.

First week accomplished!

I left from Finland about a week ago. How I feel? Confused.. I have been having this vacation feeling because we don’t have that many classes at the moment. We have had time to see stuff, hike, walk, eat, adventure.. You know, the basic holiday stuff. Today I realized that after couple of weeks this feeling will probably go away. When the real deal starts. It is a bit scary.. It means that I have to accept that I’ll have my boring weekday routine, just like home. Actually I don’t know.. This is all just a bit confusing at the moment. I feel like I don’t want to have a routine and basic weekday stuff, but having everyday adventure for 3 monts will be a hard task to accomplish.

panda

Chiang Kai-Shek Memoriall Hall entrygate.

Am I energetic enought to change my daily routine from what I have at home? I hope so. I’m boring at home. But maybe I’m demanding a bit too much from myself. If I continue this, I will just stress about having fun. Sounds reasonable right? 😀 Well, that is me. Usually I have one or two things I stress about, without any real reason.

maisema

“the Battleship” rock from Mt. Junjianyan.

It will be interesting to see what happens!

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 €