June 8, 2013 § 2 Comments
If I wasn’t still so utterly exhausted, I think I would be in a state of shock. Yesterday’s biochemistry semi-final was horrible! At one point I thought to myself, “You deserve to fail because you have no idea what you are doing“.
The exam was divided into two parts. The first included 10 structures (out of a possible 200 total structures), 1 calculation and 14 open questions. The second part consisted of 40 multiple choice questions. In order to pass, we needed 13 points from the first part and 21 from the second. What did I get? 13 and 24! Safe to say that I scraped by there…
The room was heavy with emotion when they released the results. Many of the students were taking this exam again for the second or third time and therefore had a little more riding on it this round. Some people screamed out of happiness, others were hugging, some were crying and some escaped defeated.
Afterwards, Skjalg and I went to an apartment showing. Unfortunately, it wasn’t what we wanted. It was spacious and located on a beautiful street near the Basilica, but it would have required too much work to make it feel like a home. Plus, it was filthy. I couldn’t believe that they would show the apartment in that condition. The first thing we saw when we walked in the dusty front door was a toilet. They were replacing it with a new one and had left the old one immediately next to the front door. To make matters worse, the spot where the toilet had been was just a huge hole in the wall, surrounded by debris and broken tiles. Luckily, it’s a renters market down here. When we told him that we were interested in having a place from August, he told us that that would be fine as long as we paid a deposit beforehand. I’ve never come across an agent who is willing to lose two months rent like that! I’m bummed that it didn’t work out, but we still have plenty of time to find a new place.
Once we were done with the showing, we met up with Jannie to check out the flooding Danube. It’s been rising steadily over the past several days and newspapers are saying that it will the be highest flood wave of all time. I snapped some shots of the river, which was much less menacing in person than it’s being made out to be in the papers. It probably didn’t help that there were tons of people sitting out along the banks enjoying the sun. It’s hard to imagine what it looked like before the flood.
June 7, 2013 § 3 Comments
In 11 hours time I will be comfortably nestled in my exam seat in the lecture hall at school with my biochemistry semi-final before me. I don’t feel prepared – does one ever? – but I have done my best and I’m hoping the hard work will pay off. Embarrassingly enough, Skjalg and I figured out that I haven’t left the apartment since last Friday….which means I’ve had a solid week of waking up, studying, and going back to bed.
Jannie came over today to help me study. She had her biochem exam on Wednesday, so the material was fresh in her head. She went through lectures and tested me throughout the day while I went through questions from Lehninger (our recommended biochem book), then tested me on all 185 structures (of which I only made mistakes on 11!) and made some flashcards for me to review in the morning.
The exam is at 10:30 and the results will probably be ready at 13:00 or 14:00. After that, Skjalg and I are heading to an apartment showing near Deak. We’ve come across an amazing apartment and I’m really hoping that it is “the one”. After that Jannie will join us to visit the flooding Danube. The river is only a 5 or 10 minute walk from where we will be checking out the apartment.
I want to “publicly” wish congratulations to Skjalg! He had his anatomy exam today and got a 4 😀 With a 5 in Medical Communication and a 4 in Medical Biophysics, I’d say he is doing quite well for himself. I’m proud of you bebe 😉 You’re amazing!
June 5, 2013 § 4 Comments
So, what happens when you’re locked up in your apartment for days at a time, looking at nothing but biochem notes and structures? You miss out on pertinent news – like the flood warning. For those of you that have been following the news, you might have heard/read about the flooding in Central Europe. It’s been really bad in Germany and Austria and has slowly been making its way to us. The Danube is the second largest river in the continent and runs through Romania, Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Hungary, Slovakia, Austria, Germany, Ukraine and Moldova. Since Budapest is built right on the banks of the Danube and is almost completely flat, it is quite susceptible to flooding.
The peak of the flood is expected this weekend or Monday. I’m crossing my fingers that I will be able to get to my exam on Friday! Though I don’t think that will be a problem since we live about 1 km away from the river. But then I don’t know much about floods….Our school is located a little closer to the river than our apartment, hopefully that doesn’t present a problem.
Here are some pictures from The Budapest Times. These were taken either last night or early this morning, when the river was just beginning its rise over the bank. One website captioned a photo with “yearly flooding of the Danube” which I found amusing and therefore decided to use it as the title of this blog post. You can follow news of the flood on The Budapest Times website.
May 14, 2013 § 3 Comments
…and it sure feels like it!
It’s already 1:30 am and I need to be up in a few hours, so this is going to be very short! Since I last wrote, my days have been full of non-stop cramming for exams. Tomorrow we have our biochemistry lab exam and on Friday we have a midterm on the urogenital system. Skjalg and I did manage an amazing date night on Friday – dinner and wine outside the basilica. One thing I absolutely love about Budapest is that it is so easy to feel transported, like you are on a vacation. I don’t know when I’ll ever have a vacation…so it’s nice to pretend. Ok, Skjalg just came out and told me to come to bed and I should probably listen to him 😉 I’ll write more as soon as I can.
Here’s some pics from Skjalg and my date night on Friday and then some from studying for biochem lab exam with Jannie.
May 4, 2013 § 4 Comments
Charlotte recently published an amazing post about time. More specifically, the seconds of our lives and the meaning we assign to them. Included in her post is the TEDtalk that inspired it – make sure to check it out!
While reading her post, I was reminded of a book that I began reading last spring. During that time, I was trying to learn more about stress and how to manage it. This led me to the book Mindfulness in Plain English. Unfortunately, I only got through the first chapter before I flipped my attention to something else. I’m horrible at finishing books. Great at starting them. Horrible at finishing them. At this very moment, there are 9 kindle books and 2 hard copy books that I am “reading”. Anyways, back to mindfulness (are you picking up on the irony yet?)…
In the book, it is written that life is a series of moments flying by and that no two moments are the same – “perpetual fluctuation is the essence of the perpetual universe”. It then continues into the following. (I know it’s long, but it is worth the read!)
It is incessant: change, change, change; no two moments ever the same.
It is the nature of the universe. But human culture has taught us some odd responses to this endless flowing. We categorize experiences. We try to stick each perception, every mental change in this endless flow, into one of three mental pigeon holes: it is good, bad, or neutral. Then, according to which box we stick it in, we perceive with a set of fixed habitual mental responses. If a particular perception has been labeled “good”, then we try to freeze time right there. We grab onto that particular thought, fondle it, hold it, and we try to keep it from escaping. When that does not work, we go all-out in an effort to repeat the experience that caused the thought.
Over on the other side of the mind lies the box labeled “bad”. When we perceive something “bad”, we try to push it away. We try to deny it, reject it, and get rid of it any way we can. We fight against our own experiences. We run from pieces of ourselves.
Between these two reactions lies the neutral box. Here we place the experiences that are neither good nor bad. They are tepid, neutral, uninteresting. We pack experience away in the neutral box so that we can ignore it and thus return our attention to where the action is, namely, our endless round of desire and aversion. So this “neutral” category of experience gets robbed of its fair share of out attention.
The direct result of all this lunacy is a perpetual treadmill race to nowhere, endlessly pounding after pleasure, endlessly fleeing from pain, and endlessly ignoring 90 percent of our experience. Then we wonder why life tastes so flat.
After reading this for the first time, I was struck with such a sense of clarity. I was guilty of all of it. I was guilty of running after the “good” moments, chasing them down and squeezing them tighter and tighter until they escaped. I was guilty of running away from the “bad” moments and even trying to manipulate the future to exclude them. But the thing that saddened me the most, was that I was guilty of disregarding the largest component of my experiences – the “neutral” moments. Every moment has the potential to be the best moment of your life and your meddling may just prevent that from happening.
Since then, I have tried to be more conscious of labeling moments as good, bad or neutral. I try to find some good part, no matter how small, in every experience. It’s there….if you take the time to look for it. As mentioned in an earlier post, no computer and no internet in April made blogging quite the challenge. That didn’t stop me from documenting random moments with my phone! They may not have been the most exciting moments, but they are still seconds of my life caught in time…and there is a certain greatness contained in every one of them.
Now for a glimpse back at some of my “seconds” of April…
To add to the fun, Synnøve took a picture of me, taking a picture of Suvi, taking a picture of the bone. This is what we do to entertain ourselves these days!
April 13th: Saturday morning walk with Jannie around Margit island. Managed over 10 km!
April 17th: Toured the Surgical Department for our Medical Professionalism class. We were waiting in this room for about 20 minutes and couldn’t help joking around in the white coats. There was special way of tying them that involved wrapping it inside and then around itself twice before fastening. When it wasn’t tied properly, we looked like patients in a mental institution. Skjalg put his on backwards the first try….
April 17th: Exchanging shots of Acland (from Acland’s video atlas of anatomy) with Jannie over whatsapp (a chat application). It ended up as a competition for the most creepy shot. This was one of the best ones…
April 17th: Was so exhausted during my Medical Informatics class that I was fighting falling asleep. To stay awake, I tried to figure out the different combinations for binary counting on one hand. My physics teacher had told us that morning that you can count up to 32 on one hand using binary counting. I got up to 30 on my own and then Charlotte helped me with the last two.
April 18th: Canoodling couple at the coffee shop. They caressed each other in the corner for several hours, which was really only awkward because we were the only ones up there with them.
April 19th: tried to make a tasty dinner for Skjalg and I and thought I would try this couscous dish as a side for the chicken. Turned out it wasn’t couscous….but rather bouillon! Ended up ruining the veggies and wild rice I mixed it in with. I need to learn Hungarian faster!
April 22nd: Studying anatomy in a park close to school with Skjalg and Jannie. It was only two days before our midterm on the internal organs so we were quite stressed, but it was so calming to sit in the sun with the warm breeze.
April 24th: Dinner with the group after our anatomy midterm. Clare had just finished her birthday shot! I wish I had gotten a better picture, but this will have to do! It was an amazing night, despite us being completely drained after our exam. I feel so lucky to be part of such an wonderful group!
April 28th: Ready to go for exam registration! You have about 5 seconds to register before the dates you want fill up. It is quite possibly the most stressful thing I have ever experienced. Luckily, I got all the dates I wanted!
And finally, my favorite moment of the week:
So happy to have internet back!!!!