12 October, 2017


In an attempt to make up for the forgotten Septmber Fadengrafik Challenge, and for being quite late for the October turn, this simple bookmark would be a quick sign of life somewhere between all the things that keep me busy in real life, as well as my contribution to the current "ATG" theme. 
There isn't much to say about the bookmark itself - once again I used a simple geometric pattern which I stitched in two colours and is apparently becomimg my regular "bookmark pattern". It is just so perfect to decorate small leftover pieces of white cardboard that it turns out to be my first choice whenever it comes to recycling paper into small crafting projects. And since it's a rather simple pattern, too, it can be combined with almost anything I have on hand to cover up the stitching on the back side.
This time, I've chosen a super cute image of teddy bears from mom's aunt's stock of old calendar/magazine cut-outs (because she's an even greater hamster than me when it comes to things that "might be useful someday"). To combine the two lements, I glued them both on a dark red cardboard, which was another paper leftover and turned out to cover both backsides nicely. 
A little contribution to the October collection of Create in Austria - artwork created by Austrians and/or in Austria.

With a wonderful summer coming to an end, it is probably one of my first autumn-ish projects this year. A couple more are waiting to be shown, as well as a couple of holiday adventures, but for the moment I just can't seem to squeeze more hours into the day - or rather, make better use of the time that is available. 
For now, therefore, just a couple of autumn-ish impressions from park Tivoli. Lots of the trees are  still green more or less, but some already display their colourful fall outfits. 
As for the Fadengrafik Challenge itself, you're invited to link up your stitched projects here for a chance to win a cool prize by the end of the month. I can't wait to see what you've created ;)

4 crafty chicks: fall
613 avenue create: ATG
a bit more time to craft: ATG
crafting with an attitude: ATG
crafty sentiments: Halloween/fall
creative inspirations: autumn/Halloween
creative moments: ATG/birthday
deep ocean: colours of autumn
bawion: autumn
friendship challenge: autumn/Halloween
glitternsparkle: autumn
inspiration destination: ATG
little red wagon: leftovers (paper stripes, picture)
love to craft: ATG 
modsquad: fall
moving along with the times: autumn
pennys papertake: ATG
- scrapping4fun: animals
scrap & craft: upcycle/recycle (picture, paper leftovers)
through the craftroom door: ATG
wortartwednesday: ATG

14 September, 2017

Munich part III - Not as expected

After a comfortable phase of "getting used to new surroundings" and a rather fun twist that made me end up in the surgical department, it was time to hit a major crisis.
Because there's no crisis like when you suddenly go from "The student has to perform 10 venipunctures during their internship" to "These are today's blood test tubes, go get the blood and send it to the lab", from "Could you make an ECG" to "Tell me what it says", and from nothing but status survey and history to managing a whole ward of patients on your own.
Because honestly, what's the use of learning exam questions by heart when your graduates literally can't take a blood sample, let alone assess a wound, rinse it properly and create a wound dressing that would fit the needs and circumstances.
Because obviously, other countries and institutions seem to take the practical skills of their students seriously.
Removing drainages independently on a daily basis? Forget it. As a student, your job is to stand in the corner and collect autographs for procedures you've never seen, let alone done.
To be fair, there are exceptions, but to say that University has prepared me for real life would be a gross overstatement. In the end, if you're lucky, you might end up having a really good mentor, but again this means the skills you develop will depend on pure chance rather than a reasoned system.

No wonder that after my first "real" day of work in Germany, I just wanted to go back to my dorm, hide under the bedcovers, cry my eyes out and never come out again. Or, optionally, to go home for good even if I never see my Winter School fees again. Let him have Germany whoever wants to have it, I've had more than enough and just want to get back to my comfort zone. Looking back now, it is only thanks to my wonderful German colleague that I didn't make a complete crash landing.

But slowly, after being thrown into ice cold water, I began to swim...
By the second week, I thought I might actually be able to survive the whole thing. There were still lots of situations that brought me down to earth just when I was about to feel confident, but with the proper guidance of colleagues and enthusiastic young doctors, everything became bearable.
By the third week, things began to feel like fun. While my wonderful colleague left for another commitment, I got another, equally wonderful and skilled colleague that took me under her wings like a real mother hen.
The daily routine became self-evident, and while working myself through the rooms, I could silently laugh at my clumsy beginnings. With even the most timidest requesting me to draw the blood and remove their drainages, I was beaming from the inside out. When I ended up being the mother hen instructing students who stopped by for their one-week practice, it could easily lead to situations like, "You know, I was afraid to imagine that a student would remove my drainage."
"Well, ma'am, I am a student."
When it was time to change wards for my final week, I took all my courage (now that I had it back!) and asked if I could to stay. The entire department from nurses to doctors, students, and patients became dear to me and are now part of a wonderful winter school experience I wouldn't want to miss. Ever.

The downside of the whole story was, of course, a massive lack of time. The intense nature of ward work plus our afternoon lectures made me feel more and more exhausted, wondering what good can Munich's sites, greenery, and events be to people who are obviously too busy to see anything but their jobs? What is the purpose of a work-eat-sleep lifestyle anyway?
Considering the fact that we'd have to literally travel through the whole city to get to the clinic, I'd have to get up an hour before the start of our ward round – a horrible task for a non-morning person like me, and torture in comparison to my Ljubljana routine where the time difference between bed and clinic would be half of that.
Needless to say, the time on the tube was just perfect for a precious morning nap, and thanks to snacks available on the ward, I would usually get my breakfast sometime between blood samples and wound care. When I finished my tasks for the day in the late afternoon, I was often too tired to even eat, let alone prepare something edible and get the dishes done afterward. I tended to literally fall asleep on the tube only to wake up just in time to exit and stop by in the supermarket on my way home. And if it wasn't for Edeka's (super yummy) sushi boxes that enabled me to perfect my time-management according to the laws of "bring home-open-eat-go to bed", I don't know how I would have made it.

I guess my experience would not entirely apply to non-German speaking students, who soon realized that a whole number of tasks which included language wouldn't make sense to them and acted accordingly. Looking back now, however, I wouldn't want to miss starting the day with the morning conferences, and by no means skip any of the bedside tasks I was assigned to, even if it often meant rushing directly to the lectures afterward without a proper lunch. Because who needs lunch if you can do ward work instead?

Due to the busy schedule, however, I can say I literally missed spring this year. The winter jacket became too warm to be worn at some point, but apart from that, it was only in form of subtle roadside signs like the growing amount of blooms and greenery that made me realize nature must be moving on.
Luckily, I had my free weekends which I used to discover my surroundings, even though my mind was craving for sleep. Additionally, we were given the opportunity to join a number of one-day trips that were organized for international LMU students. And after all, how very strange would it be to have spent a whole month in Munich without having seen a thing in the city?

On a long-term basis, I'm still not sure on whether I'd be able to live the German way. I've definitely seen a lot and learned more practical stuff than I have in my whole University career. I gained confidence in my skills and abilities, and, most importantly, realized that my language proficiency for German does include the emotional part, even though I had severely neglected it since leaving High school.
Still, the fact that I barely made it through the week even with no household to run and no hobby to pursue (in my naivety, I actually did bring a couple of crafting projects with me), made the idea of literally living for the job only a very difficult one to imagine.
But then again, Never say never. Who knows, maybe with an organized way of life, a good time management and even a little fairy for the housekeeping tasks, everything is possible. Even a healthy, productive work-life balance.

All in all, my Munich experience gave me a chance to realize how different the world is outside the tiny place I began to call home, that - as I see now - is more and more becoming a place of whining, a generalized self-pity, bad organization, hatred, and stupidity.
Instead of wondering why folks are leaving, one should start asking themselves how come that anyone is still ready to work in conditions like that? The only answers I can come up with are: either a mix of desperation and a naive feeling of being able to cope, the lack of an idea about what s offered elsewhere, or maybe just the lack of courage to find it out.

~ to be continued ~

01 September, 2017

Munich part II - A very special rose

A bunch of leaflets scattered in front of the main University building, just like they've been dropped here moments ago. 
Seemingly endless stairs, different in styles and details, connecting one corridor of lecture halls with another without actually leading you somewhere.
An empty atrium, just like back then, when the last pamphlets were pushed over the edge of the parapet on the second floor.
A glass cupola that irritated me for quite a while until I realised its strange appearance had nothing to do with my senses - its circular shape wasn't a really round circle at all.
And collonades as a quiet reminder of the time when independent thinking was far from self-evident and no emergency exit seemed to be available.
It must have taken immense courage and a profound belief for the group of mid-twenty students to speak up against an apparently omnipotent regime and point at the crimes that were going on. 
In their home university, a quite hidden memorial plate reminds of the White Rose, alongside with a more prominent monument in the main hall and an exhibition dedicated to the well-known WWII resistance group. 
And after a quet weekend exploration in the city center...
... I headed south to the Perlacher Forst. Turns out the old cementery does its name justice, looking more like a quiet forest that a sterile line-up of gravestones. 
After a little bit of getting lost, I managed to find the core of the group with the help of GeoHack.
Due to the recent anniversary, the grave of Hans and Sophie Scholl, and Christoph Probst was decorated with huge bouquets alongside with many tiny souvenirs that people seem to bring along.
Finding the grave of Alexander Schmorell on the other hand took me a little longer, even though its located literally around the corner. Again, GeoHack turned out to be a great tool, but I still must have passed it a couple of times before the beautiful Orthodox cross caught my eyes.
And as the sun went down, a quiet peacefullness spread through the place. With the cold setting in however, it was time to head back to the vivid city again.

~ to be continued ~