huh

So I just rediscovered this blog

Firstly, I am now 2 years older with yellow, short hair.

Secondly I thought I might as well use this blog for my rants about education and other miseries. (hah)

I am Mika, young queer kid from Germany.

a poem about travelling

a while after i gave up on poetry for good, i had a sudden „eureka!“ moment, just not linked to science but rather life.

sarah kay really makes me want to write free verse poetry, i never come by to do it though

but that day i kind of felt like it, it sounds like it must’ve been summer

it has a specific effect when listening to the acoustic (BOY songs are better played live than studio recorded) version of

Drive Darling 

here goes

 

A Poem about Travelling 

or: Not really a Poem after all. 

One day I will travel the world.

I will walk past the name-forgotten-river in Amsterdam

And eat macaroons in a white Paris street.

I will observe the faces of New York

And eat odd English food in London.

I will stand on a cliff near an Irish village

And walk barefoot in New Zealand.

 

I’ll have stacked the CD’s

I’ll have chosen the songs

I’ll have a world map in my lap

I’ll have a pen and paper on the seat next to me.

 

It won’t matter how much money I have

Or if I’ve forgotten my phone

I will have suitcase filled with my favourite books

And a slightly smaller bag for a skirt and print shirt.

 

My camera is seated at my feet

My socks safely on my feet

Flip Flops and Doc Martens ready to walk up and down the promenade

My notebook always close

And a photo full of memories

day 9, 10, 11 and 12 – general internship-ness

i haven’t blogged in a while, four days to be exact. 

but let me tell you, 8 hours a day, plus two hours to and fro, is a lot!

 

sunday started off with sleeping in late and brunching with the standard guest of last week’s sunday again. at approximately one pm me and my haf drove to a large supermarket, open on sundays. originally i wanted to find a dark chocolate creme from the company „Galler“ which i had foodgasmed for a few years ago. unfortunately they didn’t have it, so i bought a whole load of other chocolate. 

In the evening we went to the local youth center, which included cinema evenings and theatre plays, like the one we went to. it was called „der Vorname“ (the first name) and it was a story all set on one evening in the living/dining room of a married couple in France. they had invited an old friend of theirs and the wife’s brother and his pregnant girlfriend. the drama started with the brother claiming to call the child „Adolphe“ (pronounced like Adolf) and the others being outraged. this lead to a row of hilarious confessions, misunderstandings and inconveniences. it was incredibly entertaining.

 

monday was very simple, my haf had a lot to do so nothing spectacular happened at the university. i did see bacteria for the first time in real life though!

in the  evening we visited an apparently amazing burger shop near by. it was very american-based when it came to decorations and general atmosphere which was quite nice actually. the burgers were… alright. i’m a bit spoiled when it comes to quality burgers. the fries were great! 

 

tuesday was quite interesting due to several things. the day started a little earlier for us, we repeated a FACS (no, not Fax ;)) recording, like the week before. 

in between i discovered a row of blue sections in the fourth floor and a guy dressed in a mascot-like teddybear costume. i asked my haf what this was and she pointed to the children arriving and the young university students taking them by the hand and leading them down the row of hospital beds. she explained that they did this every year, children from the hospital and outside may bring their cuddly toys and together with the students they inspect them, operate them if necessary, check up on their health, wearing little face masks and head caps. i watched it a while and it made me incredibly happy. it got introduced also to give the students a feeling of „being“ a doctor and interacting with „patients“, etc. 

right after that the audit began. my haf was responsible to make sure everything was alright for the inspection. two women came in and looked at one lab, then sat down with us and went through safety in the labs, documentation of experiments, book keeping and many other organisational things. they were nice though, everything went well! 

after lunch my haf lead me to a conference hall in the actual university. i was extremely lucky, because a very high-positioned figure in the university/hospital allowed me to watch one of his tutorial with first years, the topic being the cytoskeleton. it was a group of 6 students who were all studying medical sciences and they had attended the professors seminar the week before and based on the newly acquired information they prepared answers to given questions and presented these discretely. the professor (=tutor) only helped out and explained the things the students couldn’t. i felt incredibly guilty throughout the whole two hours, because of me they were asked to present their in dutch prepared answers in english! the german guy, who sat across from me, always glanced at me, grinning, when i obviously felt uneasy with the one or other student stumbling over their english words… 

it was a great experience though and definitely motivated me further toward studying, universities and also biology. 

 

today mainly consisted of my haf attempting the so called „western blot“, which is about making specific proteins visible by colour. it unfortunately failed a few times, but in the end we managed to finish the needed gels and it’s not resting overnight in the fridge. 

we also had a meeting with the boss, Iris and another boss today, a general meeting about recent issues and events. i left after 30 minutes to look at FISH (not the animals, short for Fluorescence in situ Hybridization) -tinted chromosomes, with Maschenka. it’s a little complicated but the overall project is about trying to figure out if and how early it is possible to detect cancer and tumors in vocal cords. she had samples from patients from the last 30 years but only had 41 different patients from a single city. unfortunately the specific machine(s) she needed in order to observe and count the chromosomes, which would tell her if the cells are acting and living „normally“, weren’t free. diagnostics always have priority, whether you reserved a lab or machine, or not. but she explained her whole project to me, and more and it was fantastic. very successful and informative and once again motivating toward this type of subject. 

 

now, covered in cat hair, i will go to sleep, i need it. tomorrow is my last regular working day. friday there’s a special event happening, which i can tell you more about afterwards!

talk to you soon and greetings to all the family and friends who are indeed reading my blog…! 🙂 

 

day 7 and 8 – productivity and the meet

on friday we were a little late again. *cough* 

we checked on our cells, changed solutions, the usual. i’m honestly getting used to it all. 

after that not much happened really. nothing specific. i watched Iris prepare her samples and i helped my haf to fill in a table for her postgraduate. today was stressful, she had a lot to do and a lot planned so i preferred not to be in her way. 

we had really nice lunch, i really liked it! we went into the actual university (the pathology department being set in the hospital part) and got some actual coffee (i got a hazelnut coffee thing with really nice cream, even though i don’t like cream that much) and we sat down with Irish and Maschenka, surrounded by actual students, not doctors. 

i really like the idea of studying. even when totally agreeing with Margo Roth Spiegelman, a fictional mystery character in John Green’s „Papertowns“, my absolute favourite book on the planet. 

“College: getting in or not getting in. 
Trouble: getting in or not getting in. 
School: getting A’s or getting D’s. Career: having or not having. House: big or small, owning or renting. Money: having or not having. It’s all boring.” 
 
but really, i’ve discovered my need to experience university/college life. i really want to do this thing, apply, choose courses, be responsible for all this. it’s more specific and more interesting and you’re older and you get to do things and the atmosphere is different. 
 
after that nice lunch of avocado, honey bread and kiwi, i sit down with my lap top and start writing on my internship report. i think i wrote from 14:00-16:30, in total 6 pages. six bloody pages for one single day report. this is going to be a hell lot of work but i’m glad i did that. 
 
then my haf collected me and we went into a department, a five minute walk away. there we met a lovely group, a woman, a guy and two older interns and after a conversation i didn’t really understand, we gathered in a small dark room with 3 different generations of computers and a very complicated looking microscope. i got to look at the nuclei of a few cells, which was incredible! the guy also explained a program to me, with which they can look at a cell/nucleus from all sides, in 3D and even split it! 
 
turns out my haf and this group are collaborating, as the leader of the group and my haf work incredibly well together. 
 
the time passed, 17:00, 17:25, 17:40, 17:55… eventually we make to leave when my haf asks the guy if it’d be possible for me to watch a „tutoring“. he said yes, that would be no problem, next tuesday was the next one for first year graduates and i could watch! it’s about cytoskeletons, so i’ll inform myself a little before. we talked to the actual tutor, who’s basically the boss of a large part of the institute, a great guy. he will even do the tutoring hour in english instead of dutch for me, which really baffled me. but of course it’s great! 
 
i’ll say more to that on tuesday 😉 
 
 
today i woke up, already quite excited. my haf and me visited her horse and i hiked next to her through the woods for an hour or so (her on the horse, Lucy) and i think i talked a bit too much. by the way, the reason for me not being on the horse is purely my doing, she really tried to convince me to. i think she was convinced that i was scared, but i really wasn’t. i just didn’t feel like sitting on a horse’s back! 
 
after that she drove me to the train station, where we saw two people standing, the guy a little shorter with dark brown hair, a crooked grin and thick, black glasses and a very pretty girl with black hair and a wide smile, both holding signs saying my name. these two people came 3 hours by train from the other side from belgium to meet me and spend time with me for a day, me, who they’ve only ever talked to over a facebook group, group and personal chats and skype. 
 
it was an amazing day! summed up we got lost for 1 1/2 hours, 8/10 shops were closed, as in, closed down for eternity, not the day, we found a nice pizzeria and ate some good italian food to bad german music, then we made fun of the clothes and bras in H&M, then in Hunkemüller, then the guy bought me and his girl tiny, pink, princess umbrellas and us all mini tiaras. after that we just had a constant 2 hour photo shoot. also they introduced me to this utterly ugly supermarket, which had literally EVERYTHING. 
 
they left after the day and i am as happy as i could be, having discovered a great new band, having played a round of Cluedo and having had a fantastically amusing skype call. 
 
talk to you soon 🙂 
 
here a picture of proof and entertainment 
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day 4, 5, 6 – long days but gaining experience

ok, let’s start this off with – i am horrible when it comes to doing things i have to do. 

or rather things other people or myself tell me i have to do something. 

i will sum up my last 3 days, including today (tuesday, wednesday, thursday) in one post

 

working in the pathology department of the maastricht university from 9am to 17-17:30pm is hard. we arrive and we start and we go until break at 13:00 or so and then we keep going till the end. some parts of the day are packed with lab experiments and measuring of cells, others are simply sitting at a desk reading through a brilliant Immunology book and researching terms and organelles and methods. 

but that’s good! it’s great! i have the feeling that i am really introduced to an actual job, something i could be doing later on. there’s a routine, co-workers, technical difficulties, cancelled meetings, full schedules, everything.

what i love about these people is that they actually want to do this. they are bothered about paperwork and people not doing what they’re supposed to, but they all want to experiment, get results, start new projects, they want to KNOW and they want to DO and i LOVE seeing this.

i’m starting to remember the names, Iris, Maschenka, Ben, Lisa, Mat, Peter, Kareen, etc. I know my way around, i can r´find the coffee room from Iris’s room. i can collect the lab books from Maschenka’s table and bring them to my haf’s new room. i love the feeling of „knowing my shit“. i felt oddly good when i was actually asked to bring the lab books to the room and i said:

„oh yeah, i’ll use this chair with wheels and stuff, be right back. it’s in Iris‘ room, right?“ and i take off, dragging this chair behind me, rushing to catch Ben, who almost closed the door to the Pathology department (if it had closed, i wouldn’t have gotten in) and he held it open and i kept dragging the chair and pulled it past familiar faces, Lisa greeting me, and casually strolling to Maschenka’s table, pulling out the box with lab books and in the same manner deliver them back. it. was. great. ok?

also most of the workers are BRILLIANT. Iris is lovely, always laughing, even when stressed and everything is „nice“. Lisa is really like-able, she’s incredibly funny and clever and i think she’s great. Maschenka is really cute. Ben is great at conversations, he used to be this cool kid, I know it. he speaks english perfectly but always forgets that i don’t speak dutch. i really like that guy. 

Also i got to see liquid nitrogen which is almost unreal. i loved it. i’ve seen it in our science documentaries but it’s way better in real life. that’s the great thing about this internship; unreachable things are suddenly real! all the dangerous chemicals, rubber gloves, the labs, the b-cells we talked about in science class- hey, i saw them! 

on tuesday i went around all the labs and took pictures of every „warning“ sign i could find. everything from „wear gas masks“ to „flammable“ to „biohazard“ to „don’t inhale“. they’re for my combined two tasks for the report we have to write about these two weeks. we were supposed to choose ONE from, what, TEN, so i am combining 

„talk about the safety in your workspace“ and 

„take a series of photos of your workspace and describe their content in detail“

 

tomorrow my haf is EXTREMELY busy so i’ll be taking my pc and sit in the MASSIVE mensa area (see last post for a photo) and work on my report, which is very practical, as i need the time, despite it only having to be done in two weeks. also then i have less to do on the weekend, on which, by the way, i’ll be meeting two belgian friends who are coming to eupen to visit me! i am quite excited, as i’ve never met them before (stop frowning upon me, please) 

i might not post tomorrow due to very unworthy-of-publication-events. talk to you soon! 

day 3 – actually working

today was the day! 

during an hour long drive, my haf explained seemingly hers and another ladies entire project to me. 

i’ll give you keywords, as no, i cannot be bothered to repeat such an explanation, especially when i didn’t understand… let’s say a bit of it. basically the project is to find out how different cancer and tumor cells react with and to different solutions, also how fast they undergo colonial expansion, etc. 

one thing that was mildly difficult was the language. i’ve had all the sciences in english all my life and suddenly it was german to 80% for me. for me, because one of the most amusing things i’ve ever seen/heard, is a place in which everyone speaks 3-4 different languages at random. they’ll switch from dutch to german to english, possibly french, to dutch. my haf speaks enough dutch and english to survive, never really bothered with french, even though that’s the only language her partner speaks fluently. 

i had the pleasure to meat a bunch of great people today! the first was a girl called Lisa, who looked 20 but was already a doctor, had worked as a surgeon and an orthopedic, was in her 4th semester as a pathologist now and did it all with such an ease… also she was very amusing and comfortable to be around.

my haf’s office partner is also great, he looks very english, speaks it almost accent-less and i really like him. we ate lunch in the „bamboo garden“, hidden in the shadows of the university’s buildings, with two lovely, young colleges, one of whom had to laugh for at least 15 minutes straight, attempting to tell us a story.

the overall day looked something like this: introduction to a few people including the boss, Lisa, office partner, lovely colleges and Chris, a very intelligent student who is currently writing an article with my haf. next she immediately showed me a very narrow, small laboratory. i was rockin‘ the lab coat and rubber gloves. for the next 2-3 hours i watched my haf and Lisa examining and refilling/“washing“ their melanin cancer cells. the day really consisted of a LOT of refilling solutions and cells through a very wide collection of pipettes into different containers. then i spent an hour researching „cell lines“ and „FACS“ (fluorescent-activated cell sorting). a meeting got cancelled so i did some more research, we had the earlier mentioned lunch break in 20°C. then more peaking-over-the-shoulder happened, the colouring of the earlier given cells. 

to be completely honest, i think about 2% of today’s information and explanations stuck with me. but i still loved it. 

it was a really long day and it’s going to be a long two weeks but i feel quite good about it. 

also the labs look SO typical. i am ashamed to say this sentence but it’s inevitable, 

„it looks EXACTLY like in the movies!“ 

and with that low-quality statement i’ll leave you here, with an additional picture of me in the lab coat and the large, beautiful break hall/mensa/etc (neither taken with my laptop camera nor my nikon).

talk to you soon!

 

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