Cityscape of Retribution

Again here we are, week four. Almost 50% through the internship, and I still can’t believe it. I love it here, the culture and experience both academically and non-academically. Even if I manage to wake up late, each day still feels special and unique, with new landscapes, experiences, and possibilities. Throughout these past two weeks, I’ve accomplished a big academic goal in research, which I have not performed in three years in Pittsburgh.

When I started this internship a week later than everyone else, I wanted to hit the ground running, and that I did. I managed to draft, revise, meticulously edit, and submit an abstract to the American Heart Association within two weeks of being in this lab. I read countless papers and abstracts, from basic paramedic knowledge to a moderate functional understanding of the heart. Then proceeded to act on that knowledge by writing an abstract. The progression of it seriously blows my mind. In all my time in research these past three years, I’ve written three abstracts but never been able to attempt to publish them. It’s almost like a dream. I was promised that ability coming in, and I had to wonder if it was true and that it was. Now, I wait until mid-August to see if the AHA will publish it. If not, there are many other journals I can also submit.

Furthermore, besides the abstract, I’ve almost finished analyzing the extensive echos for a study. I think even my PI is weirdly surprised at my working speed. I guess coming from the hell of a year I had with having classes for twelve hours, then pulling my teeth to study, and then getting maybe five hours of sleep (which was entirely my doing) to wake up and do a sixteen-hour shift on the ambulance made me hit almost peak efficiency. Now that I don’t have that hell of a schedule. I’m not too fond of the feeling of not doing enough. I’ve had to ask my PI to give me more because I feel like I don’t have enough. It’s a problem I created for myself, and maybe it’s more systemic. Regardless, sometimes I’m trying to learn how to relax and be okay with not being super productive.

Besides academics, I had an eventful week. When coming back from the food market on Thursday, we were coming back with the U when everyone got off, and we were the only ones on the U. This is where we took many beautiful pictures.

Benji, Ryan, and I on the abandoned U.

On Friday, I got to see my cousin, whom I hadn’t seen in six years. My cousin, Pavly, who lived in Egypt, is doing a masters in public policy in Munich, so this weekend he stayed with his friend, Hakim, in Mitte, whom I also visited. In a way, I was a tour guide. His friend had only been here for six months, so I was doing all the touristy things. I’ll insert pictures of the beautiful landscapes that I saw. It was simply amazing to be able to see him again and bond.

Pavly in front of a beautiful background

First, Hakim lived next to this unique memorial, and I wish I understood its meaning. Regardless, in the morning, we went to the Brandenberg Gate, which was beautiful as always. Then we decided to go to the TV Tower. While on our way there, we got to see and go into the Reichstag dome and sit out on the lawn, which was beautiful. Next, we went to the TV Tower, which we didn’t go up, but sat at a cafe and talked for a couple of hours. After we went to the Berlin Global exhibit in the Humboldt Forum, which I went to a second time, and it was still beautiful. I got to add a second message to the statue. Afterward, we got to sit out on the lawn of the Altes Museum, and it was just a beautiful sight, which I’ll go into later after we ate and went home. It was a successful day; just weird that I was a tour guide.

Unique memorial with unknown meaning

Transitioning to the prompt, I don’t believe there are many differences in the culture between Germany to the US. In my workplace, many people talk about their lives outside of it, and I haven’t faced the stereotype that they only talk about work. The only challenging part about being here is still just the language barrier. That’s genuinely the only challenge for me. Especially for technical and medical terms, sometimes it’s hard to translate. Regardless, the team has still done a great job with the language barrier, and there are only a few times I feel left out.

Always last, I talk about the spiritual journey. I think at this point, my definition of spirituality is cemented. I can only speak about the moments where I’ve had spiritual moments. This week was one of the most decisive spiritual moments in time I’ve ever had. On the lawn of the Altes Museum, I had a genuinely goosebump-inducing moment where both my mind and body were at one point together. It was beautiful.
I wrote a poem to describe the scene:

Breathe in
Gaze upon the sunset
The music was playing
The kids were running
The people were laughing
The cars were racing
The sun was radiating
The hair was standing
A moment like no other
Breathe Out
The mind was relaxing
The body was focused
The spirit was content
Revert from the sunset
A moment was unparalleled
Just breathe

Regardless, I’m excited about what the following opportunities will be in the next week!