The Final Horizon

Another week and another blog post. However, this is a particular blog post. This is my second to last one. This is the last week of this trip. We’ve finally reached 100% completion. Somehow, it’s finished. From the first takedown in Berlin to a final one, I never thought the day would come. I’ve said it probably eight other times, but I’ll repeat it. Time flies when you’re having fun in a new country with a new stimulus. Regardless, this week was filled with crunch time. All I was doing was working, trying to finish my work on time.

Unfortunately, my probably biggest con is my punctuality/punctuality. This is perhaps self-evident from the date this is going up. And due to my procrastination, all I was doing was putting in ungodly hours in two rooms in a hospital: the two echo rooms. These rooms had the echocardiograms that I was analyzing for some studies. After finishing one survey with 20 echos, I examined my PI, then gave a study with 163 echos to analyze. Safe to safe, with two weeks’ notice, I could not finish the whole thing. For reference, it took me two weeks to complete 20 echos. I got around halfway; I thought going completely insane.

Father’s Day and my dad’s birthday came and passed during my time abroad. My dad told me he only wanted for his birthday present was me to go to church. So Sunday morning, I took the M29 and some Us an hour away for a mass. For reference, we use Arabic, Coptic, and English in the Coptic Orthodox Church in America. The first question I had was which languages would be used there. Would it be German instead of English? So I would be able to understand even less than usual. The answer was yes. They did substitute German for English. Regardless, everything else about the mass is standard, but here’s what irked me. Berlin is a massive city and hub for foreigners and especially Arabs. So I expected the congregation to be huge, with an enormous church. It was ⅓ the size of the Pittsburgh church. I wasn’t expecting that. Regardless, I got the reverse treatment from my church. In Coptic Orthodoxy, you’re not allowed to take communion unless you’re baptized. So when someone new comes to church, the priest constantly questions him when taking communion. I was asked, and it’s weird because I’m usually the opposite.

Berlin Coptic Orthodox Church

After church and getting the tacos Mr. Bullett was craving, we had one big plan. Before coming to Germany, I knew I wanted to visit a concentration camp while here. I wanted to truly understand and see with my own two eyes the devastation and horror. So Mr. Bullett and I ventured to the Sachsenhausen death camp on Sunday. It was an experience. Growing up, I was educated on the Holocaust due to my good education in the suburbs. So reading the stories and going to one of the sites wasn’t a complete shock. However, it was not pleasant in the slightest as you could imagine. Seeing the barracks, extermination zone (Zone Z), the watch tours, and the giant chimney in the middle of the place were breathtaking. All the books I read in my education about the Holocaust flashed back while walking through this memorial. I read one fact at the site that stuck with me. I can’t explain why. It just did. Before the extermination, the soldiers ordered prisoners to take a warm shower, not for humanitarian reasons, but because the warmth created a better reaction to the Zyklon B or gas used to kill the prisoners. It just really puts the non-care of life into perspective.

Saschsenhausen Chimney

Transitioning to the prompt this week, I think it’s an interesting question. I don’t believe there are many differences in the definition of success in the medical field. There are different types of success depending on what your end goal is for your career. Everyone deems their own goals and success. Some view doctors as solely clinical, trying to impact as many lives as possible. Others choose to have a mix between that and academic advancements. I think I’m the latter. Currently, my goal is to get to medical school first. So anyone in my position, success is just being able to complete the opportunity I was given. However, getting your name in a paper, published, or a job opportunity is just icing on top of the cake. I was fortunate to have an opportunity like this, so anything is icing on top of the cake.

Last, I will leave a final spiritual update to my last post.