"To finish the moment, to find the journey’s end in every step of the road, to live the greatest number of good hours, is wisdom....Since our office is with moments, let us husband them."
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Nothing like a street protest/party to mess with a commute

Today was the official start of classes at DIS, which I guess means my program has now officially, officially begun. On Mondays/Thursdays I only have two classes, biomedical ethics and complexity of cancer. And even better, my first class doesn't start until 1:15 p.m., which means I get to sleep in.

Biomedical ethics is first on my list for the day, and it seem like it'll be a good course. The professor is Danish, but she spends her summers teaching at St. Olaf. This led to a fun discussion when we introduced ourselves and I said I went to Carleton, as we talked about Northfield and Blue Mondays. Anyways the course material is quite interesting, and she has it set up so that it will prepare us for practicing medicine and being able to quickly make critical ethical decisions in terms of patient care, as well as allowing us to be able to empathize with our patients when they ask questions like "what is the meaning of life?". I also found it interesting that she has the course set up much like a Carleton course, with the emphasis on the lectures and our discussions, as that was not totally what I was expecting.

In quite the opposite direction was my complexity of cancer course, which is taught by two Danish doctors that are both at their "residency" stage of training in clinical oncology (the training system is different here, but residency is the analogous position). They however, are not professors, and are not use to teaching/grading, especially with Americans, so their course is very Danish in a sense as they do not care if you show up to class, because in reality the lectures are only ancillary, and everything is based on the reading. This creates quite a different situation for me, and it will be interesting to say the least to see how it goes.

My complexity of cancer course takes place at the Panthum Institute which is Copenhagen's medical school, and it is also my last course of the day. Afterwards then, I took the bus back to the center of town where I had two different options to get back home. Since this was a new bus stop for me I spent the first 5 minutes getting oriented, figuring out which lines serviced the stops, and which line I needed to get home. Unfortunately, this orientation time led to trouble. Once I found the line I needed, I was standing out in the rain patiently waiting for the bus to arrive (it rained quite hard all afternoon). And waiting. And waiting. There was a timer at the stop, showing how many minutes until the bus arrived, and it was showing zero, but still no bus. So I waited...and waited some more. Finally, I look off and I see a bunch of flashing lights towards where the bus should be coming from. Then I notice there are multiple police vans parked at the station with police waiting in them. Then I started to hear the loudspeaker, and the people. There was some kind of parade or protest marching down the street. For what I am not sure, but they had a ton of people, pirate flags, and a moving stage, where someone was screaming things, throwing beach balls, and lighting flares. This little event severely messed with all the traffic including the buses. In the end it turned a 35 minute commute into a 90 minute commute, all in the rain. You have to love the Danes and their love for marching/dancing/chanting down the streets, no matter the occasion.

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