A Week in the Life of…

Hej hej, a Swedish hello to you all.

Merry Christmas and God Jul.

I wrote this blog a week or so ago but have just made some additions, I hope you enjoy this retrospective blog: A Week in the Life of….

Monday 10th December

Monday morning….always a bit difficult to wake up but I had some very interesting lectures lined up. With my medical background I was looking forward to hearing about the global perspective on Hepatitis B/C, Sexually Transmitted Diseases and Tuberculosis! All the lectures were fascinating, the basic biology and medicine is the same but the burden on each country of the world can be very different. It may sound simple but to me it’s a lot more than simply texts on a slide and an hour in a lecture, it’s much much more…

Tuesday 11th December

Tuesday saw a full day of lectures cancelled. The day left me with much needed time to catch up on a long list of things that was piling up even higher. I started my day by reading some background papers on my thesis. My thesis focuses on an area of HIV treatment and as such everything I read is intriguing. I am particularly taken by the media portrayal of HIV and have often left the research papers to one side and read about the history of HIV, the first cases detected and what has happened since then. It’s an interesting arena with so many people involved and so many opinions. Arguably with the global nature of HIV, we’re all involved directly or indirectly and as persons interested in global health it is even more imperative to acknowledge HIV.
Towards the end of the day I made the adventurous trek out towards the Karolinska, to meet my colleagues for some group work (another interesting area, which I’ll talk about in another blog) however, for now there was another plan, an impromptu surprise for Nieves, a group member who’s birthday it was. We all planned to meet in one of the famous KI wooden huts to surprise Nieves with a traditional Princess torta…the plan included me on the phone to the birthday girl, explaining to her that the group work had been moved to a wooden hut and that she should rush down to start the work! But little did Nieves know that waiting there were her global friends…we were all treated to a much shocked but very happy Nieves! With this global class there is always something fun around the corner!

Grattis! Photo: Naieya Madhvani.

Wednesday 12th December

Wednesday, it was back to the lecture room. My first lecture was titled: “New surveillance methods for disease outbreaks”. The subjected concentrated on what Syndromic surveillance is, as well as numerous projects currently underway here in Sweden. For me, it was a feeling of nostalgia, taking me back to my Oxford days, where I once wrote an essay on Syndromic surveillance. I felt quite knowledgeable in the area…and then of course I was confused. But I feel that to be confused before you’re examined is better, because if you decide to find out why you’re confused, you’ll know the topic much better and if given a question in the exam, you’ll be far better placed to answer than if you weren’t confused before. A little confusing…

Thursday 13th December

Lucia, lucia, lucia…Thursday was the very special day of Lucia. Everywhere you looked and everyone you spoke to mentioned the word Lucia. Lucia is a celebration of Saint Lucia. There are several stories associated with the origins of this day. I refer you to: http://www.sweden.se/eng/Home/Lifestyle/Traditions/Celebrating-the-Swedish-way/Lucia/ where you can read more about the festival. For us the day was filled with several lectures, but we were all rewarded with a beautiful Lucia fika. Several children as well as students within our department dressed in white. One girl had a crown of candles on her hand making her “Saint Lucia”. The group slowly walked into a dimly lit area, making the candles shine out even more, they then sang several Lucia songs and we were given a short lesson about Lucia. With glögg in one hand and juggling a pepparkarkor (ginger biscuit) and lussekatter (saffron bun) in the other, I felt like I had been whisked away to Primary School and I was sitting cross-legged on the carpet listening to story time and what a wonderful story we were told.

Lussekatter. Saffron buns. Photo: Naieya Madhvani.
The Global Health class getting involved with Lucia. Photo: Naieya Madhvani.

Thursday also saw us come to the peak of our Secret Santa extravaganza. I was the lead on this and I was very excited by the silver secret santa box (which I’d decorated) filled to the brim with colourfully wrapped presents of all shapes and sizes. The presents were given out and each person, in turn, read out the clue on their present, so as to guess who their secret santa was. It made for several fun moments! I myself received a beautiful tea light holder with a special touch, as well as some chocolate.

Handing over a Secret Santa present, so much fun! Photo: Naieya Madhvani.
Opening presents…oh the excitement! Photo: Naieya Madhvani.

Friday 14th December

Another day off, another lot of time to use as I wish 🙂 And today I decided to meet a family friend for lunch at her work place. My friend works at a high school where they teach cooking/catering, and as such, as you can imagine the food was delicious! For starters I had a scrumptious feta cheese pie with a tomato and red onion relish (this could have been a main), following this I enjoyed a rather large serving of eggy courgettes with tomato rice, a new dish to me but something I was pleasantly surprised by….but the piece de resistance was the dessert, a staggering 8 or so desserts served on a platter with everything from simple homey dishes like apple pie to more sophisticated ones like chocolate panna cotta with raspberry coulis. Oh my eyes beamed wide with joy! And Krupa, even received a sparkler as a thank you for some work she had done. A great end to a great week.

Mmm, food! Photo: Naieya Madhvani.
So many desserts and a sparkler for Krupa. Photo: Naieya Madhvani.

So, this is what a week for you might look like…lots of interesting, often thought-provoking lectures, as well as many many moments of fun!

Hope you enjoyed reading my week and wishing you a lovely end to yours.

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