Coping mechanisms

Posted in: Allmän on 28 March, 2020 by Nada-Katarina

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Hej, hej 🙂

The new blog post is finally here.
Honestly speaking, in the past two weeks, every single day I was aware of the fact that I have to write and publish a post but simply I couldn’t find neither the proper topic nor the right words to express myself. This whole situation with the Covid-19 caused a huge emotional rollercoaster forcing me to experience a variety of ”negative” and ”positive” emotions and even to re-live some memories from the past.
In Sweden, approximately 10 days ago Linköping University and other universities made a decision to start distance&online learning and to stop all face-to-face activities. This included practical-laboratory work as well. I know it has been only 10 days but I have a feeling it has been a year since I was last time in the lab, holding the pipette and playing around with my cells. Although Sweden still didn’t introduce a full quarantine (like pretty much all countries in Europe already did) and everything is based on the ”government recommendations” which are expected to be followed I am 95% of my time at home.

And for someone who is hyperactive and likes to move and to keep its fingers busy, this is good but it’s also bad.
When we, human beings, are busy with our mundane activities and everyday work, we wish and hope for more spare time to do this and do that, BUT all of the sudden when we have that *free* time – it doesn’t have the same value as it had when we were busy. The value of the time is always the same – since it’s just another concept, simply we were dreamers engaging in everyday escapism, romanticizing time too much. At least I did.

Over the past few days, I’ve learned that too much of that free time shift my balance from creating to consuming. And that’s something I don’t want to tolerate nor compromise. After the first few days of the social-distancing and isolation I caught myself consuming too much of social media, too much of Westworld, too much of beauty-related YT videos — my nose was way too much into someone else’s business.
I remember calling my friend on Wednesday and telling him how shitty I feel about everything mentioning stuff I did in the previous days. At that same moment, I realized I have been consuming more than I was creating. Don’t get me wrong here it’s okay to consume, but too much of consumption leaves less space for creation 🙂
To create is my coping mechanism. The trait I share with my dad. He is workaholic and currently in isolation painting the walls of our flat in Serbia. To keep my fingers busy all the time is my coping mechanism. To do yoga is my coping mechanism. To photograph is my coping mechanism. To dance in my room is my coping mechanism.  I don’t even want to mention the music which plays 24/7.
But this doesn’t mean, that that’s for you! Whatever your coping mechanism now is, whatever helps you, that’s the right thing to do. No matter if that’s Netflix for hours or doing indoor sport or baking the fifth dessert for that day  > there is no more or less value unless it adds value to your life. Be gentle to yourself 🙂 now more than ever.

 

Until next time :)))


 

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HURS 2020

Posted in: Allmän on 12 March, 2020 by Nada-Katarina

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Hello, to all of you beautiful people out there 🙂
I hope you are having a great and productive end of the week and some super-chilled plans for the upcoming weekend.
Last Friday was one of those super busy, social-engaging days here at LiU. It was HURS 🙂 A day for mingling, uncovering various opportunities, technology, ongoing research, and some good coffee.
Health University Research Symposium (HURS) is an event organized by DOMFIL which is an organization made of passionate and driven PhD students with a common goal to ensure and provide better education and networking. The event was separated into three main elements:
1. presentation of biotech & medical companies
2. PhD poster presentations & best poster award
3. given lectures about specific topics related to the (bio)medical research conducted here @LiU
Me, personally I was enjoying the most mingling and talking to representatives from different companies that had a stand. It was amazing to talk with all of them and to hear about new medical tech and all crazy inventions currently available on the market for crazy amounts of money. On the other side, it was a special feeling to talk with the representatives of a company from which you are buying your lab stuff and working with them daily > from QIAGEN, Thermo Fisher, Eppendorf to Merck and Bionovus.
Before heading back to my lab (back to my beloved cells <3 ) I had time to catch one talk from an excellent and skilled researcher about the regulation of Myc:Max system in cancer. As usual, after talks by senior scientists, I feel so morally defeated but at the same time super motivated.
I feel defeated by the fact that I just scratched the surface of this extraordinary, startling, and beautiful world of biomedicine with all its branches and sub-branches. Defeated by the fact how little I actually know and how much more is to be learned and discovered. If I am not being an optimist I would give up a long time ago, defeated by the above-mentioned reasons BUT since I am not, I am always using these moments in which I feel so small as a wind for my sails. It’s a long journey in front of me but so it has been in front of so many people who are standing in front of me today as well. They are my safe harbor and lodestar when it’s dark. They are my hope that eventually one day, with a lot of effort, commitment, renunciation, curiosity, courage, and craziness I will be standing in their shoes and eventually be a safe harbor for someone else. If not – that’s okay, the journey is what matters, not the final destination.

 

 

 

 

 

Thank you for reading! 🙂
Until next week
K.

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Fat Tuesday – a day of the Semla

Posted in: Allmän on 24 February, 2020 by Nada-Katarina

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On the 25th of February, it is a fat Tuesday or in other words A DAY OF THE SEMLA!
If you are wondering what is the Semla and why this thing has a special day dedicated to it – you are about to find out.
Semla is a (very) sweet Swedish pastry which when combined with a good cup of coffee in a nice company has a magic power to transform any bad day into a good one 🙂
Joke on the side, it is a nice culinary addition to a few other famous and tasty Swedish pastries like Kanelbulle, Lussekatt, and Pepparkakor.

 

My first association when I saw my friend eating Semla in a local cafe was – is this some kind of cream puffs (which is a famous French dessert) but apparently, it is not.
Semla is like a sweet bun combined with loads of whipped cream and almond paste with added sugar. All ingredients are nicely mixed together to give that smooth, sweet cream that’s melting inside the mouth.
And I can bet that you didn’t know that every year during the fat Tuesday approximately 6 million Semlor are sold! You can’t buy Semla throughout the whole year. The months during which you can find Semla in your local cafe or bakery would be January, February, and March – so take advantage of this and eat as much Semla as you want and can during the remaining time you have 🙂

 

 

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Meal prep while being a full-time student

Posted in: Allmän on 22 February, 2020 by Nada-Katarina

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This week’s post and the next one are dedicated to the culinary side of life. In this week’s post, I am writing about how to be more organized and better in premise dear to my heart – the kitchen.
My father’s postulate has always been – it’s better to give more money on food than to the doctors. I think this pretty much puts everything into perspective. One thing you should never take for granted is your health! And your health needs to be built and maintained. There are various things like exercise, food, a good amount of sleep, etc. which when blended together give the final outcome – a healthy and happy life. Today the food is in the focus.


Let’s get straight to the point with 6 personal guidance tips that helped me as a student:
1. avoid eating out especially in places which are considered as fast-food chains (we all know which those places are) – it’s a quick fix BUT it’s unhealthy + expensive in a long run. For a full meal which consists of one large drink, pommes and one large burger or two you can buy 3 fresh ingredients and make a meal at home which will last for two days.
2. build a solid/strong base upon which you can add more – learn to prepare/cook/steam/bake your meat, veggies, bread, etc. with salt and pepper first. Learn to not burn your food or to not overcook it. Pay attention to the process itself and various experiments with texture and flavors will follow later. Learn the basics of basics.
3. if you don’t know where to start – start with a Youtube – there are hundreds of channels that promote healthy cooking, student-budget friendly way of cooking, vegan cooking, etc. just pick one and follow the instructions. It’s easy as it sounds.
4. investing in just a few kitchen cupboard essentials at the start of the year will make the meal prep much easier and cheaper in the long-term – by this I mean: salt, pepper, olive oil, pasta, mixed dried herbs, rice, flour, stock cubes, tomato pure, etc.
5. buy sessional veggies, meat from the local butcher (if possible), discounted ingredients – simply shop smart. Don’t run into the first and closest supermarket to buy 5 things when you could buy 9 in a supermarket which is 10 min away further. Know your stores and city.
6. put time and effort into cooking – you didn’t learn to walk in 7 days neither you will learn to cook in 7 days. Patience is the key and don’t forget to have fun while cooking and experimenting.

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10 things I love about living in Sweden

Posted in: Allmän on 13 February, 2020 by Nada-Katarina

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For this week I decided to write about 10 things I love about living in my new country – Sweden. It is good to mention that these are just my personal observations and thoughts. I am sure there are many more beautiful things about life in Sweden but for now, let’s stick to ten 🙂

  1. coffee aka fika time (fikapaus) 

    As a huge coffee lover, this is a big deal for me! It’s all about that first-morning coffee accompanied by some good-morning, smooth, relaxing jazz music and that sweet scent that stays in the air long after the coffee is gone. Goosebumps. Or that afternoon coffee or a coffee which you’ve grabbed in a small coffee shop with the intention to drink it while you walk&talk with your friend. Or that first-date coffee with someone you like. Yes – it’s all about the coffee. Swedes love their coffee, their fikapaus and so do I! Not to mention a huge variety of coffee ”flavors” and types which you can buy in supermarkets from Mocca till French press 🙂

  2. people

    For this one, I should say – this is from my personal experience – your vibe attracts your tribe. Swedes are very kind, friendly, practical, a bit shy at first but later very open, happy, modern and easy-going people. I didn’t encounter anyone who is unfriendly or grumpy. If you want to meet that ”shy” Swede don’t wait for him/her to approach you – be the one to approach them 🙂 It’s not so scary and tough as it might seem at first. If you worry about the language barrier – don’t stress about that. All of them speak perfect English and additionally even German, Spanish, etc.
    + advice: smile smile smile and smile even more – the smile is half job done. Smile is inviting and warm (and it can kick you back in a good mood after you encounter one on a street)

  3. space and time for myself

    I love people. People are intriguing, exciting and unique – but I love my alone time even more. Put in other words – I enjoy freedom, time spent doing yoga, collage-art with some music in the background or wandering in nature and doing some more yoga in the middle of nowhere. Swedes respect and value personal space. They are not intrusive 🙂 and most likely you will not need to explain why you prefer to stay home instead of going somewhere. They understand you 😉

  4.  way of living

    or maybe lagom-way-of-living. Lagom translated to English means something like just in the right amount – not too much but not too little. This one is hard to describe since it is a subjective feeling. The work-life balance is what really matters at the end of the day and in Sweden, it is nicely balanced. When I was living in some other countries I always had a feeling that I am rushing, that I don’t have enough time for all things that matter to me. Plus, the energy in big cities sometimes can be so draining accompanied by the feeling that I am living in a beehive. Here it is different – slower, calmer and much happier.

  5. nature

    All Scandinavian countries should be proud of their nature, wildlife and beautiful landscapes. Outdoor activities are highly popular here – hiking, biking, mountaineering, etc. No matter the weather you can always see someone doing something outdoor. I love the fact that they didn’t lose that special, inner connection with mother nature.

  6. Swedish guys

    I will not write too much about this except – alluring, blond, tall, and smart (perfect combo if you ask me!)

  7. fashion

    I am fond of fashion and everyday street style. If we are honest – Swedes absolutely rock this one! Both girls and guys. They don’t like extravagance, and with the colors, they are playing it safe. To counterbalance that ”fashion-safety” almost every person you will encounter looks stunningly well-put and well-groomed. If you ask me to describe the Swedish way of dressing it will be elegant, minimal, modern and practical. Living in Sweden gives you many more opportunities to find and buy clothes and accessories labeled as ”Scandi” black&white, minimal, etc. 🙂 On the other side if you are a fan of second hand you will have plenty of cool stores offering amazing street style pieces.   

  8. architecture

    Photography is another love of mine and I can’t emphasize enough how many times I caught, through my lens, a building which is actually a piece of art on its own. I would say Swedes have a sense for good design. And by good, I mean awe-inspiring and stunning! They like it modern but with a touch of natural elements & materials like wood or metal. Natural materials, natural light and a close connection with nature even indoor are highly appreciated and desired. If you like that – you will enjoy it here.

  9. bicycles 

    Bicycles are everywhere! I was shocked when I saw for the first time our campus full of bicycles. In the beginning, I have to admit, I was not a huge fan of bicycles especially because of my knee. Long story short – at the end, I bought one simply because its fast, free of charge and environment-friendly. When it’s sunny it’s amazing to drive through the streets or forest while heading towards your university or meeting.

  10. sense of acceptance & equality

    In all possible forms and ways 🙂

    >>BONUS<<  techno/electro music in Sweden

    A few years ago I discovered some music artists from Scandinavia and felt immediately in love with their melodic, deep sound. It’s always a pleasure to find a new scene and to know what locals are listening to. I am curious about what Sweden has to offer in terms of music and I am more than keen to explore it. And it’s an everyday exploration process. I’ve grow-up mostly on german techno which is deep, dark, fast and bold hence a switch to some calmer music-waters is a nice change. Maybe you want to check some of the following names>>Parallax Deep, Axel Hallqvist, La Fleur, Malin Evrenos, etc.

 

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Nada-Katarina´s blog

Nada-Katarina Kasic
Well, hello there :)
I´m Nada-Katarina and I come from Serbia. Driven by my gut feeling for a change and with a spike of curiosity, I packed my life in two suitcases and came to Sweden. Right now, I am a first-year master student of Experimental and Medical Biosciences.
Catch the flow and let’s explore life in Linköping.

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