Saturday, 1 September 2012

Somethings in the Air

The last couples of days I have been attacked by a nasty cold. At first I thought it was just the result of an impulse decision to go to all-night karaoke right before leaving Taiwan, but it’s been very persistent.

Asking around, that is until I couldn’t anymore because of the hoarseness of my throat, I found out is a relatively common thing for foreigners here. As you’ve probably guessed it’s a result of the pollution in the air.

Some friends told me that they were warned beforehand by respective governments or embassy’s but not me, I get the joy of experiencing it firsthand. I’ve been advised to try a ton of remedies from drinking raw eggs and milk, to tea and special concoctions. I have done my very best to refuse while all the while acting very interested.

I think I am on the last leg of the sickness since I can now breathe through my nose, and I only sniffle every once in a while. The worst part was the beginning when my throat hurt too much to swallow, and I imagined my vocal chords slowly swelling up until I wouldn’t be able to get any air in. That was a bit of a rash judgement but you’re prone to exaggeration when you feel ill.

  On top of all that I had to redo my physical examine because I only had photocopies and not the originals. I desperately tried to act like a normal human being and not give anything away. I’m glad I had already done it so at least I knew what to expect. The Swedish girl I was with was quiet shocked when it came for the ECC since she wasn’t warned that they would take your shirt off.
Being poked and prodded, surprisingly, didn’t make me feel any better and I promptly went back to my dorm to take a rest. I’ve been sleeping and napping a lot lately due to the mixture of the hot temperature, and demands of registration; registration here is an extensive 2 week process. I was able to find Tylenol and faithfully rationed out the 10 pills to last me the longest time possible. I was also fortunate to get a very kind roommate.

My roommate is from Mongolia, and doesn’t speak English or Chinese. I was stuck on what to do since even Google translate failed me. Eventually we just used the language dictionaries she brought alone and word by word asked each other questions. We are now comfortable enough to speak to each other in our own language and jus assume the other will understand. Once she starts studying Chinese it will be a lot easier to communicate, but for now we are enjoy each other’s presence and broken sentences. I explained best I could that I had a cold and she promptly brought over her supply of medicine. Most of it I recognized from sleeping pills to nose drops. The latter I was coerced into using and after vainly struggling I gave in. Right away I felt like sneezing but I stopped myself and in no time it cleared up my sinuses. I had a very restful sleep that night and I owe it all to her.

I have to say though that there is one bright light amidst all the gloom and that is I have lost my acute sense of smell. This is extremely helpful since the public washroom facilities are not exactly on par with western standards. For the most part I am not bugged, and by the time all my faculties are restored I will be too grateful to complain. Any day now I should be back to normal, I really hope that day is soon!

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