Let me just take a moment to say thanks for reading my blog, you. I realize that my readers are mostly comprised of friends and family, so I shouldn’t fear judgment or harsh criticism, but nonetheless this project has exposed me in a new way that I am still settling into. Clicking the Publish Post button is basically a 100% terrifying exploit. I may as well be standing naked for the whole world to see, or at least a similar medley of emotions, namely anxiety, rushes over me as I mentally curl up in my closet, suck on my right thumb, and pretend I was five again. But as time goes on, I am noticing that my skin feels thicker and less vulnerable, making the act of publishing a post feel somewhat satisfying. So again, thanks very much for sticking with me.
But Andrea, what about the Chinese medicine posts you promised to deliver? Yes, yes, sigh, sigh – I have drifted off topic, as I so frequently do in life. In this way, my blog is no different than my baking. The pattern is always the same. I have a culinary vision, a culinary epiphany, if you will, and I set out to realize my dream. Recipe in hand, ingredients gathered and I somehow manage, time and time again to botch the procedure, creating barely a faint resemblance of the original vision. Usually it is a conscious decision rooted in a need to add my personal signature to the dish, but the reality is I lack the proper skill set to go rogue. Most of the time I happily end up with a creation that is both tasty and interesting and I can only hope the same is true of my little blog.
The truth of the matter is this – I have rediscovered so much of myself here in Taipei that I let slip away in graduate school.
Reawakening parts of yours truly while simultaneously taking in new surroundings all at once has left my head spinning. The scooter fumes pumping carbon dioxide straight to my brain, the general chaos of living in one of the most densely packed places on earth (Yonghe, New Taipei City, ahem, Dave, I wanted to move to the country after grad school, remember?), and studying a new language for far too many hours everyday hasn’t helped the situation. But fear not, oxygen levels are normalizing and I am learning to accept the organized chaos that is Taipei. With that, I intend to share a little bit about the world of Chinese medicine somewhat regularly, though I must warn you that my experiences thus far have been quite limited.
Not to beat a dead horse but graduate school, and come to think of it, life in general, left me feeling tired, achy, and all around deficient. While I wasn’t roaming the streets covered in gauze and silk boxers (yet), I knew my body needed some Chinese medicine more than my brain did. So, to sum it all up my first step here in Taipei in terms of immersing myself in Chinese medicine related enterprises has been to –
1. Become a Patient. Yes! In addition to that being a lovely activity in and of itself, it has allowed my to check off the second step of my plan…
2. Become a Secret Observer.
Most clinics here in Taipei lack the privacy that is often required in the U.S. This really works to my advantage as I am able to watch other patients receive treatments while I receive mine; listen closely to pick up on medical terminology, diagnosis, and formulas prescribed. A lot of information flows through the air though of course, there are many days when I simply travel off into aculand. I have visited a few clinics around town but have settled in to one by my house that I go to around 4 days per week. Treatments here are extremely affordable, as is all healthcare, but I will save that and more for a later post. Eventually, as I learn more and more Chinese I will seek out a legitimate apprenticeship, which can be a difficult task in Taipei. For now, while it may not sound like much, I am learning my medicine in a whole new language!
The majority of my time and energy in Taipei is spent between language class (5 days per week) and language study. If anything, the last 5 months have boiled down to a concept I often struggle with in life – patience. Studying Chinese is humbling, fascinating, and really quite hard. It would be near impossible for me to simultaneously tackle conversational fluency, Chinese medical terminology, and all other Chinese medicine endeavors so I am taking it step by step. Many days, I scratch my head and think – what is this all for, Andrea? You have graduated, you passed your boards, go back to the states and get to work! Fortunately, in those moments, Neil Patrick Harris whispers me a “Wait for it…” and I know that as with many of my choices in life, I picked the long, winding, and scenic route because I have faith that the end destination will be quite fulfilling (and hopefully lake side). So for the time being I am stuffing my gnawing sense of urgency deep into my pocket, pulling out a pencil, and writing some more Chinese characters.
The End. Until next time. More Chinese medicine stuff to come! 謝謝!